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Nothing Ear (2) Stylish Wireless Earbuds Features and Detailed Review

Nothing Ear (2):We live in times when access to music is as free as ever. I’m old enough to remember a time when I could only buy music from a cassette store in the neighboring town or in compact disc format. Then came the era of the internet, where we could download music using more or less legal means, and finally, music streaming services emerged, allowing us to access ‘music from all over the world’ for free or at a very low monthly cost. In this context, I also want to include the small wireless earbuds, which now don’t cost much, are always with us, and allow us to listen to music comfortably and anytime.

In my household, I also have over-ear headphones, but I use them less and listen to music daily with various small wireless earbuds. When I was using an iPhone, I used Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro. Then I switched to a Pixel device and got Pixel Buds Pro earbuds. But about three months ago, we received the Nothing Ear (2) earbuds for testing, and they have become my daily companion. So, I’ve accumulated some thoughts about them.

over-ear headphones

But what exactly are the Nothing Ear (2) earbuds, what can we expect from them, and what are these earbuds not? As we can understand from the product name, these earbuds are created by the company Nothing, which is known on our side for visually interesting and genuinely sensible gadget development. The company makes smartphones, and our own Juris still uses the Nothing Phone (1). Plus, the new Nothing Phone (2) has just been announced. Nothing also develops audio products. We’ve reviewed Nothing Ear (stick), as well as the first-generation Nothing Ear (1) earbuds.

Nothing Ear (2) vs. Nothing Ear (1)

How does the new earbud model differ from the previous one? Visually, both products look very similar, and I’m glad that Nothing continues with its expressive transparent product design language. True, there’s also a limited black version of the Nothing Ear (2) earbuds. Catch them while you can!

The new earbud charging case is slightly smaller, the battery life is similar, the earbuds themselves are better protected from moisture and dust, they sound better, and provide wider sound customization options. The price has also increased significantly – Nothing Ear (2) now costs 149 euros instead of the previous 99 euros, and this is a price category where the competition is truly fierce.

The product packaging hasn’t changed significantly either – it still folds stylishly and includes not only the earbuds themselves but also several different-sized ear tips (ranging from 12 to 14 millimeters in diameter), as well as a short USB-C charging cable with connectors at both ends.

The earbud charging and carrying case is still a work of art! The transparent lid quickly lets you know if the earbuds are inside and looks great too! Through the lid, there’s a small indicator light visible, indicating the earbud charging level, as well as whether the earbuds are in pairing mode. Although Nothing claims that the new-generation product uses more durable plastic, after several months of living in my bag, you can see that the case has some scratches. Functionally, this doesn’t change anything, but it should be understood that over time, it will become more worn.

earbud charging

On the side of the case, there’s a USB-C port for charging (the charging case also supports Qi wireless charging), as well as a single physical button used to put the earbuds in pairing mode. The opening and closing mechanism of the case uses metal parts and after three months of use, it remains tight. The case won’t open by itself in your bag either, as the lid is held firmly thanks to magnets.

Just like the earbuds themselves are marked with colors, the color rings are also attached to the case. This way, we can immediately see where each earbud is placed. I have to say that I quickly learned to put the earbuds in the right ‘beds’ and they stay securely in place. A case where design is not only visually appealing but also functional.

Compared to the previous model, the design of the earbuds themselves hasn’t changed significantly either. They are well-crafted, small earbuds weighing 4.5 grams each, with moderately short stems. The earbuds are easy to pick up to move between the charging case and your ears. Plus, the touch sensors are built into the stems, allowing you to control music playback by tapping on either earbud.

Since I used Google Pixel Buds Pro (stemless) earbuds before testing these earbuds, I could clearly see that this stem design is much more comfortable to use. Once we find the right-sized ear tips for our ears, the earbuds have the potential to stay securely in place. At least in my experience, the earbuds don’t bother or attempt to fall out of my ears. Very, very comfortable!

It’s also worth noting that the earbuds themselves have an IP54 rating, while the case has an IP55 rating for moisture and dust resistance. We won’t take them in the shower or for a swim, but we won’t hesitate to use them while exercising or in light rain.

