Nothing, a brand known for its commitment to innovation and design, has once again delivered a stellar product with the Nothing Ear (2) earphones. These wireless earbuds are a testament to the brand's dedication to pushing the boundaries of audio technology and design aesthetics. After spending some quality time with the Nothing Ear (2), I can confidently say that they are a fantastic addition to the true wireless earphone market.
I was using Nothing Ear (2) for the last few days and in this article, we are going to share an in-depth review of it with all readers of Geeky Stuffs.
Nothing Ear (2) ANC Earbuds : Detailed Hands-on Review
Design and Build Quality
The Nothing Ear 2 earphones immediately grab your attention with their sleek and distinctive design. The transparent outer shell allows you to see the intricate internals of the earbuds, giving them a futuristic and unique look. The transparent case housing the Ear (2) earbuds follows the same aesthetic design language as the earbuds themselves, a result of a collaboration with the innovative musical instrument company, Teenage Engineering.
This case is compact enough to fit comfortably in a jeans pocket, causing only a slight bulge. It features a robust magnetic lid and a thumb-friendly indentation, showcasing thoughtful design. However, it's worth noting that, like most clear plastic cases, this one appears susceptible to scratches.
You will receive three sets of oblong-shaped silicone ear tips when you purchase the Nothing Ear (2) earbuds. These ear tips are conveniently interchangeable, allowing you to experiment with different sizes for the perfect fit. Weighing a mere 4.5 grams each, the Nothing Ear (2) earbuds offer a lightweight feel. Moreover, there's a handy ear tip fit test available in the accompanying app to ensure an optimal fit. I found that the Nothing Ear (2) earbuds remained securely in my ears, even during extended usage, without causing any discomfort.
In terms of durability, the Nothing Ear (2) earbuds carry an IP54 rating, making them resistant to sweat and dust, though they are not classified as strictly "waterproof." When stored in the case, they achieve an IP55 rating, offering improved protection against water and dust exposure.
You can easily monitor the battery status by checking the indicator light on the case. When the earbuds are placed inside the case, the light displays the earbuds' battery level, and when they are removed, it indicates the case's battery status. A white light signifies a charge of over 30%, while a red light indicates a remaining charge of less than 30%.
The Nothing Ear (2) earbuds employ pressure-sensitive stems for command activation, although the accuracy of this feature varies. At times, attempting to switch listening modes may inadvertently pause playback, resulting in an inconsistent user experience. Additionally, due to the relatively short length of the stems, the ear lobes can occasionally obstruct access to the rear portion of the stem. Consequently, users may find themselves uncertain about the precise location of the pressure-sensitive panel and may desire its placement closer to the lower part of the earbud.
The Nothing X app offers some customization options for these controls. By default, adjusting ANC or transparency mode requires a lengthy two-second squeeze and hold of the stem, which some users may find too time-consuming. Instead of an audible announcement for the selected mode, the earbuds provide amusing cues, including a humorous woman sighing to indicate transparency mode and a distinctive blippy sound to signify ANC activation.
However, through the app, users can assign various controls such as volume adjustments, activating a voice assistant, or even disabling ANC and transparency modes if preferred. Furthermore, the app allows for the customization of one earbud's commands independently from the other, offering a tailored user experience.
Sound Quality and Noise Cancellation
Nothing Ear (2) delivers a rich and balanced sound that will please the lovers of every music genre. Personally, the default tuning is more treble oriented but you can easily play with the equalizer in the app to get the desired output. The 11.6mm dynamic drivers produce clear highs, deep bass, and well-defined mids, resulting in a dynamic and immersive listening experience. Whether you're enjoying your favorite music, watching movies, or taking calls, the Ear (2) earphones provide exceptional audio clarity and detail.
