If you are reading this post, then chances are there that you are also in the Nothing Ear 1 hype. Carl Pei is using the same old technique that he used back in the OnePlus launch — creating the hype and launching the product.
The question now is whether the Nothing Ear 1 will live up to the hype it is creating? That is what we are going to see in this post.
To make things easier, this post will be segmented into design, sound & call quality, fit, and features.
Wireless earphones are a lucrative business. Apple is making billions of dollars with their AirPods alone (thanks to the clever idea of removing the headphone jacks in iPhones). The market is highly saturated, and Nothing Ear 1 has to find a way to make a head-turning design.
The result is a transparent stem and white earpiece design. To my liking, the design is a little polarizing, but it is far better than the initial full transparent design.
Making a transparent wireless earphone isn’t an easy job. The earphones may look beautiful on the outside, but there are lots of wires and glues on the inside that won’t create a visually appealing look.
Nothing Ear 1 engineers did a wonderful job in making the stem part clean. All you can see is a clean black stem and a printed “Nothing” tag. Below you can see the transparent image of both Airpods Pro & the Nothing Ear 1; clearly, Nothing engineers have done an extraordinary job.
Using a transparent design for the earbuds is good, but using the same for the case isn’t a good idea. My AirPods case has lots of scratches on it. Due to Airpods opaque white color scratches aren’t very evident, at least from a certain distance. Imagining the same scratches on Nothing Ear 1’s case leaves me wondering.
Sound & Call Quality
Let’s make one thing clear. Nothing Ear 1 is a $99 headphones, so we can’t compare them straight away with Airpods Pro, Samsung galaxy buds pro, or even the latest Beats Studio Buds.
For $99 headphones, the Nothing Ear 1 produces a pretty decent sound quality. Thanks to the 11.6mm drivers on it. If you are wondering, Airpods Pro has an 11mm driver unit. Samsung Buds Pro has two drivers per earbud — one 11mm driver and one 6.5mm driver unit.
Because of the slightly bigger driver unit, you might feel you hear the music a little closer when compared to the AirPods Pro. The only problem is the driver can’t isolate some notes and instruments properly. I am nitpicking here; normal users won’t notice that easily. Maybe the quality will be improved in the next iteration.
Call quality – The call quality is good. If you are someone who takes lots of calls on the go, then the person on the other side might experience voice echoing.
ANC & Battery
The ANC on the Nothing Ear 1 is surprisingly good when compared to other $100 earphones in the market. Nothing Ear 1’s ANC can block small noises, but when it comes to noises like a train, drilling, and other such heavy decibel noises, Nothing Ear 1 will leave some noises through.
Actually, there are two noise cancellation modes — low and high. If you really want to block the outside noise and concentrate on the music, I would suggest you use the High.
The transparency mode is decent, not great. Nothing Ear 1 earbuds have a small cutout at the top so that you don’t experience a muffled speaking experience that you would have experienced in other in-ear earbuds like Beats Studio and other Sony wireless earphones.
Because of the transparent design and the lightweight nature of the earbuds, the battery life is short. With ANC On, you will get 4 hours of listening time, and with ANC Off, you will get 5+ hours of listening time.
When it comes to fit, Nothing Ear 1 is the best, period. You won’t even notice that you are wearing it for a longer period of time.
Each earbud weighs 4.7gms. If you are someone who likes to put on earbuds for a longer period of time, the lightweight will definitely impress you. The downside of the lightweight design is less battery, and sometimes you can feel the earbuds moving when you walk faster or when you are running.
Nothing Ear 1 has all the basic features that you would normally expect in a modern true wireless earphone.
- Gesture Support – you can swipe up and down to control the volume. Triple tap to skip the music. Long hold on/off the ANC. One feature which I wish this one has was the gesture option to trigger the smart assistant.
- Automatic play and pause when you take your earbuds from your ears.
- An app for both iOS and Android to control the earbuds. To be frank, the app has very little to offer. You don’t get an actual EQ adjuster; instead, you get a pre-made audio profile. You can map the gestures, and last but not least, you have “find your earphone” options to easily find the earbuds if you happen to misplace them.
- Nothing Ear 1 is IPX4 Splash Proof. So you don’t have to worry if your earbuds got wet a little in your workout or in the drizzle.
Should You Buy One?
Yes, of course. If you are in the market for a budget true wireless earphone, you should shortlist this one. Don’t see this product as some revolution from the hype they are creating. See this product as a regular $99 wireless earphone; then, you will be amazed by the quality it is offering. So, do you buy one? Share your thoughts below.