The Ear is yet another proof (if needed) that Nothing knows how to make beautiful gadgets. The fledgling company’s second pair of earbuds is somewhat different than last year’s Ear 1, with a cosmetic design that’s equal parts charging case and fidget spinner.
Comfort is the focus this time. Instead of being in your ear, these earbuds just rest on your ear, just like Apple’s AirPods. Those who find the silicone tips too tight, or the fit they create too tight will appreciate the change – but everyone can complain about the noise cancellation.
The Ear arrival coincides with the price increase to Ear 1, making them Nothing is a true entry-level offer. At £99 they undercut even the previous gen Apple AirPods – but with a more limited set of features, is this the norm for the device?
Design & construction: fully tubular
At first glance, Nothing Ear Ears is not all that different from Ear 1’s: the same black and white, the same transparent stems that show off the circuit. For what goes into your ears, however, it’s all different. The speaker is now just a bulb, no silicone tips to seal it in your ear.
There is nothing that it took up to 200 iterations to see the image that is in place when you walk around, and sitting close to your ears that the sound quality will not nose jump compared to two pairs in the ear, not comfortable enough. worn 24/7. A decision, but one we think he’s pretty close to.
No earphones will be as stable as in the ear, and there is still a little movement, but that’s not why we need to fix them constantly. Walking to the store? They will stay calm, no problem. Completing the 5K without a single leak, however, would be a more ambitious decision. IP54 water resistance means that they will sweat out, but the compromise is more suitable for people who go to play than people who run long distances.
At only 4.4g they are lighter than the ear 1, and because they do not rely on your ear, we can wear them until the battery is dry without any discomfort. Each ear is unique, of course, so YMMV – if you struggle to keep a pair of AirPods in place, these just go a little better.
Tubular charging case, meanwhile, is a big departure from the previous Nothing. It’s like a big lipstick, with a lip on the outside that reveals the ear inside. Tall and tough, instead of flat and rectangular like the ear 1, it slips more easily into the pocket and takes up less room when it is there.
Twisting the lid open and close is incredibly satisfying – think of flipping a Zippo lighter open and close, or clicking a ballpoint pen, only slightly irritating to everyone around you. The magnets inside snap it open or close when you turn, ensuring that the buds will not fly if you drop the case.
The USB-C charging port sits at the top, along with a button that will start Bluetooth pairing for all devices that don’t play well with Google Fast Pair or Microsoft Swift Pair. Of course, nothing Phone 1 caught it.
Features & battery life: Stick to me
The buds start searching for the previous device together as soon as the case is opened, and usually connect with the moment you get them in your ear. Once there, they play a short electronic chirp to test the bass response, and adjust the EQ accordingly. Put the buds in one time, but, and the chirp is only played by the first one – not the second.
The three microphones also use a new audio filter to cut out background noise louder than ear 1 during calls. We have no complaints from anyone we talk to on the phone, even when walking outdoors.
The Nothing Ear 1 companion app has been replaced with the Nothing X app, which handles more grainy EQ tuning, as well as customizable touch controls. Now you click the stems to playback, skip tracks, adjust volume or activate your phone’s voice assistant, instead of tapping. We will make the ear 1 regular when repositioning the buds, but that is not a problem here. The detection in the ear is similar, too.
Connections are better, too. The wireless antennas have been moved from the middle of the stems to the top, so they are away from your face (which is surprisingly good at blocking the wireless signal). We had no downtime during the test, even when walking through a busy train station, and were connected to our phone across two floors and several walls in the house.
The battery life is not to be sniffed at, with around seven hours of listening from the buds before they will need a trip to the charger. This record is good for our entire registration, plus a little more youth, for a combined 29 hours. We were pretty close to the test, with the noise level making it a little faster.
Fast charging gets the bones back and running in two sessions, with ten minutes enough for around two hours of listening. Data is only on USB-C for power, with wireless charging reserved for low-cost earphones 1s.
Sounds good: a little harmony
The 12.6mm dynamic driver nothing squeezed into each ear is larger and more sensitive than those found in the ear 1s – but then they have to be, as they sit more of your ear and do not create a seal to block. the outside world. They’re hard to drive because of that, and you have to listen at low volume to get the best clarity.
Earbuds often put the bass back compared to the true in-ear, and we think there may be a situation here, but the sound quality depends on finding the right angle: with the stems pointing directly at the bottom we lose all the lower end, but the 45-degree angle provides better performance. Tricky EQ can bring back a good amount of bass, but it’s not exceptional, so some tracks sound louder than they should.
There is less detail at both ends of the range than the Ear 1, with the crash and the hi-hats not being crisp. Passive isolation is non-existent, which can help songs feel airier and less intimate, but also means you have to crank up the volume to block out previous influences.
These are still warm and powerful earbuds that will be fun to listen to, but you don’t have to be an audiophile to appreciate what’s missing from the mix.
There is nothing to hear
We get it, not everyone likes headphones. By ditching the silicone tips, the Earbuds will find its fans, and there is nothing the usual design here. Some slick integration with the company’s phone is not to be sniffed at either.
Nothing an EQ setting can’t produce good in-ear sound, however, and at £100 there are plenty of options that offer a lot more. Noise canceling and wireless charging are both in budget if you don’t mind the fit.
We should not ignore the fact that nothing is a small species, one that cannot absorb the benefits of change such as large diversity can, so its value must be affect that. But slick styling aside, we don’t believe there’s enough here to justify the cash.
Nothing Ear Stick technical specifications
|The drivers||12.6 mm dynamic|
|Bluetooth version||Bluetooth 5.2|
|Codec support||AAC, SBC|
|Battery||7 hours (buds), 29 hours (buds + case)|
|The length||30x19x18mm, 4.4g (buds) 87x30x30mm, 46.3g (case)|