Nothing has returned with a second-generation Nothing Ear 2 two years after the debut of the Ear 1. The new true wireless earbuds appear identical to their predecessors at first glance—right down to the transparent plastic case and the red dot on the right earbud—but Nothing is touting numerous technical advancements. Can the new company strike twice? If so, are they worth the increase and are they as comfy as the Ear 1? Let’s discover in the Nothing Ear 2 review from Android Authority.
The Nothing Ear 2 is proof that you shouldn’t alter a recipe that works. Don’t be fooled by the fact that the case and earphones resemble the Nothing Ear 1 almost exactly. Many internal and functional enhancements may be found below a few minor visual tweaks.
I was instantly surprised by how much smaller the somewhat square charging case is when I first opened the Ear 2’s package. While it is just 3mm shorter and thinner in actuality, the case seems much more compact and portable. In addition, it has a more build quality and is 5g lighter. The Ear 1’s low-end, transparent-appearing but actually merely hazy plastic is no longer present. You receive a completely clear, glossy plastic that is allegedly more scratch-resistant, along with an outward-extending white plastic base that serves as a bumper. The “dimple” in the lid of the case between the two earbuds, the USB-C charging connector, and the pairing button are all still present.
The earbuds are identical to the Ear 1 buds, as is the case. Together with the traditional white and black color scheme, the transparent stem with visible sensors, electronics, and charging connections is still present. Little adjustments like a new sensor/button for squeeze controls on the side of each stem may be seen if you look closely. Later, more on that.
The inscription on the outside of the stem, which clearly reads “(2)” rather than “(1),” may be the simplest method to distinguish between Ear 2 and Ear 1.
The Nothing Ear 2 features several upgrades. This may be thought of as a combination of the greatest components of Ear 1 and the Nothing Ear Stick with a few additions on top. With the Stick’s squeeze controls in place of swipe gestures, you get the ergonomic in-ear design, active noise cancellation, and transparency mode of the Ear 1. You also get a new, custom 11.6mm driver with a dual-chamber design, an improved 3-microphone placement that enhances voice recordings and active noise cancellation, a custom EQ in the app, and a low-lag mode.
Bluetooth has been updated to version 5.3 with Multipoint compatibility, making it possible to connect the Ear 2 to two devices simultaneously for the first time. To make connecting with your computers and phones easier, Quick Pair for Android and Swift Pair for Microsoft are still available. The second largest improvement is the support for LHDC 5.0, a low-latency high-definition Bluetooth codec that enables high-quality music playback from apps like Apple Music, Tidal, and Amazon Music.
From March 22, Nothing Ear 2 are available on Nothing’s website. Nothing states that there are present “no plans for another colorway” and that the only available color is white.
The Nothing Ear 2 will be available for in-person purchase beginning March 23 at the Nothing Store in London, UK, and at a few Kith locations across the world, including those in the US and France. The Ear 2 will be offered online and at additional merchants beginning on March 28 StockX.
Nothing Ear 1 and Ear 2 difference?
From the case design to the earbud shape, the Nothing Ear 2 (left) and the Ear (1) look very similar from the outside.
- The casing is more compact, lighter, and better designed.
- Squeeze or pinch controls have taken the role of gesture controls.
- The earbuds have an upgraded microphone location and a new, specially developed 11.6mm driver.
- The Nothing Ear 2 offers Bluetooth Multipoint (or “Dual Connection,” as Nothing refers to it) to connect to two compatible devices.
- LHDC 5.0 is available on the Ear 2 in addition to SBC and AAC codec compatibility for high-resolution audio playback.
- Battery life is slightly improved.
- A new customized ANC mode, a bespoke EQ, and a customised sound profile are samples of software updates.
Which is good?
It goes without saying that I believe the Ear 1 are the comfiest true wireless earbuds. The Ear 2 follows such trends because of their virtually identical designs. I believe Nothing has discovered an unrivalled ergonomic solution for its earphones. The Ear 1 and 2 embraced the natural contour of my ear and didn’t put any pressure on any portion of it as they fit tightly yet pleasantly within.
You’ll want to connect to several devices because of the degree of comfort these buds provide. Nothing finally makes it feasible for this. The Ear 2 are the business’s first earbuds that feature Multipoint (or “Dual Connection” as Nothing calls it). This may be activated in the settings to allow you to pair the Ear 2 with multiple devices and connect two of them at once.
