Nothing Ear (1): The invisible true wireless earphones are official at $99
Nothing, Carl Pei’s new company, has just launched its first product, the Nothing Ear (1) headphones on Tuesday 27 July. These true wireless earphones with transparent ANC will be available on 31 July for $99.
The “Sound of change” will be diffused only through the design at Nothing, at first. Nothing’s philosophy is to create intuitive and organic tech products that are meant to blend in with the surroundings. For its first product, the Ear (1), the young and disruptive startup has taken the concept literally by focusing their entire product strategy on the transparent design of the wireless earphones.
While we wait to get our hands on them and test them for you, I’ll summarize all the info on the Nothing Ear (1) data sheet here.
Summary:A window to technology rather than a wall
The idea behind the Nothing Ear (1) design is not new. We’ve all known or owned transparent tech products. But where my old Gameboy Advance showed the ugly AA batteries, the Nothing Ear (1) shows their inner beauty at its best.
Specifically, Nothing claims to have not simply opted for a plastic shell and basta. No, I was told that the team spent a lot of time and money on every little detail of the design of these earphones.
The subtle touch of red reminds me of a certain brand, but which one? Hmmmmmmm… / © Nothing Tech
The anecdotes I discussed with a brand manager would deserve an article on their own and I may talk about them later.
Well then, certainly, we find a semi-inter format in the shape of a hair dryer like Apple’s Airpods Pro, for example. Weighing in at 4.7g, each earbud is supposed to offer supreme comfort thanks to pressure-relieving vents in the ear canal, an ergonomic design and three liquid silicone tips to customize the fit.
“Pure sound” with ANC
Nothing Ear (1) is supposed to offer the flattest frequency curve possible, in other words, a faithful reproduction of the sound at the source. It’s not an innovative choice, but I’m eager to verify this promise and to avoid the usually too bassy audio signature inherent to affordable (but also high-end) wireless earphones.
Nothing explains that they have integrated large 11.6 mm dynamic drivers in each earphone coupled with a spacious air chamber allowed by the Ear’s design (1). The manufacturer also called on Teenage Engineering, a Swedish company that makes synths at the base and optimized the sound of the Ear (1).
No Bluetooth HD codecs, but a sound signature that we are promised to be faithful / © Nothing Tech
In terms of codecs, you’ll have to make do with the basic SBC and AAC, no HD codecs, which is common in this price range, although there are competitors that support aptX.
The Ear (1) also offers an ANC that can be adjusted to only two levels – a Light mode and a Maximum mode – but which is capable of reducing ambient noise to -40 decibels. It relies on the use of 3 built-in microphones in each earpiece that also isolate your voice when you make a call with the Clear Voice feature.
They also offer a transparency mode to amplify surrounding noises and not be totally cut off from the world.
Up to 34 hours of battery life and wireless charging
The Nothing Ear (1) can be charged wired via USB-C or wirelessly with any Qi compatible charger.
Nothing advertises up to 5.7 hours of battery life per earbud and up to 34 hours with the case when ANC is disabled. With ANC on, the battery life is 4 hours per earpiece and 24 hours with the case. On average, you can charge your Nothing Ear (1) from 0 to 100% at least 5 times with the case.
The Nothing Ear (1) case allows up to 5 full charges and is Qi compatible / © Nothing Tech
The autonomy, especially with ANC, is finally quite average compared to what is done on the market. But a 10 minute charge time gives between 6 and 8 hours of listening time, which is a rather interesting promise that we will have to check during our test.
Nothing Ear (1)
11.6 mm dynamic drivers
0.34 cm3 chamber
Yes, up to -40 dB advertised
Per earpiece: 31 mAh
Case: 570 mAh
With ANC: 4h with earphones, 24h with case = 5 full recharges with case
Without ANC: 5,7h with earphones, 34h with case = 5/6 full charges with case
USB-C wired and Qi wireless
10 minutes of charge with case alone = 1h20 without ANC and 50 min with ANC
10 minutes of charge with case on mains = 8h without ANC and 6h without ANC
A2DP, AVRCP, HFP profiles
App & EQ
Yes: Android and iOS
Dimensions & weight
28.9 x 21.5 x 23.5 mm and 4.7 g per earphone
58.6 x 58.6 x 23.7 mm and 57.4 g for the case
Release date and availability
The Nothing Ear (1) will be available for $99:
From 31 July 2021 at 3pm in limited quantities on Nothing.tech.
From 17 August 2021 in 45 countries on Nothing.tech and its partner sellers whose list will be revealed soon.
What do you think of these Nothing Ear headphones (1)? Do you find the design interesting? Does the price/performance ratio seem promising considering the technical specifications? Tell us all about it in the comments.