The Final EVA2020 is a single dynamic driver TWS collaboration between Khara’s Evangelion and Final featuring aptX decoding and up to 65 hours of battery life. It is priced at £149.00.
Disclaimer: The Final EVA2020 sent to us is a sample in exchange for our honest opinion in this review. We thank the team at Final and HiFi Headphones for giving us this opportunity.
To read more on Final products reviewed on Headfonics click here.
Note, this review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2021 which you can read up on here.
Anyone reading this review is probably a fan of the Neon Genesis Evangelion mecha anime franchise like me, and this special crossover merch from Final and KHARA studio shall definitely be on your shopping checklist if you consider yourself a fan!
In our review, we have the EVA2020 unit-01, unit 02, and Mark.06 but they are all the same unit, differentiated only in their color scheme designs.
The EVA2020 is one of the coolest TWS with a quality build and mechanical outline that no fans could resist, but the hardware is not compromised and there are even some Easter eggs that make the experience fun and exciting.
As always, Final value not only the appearance of their builds but internal design as well, and they picked a small diameter dynamic driver for high precision sound this time. From official cross-section illustrations, you will see a big battery, microphone onboard and a dynamic driver fitted on the nozzle of the earphone unit.
The driver has an Ultra-thin Film Diaphragm surrounded by a brass ring, with Neodymium magnets and a filter at the back of the vent.
Final has been employing small dynamic drivers in many of their IEMs so we are sure they have the expertise and know-how to get the implementation done right, With more space inside the housing than the A series I’m intrigued to hear how it performs, and the very up-front positioning of the driver is a good hint for a cleaner sound.
You will definitely need a strong connection in the cockpit and with the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technologies, you can stream your high-resolution music over SBC, AAC, aptX codecs.
The EVA2020 supports A2DP, AVRCP, HSP. HFP profiles and claimed to achieve 6 hours playback on aptX and 9 hours with SBC/AAC.
The EVA2020 employs Qualcomm’s QCCC3020 SoC with a low power consumption architecture designed for TrueWireless Stereo earphones. The chipset features Tri-core processing delivered by two dedicated configurable 32-bit application processor subsystems and a single Qualcomm® Kalimba™ DSP audio subsystem.
The chipset supports Qualcomm® aptX™ audio technology and Qualcomm® cVc™ Noise Cancellation Technology which claims to help suppress background noise and echo feedback.
Original voice guidance recordings by Operator Maya Ibuki (CV: Nagasawa Miki) is one of the coolest features of the EVA2020. It will put you in the cockpit as if you are in the middle of a fight and taking commands. This is making pairing, connection, startup, and switch off more fun than ever!
The most attractive part of the EVA2020 Series is undoubtedly its color scheme and design. The cradle and earphone units use an original design derived from the mecha outlines in the anime series, similar to the patterns you see on gunwares, armors, and various sci-fi designs.
The unit numbers are engraved on the sides of the wireless earphones and needless to say the signature colors are used with fine matte finishing.
The size of these earphones are relatively small and very compact to carry, they are also very well molded and every corner is very rounded while looking bold and masculine on the outside, I don’t think any fans could resist the design!
On the inner side of the earphones, you will see a total of 4 metallic contacts for charging on each side of the earphones, also L/R indicators.
You can also spot ©KHARA, which means that the earphones are licensed by the Japanese animation studio behind the Evangelion project. During connection you will see light indicators shining through the small slot on the faceplate, this looks quite cool in reality and I really like the completeness of the design.
With just one button on top, the control gestures of the EVA2020 are incredibly simple.
Clicking once will pause or resume playback; press twice on the L side will increase the volume and R will decrease the vol. If you hold the right or left side until you hear a beep you will get to the next or last song. You can pause the music and hit the button twice to bring up Siri.
When a call comes press once to take the call, press another time to end the call, and finally press twice to reject the call.
This could be the weaker part of the EVA2020 design as the mic isn’t very strong at picking up your voice and it points outwards on the faceplate.
Testing it indoors it works but is less clear than talking to the Phone’s microphone directly, and you may need to take one side out of your ear and speak to the microphone hole outdoors, or else it may be picking up too much sound from the background.
Comfort & Isolation
I have never had any discomfort with the final EVA2020 thanks to the quality of their excellent tips and fit, such traits are also carried to this TWS project and the fit is awesome.
The form factor is rather small compared to some designs, for example, the TWS800 from Hifiman. The petite size helps the EVA2020 to feel feather-light on the ears.