Nothing X App Offers Extensive Customization Options

Nothing maintains its style not only in hardware but also in software. Although the earbuds can be used without installing additional apps, we can fully utilize their features with the Nothing X app, available for both Android and Apple devices. This app also helps us set up the earbuds initially. This process now looks quite similar to the Apple world and has become quite fast and simple.

The setup guide will also show us the earbud control gestures. As I mentioned before, we can control these earbuds by tapping on their stems, similar to Apple AirPods. Overall, it works well, but occasionally, something gets mixed up, and the earbuds don’t interpret our gestures as intended. Plus, we won’t remember and use all the gestures in our daily routine; we’ll probably use only a small fraction of the available options.

Personally, I mainly use these gestures to pause or resume playback. In very rare cases, I might double-tap an earbud to skip to the next track. However, the options are there, and in the Nothing X app, we can even change the assigned actions to gestures for more convenience.

Similarly to other earbuds we’ve seen, Nothing also offers the option to test or select the best-fitting ear tips for our ears. Following the instructions, we can quickly determine whether we need to replace them.

If Juris complained in his Nothing Ear (1) review that the app was quite glitchy, at least with the new product, everything works fine, and I didn’t observe any significant software issues. Everything functions as it should. I also see that both the app itself and the earbuds receive regular software updates and are generally getting better.

Wireless earbuds in small ears are not leaders in terms of microphone performance, but if there’s not much noise around us (wind or office chatter), Nothing Ear (2) will work perfectly well for regular calls on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or any other popular tool. I have quite a few of these calls daily and never once have my call partners complained that they couldn’t hear me. Below is an example of microphone performance in a quiet environment – the voice sounds metallic, but what is said is well understandable.

Nothing Ear (2)

Battery Life is Good

Nothing states that fully charged, these earbuds can last up to 6 hours, and when charged from the charging case, we can extend the playback time up to 36 hours. So, these aren’t the longest-lasting earbuds on their own, but the charging case has a lot of energy, making the total playback time very competitive.

In 10 minutes, the case can charge the earbuds for 1-2 hours of playback, depending on whether we have active noise cancellation turned on. If we put the earbuds in the charging case and see a red indicator light, it means the earbud battery level has dropped below 30%. The earbuds ‘know’ when they’ve been removed from the ears and usually go silent to save energy. Apple’s earbuds do this better, though.

How Do Nothing Ear (2) Sound?

I remember that in the first few days of using these earbuds, I had a feeling that I wanted them to be louder. However, over time, I got used to this aspect, and now, after three months of use, I can’t consider it a significant issue anymore. The active noise cancellation function works, but for instance, it’s more pronounced on Sony earbuds and can suppress more noise. Nothing Ear (2) is not bad in this regard, rather it’s slightly above average. But well, these earbuds don’t cost 300 or even 200 euros.

The standard sound is relatively neutral with, in my opinion, too little bass and overly pronounced highs. However, we are offered very wide options to adjust this sound. Even if the personalization options don’t always hit the mark perfectly, we can adjust the good old equalizer function and achieve a sound we like. In any case, after my adjustments, the Nothing Ear (2) earbuds didn’t create any discomfort, and I was completely satisfied with how they sounded.

Overall, a good and recommended product

As I mentioned several times during the review, I’ve been using Nothing Ear (2) earbuds daily for about three months now, and not once have I felt that there was something I didn’t like about them and that I wanted to go back to using other earbuds. I’m satisfied with the sound of Nothing Ear (2) even if I don’t really believe in the personalization features, and I can appreciate how comfortable these earbuds are for long-term use.

The design that raises questions like ‘Hey, what stylish earbuds are those?’ among people around me is a nice plus. Yes, at $149, these are not the cheapest earbuds available, and the Nothing brand is not yet on par with premium brands. However, I think we get a very good product for this money, and Nothing gives the feeling that it will be perfected and improved with regular software updates. I plan to continue using these earbuds in the future!”

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