- Nothing Ear 1 is the first product from the new venture from the OnePlus co-founder, Carl Pei.
- The TWS comes with an interesting design and an impressive list of specs at an attractive price.
- If you are looking to buy Nothing Ear 1, and have some unanswered questions, we have listed down everything in one place.
Carl Pei, who co-founded (and eventually exited) OnePlus is no stranger to hype. His latest venture, Nothing, released its first-ever product, the Nothing Ear 1, in July this year amidst a lot of hype and fanfare. This TWS got some good reviews including a generous 4 out of 5 from us at TechPP. Mind you, the hype isn’t always bad.
Nothing Ear 1 FAQ
Now that we have used the earbuds for close to a month, we thought the time is ripe to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the Nothing Ear 1.
Who is Nothing?
Nothing is a new London-based consumer technology company owned by Carl Pei and has Teenage Engineering as its founding partners. It is backed by some popular names such as iPod inventor Tony Fadell, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, Product Hunt CEO Josh Buckley, and YouTuber Casey Neistat.
What are the Nothing Ear 1 specs?
The TWS earbuds are equipped with 11.6 mm dynamic drivers, which are larger than those found on most TWS earbuds available on the market. It comes with ANC (Active Noise Cancellation), Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water and sweat resistance, and fast pairing for compatible Android devices. It also has smaller conveniences like in-ear detection.
What’s special about Nothing Ear 1?
“Form over function”. That’s something you will see right from the packaging to the product design to everything else when it comes to Ear 1. Considering it’s the first-ever product from the company, Nothing has tried hard to make it stand out from a lot of similar-looking AirPods clones. Transparent Plastic is the theme you will find throughout – from the case to the buds themselves. Whether they look good or not is going to be a matter of opinion, but they do stand out.
The bud for the right side has a red dot, obviously to help people see that it’s the “right” one. And the one on the left has a white dot. That adds a bit more to the design aura of the buds. So does the recessed, thumb-like embossing on the case, which is a nice touch as well.
How’s the case and is it prone to scratches?
The case of the Nothing Ear 1 is rather square and semi-transparent, which is precisely why it attracts attention. It does seem a bit fragile, though, especially compared to the hard, thick plastic cases we’ve seen on other TWSs. The case popped when dropped, although it was completely undamaged, which might worry some people. The case supports both fast and wireless charging.
As for scratches: Yes, it’s true that the transparent plastic case is prone to scratches. You’re expected to be a bit more careful with it compared to other cases. Remember the “form before function” mantra we mentioned earlier?
Do they have active noise-cancelling?
Yes! It’s rare to find ANC on earbuds in this price range. And even those who claim to have ANC are mostly sham. But the good thing is, ANC on Nothing Ear 1 actually works. It comes with two levels of ANC – light and maximum. You can tweak them further using the app.
How’s the ANC on Nothing Ear 1?
The ANC works reasonably well at maximum settings in areas like cafes but is not super effective in more noisy surroundings – the snug fit at times seems to do a better job of keeping sound out. Having said that, it is definitely far more effective than what we have seen at this price point, where ANC is often just a token and an initial on a spec sheet. Just don’t compare it to much pricier options like the AirPods Pro.
How’s the fit and comfort?
The Nothing Ear 1 aren’t only one of the most eye-catching earbuds, but also one of the lightest earbuds out there. They weigh less than 5 grams and you get two other ear tip sizes in the box – the Buds come with “medium” size plugs and the box includes “small” and “large” options. The buds fit our ears quite well and although they fell out once or twice, they felt snug even during runs or while eating.
How to use and control the Nothing Ear 1?
Nothing has kept the usage of Ear 1 pretty simple. To connect, simply flip open the case and press a button on the side (right next to the USB Type-C port for charging). You can control the TWS using an iOS or Android app, but you can also use your phone’s Bluetooth settings directly. You should use the app, though, since it lets you update the firmware and change the ANC level as well as use the equalizer built-in. Moreover, the layout of the app is solid and clear, without the clutter of other apps.
The audio controls on them are a mix of tap and slides. There’s a touch panel on each device and sliding your finger up or down increases or decreases the volume. Tapping three times takes you to the next track, tapping twice pauses the sound (or answers or disconnects a call), and tapping and long pressing activate active noise cancelation or transparency mode. These settings can be adjusted in the app if you like. You can even disable the taps altogether.
What Bluetooth codecs are supported?
Here comes the slightly disappointing aspect of Nothing Ear 1. The codecs on offer are just SBC and AAC. And before you ask, there is no support for Qualcomm’s AptX or LDAC.
How’s the audio performance on Nothing Ear 1?
The sound on Ear 1 is very impressive. To quote from our review,
Unlike many other TWS in this segment, Nothing has opted to avoid a bass-heavy signature and instead go for a more balanced sound. You can tweak the equalizer in the app to increase stress on bass, treble, or vocals, but we would suggest sticking with the basic audio signature. The 11.6 mm drivers deliver an impressive volume, but what is most striking is the clarity of the sound you get. Whether it is classic rock, underground techno, folk, or even good old Bollywood dhinchak beats, your listening experience is going to be an enjoyable one. Just do not expect rumbling bass or sharp trebles – these were built for clarity. The vocals almost always shine through without getting crowded out.
How’s the call quality on Nothing Ear 1?
This is probably the most underrated and undersold feature of Nothing Ear 1. We’d put them on par with TWS, which are twice as expensive when it comes to call quality. They’re great at handling calls as long as you can avoid the case triggering accidental connections. If you value making calls, these are among your best bets out there.
How’s the latency performance?
The Ear 1 have good latency performance for video. Although there is a very slight delay between audio and video, it is barely noticeable. However, this wasn’t the case for gaming, as the latency was significant on both iOS and Android.
Are Nothing Ear 1 water resistant?
Yes, the Nothing Ear 1 are IPX4 rated water and sweat resistant which is pretty good considering the price it’s sold at.
How to find the lost Nothing Ear 1 earbud?
The Nothing app (both iOS and Android) comes with the Find My Earbud feature, which plays a loud sound over the speakers to help locate them. Handy, indeed.
Do Nothing Ear 1 support multi-device pairing?
Unfortunately, no. There is no multi-device pairing (multi-point connection) feature on the Nothing Ear 1 TWS.
Do they have Google Fast Pair support?
Yes, Nothing Ear 1 can pair instantly with Google Pair compatible devices. Just open the case, hit Pair, and enjoy.
How is the battery life on Nothing Ear 1?
With the ANC enabled, the Nothing Ear 1 has an estimated battery life of 4 hours but with it disabled the battery life is 5.7 hours. The case is supposed to deliver about 6 recharges, so basically, a single charge to the case should take you through a week. Very handy indeed. Fast and Wireless charging are just the bonus.
What’s the price of Nothing Ear 1 in the US, UK, India, and other countries?
Compared to other ear devices, the Nothing Ear 1 is exceptionally affordable at $99 in the US, €99 in Europe, £99 in the UK, and Rs 5,999 in India. Indian prices are the cheapest in the world and are particularly good.