Have you heard of Nothing? This tech brand is just three years old and has just three products to its name — Phone (1), Ear (1) and Ear (stick). The reception to these gadgets has been incredible, with the Phone (1) even listed in Time Magazine’s best inventions of 2022. This month, Nothing launches its first-ever second generation product — Ear (2); and while it looks just like the brand’s first generation earbuds, the Ear (1), there are lots of internal upgrades for better sound and experience.
Above: Everything you get in Nothing’s Ear (2) box. It includes the earbuds, charging case, usb-c charging cable, and two additional ear tip sizes.
When Ear (1) first came out, what was really exciting was its see-through “skeleton” design; you could see the internals of the earphones, which made the pair unlike any other earphones available at the time (and still today). So it’s no surprise that Nothing kept the winning design with their second version of it.
Above: The “see-through” design of the nothing ear (2) earphones.
So the important question is, how do these sound? Generally, pretty clear. There’s a new 11.6mm custom driver and a new dual chamber design that is made to deliver clarity at all frequencies; for example, lower frequencies are deeper, while higher frequencies sound brighter. For the average user, it just sounds balanced, and again — nice and clear.
But here’s where it gets a bit more interesting. Nothing has added the ability to create Personal Sound Profiles based on a user’s hearing for different frequencies. This is done through the Nothing X App (available for download on Google Play Store and App Store), and equaliser settings are adjusted accordingly.
Above: A screenshot from the Nothing X App.
There’s a world of difference to the quality of sound before and after the hearing test is done. If you get the Ear (2), it’s really necessary to set up a Personal Sound Profile to get the best sound experience from it. This personalisation works quite differently from Apple’s AirPods Pro, which uses the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone to capture the shape of the user’s ear, or the Nuratrue earbuds that use sound waves to map the ear.
On the Ear (2), there’s a also a new function called Personalised Active Noise Cancellation, where users can switch between three levels of ANC. For example, you can choose to allow the Ear (2) to detect distracting sounds in the environment and to automatically adjust the level of noise cancellation.
Other improvements to this second gen product include being able to connect to two devices at the same time, so you can switch seamlessly between them (eg. if you’re using your phone for calls and a tablet for entertainment). There’s an upgraded IP54 water- and sweat-resistance rating, while the case has a rating of IP55. This just means it’ll be fine if water splashes on it; just don’t go swimming with them.
Above: the ear (2) inside its charging case.
Battery life is extended from the first generation (it’s now up to 36 hours of music playback on a full charge of the charging case, and with ANC turned off), plus the Ear (2) case supports up to 2.5W (Qi certified) wireless charging and can reverse charge on suitable devices such as the brand’s Phone (1).
Above: Nothing ear (2) earbuds and charging case.
If you’ve been a fan of the Nothing brand, or you’re just intrigued by the design of these earphones, the Ear (2) is a decent buy that will give you decent sound. It should work with any smartphone or bluetooth device you have, and will be a great conversation starter whenever you whip it out to use.
Ear (2) will be priced at $199 and will be available first on Limited Edt starting from 23 March at 12am and free tryouts experience will be available at select Challenger stores at Bugis Junction, Vivo City, and Causeway Point.
From 8 April, Ear (2) will go on general sale across all stores of Nothing’s partners in Singapore both online and offline, including flagship e-commerce stores on Lazada and Shopee.
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