The Nothing Ear is the first generation of TWS headphones from the brand that gives the model its name. The company owned by the co-founder of OnePlus — Carl Pei — has brought to the audio market an alternative that matches the AirPods Pro.
With several different features that make sense for the public looking for a Bluetooth device, the Nothing Ear (1) stands out for its design that uses and abuses transparency, sound quality, and comfort in use.
The headset launched with the air of a prototype and moved the crowdfunding market – crowdfunding – in the first half of 2021 arrives to try to prove that it is more than hype.
And did Nothing Ear (1) manage to fulfill this mission? Is the accessory really worth it for those interested in importing? Check out my opinion in the full review.
Nothing Ear (1) Pros and Cons
App with different functions
Few feature options via phone ring
Application without translation
Audio interruptions to alert charge level
design and construction
Looking at Nothing Ear(1) is to get a glimpse of what users think when they say they are interested in a product with a futuristic look. Without demagoguery, this is the most beautiful TWS phone I’ve had the opportunity to use.
Despite the design being highly inspired by the AirPods, the company managed to give some complementary elements to demonstrate that it is another product, and this helps the public to identify right away that it is a headset “by Nothing” and not “by Apple”.
Dimensions: 2.8 x 2.1 x 2.3 cm (each earphone); 5.8 x 5.8 x 2.3 cm (case);
Weight: 4.7 g (each earphone); 57.4 g (case).
Ear(1) uses and abuses transparency in both the earbuds and the case. In the accessories, every part that is in the ear cups is coated, but the outside has a translucent cover that allows the visualization of some internal components.
In this case, the entire area that has plates is coated, but the place where the headphones are stored is also transparent. To facilitate the connection of the product with the compartment, the company took advantage of the visual identity’s color palette to use in its favor.
That’s because the right earphone has a red dot that is repeated on the case, while the left one has a white circle with the same purpose. Thus, when storing the product, there is no possibility of making a mistake in their position.
Inside the case, you can find four connectors — two on each side — to plug in the headphones and start charging them. In addition, there is an LED light to indicate when the case is fully charged (green) or needs more power (red).
The only physical connection present in the Nothing Ear (1) compartment is the USB-C port for charging. However, there is also a button available to assist with connectivity to various devices, as well as resetting the product.
In addition to indicating the correct positioning in the case, the dots present on the Ear earphones (1) help to show the touch-sensitive area for using the commands present in the accessories. Despite being something attractive, it is not possible to customize the options and increase the versatility of the product.
2 taps: play or pause music, answer calls or hang up;
3 touches: skip track;
Pressure: switch between ANC, transparency, and ambient mode;
Swipe up or down: Increase or decrease the volume.
“The Nothing Ear(1) design is very comfortable for those who want a product that can be used for long hours. The format that exploits transparency a lot gives it a futuristic feeling that is extremely pleasant in the world of technology.”
Does Nothing Ear(1) sound good?
Regarding the sound reproduced by Nothing Ear(1), it is necessary to consider the type of device on which the headphones are being used. This is because, on the computer, its use is limited to the format made available by default by the brand.
Fortunately, the touch adjustment options are also available for those who plug in the accessories via PC, and this is great for those who adapt easily to the navigability and don’t want to give up on it.
However, in addition to making connecting it to your cell phone much easier, you can also explore different audio configuration options to enjoy your favorite frequencies with greater power.
In music, the impact of these adjustments is sensational, as you can feel more bass, midrange or treble. That way, the genres have a distribution of tones more consistent with my personal taste.
Of course, it would be much better if the adjustment was done automatically to give the device that is in its first generation an intelligent equalization. Anyway, Nothing Ear(1) manages to be effective within its few audio limitations.
One of the positive points of this product is the volume, because with the headphones at 20%, you can listen to any type of content with the quality. In addition, the response time in the synchronization between voice and video is quite interesting.
For those who play, Nothing even provides an option to reduce latency via the application. That way, when using the accessories in multiplayer games — such as Free Fire and PUBG — the battlefield shooting experience will have no delays.
The sound quality delivered by Nothing Ear (1) is equivalent to what you would expect from a premium product. The equalization settings available in the company’s app help to give even more versatility to the product’s sound.
