Nothing Ear (2) review

Nothing Ear (2) review

The Nothing Ear (2) is its “first ever second technology product,” the corporate says, which is unquestionably one of many statements ever made. The brand new mannequin encompasses a vary of enhancements however focuses probably the most on enhancing the sound high quality over its predecessor. At $149, the Ear (2) prices the identical as the present value of the Ear (1), which initially launched at $99. There’s quite a bit to speak about so let’s simply get proper into it.


The design of the Ear (2) has seen some modifications, largely across the case. The brand new case is smaller in each dimension however you possibly can solely actually inform the distinction when you have it apart from the outdated one.

Nothing Ear (2) review

The brand new case has extra angled edges in comparison with the curves of its predecessor. The lid has the same look however the giant dimple within the center that held the earbuds in place has been made smaller.

The underside of the case seems to be as in the event that they eliminated its cowl. The Ear (1) case had a backside cowl that encased all of the opaque plastics inside however the Ear (2) case leaves the white plastic bits hanging exterior and you may even really feel the curve of the receptacles for the earbuds. The dearth of shiny plastics on the underside ought to scale back the looks of scratches, which was a difficulty with the earlier case.

Nothing Ear (2) review

Talking of the white plastics, they now not have the dimpled end of their predecessor, as a substitute having a plain white texture that you would be able to truly contact this time since they’re now not coated by clear plastic. How lengthy they continue to be white when in contact with the surface world stays to be seen.

There’s something in regards to the design of the Ear (2) case that makes it appear and feel like a downgrade. It looks like they eliminated chunks of clear plastic from in every single place and made the opaque plastic blander and featureless to avoid wasting on prices. The brand new lid with its smaller hinge additionally had much more side-to-side motion than my two-year-old Ear (1) fashions. The Ear (1) case lid additionally had a way more satisfying thump when closed whereas the Ear (2) lid at all times closes with a clank.

Nothing Ear (2) review

The brand new design can also be extra visually uniform and never in a great way. The Ear (1) case had a smaller magnet and a wider hinge that made it simple to inform one aspect from the opposite. The Ear (2) has a hinge and magnet design that appears very comparable in form and measurement and it’s genuinely exhausting to inform which approach it opens with out paying full consideration each time.

Nothing Ear (2) review

The precise earbuds are similar to their predecessors. The one seen distinction is the change to pressure-sensitive buttons as a substitute of a touch-sensitive space on the aspect for gestures.

Each the case and the earbuds are waterproof. The case is rated IP55 and the earbuds at IP54. That is an enchancment over the earlier mannequin, which solely carried an IPX4 score for the earbuds.

Nothing Ear (2) review

Total, the Ear (2) looks like a downgrade within the design division, which is odd contemplating it was probably the most universally praised side of the Ear (1). Whereas one might argue the unique mannequin was far too indulgent and probably wasteful with its use of plastic, it’s what gave it its distinctive design. The Ear (2) feels prefer it’s attempting to imitate that aesthetic with a 3rd of the price range and finally ends up feeling like a knockoff within the course of. It is nonetheless a really handsome and distinctive design simply not so good as the primary one.


The Ear (2) are a cushty pair of earbuds. The majority of the design sits inside your ears, leaving solely a small bit hanging exterior. The interior ear form is unobtrusive and the silicone ideas are comfortable and nice on the ear.

Nothing Ear (2) review

The problem is with the brand new pressure-sensitive gesture space on the earbuds. These work effectively when you find yourself deliberately utilizing them however are extraordinarily simple to press even when you find yourself simply grabbing the stem to drag them out of your ears. This occurred virtually each time I eliminated them because it takes no effort in any respect to activate the gesture.

Ultimately, I needed to resort to uncommon grips resembling holding the stem on the high and backside whereas pulling them out. This isn’t a secure technique to deal with the earbuds as the prospect of dropping them is way increased however I might moderately take that probability than press the button each single time I take away the earbuds.

