Created by OnePlus Co-founder, Carl Pei, Nothing is a tech company that aspires to be unique and different in a world of established tech companies such as Apple, Samsung, and Sony.
Nothing recently released their new earbuds, the Ear (1). To compete in such a saturated market (dominated by Apple’s Airpods), Nothing had to design a product that looks stylish and fresh; A product that grabs the attention of people at an affordable price. To a great extent, Nothing accomplished just that: grabbing our attention. Of course, the Earbuds seem promising, however, setting the hype aside, are these earbuds really worth your time?
The best part of the Ear 1’s must be the design and the overall aesthetics. Nothing was able to come up with a “futuristic-retro” transparent design that looks amazing. All the components and parts can be seen neatly tucked within the earbuds. The industrial form might be the best design choice to make the product stand out in such a crowded market. The biggest downside to this design is how easily prone to scratching transparent plastic might be. (The shape and form factor of the Ear 1’s resemble that of the Airpods Pro, but they distinctively have their unique look and design.)
- You can download the Ear (1) app from the app store. The app controls noise cancellation through different modes. There is a light, maximum, and transparency mode to customize the level of sound. You can even turn off the noise cancellation. For this price range, it’s just brilliant.
- There is a find my device feature for the Ear (1) that emits a loud sound if you misplaced them.
- There are touch controls to control playback.
- IPX4 is Water-resistance and splash-proof.
- In-Ear detection
- Battery life lasts 4hrs of continuous playback with ANC on, and 24hrs with the case. It lasts 5.7 hrs with ANC turned off, and 34hours with the case.
The Good And The Ugly
- Good mic and call quality.
- Light and comfortable.
- Affordable price.
- Wireless charging.
- Unique design.
- There have been a few reports of bugs such as one earbud disconnecting or not pairing. These are problems that people usually face with cheaper earbuds at a lower price point. It’s not a widespread problem and software updates might fix the issue.
- The phone app looks great and the UI is intuitive, but could be improved with features like a built-in three-band EQ stage.
- The hype might lead to disappointment.
- No built-in digital assistant support.
- Slightly more expensive ANC Earbuds sound better.
The Nothing Ear (1) might not be revolutionary but it packs the most features than any earbuds in this price range. At $99, it would be hard to find Earbuds with active noise cancellation, transparency mode, a phone app, wireless charging and the many other features Ear (1) has to offer. In conclusion, the Nothing Ear (1) is actually something. If you’re on a tight budget and you value ANC, this is definitely a bang for your buck.