Battery and connectivity
And since I gave some examples of application settings, nothing fairer than giving details about this app. “Ear(1)” can be downloaded on Android phones or iPhones, and this makes the usage more complete.
In it, the user will find a minimalist layout in which there is important information about the amount of battery available in each earphone as well as in the case that comes with the product.
The initial screen shows the Ear(1) and just below the words “Hear” and “Touch” — which mean “Listening” and “Touch” in literal translation — and when clicking on them, some more configuration options and explanations about the headphone usability.
Under “ Hear ” you can find the audio settings. Both active noise cancellation — ANC — level adjustments and frequency equalization can be performed in this submenu.
Already in “ Touch ” are the instructions for using the touch-sensitive area of the headphones, which I already described in detail at the beginning of the analysis. Something that is lacking is the lack of option to customize the commands, as it would help to make the use more flexible according to the connected device.
Regarding the connection, Nothing Ear(1) has Bluetooth 5.2, which is one of the latest versions of this technology and which brings several advantages to the user experience. One of them is the support for fast pairing — fast pair — which allows the headphones to be connected to the cell phone when opening the case.
When it comes to battery, the headphones don’t bring surprising numbers in their specs. According to the brand, the Ear(1) is capable of achieving up to 6 hours of autonomy with the ANC in use.
In my practice tests, with the volume at 50% and the noise canceling feature on “ Maximum ” mode, I was able to use the product for 3 hours and 49 minutes.
Therefore, I believe that the estimated time varies greatly according to the intensity of the ANC. With the same volume but with the mode off, the total usage time was 6 hours and 46 minutes.
Something that bothered me a lot is the “audio glitches” with every 10% drop in the battery capacity of the headphones, as it gave the feeling that they would stop at any moment. These failures are, in fact, interruptions that the headphone makes in the music on purpose to indicate to the user how much battery they have left.
As an advantage, the case offers 3 more refills, but the time varies. For those who only use it with cancellation on, it’s 24 hours and for those who prefer to hear what’s around them, it’s 34 hours.
Dimensions: 2.8 x 2.1 x 2.3 cm (each earphone); 5.8 x 5.8 x 2.3 cm (case);
Weight: 4.7 g (each earphone); 57.4 g (case);
Codec: AAC and SBC;
Nothing Ear(1) was developed with the purpose of going head-to-head with Apple’s AirPods. Therefore, they are the main competitors of this product. This equipment from the Cupertino giant stands out for its comfort and integration with the system.
That’s because the company was able to adjust the model to fully work with any branded equipment, whether a cell phone, tablet, or computer. In addition, the audio chip available in it brings technology focused on delivering the premium sound experience that users are looking for so much.
In comfort, the two headphones are equivalent, but the sound quality of Nothing Ear(1) is even more full-bodied, and the biggest advantage of this is the possibility of taking the headphone out of the case and having a musical enjoyment that does not require the use of complementary settings. available.
An advantage of the AirPods over the Ear(1) is the local sale, as the Apple device can be found in Brazil for an average of R$1,900. However, for those who prefer to import — considering rates at 60% — Nothing’s phone costs R$790, and that represents a good economy.
Is Nothing Ear (1) just hype?
Nothing Ear(1) seemed to be a headset focused on making use of famous influencers to establish itself in the market until other generations were announced with greater consolidation and quality.
However, this product goes beyond the hype and manages to demonstrate that it is possible to know the first line of a device without major innovations, but that starts off on the right foot and generates interest in what is to come in the next versions.
Nothing delivered it all — pun alert — with the futuristic design of the headphones and case, which help to give a striking visual identity. The sound quality draws the attention of those most attached to the sound which allows them to identify each frequency and the equalization options are a complementary attraction.
To complete the positives, Ear (1) offers the hybrid ANC mode, and this option helps to customize the noise input level according to the environment and the user’s need, something that is very important for those who like to have this control.
On the other hand, the battery doesn’t bring any big surprises and ends up being a little lower than expected by those who want to use it for long hours. But, even with this negative point, the Nothing Ear(1) is very worthwhile, especially considering the price range of these headphones — below R$ 800 — for those who choose to import it.