Nothing ear(1): What can the transparent in-ears do?
With the Nothing ear(1), OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has his first Proproduct on the market after leaving the company. We tested it.
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What's in the box
The scope of delivery of the TWS includes the TWS itself in the charging case, as well as a couple of eartips and a USB-A to USB-C cable (approx. 25 cm) for charging.
The Nothing ear(1) has a special design. I mean that positively as well as negatively. While I really liked the transparent design, my environment didn't like it. That's why it's special, you have to be into something like that. The same applies to the case, which is large, but appears lighter than it looks due to the transparency. The case is made of thick plastic and unfortunately gets scratches very quickly in the processing. Due to the transparency, everything is more visible than with other processing.
The in-ears themselves are IPX4 splash-proof and are similar to the AirPods Pro. But many TWS are doing that now, which is why I wouldn’t blame any copying here.
The ear(1) fit really well. I didn't even have to take out the other eartipsprobeers, the pre-installed ones were already very tight and insulate well. It's all individual, of course, but I haven't had in-ears fit that well for a long time. I was also able to do sports with the TWS without the headphones falling out or threatening to. Nothing got everything right here (in my opinion).
The Londoners state the battery life as 5 hours, and the case should be able to reach up to 5 hours by recharging 30x. In practice, however, the ear (1) gave out after just 4 hours and 20 minutes. Thus, the 5 hours are not reached, but that in itself is little. A week without charging is already within my usage behavior, with quick charging, another hour of battery life can be recharged in 10 minutes. This works via USB-C, but the headphones can also be refilled via wireless charging.
The ear (1) has a 11,6mm graphene driver, which was adapted together with Teenage Engineering. This ensures a balanced sound with clean highs and strong bass. Although the ear (1) reaches its limits, especially with larger tracks such as film music with many different sounds, I was happy to use the ear (1) for listening to music on the go.
Noise canceling and transparency mode are standard. It is by no means the highlight of the headphones, you can choose between a light and a strong mode. The ANC mode then emphasizes the mids and basses to create stronger noise cancellation. However, the mode is sufficient for everyday use in the subway, and the same applies to a few conversations with the transparency mode. This has a slight noise from the microphones, but serves its purpose.
Nothing ear(1): app and smart features
I usually miss an app at TWS under 100 euros, Nothing has done a good job here. The app is available for both iOS and Android and is installed via Google Fast Pair. In other words: On an Android device, a single opening of the charging cradle is enough and the TWS are connected and the app is installed. In this, an equalizer can be set, the control options can be individualized and the ANC can be set or the transparency mode can be switched on.
The latency can also be focused, or an update can be installed for the headphones. Support for the Google Assistant or Siri was added in February. The headphones also have wearer recognition, which can also be switched on or off in the app.
Prices and availability
The Nothing ear (1) is available in black or white for a RRP of 99 euros from the manufacturer itself, or from selected retailers such as Amazon or Alza (there already for currently 75 euros).
Nothing ear(1): Conclusion
With the Nothing ear (1), the Londoners bring a successful TWS to the sound. A unique design, good sound, a good app and a fair price make up a successful overall package. Not every manufacturer has functions such as ANC or wireless charging for this price, which sets the headphones apart from the many TWS market. However, I would like to see improvements in the battery life and the scratch resistance of the charging cradle.