Software program and options

The Ear (2) may be managed utilizing the Nothing X app for iOS and Android or by means of the Bluetooth settings on a Telephone (1). From right here, you possibly can change the ANC settings, the contact gestures, the audio results, in addition to entry options like low latency mode, personalised ANC and sound profile, and discover my earbuds.

Nothing X appNothing X appNothing X app
Nothing X app

The ANC has three handbook ranges of adjustment and a fourth adaptive setting, which adjusts on the fly on your environment. There’s additionally a personalised ANC choice, which runs a take a look at to regulate the ANC frequency response to your ears and present ambient situations. This take a look at can solely be run when there may be adequate ambient noise round you in any other case it simply will not allow you to.

The issue with personalised ANC, one thing I seen with the OnePlus Buds Professional 2 as effectively, is that the profile it generates is hyper-specific to your present ambient noise sample. This may produce good outcomes if you’re, say, in an airplane and the ambient noise sample could be very constant. Nevertheless, if the noise varies quite a bit then chances are you’ll not get good outcomes. Additionally, attempting to make use of a profile generated in a single surroundings elsewhere may produce worse outcomes. In these circumstances, it’s higher to only disable personalised ANC and use the usual one.

ANC settingsANC settingsANC settingsANC settings
ANC settings

The app additionally affords an ear tip match take a look at. Within the earlier firmware, the take a look at tone performed to verify this was equivalent to the one you discover on OnePlus and Oppo earbuds. A later replace to the earbuds modified this to a special tone however contemplating the historical past between the aforementioned manufacturers and Nothing’s founder I believed the state of affairs was fairly amusing.

The Ear (2) additionally affords a customized EQ within the app, one thing the Ear (1) lacks to at the present time. It is not a lot; you get a 3-band adjustment specified by a nonsensical round sample nevertheless it’s higher than simply the 4 presets that the Ear (1) had.

EQ and sound personalizationEQ and sound personalizationEQ and sound personalizationEQ and sound personalizationEQ and sound personalizationEQ and sound personalizationEQ and sound personalizationEQ and sound personalizationEQ and sound personalizationEQ and sound personalization
EQ and sound personalization

The Ear (2) additionally allows you to dial in a personalised sound profile. The take a look at process to calibrate this differs a bit from what we’ve seen from different manufacturers. You first need to set a stage for a white noise pattern, which will likely be performed within the background. As soon as achieved, every earbud will play a take a look at tone that regularly reduces in quantity, and the purpose the place you cease listening to it establishes the extent for that frequency.

This course of was extra disagreeable than I anticipated. Having the comparatively loud white noise pattern always play in one among your ears is not enjoyable and the take a look at can take fairly some time to complete. I might not blame anybody for getting impatient and canceling the take a look at halfway.

Lastly, you can even change the choices for the pinch gestures. You possibly can set completely different choices for the left and proper earbuds however you get the identical set of choices to select from for each. Not all choices can be found for all gestures and the one pinch gesture can’t be modified in any respect. This makes the aforementioned concern of unintended presses particularly annoying since you possibly can’t even disable the one press gesture like you possibly can on another earbuds.

Nothing Ear (2) review

The Ear (2) had minor bugs throughout testing. The ear detection usually stopped working and the earbuds wouldn’t react to being faraway from the ear. This implies there was no automated pausing and the sound would simply hold enjoying. This might often solely occur to only one earbud at a time, so if you happen to pulled out the opposite then the audio would pause as meant. Placing the earbuds again within the case would make them work usually once more.

Whereas not a bug, I additionally needed to notice the amount of the assorted alerts on the earbuds. The sound the earbuds make when inserted into your ears may be fairly loud at occasions. Equally, the noise for low battery alert can also be loud and startled me each time. There are zero causes for these alerts to be as loud and annoying as they at present are.


All observations on this assessment are with the firmware model, which was the most recent accessible on the time of testing.

Audio high quality

The Nothing Ear (2) makes use of up to date drivers over the earlier mannequin. They’ve the identical 11.6mm dynamic design however the diaphragm has been up to date with a brand new materials that makes use of graphene and polyurethane. The inside of the earbuds has additionally been up to date with a brand new dual-chamber design. The earbuds additionally assist LHDC 5.0 (often known as LHDC-V) along with SBC and AAC. Though nonetheless a lossy codec, LHDC 5.0 now helps as much as 192kHz sampling charges and as much as 1Mbps bitrate.

