The Nothing Ear 1 Buds | Is It The Most Affordable Alternative?

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Sarthak Koul
Sarthak Koul
Sarthak brings a technical perspective to the everyday aspects of life through his blogs. Breaking down the storyline of movies and shows is something he enjoys thoroughly. He firmly believes in contributing to this flawed and beautiful world in his own way. His mantra is to take things one day at a time.

With an already exploding market of wireless headphones, a startup – Nothing led by OnePlus co-founder, Carl Pei, is all set to make its own space in the mix with its debut Nothing Ear 1 wireless buds. And here, we’ll cover everything on the Ear 1s to help you figure out if these are worth your money.

Backed by investments from GV, Tony Fadell, influencers like Casey Neistat; and tuned by one of the well-versed audio companies – Teenage Engineering, Nothing is on a OnePlus roadmap to deliver premium features at competitive prices. 

The Ear 1 buds are Nothing’s first product in the market set to go on sale starting August 17th. With an unconventional transparent design and loads of features including wireless charging, active noise cancellation among others, these debut buds from Nothing come with a competitive tag of $99.  

Read along with the article as we cover all major aspects such as design, fit, battery life, sound quality, and more to help you guide if you should buy these uniquely styled earbuds.

Nothing Ear 1 | Everything You Need to Know About Nothing’s Debut Product

From a transparent design to a somewhat debatable charging case, follow through with the article as we discuss all the good and bad stuff about the Nothing Ear 1 wireless buds.

Also, Check-Out AirPods Max Alternatives: Similar Features in a Budget

The Transparent Design

The first thing you’ll notice with the newly released Nothing Ear 1s is its unorthodox and unique design style. With a visually distinctive approach in their design than most of the other brands, these Ear 1 buds make use of transparent plastic that reveals some of the components including circuitry and magnets inside the earbuds.

The Nothing Ear 1 Buds

This design comes from the company’s idea to “own” transparency. While talking about the clear design of the Ear 1s, the head-of-design at Nothing, Thomas Howard said, 

“We’re not going to win the tech race, that’s for sure. But if we want to even have a chance, we need to get really good at engineering… and turn ourselves to the insides, because that’s what matters.” in an interview with the Wired UK

Great Fit and Comfort 

The overall design not only looks like Apple’s AirPods Pro but also gives a similar in-ear feel as well, which is a great thing in itself. With a snug and comfy fit that comes with an excellent weight balance, thanks to its 4.7g ultra-lightweight, the Ear 1s come with a reduced risk of the buds falling out.

The Nothing Ear 1 Buds
Source: Gizmodo

To accommodate the majority of the users, Nothing delivers the earbuds with the bare minimum of three sizes of silicone tips to get the best fit whether you are out running or simply going about your day.

Also, read AirPods 2 vs AirPods Pro – Battle of the Pods | Best Comparison Guide

Better-than-Average Sound Quality

The Nothing Ear 1s features the same large 11-mm drivers that the MWo8 from Master & Dynamic uses for its excellent bass reproduction. But do the Ear 1s sound anything like the $300 MWo8? Not exactly.

The Ear 1 buds deliver good sound quality topping the average budget experience but falling short of the more premium competition. With better-than-average clarity and punched bass experience along with good stereo separation, the Ear 1s comes across as a great and enjoyable pair of buds for the sub-$100 range.

Good Active Noise Cancellation

The Nothing Ear 1 buds offer good active noise cancellation. With great noise isolation, owing to a sealed fit, along with the ANC set at its max setting, the buds eliminate low-end frequencies quite effectively. 

The Nothing Ear 1 Buds
Source: Wallpaper

However, you’ll still be able to hear higher frequencies in your surroundings such as people talking and other ambient noises. With its three microphones system that power the Ear 1s’ Active Noise Cancellation to help isolate your voice from background noise, the Nothing earbuds deliver a decent call quality.

Reliable Tap Controls

The Nothing Ear 1s feature on-bud controls over the clear and transparent stem. Frankly, had the stem been white opaque instead of the transparent one, Ear 1s would have resembled Apple’s AirPods Pro without much of a distinction. 

Also, read Beats Studio Buds | Best Apple Headphones for Android

While the AirPods Pro touch-controls require a squeeze on the stem’s force sensor, the Nothing Ear 1 buds utilize the more common approach with a simple tap. In the Ear 1s’ case, sliding your finger up and down on the flat side of the stem is recognized as volume adjustment control to increase and decrease the volume respectively.

The Nothing Ear 1 Buds
Source: Gizmodo

Instead of providing fine control over volume, you get small jumps of up and down in the volume which works just fine as well. In addition to this swipe-to-adjust volume gesture, other quick-access functions include hold-to-toggle NC modes. 

Moreover, the Ear 1 buds’ tap control supports features that include music playback options such as tapping twice to play/pause and thrice (depending on the side) to skip songs forward/backward.

Excellent Battery Life

The battery life on the Ear 1s outperforms that on the AirPods Pro. With ANC mode OFF, the Ear 1 buds pack a total of 34 hours than Pods Pro’s 24 hour-run. In addition to that, the earbuds from Nothing can last for continuous playback of about 5.7 hours with its ANC off.

The Nothing Ear 1 Buds
Source: Gizmodo

And with the Active Noise Cancellation mode toggled ON, these wireless buds can last up to 4 hours of continuous playback with the case providing enough juice to run the Nothing Ear 1s for 24 more hours.

Also, read Will Apple AirPods 3 Make it to The Markets in 2021?

The Transparent Charging Case

The Ear 1s’ charging case comes with a transparent square-shaped design along with rounded corners accompanying a spring opening/closing mechanism. In addition to the USB-C port for wired charging, the case also supports wireless charging on the Qi pad. 

The Nothing Ear 1 Buds
Source: Gizmodo

The Ear 1 buds lay flat in their charging case instead of being plopped down into charging cradles like with other cases. With a not-so-great magnetic hold, the earbuds are supported in their place with a big dimple at the top of the case.

Though the transparent plastic design will make sure that you don’t leave the house with an empty case, be ready as the case will collect scratches rather easily. Apart from being a bit bulky, the case is presented with color-coded dots to help you identify which earbud belongs in which charging spot.

Feature-loaded Support App

Another great plus-point of these sub-$100 earbuds is Nothing’s support mobile app. With its availability for both Android and iOS platforms, the app gives you easy-to-use access controls for switching ANC modes. 

The Nothing Ear 1 Buds
Source: Gizmodo

Along with that, you also get three EQ settings to adjust treble, bass, and voice if you’re not satisfied with the default Balanced tuning. There’s even an option to change gesture controls for each side of the earbuds.

The app’s best feature is the “Find my Earbud” which when enabled makes each bud emit a high-pitched tone to help you find your lost earbud(s) provided you’re in the same room.

Also, read 7 Best Over-Ear Headphones for Watching Movies and Shows

Wrapping Up

With this, we’ve reached the end of our article on the new Nothing Ear 1 buds. With a competitive price of $99, the wireless Ear 1 surely makes up an affordable alternative to some of the best earbuds out there. 

If you liked the content, share it among your friends and let us know your thoughts on Nothing’s debut buds in the comment section below.

Feature Image Credit: Wallpaper


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