But although the Ear 2’s active noise cancellation is stronger and more programmable than the Ear 1’s, it still only does an average job of blocking out outside sounds. Throughout my testing, I could still detect low-frequency sounds like fans, motors, and buzzing, despite the fact that they are better at isolating and attenuating these sounds. Very few hushes are produced by higher frequencies and less consistent sounds, such as speech. We lack the advanced noise cancellation of more costly earbuds like the Bose QuietComfort 2 and Sony WF-1000XM4, Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation), and Apple.
The Ear 2 work well for me when it comes to daily listening. When I commute, go for a stroll, or even work alone from home, I actually like that they don’t completely filter out noises. Being slightly aware of my environment is something I value. However, I’m switching to my Pixel Buds Pro instead of the Ear 2 if I want better isolation and total immersion. For instance, I’m unlikely to pick up the Ear 2 while my husband is working from home and receiving numerous calls less than 2m away from me and I need to be entirely focused on my own job.
The LHDC 5.0 codec doesn’t make any claims about supporting high-quality audio, but you should treat those claims with caution. LHDC support on your phone is required, but it’s not a given. The Nothing Phone 1 has LHDC, of course, but many other common phones—including Apple iPhones, Google Pixels, Samsung Galaxy devices, and many others—cannot broadcast Bluetooth via LHDC. In my small collection of smartphones, only two offer the codec: the OnePlus 9 and Xiaomi 12T Pro. No matter what I did, the first one refused to use LHDC with the Ear 2, reverting to AAC as “HD” audio. The Xiaomi showed it as disabled, but let me switch to it.
You still need to locate high-quality audio to take advantage of the capability, even with LHDC enabled in the Nothing X app, a compatible phone, and the codec properly chosen in the Bluetooth settings of the earbuds. This often necessitates a paid membership to a streaming service with a high-quality tier, such as Tidal, Apple Music, or Amazon Music. If you have a Spotify or YouTube Music subscription, this will make very little difference to you.
Only wish LDAC or aptX, two more frequently used codecs, had been chosen by Nothing. Getting the most out of the Ear 2 would have been easier with that.
Nothing Ear 2 review: The Final Verdict
The excellence of Nothing Ear 1 is demonstrated by Nothing Ear 2. Nobody produced a very good mid-range set of earphones; all that was required of the successors was to perfect every element of them. In that aspect, Ear 2 is successful.
The same comfortable earbuds, slightly improved noise reduction, a more potent and adjustable sound, and better microphones for phone calls and voice recordings are all improvements over the original version that users enjoyed. you get Bluetooth Multipoint, which allows you to use these with more than one phone or computer — though you lose some battery life in the process — and deliberate pinch controls rather than finicky gestures.
Nothing wins with the Ear 2. You almost can’t go wrong with them.
You can’t go wrong with Ear 2 if you liked Ear 1. You can’t go wrong with the Ear 2 either if you haven’t used the Ear 1 and are now seeking a set of sub-$150 earbuds with a nice balance of quality, specifications, and extra functions. The only two potential dealbreakers are middling battery life and ANC performance and the importance of these features can vary widely between people.
These errors were much simpler to overlook at Ear 1’s initial $99 price, but with the higher $149 price, it’s a little harder to pretend they don’t exist, especially with competitors snatching up market share in the $150–200 price bracket. Those who place a high emphasis on battery life or ANC, in particular, should search elsewhere. But be aware that in order to acquire anything better, you’ll have to forgo comfort and/or pay a little bit more than $149.
Are the iPhone and iPad compatible with the Nothing Ear 2?
Yes. The Nothing Ear 2 is compatible with iPads and iPhones, the same as the Ear 1 and Ear Stick. For greater customizability, get the optional Nothing X app from the iTunes Store.
The Nothing Ear 2 can it be wirelessly charged?
The case for the Nothing Ear 2 does indeed allow Qi wireless charging at up to 2.5W. In comparison to charging with a USB-C cable, this will take longer.
The Nothing Ear 2 are waterproof?
The buds for the Nothing Ear 2 are certified IP55 for resistance to water and dust. Due to its IP56 rating, the casing is a little more splashproof.
The Nothing Ear 2 control is user-customizable?
Yes, the Nothing Ear 2 has a custom EQ that allows you to adjust the bass, treble, and mids to your preferences. It also has four preset sound profiles that include balanced, more bass, more treble, and voice.