Earlier than stepping into the sound, I wish to point out that there was audible high-frequency distortion when utilizing LHDC 5.0 on the default configuration with our Nothing Telephone (1) assessment unit. This may very well be solved by altering the bitrate values however that induced different issues, that are mentioned within the Connectivity part. A lot of the audio testing was achieved with LHDC 3.0 as a substitute together with SBC and AAC.

Nothing Ear (2) review

The Ear (2) is a good-sounding pair of earbuds that’s notably improved over its predecessor. It has the identical type of v-shaped tuning however nonetheless comes throughout as sounding remarkably higher in lots of areas.

The low-end nonetheless has a bass increase shelf utilized nevertheless it appears to cease decrease down within the frequency vary than earlier than making it extra localized to the decrease bass areas. The bass additionally has much less bloat than earlier than and has a a lot quicker assault and decay that sounds punchier and extra exact. It is one of many extra pleasurable bass tunings I’ve heard on this phase and by no means feels bloated or overwhelming.

The mid-range additionally reveals appreciable enchancment on the Ear (2). The Ear (1) had a considerably congested, fuzzier-sounding mid-range that simply served to prop up the bass and treble areas. The mid-range on the Ear (2) sounds far more fleshed in and out sync with the remainder of the frequency spectrum. There’s a a lot larger sense of element and separation right here that was lacking earlier than.

Having stated that, the mid-range on the Ear (2) remains to be not good. There’s a dip within the mids that causes sure male vocals to lose all presence and authority within the combine. This doesn’t have an effect on deeper male vocals or feminine vocals because the dip is pretty slender band in nature.

Sadly, the treble area stays a degree of rivalry for the Ear (2). That is now the third Nothing audio product in a row the place the treble is simply approach too sizzling. This is not at all times a priority because it helps deliver out the air frequencies and element within the devices and feminine vocals on a number of the tracks. Then on the very subsequent monitor, a cymbal hit or a higher-pitched feminine voice will shred by means of your ears.

It is not simply the excessive treble that is sizzling. The higher midrange can also be barely accentuated, which might trigger feminine vocals to be ahead and male vocals to have a nasal timbre. Popping out of a dip within the decrease mids, this accentuated area is especially audible on sure mixes.

Nothing Ear (2) review

Sadly, there may be little you are able to do with the EQ to repair this. The three bands of adjustment provided right here give little or no room to dial in exact adjustment. Furthermore, making bigger modifications to the EQ causes the sound to vary considerably throughout the spectrum. The general sound is noticeably quieter whenever you enhance any of the three bands and the main focus appears to shift to no matter band you’re adjusting. As a substitute of simply making the actual band louder, the remainder of the sound additionally will get inexplicably quieter.

The identical factor occurs whenever you allow the private sound profile. More often than not the customized profile would have added EQ increase throughout sure frequency ranges (often excessive frequencies) to compensate on your listening to loss and this as soon as once more causes the remainder of the spectrum to get quieter when enabled. This made the characteristic considerably pointless as I could not inform if the personalization algorithm took into consideration the sound altering internally whereas additionally accounting for my listening to.

Leaving apart EQ shenanigans and the often murderous treble, the Ear (2) can usually be genuinely participating and pleasurable to hearken to. The drivers are clearly of a better high quality this time round and it comes by means of within the sound. The sound can also be decently spacious with a very good sense of imaging and positioning across the area. The tasteful bass tuning additionally helps elevate the sound above most different choices on this phase. I simply want Nothing would recover from its obsession with ear-piercing treble or not less than provide customers a extra elaborate customized EQ.


The microphone efficiency was common. The voice sounds pure however the aggressive background noise cancellation algorithm cuts in too usually even in quiet environment and causes dips in your voice while you’re talking. If they might simply flip down the noise cancellation a bit then the voices might sound a lot clearer.

