little things that improve the experience

Nothing returns with new true wireless headphones: the Nothing Ear. Succeeding from Ear (2), they want to correct its flaws, but also offer a high-end experience. Even more, this 2024 model marks a new start for the audio part of the British brand. Successful bet ?

Nothing Ear

Nothing is revamping its range of true wireless headphones. For this, the brand has imagined a simple cutting. There are now two models: the Nothing Ear (a), a mid-range product, as well as Nothing Ear, which target the high-end market. It is the latter that we are testing today.

The Nothing Ear, without a number behind, are the equivalent of the Ear (3). The number disappears for a more universal name which, we are promised, will remain. Only the mention of the year will make it possible to differentiate the versions.

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These Ear 2024 want to seduce with their always unusual design, but also thanks to a controlled audio part. This is also an opportunity for Nothing to correct the mistakes of the past. We are promised better autonomy than on the Ear (2), more refined sound but also and above all an adjusted press touch system. Great promises that we will verify in our test.

Price and availability

Nothing Ears are available on the Nothing website and at partner resellers (Boulanger, Fnac, Amazon, Darty, LDLC). They are sold from April 22, 2024 at the price of 149 euros. The Nothing Ear (a), for their part, are priced at 99 euros.

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An original design which is the great strength of the product

The Nothing Ears take up the very particular design of the Ear (2). If there have been micro-adjustments here and there, particularly in terms of dimensions and weight (55.5 x 55.5 x 22 mm for 52 grams), it is difficult to tell the difference between the two models. A choice accepted by Nothing which wants to continue to focus on an iconic visual recognizable among thousands. We therefore find this square case which adopts this transparency effect so specific to the brand. No question of displaying the components inside as was the fashion in the late 1990s; a lot of work has been done on what appears under the hullwhether in terms of textures or visuals, and it always creates a sensation.

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In addition to offering a design that is off the beaten track, Nothing is mischievous in its construction. We notice the return of the small cavity on the hood, exactly the size of the thumb. A well-thought-out find, since the case can therefore serve as an anti-stress! We like to spin it between our fingers while working, without thinking about it, like a hand spinner. Clever and playful.

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On the sides, we find the USB Type-C port as well as the pairing button. The latter has the advantage of not coming out of the chassis, which avoids accidental presses. A clever idea. A charging cable is obviously provided in the box.

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The Ear box opens and closes using magnets. This is a point that has been improved compared to last year, those of the Ear (2) were indeed a little loose. This time, no more fear of seeing the packaging accidentally open in your bag, everything holds well! Same thing for the headphones, also well magnetized in their alcove. A good point.

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The headphones differ very little from the Ear (2) visually. Slightly heavier (4.6 grams), they still sport that long transparent stem in which we can see pieces of cleverly arranged components as well as the three microphones. It’s original, well thought out, and let’s say it, pretty to the eye.

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The in-ear part ends with a silicone tip that can be changed (three sizes are available in the box). Since Nothing does nothing like everyone else, we don’t have no L and R indications to know which ear to put them in, but a color code (red for right, white for left). A little confusing when you’re not used to it, but you get used to it quickly. Another strong aesthetic choice that distinguishes the British brand’s products from the competition.

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The Nothing Ear therefore takes up what made the previous models successful, by adjusting a couple of little things here and there. A recipe that works and makes these headphones unique on the market. One thing is certain, they are recognizable at first glance. The only pitfall of this design is that it ages quite poorly, with the plastic being prone to scratches. This is evidenced by our Ear (2) which we have used daily since 2023.

Also read – Nothing Ear 2 review: a fantastic design that hides major weaknesses

Very comfortable headphones

The Nothing Ears are extremely pleasant on a daily basis. Maintenance is guaranteed (provided you have chosen the right tip) even in difficult conditions, such as running or traveling on the Paris metro. Even more, they are IP55 certified, which makes them usable for running in the rain.

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In addition to excellent support, Ears offer optimal comfort. Once placed in our ears we no longer feel them. The application allows them to correctly adjust their positioning, which can reassure many people. Putting them on is a pleasure, just like putting them in their box. Well magnetized, they quickly find their niche, which is practical when you want to store them in the street.