On paper, the Nothing Ear (2) demonstrates commendable performance in reducing low-frequency noise with its active noise cancellation (ANC) technology. It offers a reasonable level of isolation. In windy conditions, the ANC system faces challenges, occasionally causing a brief amplification of wind noise before it stabilizes and adapts. In summary, the Ear (2) earbuds do a passable job of attenuating ambient noise. While it may not be quite as powerful as some of the top-tier ANC headphones on the market, it still does an admirable job of providing a more immersive listening experience.
Nothing X App
By default, adjusting the active noise cancellation (ANC) or transparency mode on the earbuds requires a somewhat lengthy two-second press and hold of the stem, which may feel a bit protracted for most users. However, the companion app provides the flexibility to reassign these controls to functions such as volume adjustment, activating a voice assistant, or disabling ANC and transparency mode according to your preferences. Additionally, the app allows you to customize the commands for each earbud individually.
Within the app, you have the option to fine-tune the ANC's intensity and utilize personalized ANC settings. The app also offers a personalized sound profile feature that uses your birthdate and your ability to hear beeps at different volumes when mixed with background noise. Based on your responses to these beeps, the app adjusts the EQ to raise or lower specific frequencies. It's worth noting that this process is presented more through graphics and abstract language rather than technical details, leaving some room for interpretation.
Furthermore, the app provides access to a four three-band equalizer with labels for Voice, More Bass, Voice, and More Treble. Users can delve even deeper into audio customization with the Advanced Equalizer, which allows you to adjust the Q factor. Instead of traditional discrete EQ sliders, the Q factor controls the width of your adjustments, affecting frequencies around the one you're modifying. This feature is notably unique for a pair of earbuds and offers a high degree of audio customization. You can save your customized profiles and share them with friends using the same earbud model via QR codes, which is a convenient and innovative feature.
Overall, the Nothing X app offers a range of options that cater to various user preferences, including a low-lag gaming mode. As far as companion apps go, Nothing X provides a comprehensive set of features and customization options for a tailored audio experience.
When applicable, the Nothing Ear (2) employs the LHDC 5.0 codec to transmit audio at an impressive 24-bit/192kHz quality. For iPhone users, the Ear (2) also offers compatibility with the SBC and AAC codecs. Additionally, the app features a low-latency gaming mode to enhance the gaming experience.
In the Nothing X app, you have the option to enable simultaneous connection to two devices, allowing for seamless switching between them. Android users will appreciate the inclusion of Google Fast Pair, making the initial pairing process quick and convenient. Furthermore, where applicable, Microsoft Swift Pair is also supported, providing a hassle-free connection experience.
The Nothing Ear (2) boasts an impressive battery life of approximately 6 hours when the active noise cancellation (ANC) feature is enabled. Furthermore, the accompanying charging case offers the convenience of providing an additional four to five full charges, depending on your ANC usage.
For those in need of a quick power boost, the Nothing Ear (2) supports fast charging, with just 10 minutes of charging yielding up to 8 hours of battery life for the case. Additionally, you have the option to charge the earbuds using a wireless Qi pad, providing extra convenience. The package also includes a standard USB-C to USB-C charging cable for traditional charging needs.
Considering its price point, the Nothing Ear (2) offers a compelling package. Its comfortable fit and durable IP54 rating (IP55 with the case) make it suitable for daily use. Many of its distinctive features are accessible through the Nothing X app, including personalized frequency responses and customizable ANC settings.
The inclusion of the LHDC Bluetooth codec benefits Android users, while iPhone users can rely on the AAC codec. Although the default frequency response may sound overly treble-heavy, the app provides options to fine-tune it to your liking. If you can avoid discomfort from the in-ear pressure associated with the ANC setting, the Ear (2) effectively reduces a significant amount of low-frequency noise.
Moreover, the Nothing Ear (2) is highly portable and lightweight, offering convenient features like in-ear detection, wireless charging compatibility, and dual-device connectivity. Its competitive price undercuts some of its tougher rivals, and if you can adapt to the unique pinch commands and occasional quirks, the robust app and build quality of the Ear (2) should generally leave you satisfied.