Noise cancellation

The Ear (2) has common noise canceling efficiency that sadly has a couple of points.

For no matter purpose, the ANC retains fluctuating in effectiveness, which is extraordinarily noticeable if you do not have something enjoying. Even when manually set to the Excessive setting, the ANC retains adjusting its ranges each few seconds in a really apparent method. It would not even look like it is adjusting to the environment however moderately in a random sample. One second it appears to be working effective, the subsequent all of the sudden there’s much more low-frequency noise being let in. That is extra noticeable when outdoor nevertheless it additionally occurs in quieter locations. You simply are much less prone to discover it there, particularly with music enjoying.

Nothing Ear (2) review

As talked about earlier than, the personalised ANC can also be not the silver bullet it’d look like. The tuning it generates is particularly on your present ambient noise ranges, which does not present good ends in different environments. In truth, in lots of conditions, the overall ANC simply supplied higher outcomes even after a number of handbook personalised ANC calibration exams. I might nonetheless advocate utilizing it when you find yourself on a aircraft so it units itself to that noise stage however then additionally attempt switching it off to see if issues are higher or worse.

Even at its finest, the ANC is a stable stage 3, if the most effective ANC at present accessible on TWS is a stage 5. That is an enchancment over the Ear (1), which was barely a stage 2 however nonetheless not fairly pretty much as good as a number of the finest we’ve seen, such because the Sony LinkBuds S. It does an okay job of low frequencies however mid and excessive frequencies aren’t as effectively attenuated. Even sitting right here proper now as I kind this, I can simply hear the AC working behind me over the music. If I used to be utilizing the LinkBuds S proper now I might neglect the AC was even on.

The transparency mode can also be simply okay. It sounds a bit muffled however remains to be usable total.


The Ear (2) has poor latency efficiency. With out the low lag choice within the Nothing X app, the default latency is terrible, clocking in at round 300ms. This makes it unusable with units that do not assist the Nothing X app, resembling computer systems or media gamers.

With the low lag choice enabled, the latency remains to be a bit poor however must be satisfactory for informal gaming or apps that allow you to play devices, for instance.

Even when simply watching movies on the cellphone the latency is noticeable. That is often a non-issue as telephones will robotically sync the video to regulate for the audio delay however the delay on the Ear (2) is so nice by default that the sync remains to be imperfect. Even for video, I might advocate enabling the low lag mode to get good synchronization.


The Ear (2) had a wide range of connectivity points throughout testing. For one, LHDC 5.0 merely doesn’t work as meant. Setting it to the total 1Mbps bitrate on the Nothing Telephone (1) causes it to begin stuttering after a couple of seconds and turn into unusable. Even 900kbps is unusable. It is solely whenever you go all the way in which right down to 500kbps does it work considerably stably. All of those observations are with the cellphone lower than an arm’s size away on a desk whereas sitting nonetheless. Issues could be a lot worse if the cellphone was in a bag or pocket.

LHDC 5.0 settings on the Nothing Phone (1)LHDC 5.0 settings on the Nothing Phone (1)LHDC 5.0 settings on the Nothing Phone (1)LHDC 5.0 settings on the Nothing Phone (1)
LHDC 5.0 settings on the Nothing Telephone (1)

Because the testing for LHDC 5.0 was achieved fully with the Nothing Telephone (1) it was not possible to isolate the problems to only the earbuds, the cellphone, or each. Both approach, they each belong to the identical firm, so now it is on them to determine the place the difficulty lies.

As talked about within the audio high quality part, there was additionally distortion when utilizing LHDC 5.0. This one way or the other solely manifested at 500kbps and decrease bitrates, which as talked about above are the one usable ones. You possibly can go increased, at which level the distortion stops however then the audio begins stuttering.

These points rendered LHDC 5.0 fully unusable on our assessment unit. Dropping right down to LHDC 3.0, which was the subsequent accessible choice on the Telephone (1) solved the distortion concern however I might nonetheless run into audio stuttering if I acquired too bold with the bitrate.

