After months of hype, Nothing – Carl Pei’s new tech venture – finally unveiled the Nothing ear (1), a pair of affordable true wireless earbuds with a transparent design and claims of offering a premium audio experience.
Reviews have been mixed but we fell on the positive side, calling them “a good set of true wireless headphones, which deliver a strong overall performance and a distinctive design on a relatively modest budget.”
Who are Nothing?
Nothing is a new venture from OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, and their first product are the the Ear (1) wireless earbuds. Based in London, Nothing is a company that focuses on merging technology and design with the aim of creating smart tech that ‘removes the barriers between people and technology’.
You can head to their website to find out more about them.
How much does the Nothing ear (1) cost?
From a cost perspective the Nothing ear (1) are relatively inexpensive in the grand scheme of things – $99 / €99 / £99. That’s significantly less than the likes of Apple, Bose and Sony and would mark Nothing’s competition as among those in the budget market.
After a series of limited sales and auctions, the Nothing ear (1) are now available on general sale in 45 countries and regions. You can purchase them at nothing.tech and select retailers, with UK availability in Selfridges, online and in-store.
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What do the Nothing ear (1) look like?
Nothing encouraged much pre-release speculation about what the earbuds would eventually look like. Our first proper view reveals they are distinctive transparent in look – not quite as transparent as some promotional material indicated, but they do feature a stem that’s completely transparent, with the microphones, magnets and circuit board in full view.
The model name is engraved into the earbud’s stem with the colours used a minimalist mixture of red, black and white.
Each earbud weighs 4.7g, features pressure-relieving vents for added comfort and comes with three customisable liquid silicone tips for finding the best fit.
What features do the Nothing ear (1) have?
The Nothing ear (1) boasts up to 34 hours playtime with the case, dropping to 24 hours with noise cancellation on. That’s similar to the Sony WF-1000XM4 and better than the likes of the AirPods Pro and QuietComfort Earbuds.
The ear (1) use three high definition mics for ANC, with ‘Light mode for moderate noise cancellation and Maximum mode employed for noisier environments. The earbuds’ Transparency mode filters in more of your surroundings, while attention has been paid to calls with the specially developed Clear Voice Technology that aims to reduce background noise.
The case has a 570mAh battery, and fast-charging is supported with a ten-minute charge providing 6 (with ANC on) and 8 (with ANC off) hours of battery. The case also supports wireless charging for those with a compatible Qi wireless mat.
Other features include the ear (1) app, which has Find My Earbud, EQ settings, Gesture Control customisation and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. In-Ear Detection pauses/plays music when the earbuds are removed from the ear, while there’s fast pairing with Android devices and sweat and water splash resistance of IPX4.
From an audio perspective the earbuds have big 11.6mm driver, with Nothing collaborating with Teenage Engineering to achieve a performance with balanced bass, mid, and treble performance. We found there were not the most bassy of earbuds but did offer precise and detailed reproduction of voices and instruments. There are earbuds with better audio quality, but the Nothing ear (1) are solid performers for their price.