New kid on the block Nothing has debuted its second pair of wireless earbuds, dubbed the Nothing Ear (stick). The brand recently launched an affordable (and transparent) Android phone after debuting its first product, the Nothing Ear (1), last year. While we weren’t enamoured with the Ear (1), we enjoyed the strong feature set and see-through aesthetics – could these follow-up buds bring style and substance?
Its predecessors, the Nothing Ear (1), have just received a price increase, so with Nothing launching these new buds for its predecessors' original £99 / $99 / AU$140 price tag, it appears that the Ear (stick) are here to coexist with the Ear (1), not replace them. The Ear (1) remains the higher-end set of buds, retaining a few more exclusive features overall including noise cancelling.
The Ear (stick) feature a totally tubular case that twists open to reveal the buds, and it continues the transparent and red plastic motifs found throughout Nothing’s existing catalogue. If you want your earphones to stand out and turn heads, then the Ear (stick) look to be the pair to go for. However, it's not all about looks as Nothing says it has paid close attention to sound this time, claiming that these sticks will produce “rich depths”, “clear highs”, and “bold details” to create a “beautifully balanced” sound.
This is thanks to its new 12.6mm custom dynamic drivers, which the company claims are some of the most sensitive drivers to feature in any wireless earbud. Supposedly, this will create “powerfully authentic sound” and “minimal distortion” – putting major emphasis on the sonic capabilities of these earbuds. The Ear (stick) also feature Nothing’s Bass Lock system which uses software to detect bass loss while using the Ear (stick). The buds will then start “tuning the equaliser curve to the optimal level”, which Nothing says will keep bass consistently punchy.
While these budget buds are possibly a step down from the Ear (1) thanks to the lack of noise cancelling, there are still plenty of features to be excited about. It's clear that Nothing has its sights set on taking on Apple’s AirPods, so could underpricing the competition with this promising sound feature set and unique design be the key to outshining the AirPods?
The Nothing Ear (stick) will launch on 4th November and are available to pre-order from Nothing's online store as well as selected retailers.
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Read our review of the Apple AirPods Pro 2
Read our review of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro 2