With Final’s own TYPE E Truly Wireless Exclusive Edition tips, the fit is lovely with a great seal that holds them in the ears tightly without any pain during prolonged listens.
Many competing ear tips are putting strong pressure deep in the ear canal, such that wearing them for a long time causes pain and fatigue. The TYPE E Truly Wireless Exclusive Edition ear tips fit softly into the opening of the ear canal. By minimizing the pressure sensation they are comfortable for long listens and the shallower insertion helps the bass to sound airier.
The isolation of the EVA2020 is easily above average with quality tips and the small form factor means it doesn’t catch on the wind when you are walking outdoors. If you have played with some larger TWS earphones you may notice wind noise blowing on the faceplates.
The overall fit and isolation are excellent and you may even jog with these earphones on without worrying it to fall off.
The EVA2020 cradle is unexpectedly quite large and houses a 950mAh battery inside. Each side of the earphones hold 50mAh for 9 hours playback on a single charge and the cradle could give it more than 7-8 full charges, totaling 63 hours max as specified by final.
I have been using this everyday commuting for the last two weeks on the HiBy R6 2020 and Shanling M6 Pro and the power still hasn’t run out, so I guess the stated power is pretty accurate.
Packaging & Accessories
If you look carefully at the EVA2020 packaging you will realize it is symbolizing the motif of the synchro rate waveform. All the graphics and colors are taken from the anime and the theme which makes the whole unboxing experience more complete.
Instead of being a fan’s merchandise, it feels more like an item from the setting of Evangelion, which is mega cool and distinct in colors.
As for accessories, you will find a USB-C charging cable and the tips in the small paper compartment. 5 sizes of the tips (SS / S / M / L / LL) are provided, very professional and you will always find your best fit.
The inner side of different sizes are indicated by different colors (darker grey and lighter grey), so you won’t pick a non-matching pair.
Due to size and power limitations quite some wireless earphones are heavily DSP treated and have certain treble peaks, sometimes covered by elevated bass which blurs the sound.
Final is aware of the constraints in Bluetooth solutions so they only use DSP to fix the treble peak caused by Bluetooth. The rest of the tuning is done by acoustic tuning, aiming at achieving a balance between high-resolution, clear vocals and powerful bass.
Truth be told I have been skeptical of the sound quality on this animation crossover item, and after using them for more than a week they actually sound satisfactory for the price on aptX connection and perform quite well in some respects.
With a slight M-shaped tuning the EVA2020 works great with in-game and animation music. Very forgiving with ACG genre or J/Kpop also some older tunes that are less well mastered and mid-centric.
To compensate for the lack of power limited by the wireless form factor, a smaller driver is used inside the EVA2020 so the bass impact isn’t very deep yet impactful when it gets busy.
Nevertheless, it is delivering enough power in the mid-bass to give proper weight to the vocal while maintaining good tonal balance and enough clarity to handle pops and simple instrumentals.
Looking at the small housing we couldn’t expect powerful bass and a lot of air but the tuning is carefully balanced to highlight the vocal also some treble details in the harmonics register.
The EVA2020 bass is on the soft side which adds a small hint of warmth to the signature while the mids are clean but meaty enough to sound natural and full, slightly lifted in the mid-treble range for clarity.
Without any surprise, the EVA2020 vocal performance is clean and well separated from the background, can’t miss it when this IEM is from Final.
Mid-treble details are well preserved and stand out which makes it very groovy for pops, jazz, and streaming contents. Surprisingly male voices aren’t lacking weight in this tiny TWS design.
Resolution isn’t the strongest on the EVA2020 but this is a tuning that lets you move with the beat and seldom causes any harshness. The speed of the bass decay is just right to keep it tight and responsive to fast drummings.
Playing “Requiem” from the Akira soundtrack you can feel the dense atmosphere and the clear delivery of the distanced chants, and with the Policenauts Opening Theme (or the Metal Gear Solid jingles) it is also airy and responsive with good power in the punch.
The EVA2020 also works well with music games during transit and you can hear the beats and the “hit” hi-hat cue tone in some games clearly.
Staging and image
Bringing up some higher frequencies along with airy, fast but full bass, the design has a controlled but quite expanded classroom-sized stage with the vocal being slightly forwarded.
The EVA2020 vocal image radiates with a rather fat and bold image and is quite energetic, and instrument separation is satisfactory when there aren’t too many instruments in the mix.
