The first reviews of Nothing's ear (1) earbuds are here, and we've no idea what to make of any of them.
Sporting many of the features of Apple's AirPods Pro, the best true wireless earbuds around, yet for a fraction of the price, Nothing's distinctive transparent design and $99 price tag have been turning many heads since they were announced. So what do reviewers make of them? Well, it really depends who you ask... Here's a round-up of some of the best so far:
The Nothing ear (1) combine outstanding sound quality with a fun see-through design that makes them stand out. They do a great job reducing background noise, and feature Qi wireless charging as well as an IPX4 rating for workouts. There are a few downsides: you won't find AptX HD, the battery life isn't on par with rivals, and there's no assistant integration, but as an overall value, the ear (1) get a lot right.
From my perspective though, the Nothing Ear 1 buds offer excellent sound quality, particularly when you bear in mind the reasonably affordable price tag.
The active noise cancelling did a good job of keeping out much of the ambient noise around me when I was in my office and I found that sitting with them in, but without anything playing, offered a peaceful way of working, despite the raucous seagulls that hang out on my roof and never shut the hell up.
The Ear (1) are a decent sounding pair of $99 headphones. I won't say I was blown away, but I don't think anyone is going to be disappointed that they don't really go head-to-head with, say, the Sony WF-1000xM4 or even the new NuraTrue. These aren't audiophile headphones, but they're very much suitable for walking around the city, listening to music and podcasts.
The Ear (1) sounds better than the average entry-level buds, while having an awful lot more features, and is drastically more affordable than its noise-cancelling peers. The short battery life and loose fit mean we'd like a refined follow-up even more, but right now the Nothing Ear (1) is still one of the best deals in headphones.
It's rare to find a pair of earbuds as accomplised as the Nothing Ear 1 in the affordable market segment. They look unique, sound great, and are reliable enough to use day-in day-out.
The Nothing Ear (1) don't quite live up to the hype, with an underwhelming sound and poor noise cancellation. They are very comfortable, though, and some will love the transparent design enough to take a risk on the first true wireless earbuds from Nothing.
In terms of sound, the Ear 1s and their 11.6-millimeter drivers don't pull off any huge upsets against more premium competition. But they also don't sound bad or "budget." They've just got some weaknesses that earbud enthusiasts will pick up on.
As a result, the Nothing Ear 1 are – by far – the best value true wireless earbud currently available. They sound great, look awesome and work flawlessly. Noise cancellation is superb, and the fit secure. The Pros sound better though. £100 better? Maybe, but in truth, if audio fidelity is your main purchasing driver, we suggest you look elsewhere entirely.
It seems like Nothing's new Ear 1 buds offer a pretty decent sound experience for just $99, but not everyone is sold. As our friends at Techradar noted, they thought Ear 1 shipped with "tinny, quiet sound" and poor noise cancellation. Yet they come recommended by our other friends at Android Central as the "best-sounding wireless earbuds for $100". What do you make of the new buds from Nothing? Are you planning to get any? Let us know down in the comments!
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