If you’re a gamer you’ll know that audio is every bit as important as graphical fidelity for enjoyment. If you’re an avid eSports fan you’ll know that audio is more important than graphics in a competitive environment. The final VR3000 IEMs look to deliver the best of both worlds without breaking the bank, by giving gamers an all-round better experience.
- Balanced, quality sound
- Good overall package
- Incredibly comfortable and ergonomic design
- No included adapters for mobile gamers
- Microphone is muddy
final has a plethora of audio products for specific use cases as we found out when we reviewed the final E4000. Not only did I love those due to the dynamic driver setup and premium MMCX fittings, it’s where I realised that not every IEM is made equal. final just seem to do things differently.
With the VR3000, final enter the gaming arena. A significant proportion of eSports players actually use IEMs with isolating headphones over the top, to more accurately hear footsteps and the like, in-game. It makes sense when you think about it. IEMs provide a more focused stream of audio in the direction of your ear canal. Over the ear headphones can do the same, however, they excel at isolation, with the audio rattling around before entering your ear canal.
The final VR3000 arrive in non-descript packaging. Plain white packaging, with a plastic insert housing all you need to get started. Their design may divide opinion, however. Their entire casing is made from ABS, and they are extremely are angular and bulky-looking. This was a little off-putting to me until I picked them up and inserted them. They are designed as such for a reason. The 45-degree-esque angles help to place the drive in the ear more accurately, and included ear-hooks can help contain them for comfort.
A little way down the right cable length sits the control pod with 3-buttons managing volume, track selection and voice assistant.
There are five different tips included of various sizes, along with a warranty card, carry pouch and the aforementioned ear hooks. Strangely our unit came with no manual, however, a quick search provided it in electronic form.
- Housing – ABS
- Driver – Dynamic driver
- Cable – OFC Black cable
- Sensitivity – 101dB/mw
- Impedance – 18Ω
- Weight – 20g
- Cord length – 1.2ｍ
- final VR3000
- 5 differently-sized tips
- Ear hooks
- Warranty card
- Carry pouch
Performance & Use
These are so light and comfortable – that was my first impression. As mentioned above, the angular design did have my eyebrows raising, but I was instantly won over once they were inserted. Putting them in the ear and wrapping the cable back over the ear behind them (or inverted as that method is known) felt intuitive also. This was strange to me as it’s something I hardly ever do. Their design is just perfectly in touch with their intended use case. As a side-note, it was nice to see clear left and right markings – something that is simple but seems lacking in IEMs more often.
As with my previous IEM reviews, I’ve struggled with comfort using them for many years. In recent reviews I’ve found my ears are seemingly more comfortable using them – something has changed. Either my ears have (possible) or manufacturers are spending more time on the ergonomics of their products (again, possible). Whatever it is, the VR3000 are no exception to my recent experiences. The fact the controls are on a control pod, not the buds themselves, might irk some. Personally, I’d much prefer a clicky, tactile button away from my ear than pushing the buds deep into my ear canal. Volume controls are single function whilst the middle button is multi-function. A single tap controls playback. A double-tap skips whilst triple rewinds the track. Finally, a press and hold triggers the voice assistant.
I used the ear hooks only a few times during my testing as I found my fit was comfortable enough without them. Fitting the ear hooks were a little fiddly. Sliding the cable into the required channel might take a short period of time, but those looking to make the VR3000 more secure won’t mind an extra few seconds.
My testing methodology had to change a little for this review as the VR3000 are specifically tuned for gaming use cases. You can use them to listen to your favourite tracks and podcasts, but that wasn’t their intended primary use. Covering the music/podcasts piece first, I liked them. I was worried that a gaming product such as this would lose all low-end and instead look to amplify the highs (footsteps). That would make perfect sense and they kind of do that but it’s not to the detriment of the lows. No, they aren’t Razor Kracken levels of bass, but there is more than enough here to cover off the basics. What’s more, is that they are clean. Those lows are clearly separated.
Gaming is where the VR3000 come into their own. I fired up some CS:GO on my Dell XPS13, and whilst my clan days are dim and distant, I found I could zero in on enemies easier – I still couldn’t hit them! I immediately put some of that increased immersion down to the isolation of the VR3000, something I was not expecting. They do a good job of shutting out ambient noise, with no active noise cancellation technology included. As soon as I put some more isolating over-the-ear headphones atop the final VR3000 buds, things improved still further. I was fully immersed, and for a split second, I could have been turning out for a NaVi-geriatrics squad!
Luckily I had a desktop microphone during my testing as the microphone included is not great. It sounds a little muddy unless almost in your mouth. This is not designed to be the selling point of the VR3000, but I’d like to have heard a little more clarity from recordings for a gaming-focused product.
Connecting them to a smartphone is equally easy if you have an adapter. as these can be driven by almost any device. Mobile gaming didn’t seem too different to my layman’s ears, but that is not to say they didn’t sound good, clear and precise. A more refined ear might be able to catch more nuance.
Overall the sound quality is great for gaming and very good for podcasts too due to the clear and precise highs. Don’t expect rumbling base, but you’ll hear the calvary coming in your favourite game all the same! The highs can be a little loose but they provide just what a gamer needs to hear something when other headphones/IEMs might fail and muddy with the mids. Not here.
I’m impressed despite these not being aimed at me at all. I’m not a huge gamer anymore, and it isn’t important for me to eke out every tactical advantage. At my age, I just want to play and enjoy the game. For those looking to up their game though, I believe the final VR3000 could provide that edge. Are they going to make you a tactical genius in Overwatch? Absolutely not. Those gentle footsteps or reloading sounds you might otherwise have missed might be a little clearer with the final VR3000 though. They are incredibly well balanced.
The microphone was a disappointment considering this is a gaming product. Those looking to drop £69 on a pair of gaming-focused IEMs might already have a good microphone, but it’s worthy of note. I’d perhaps also liked to have seen a set of Comply tips included to see how they would work with these, but I’m happy enough with the overall package.
Don’t stump the cash for these if you want some every day music-focused IEMs. There are better out there for the same price. If you’re a gamer, and you want to be immersed, then, by all means, grab them. I can’t see you being disappointed.