The overall staging performance is suitable for acoustic instrument backed vocals, some simple BGMs/ old Jpop, and game music that will be benefited from its mids-focused tuning with a hint of added sparkle.
Range & Stability
Like when I tested the other TWS earphones I stream on Spotify/ Tidal and play Redbook Wav files from the onboard memory.
Separating the EVA2020 earphones around 10 feet from my smartphone and turning to different angles there is no sign of dropping signal, disconnection issue nor stuttering under aptX connection.
Wearing the EVA2020 on a busy train with more than 30 Bluetooth sources/ earphones nearby doesn’t pick up any interference as well so I consider it quite stable.
I am experiencing some small latency around 0.1-0.2s. This is pretty common and you may not even notice it unless you are playing some music games. So allow some room for adjustment and in most scenarios the delay is negligible.
With more effort in amping from the TWS800 sounds more dynamic and stronger in density. Also, more expanded especially in the X-axis that makes it sound grander and 3D in imaging in the mids. The TWS800 is better for handling bigger ensembles offering more authority and control.
In contrast, the vocal/mid-bass is more intimate on the EVA2020 and the staging is more limited. Despite being less textured and layered it is more forgiving with relaxing and airy bass. The light warmth in the tuning matches well with more lossy content and the upper mids are carefully rendered to not sound clustered.
This works better with pop and gaming content or softer voices that do not require stronger texture and meaty mid-bass to sound authentic.
The size of the EVA2020 is a lot more compact and does not pick up any wind noise from the casing, unlike the TWS800 which has a larger surface area and may catch wind noise.
Another advantage of the EVA2020 is its longer playback time, 9 hours on a single charge, and 63 hours max with the cradle’s recharging power. Such is doubling from TWS800’s 4-5 hours per charge and total ~30 hours with the cradle.
Overall the style of the two items are quite far from each other in terms of sound tuning and design, so also the user experience.
Apple Airpods Pro
The Airpods Pro is very well articulated and uncolored, which makes it an all-rounder and works with different genres also being able to handle classical music or more instruments with good control.
However, when compared to the more colored EVA2020 the Airpods pro sounds less expressive and engaging for energetic pop/ACG music, the quality could be higher but it doesn’t put you in the mood especially when listening outdoors where the ambiance may cover up the bass.
The EVA2020 gives you a more energetic sound when the bass punch comes in and the upper mids are more exciting with stronger dynamics. With more mid-centric content the Airpods Pro offers some good synergy for gaming and streaming video content like Netflix.
Overall, the Airpods has a more balanced tuning and higher fidelity listening indoors but when it comes to pop/ACG or anything that needs that extra bass punch power and extra treble clarity, or when you listen/play games during the commute, the EVA2020 will sound more engaging.
The cradle of the Airpods Pro adds an additional 24 hours to its 5 hours playback time, this is a lot shorter compared to EVA2020’s 60+ hours total. I really like the fact that I only need to charge it around 2 times per month when using it for commuting only.
The phone call quality, however, is a lot better on the Airpods Pro than on the EVA2020. The Airpods pro also has active noise cancellation on board and is very well implemented.
On a side note, the seal and fit are better on the EVA2020 that also contributes to the bass quality and perception of openness, and is perfectly comfortable to wear for a long duration in my case.
A few more days to Jan 23, 2021, (the actual movie, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time), and this could be the best merchandise to temporarily cease the itch. There is however one big question mark here, “unit 0” is missing from this crossover. I just hope they aren’t forgetting Ayanami Rei and release her version of the EVA2020.
As for the 3 released models, I am sure there is a good appeal to all fans just by the looks, while the sound is satisfactory, optimized for gaming and outdoor listening with good clarity and bass power while sporting super long playback time as a huge bonus.
The EVA2020 cyber design and colorful theme feel more trendy than geeky which is a big plus. The overall user experience is fun. I like the fit in particular while long playback hours, playback quality, and tuning are carefully balanced. If you happen to be a fan and an audiophile at the same time, there is no reason to resist.
Final EVA2020 x final Specification
- Accessories: charging cradle, tips (5 sizes), Type-C cable
- Bluetooth: 5.0
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Codec support: SBC、ACC、aptX™ （A2DP/AVRCP/HSP/HFP）
- Playback time: 6hours on aptX™; 9hours on SBC、AAC
- Communication time: 4hours
- Charging time: 2 hours
- Total playback time with cradle: 63 hours
- Battery capacity each side: 50mAh