Nothing’s second-gen earbuds — the Ear 2 — have arrived. I’ve used them and located they provide good sound high quality and strong energetic noise cancellation. They exchange the first-gen Nothing Ear 1 buds, which have been launched again in July 2021, and so they’ll price $149 (£129, which converts to roughly AU$275) after they go on sale on March 29.

Nothing is the pretty recent tech agency based by Carl Pei, who’s higher recognized for having co-founded OnePlus. I have been impressed lots of OnePlus’s merchandise since day one, so I used to be excited to see what its former CEO would possibly prepare dinner up subsequent. Nothing’s first merchandise together with the Ear 1 buds and the Nothing Cellphone 1 echoed OnePlus’ philosophy of not having «to decide on between efficiency, high quality and value.»


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After they launched, I admired the Ear 1 buds’ stand-out design, respectable sound high quality and truthful pricing. To be sincere, not loads has modified for the newer model. Bodily there’s little or no distinction. The Ear 2 buds include an nearly similar (though barely smaller) clear perspex charging case and the buds themselves are nearly indistinguishable from the earlier mannequin. 

In case you’re hoping for wild new seems to be from Carl Pei’s design group with each era, it’s possible you’ll be dissatisfied. However I just like the look, even when it isn’t a departure from the Ear 1. The buds are small and light-weight which makes them comfy to put on for lengthy intervals. I even discovered them unobtrusive sufficient to sleep in. 


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The contact controls have been adjusted, so that you now must squeeze the stems reasonably than faucet them. This makes it much less straightforward to by chance change tracks — a small replace however one I discovered to be useful in on a regular basis use. They’re additionally IP55 rated for water-resistance, so that you need not fear about sporting them within the rain or throughout a very sweaty exercise.

The case prices the buds, offering a complete of as much as 36 hours of battery life (with noise cancelling turned off) which is a slight enchancment over the 34 hours of the final mannequin. It additionally has quick charging giving 8 hours of use from simply 10 minutes of charging.


The Ear 2 bud (left) and the Ear 1 bud (proper). Spot the distinction.

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So what about that all-important sound high quality? Nothing says its audio engineers labored arduous to improve efficiency, and certainly I seen an enchancment during the last mannequin. Don Broco’s monitor Fairly was dealt with nicely, for instance. I may hear crystal clear cracks on the snare within the opening beats, and brightly ringing cymbals with a deep bass when it actually kicked in. 

The buds are a gifted all-rounder, so in case you are likely to bounce between genres in your playlists then they’re going to probably go well with you nicely. I discovered the buds to carry out optimally, although, with rock and indie genres, with songs like Atreyu’s Baptize sounding punchy and detailed, whereas Cage The Elephant’s In One Ear struck a satisfying steadiness between the heat of the bass and the crunch of the guitars. 


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There have been key updates on the software program aspect, with the Nothing X app (accessible on each Android and iOS) providing sound checks to test you are sporting the fitting sized ear suggestions and a sound profile mode that goals to robotically tune the audio to your private wants. I attempted it however for probably the most half discovered I would reasonably simply use the «Balanced» mode within the app’s equalizer. 

Utilizing the app to carry out setup additionally permits you to tailor the energetic noise cancelling perform to the frequencies you’ll be able to — or cannot — hear. I discovered the ensuing cancellation impact to be glorious. It simply eliminated the background hum of my computer systems and followers and the highway noise exterior my window. 


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In case you personal the first-generation mannequin already then there’s little must improve to the the Ear 2 buds. They carry out equally and look similar. However in case you’re out there for a brand new pair of ANC earbuds, and you have been curious concerning the Nothing model, then the Ear 2 buds are a strong choice to think about. 

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