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One of the big flaws of the Ear (2) was the inclusion of a press control system on the stems. In practical terms, this means that you don’t just have to touch the earpiece to pause a song or answer a call, but squeeze the tube with two fingers. Unfortunately, the Ear take over this system. The good news is that Nothing has made a big effort on the subject.

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From now on, pressures are better recognized. No more having to do it six times for an operation. It’s still not the most intuitive system in our opinion (we still have a few hiccups and prefer that good old touch control), but it no longer makes us want to throw our headphones out the window. Obviously, all the operations are customizable via the Nothing

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Finally, let us point out that the Ear integrates the dual Bluetooth connection. It is thus possible to pair your headphones to your smartphone, but also to your PC and then to juggle from one to the other. Useful when you listen to music on the computer and receive a call.

Quality sound

Now it’s time to talk about the heart of Nothing Ear: sound. The headphones feature 11mm dynamic drivers as well as a new ceramic diaphragm. Their advantage is to have active noise reduction (ANC), up to 45 decibels. On paper, it’s attractive, especially at this price.

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Active noise reduction shows its effectiveness once the music starts; we are perfectly isolated from the outside world. Currently, yours truly is writing with headphones on in a noisy open space. Even without music, only a distant, muffled background noise is heard (with the reduction at maximum). Nothing’s ANC has the advantage of being adjustable if you don’t want to be completely out of the world. Even more, an adaptive mode allows you to dynamically adjust this aspect, with the ANC becoming more present when noise surrounds us. Smart and efficient.

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An “surrounding noise” mode is obviously available, which allows you to keep an ear around you. Concretely, the microphones capture the sound and transcribe it into the headphones. If this mode does its job with voices, its weakness remains other noises. For example, the motors remain almost inaudible with a little music in the ears. For walking in the street, it’s not ideal! Damage. On this point, the competition, like Samsung, does better. Much better.

Also read – Sony WF-1000XM5 test: the new benchmark for TWS headphones

Regarding the sound itself, it turns out to be balanced and pleasant for all types of music. We particularly appreciate the aggressiveness of the bass (which can be activated in the application), which is quite impressive, especially in metal or electro songs. The distortion is definitely present at high volume, but much less than on the Ear 2. In short, the small problems that existed have been corrected. If we are not at the quality level of Galaxy Buds Pro 2 or Airpods Pro, the Ears remain a quality product.

A software part that allows very advanced customization

The Nothing X application is back to manage the British brand’s headphones. We thus find the simple but complete interface that we already had with previous models. You can personalize the press touch, active noise reduction but also reinforce the bass for a result mentioned above.

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Of course, the equalizer is back, with a simple diagram that even those who are not familiar with the mysteries of sound can understand. With these Ear, Nothing introduces an advanced equalizer, much more precise. In fact, you can fully personalize your headphones by frequency and save profiles. Even more, it is possible to share and download other users’ preferences. If you are not very comfortable with these settings, adopt those of the experts! A great idea. In short, an application that is still as pleasant as ever and which gains in depth over time.

Also read – Nothing Phone 2 review: a phone full of bright ideas

Improved autonomy

One of the big downsides of Nothing Ear (2) was their poor autonomy. Nothing promises to correct this problem with the Ear, even announcing a 40% improvement. Promise kept. Indeed, during our tests, we found that the headphones could last up to 9 hours without ANC thanks to their 46 mAh battery, for a total of 40 hours with the case (500 mAh). For listening with ANC, autonomy is necessarily reduced. The product still lasts a little over 5 hours before needing to be put back into the case, for a total of 25 hours. It’s good !

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Note that we obtained these results with the ANC placed on average. By using it to the maximum and boosting the bass, we lose about an hour, or four hours of non-stop listening. It’s correct. They are not the best on the market in this segment, but Nothing did a good job.

So, should we buy?

The Ear are the best headphones in Nothing’s history. We were largely disappointed by (2) because of their too many defects, and we are satisfied to see that these have been corrected with this version. Of course, there are still some errors, such as a press touch that is not necessarily intuitive or a surrounding sound mode that could be improved, but overall, the rendered copy is good. Even more, Nothing offers quality sound, which is the most important thing.

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In fact, the Nothing Ear are today the best headphones in their price segment (150 euros). A product that is not only pleasant, but also has the merit of displaying a design that is off the beaten track. A success.

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