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.
- A window to technology rather than a wall
- "Pure sound" with ANC
- Up to 34 hours of battery life and wireless charging
- The technical data sheet
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 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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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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.