I additionally had a tough time getting LHDC to work in any respect with some non-Nothing telephones. It labored effective with Xiaomi telephones however would not work on OnePlus telephones with Qualcomm chipsets. On OnePlus telephones with MediaTek chipsets, the Bluetooth menu would say it was utilizing LHDC however the developer settings confirmed it was truly simply AAC except you switched manually.

As for SBC and AAC, there have been no noticed points as each labored flawlessly. That is simply as effectively since on most telephones you can be caught utilizing both of those codecs, as LHDC remains to be a little bit of a rarity exterior of a handful of manufacturers. I am probably not positive why Nothing would select LHDC over the ever-present LDAC, particularly with the vary of points their LHDC implementation has. LDAC has been far more dependable in my expertise and is supported by mainly each Android cellphone available on the market in the present day because it’s constructed proper into the OS.

Luckily, each AAC and SBC sound simply effective, so that you need not have FOMO in case your gadget doesn’t assist LHDC.

Dual connection
Twin connection

The Ear (2) does assist connecting to 2 units on the similar time. This can be a pretty simple factor to do and the earbuds can use LHDC with each paired units, ought to they assist it. It additionally labored effectively besides that one time when one of many paired units might solely hook up with one of many earbuds whereas the opposite was linked to each however as with different bugs this was fastened by placing the earbuds within the case and attempting once more.


The Ear (2) have a rated battery of 6.3 hours with ANC off and 4 hours with ANC on. I couldn’t take a look at ANC-on efficiency because the ANC is barely lively when the earbuds detect being positioned in your ears, which implies it can’t be activated because the earphones aren’t worn in the course of the battery take a look at run.

So for the ANC off outcomes, I examined with LHDC and AAC. The AAC run supplied a battery lifetime of 5.7 hours, which is shut sufficient to the 6.3 hours determine that Nothing supplied to make it clear it was examined with both AAC or SBC. Nevertheless, the LHDC take a look at ran for simply 4 hours, which is approach off and simply inadequate typically. And simply to reiterate, that is with the ANC off.

Nothing Ear (2) review

So if you happen to used the Ear (2) as meant, with LHDC and ANC, you’re looking at 2-3 hours of battery life, which is fairly horrible for a pair of contemporary earbuds.

Our assessment unit additionally had a big discrepancy between the 2 earbuds with the left one having a a lot worse battery life. To provide the product the advantage of the doubt, the figures above are from the suitable unit which lasted longer. The left one often was useless a very good hour early.


Originally of the assessment, I stated the main focus with the Ear (2) was on enhancing the audio high quality, and that was just about what I noticed. The audio high quality is certainly higher on the Ear (2) in comparison with the earlier mannequin. In truth, it is likely one of the best-sounding wi-fi earbuds in its value vary, regardless of its points with the treble being a bit too vivid.

Except for that, the Ear (2) is disappointing for a sequel. The design, which everybody and their chihuahua raved about final time, feels stripped down and downgraded. The Nothing X app remains to be restricted by way of customizability and the software program can nonetheless be buggy at occasions. Battery life can also be fairly unhealthy, as is the latency efficiency. Issues additionally simply do not work as anticipated; the ANC has points as does the flowery new LHDC 5.0 codec.

Nothing Ear (2) review

There’s plenty of room right here for enchancment and it may be achieved by means of updates. The Ear (1) additionally had a rocky begin however they did handle to get it working effectively finally. I am positive the Ear (2) will likely be effective in some unspecified time in the future however we don’t assessment on the idea of future potential and proper now the Ear (2) just isn’t a product we are able to advocate.


  • Nonetheless has a particular design
  • Good total audio high quality
  • Comfy
  • Twin connection assist
  • IP score for case and earbuds


  • Harsh treble tuning
  • Inconsistent ANC efficiency
  • LHDC 5.0 implementation has many points
  • Pinch gestures are approach too delicate
  • Poor battery life
  • Subpar latency for gaming
  • Nothing X app affords restricted customizability
  • Case seems to be and feels worse than the Ear (1)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here