One of the most-hyped tech pieces in the industry is the all-new Nothing Ear (1) true wireless earbuds. But what is so special about these earbuds and why is it gaining so much popularity even before release? Let’s review what Nothing Ear (1) has got for us here.
Nothing Ear (1) has some of the pretty unique things to offer to us. Especially when compared to the features it offers to the price it comes in. Plus it has a neat and transparent design which was one of the reasons for making it so much hype.
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The company was founded by the former founder of OnePlus, Carl Pei, who is now a mastermind of generating hype around his products. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Nothing. As rumors suggest, Nothing has been planning to launch their smartphone essential gadgets and it might jump into the smartphone business later. But nothing has been officially stated, nor leaked so there’s yet to see what comes next.
Nothing partnered with a Swedish company Teenage Engineering to design the transparent set of earphones. Their initial plan was to design a completely transparent set of earphones, mostly because they were too ambitious back then. They also teased with that design, but they came up with the half-transparent design after several changes.
Nothing Ear (1) (Review)
Nothing Ear (1) is a $99 wireless earbuds with active voice cancellation(AVC) and wireless charging. It’s a lot to offer in this price range and probably nothing in the market has that to offer in this price range. While its price is $99 in other countries, it will be available for ₹5,999 or $80.86 in India. That’s pretty impressive as generally tech products are usually costlier in India than the rest of the world because of the taxes involved.
The earphones are pretty lightweight and do not hurt the ears, so you can easily wear them for a long period of time without any problem.
Most people don’t realize how much of a bigger deal it is to make this product. Not because it looks cool or it comes with black & white and clear aesthetics with nice printed text on the inside, but that also means you can’t be sloppy and you need to give more time and R&D to make it look neat. As transparent means, people would look at your work even on the inside.
The placement of battery, PCB, microphone, or glue is perfect and looks astonishing. Talking about the glue, a product with glue inside them never looks this neat and trim on the inside for most of the earbuds out there. If you would cut open any of the other earbuds like say Apple Airpods or Samsung Galaxy buds, or Sony, to hold all the pieces together, glue is used inside. That glue doesn’t need to be as neat and clean or wires don’t need to be tucked in a specific way. They just need to be inside the bulb and work. But in this case, everything is neat, clean, and trim and even being a clear transparent body, it still looks good and impressive.
The shape of Nothing Ear (1) is similar to the Apple Airpods Pro, but with smaller and rectangular stems. It is very comfortable to wear, feels super light- only 4.7g per ear, and is easy to listen to for long periods of time.
The case is partially clear, but also pretty big in size. It stores the earbuds in a clamshell-style fit with magnets. It has a red dot mark on its right earbud, not only on the case but earbuds as well. The earbuds snap well in place because of the good magnet used, which you can also see on the earbuds. The case has a USB-C port along with wireless charging support. It has an indicator LED for charging, which is super responsive and responds quickly as soon as wireless charging is connected. It has probably the most responsive wireless charging indicator in the market.
The case is mostly square with round edges and has a big dimple in the middle- maybe to make it easier to hold or to spin like a fidget spinner while in your hand. The case is on the bigger side and not much pocketable. Also, it does not look like it won’t get any cracks or scratches.
The sound is pretty good, but not amazing. The more expensive earbuds do sound better. But it is not bad at all. The audio, having active noise cancellation in this price range is a plus. The earbuds have very comfortable silicone tips, which are lightweight and provide decent passive seals.
It comes with 11.6mm drivers, which sound much better with noise cancellation on. It brings bass and a full sound pace. The sound is like any average $100 pair of earphones. It has a V-shape frequency response with the highs a bit on the harsher side and the bass is big and full but not super punchy. It also has plenty of volumes, so 50-60% of volume would be enough for any normal user.
There are two levels of noise cancellation- light and maximum. In normal usage, it doesn’t seem to have much of a difference in both of them. The Maximum noise cancellation feels half to two-third as strong as Airpods Pro, which is good considering the price. Noise cancellation works best in reducing low-frequency white noise such as air conditioning or road noise inside a car. It still lets higher frequency sound enter a little bit.
Comparing the active noise cancellation on Nothing Ear (1) to other expensive earpods available would not be much adequate as they are much more expensive earphones- most ranging about as much as 3X of their price. It is still a very good pair of earphones.
Nothing Ear (1) comes with an IPX4 water resistance rating. It means it can survive workout sessions like a charm and probably can be used in light rain as well.
Nothing Ear (1) features touch controls on the stems. The touch features work perfectly whether you’re sweaty or dry. Some key controls are as follows:
- Long Press: Noise cancellation modes
- Swipe up/down: Change volume
- Tap: Customisable two/three tap
As seen above, the controls are a little bit different from the conventional, so a learning curve is required. Also, you need to make obvious swipes from top to bottom or vice versa to change the volume. Siri/Google Assistant support is absent as of now but might come over app updates.
Battery life on this device is decent enough, with around 4 hours with active noise cancellation. Below are the details:
- Ear 1 Battery: 31 MaH
- Base Battery: 570 MaH
- ANC On: 4/24 hours
- ANC Off: 5.7/34 hours
The battery could not get better, considering that it has a slim and organized transparent design.
Phone Connectivity Features
There is an app on iOS and Android to control your earbuds called Ear (1) App. It is a simple app that doesn’t have much to offer but covers all the required control features like Sound and Touch-control customization.
There is noise cancellation strength selection which is: noise cancellation, transparency, and off. Transparency is a feature that allows you to listen to your music while being aware of the surroundings at the same time. It can be used while walking or jogging outside.
It also features equalizers which are pretty basic presets balanced, more treble, more base, voice. The voice can be used for phone calls and video meetings.
You can customize how the triple tap, long hold, etc would work on the earbuds. Each earbud can have independent controls. Assigning controls to access Siri/Google Assistant is not supported as of now.
Other App Features
- The app has an optional dark theme.
- Find my earbud: blasts ringing sound at max volume
Early users have complained that there is a slight connectivity issue happening on the device. Also, a bug where the right earbud connects but the left doesn’t, can be occasionally seen, which are generally seen on earbuds that are on the cheapest side. However, these bugs have been seen on the earlier builds which were not public, which means they could fix it before the public release.
At the price of $99, or even cheaper price of ₹5,999 in India, it is actually pretty good!
The market of this price point has a very good design to offer, which is a plus point. It has been also observed that people buying headphones at a medium price range generally do not need the best sound quality, but more for features and looks. Having a good sound quality is always a cherry on top! In our review of Nothing Ear (1), we found it to be tough competition for other brands, with a premium-looking device at a much cheaper price.
It has good sound with a good set of features- more than anything one can expect. Nothing is headed out for a good start.
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