Nothing Ear 2 Review: It all started with the Nothing ear(1), now with the ear(2) the successor in-ear of the new company of OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has appeared. Can you assert yourself with the new functions?
Nothing Ear 2 Review, Specs & Price
- Nothing ear(2)
- at Amazon for 145€ | Nothing for €149
- Specifications of the Nothing Ear (2)
|Surname||Nothing Ear (2)|
|driver||11.6mm dynamic driver|
|battery capacity||485 mAh in charging box; 33 mAh per earpieceWithout ANC: 6 hours of handset runtime, total 36 hours of runtimeANC: 4 hours of handset runtime, total 22.5 hours of runtime|
|Weight||4.5g per earpiece; with charging box 51.3 g|
|Dimensions||Earpiece: 29.4 x 21.5 x 23.5 mm in size; Case: 55.5 x 55.5 x 22mm|
|IP protection class||IP54 handset; IP55 case|
|audio codec||SBC, AAC, LHDC 5.0|
Scope Of Delivery
In addition to the headphones, the Ear(2) comes with two more pairs of ear pads that complete the S, M and L set. A USB-C charging cable and instructions are also included.
Design & Processing
Nothing attaches great importance to design and is now launching the third headphone with the transparent design. They are virtually indistinguishable from their predecessors, unless you look at the number printed on them. But you could shrink it a little, but that doesn’t make a huge difference.
Something has happened to the charging case for this. According to their own statement, a more robust plastic has been installed here. Therefore, the case should not scratch so much and be more resistant to yellowing. At the bottom of the case, the interior has now been left to protrude, which is why the bottom now sits on opaque plastic. This probably avoids scratches, which can also be seen on our Ear(1) model, for example.
In general, the Ear(2) looks like a new edition of a good concept in terms of design and workmanship.
The headphones are light and comfortable, while at the same time they fit well in the ears. I can wear them for hours without any problems, without noticing pressure points or similar disturbances.
But every ear is different and the only thing that usually helps here is to try it out yourself. There are earplugs in sizes S, M and L for adjustment.
Sound of the Nothing ear(2)
In terms of sound, the headphones deliver a solid sound image. Nothing is really disturbing, but you can’t really find a focus on anything either. You can tell that you have the typical tuning here, where the lows and highs have been raised , while the mids tend to get less attention. So you get a similar tuning here as with many headphones.
But the Nothing ear(2) are not a bass monster; whether you feel this now positively or negatively depends very much on your own taste. Whether it’s hip-hop, EDM or pop, you can hear just about anything with the ear(2). You don’t get any shrill hissing sounds in the highs, which is unfortunately the case with the top Soundcore models. But here it also depends on your own sensitivity; this quality bothers me a lot, while Tim has no problem with it.
But there is also an equalizer here, with which you can adjust the sound and adapt it to your own taste. For example, you can definitely tease out more bass here. You can have a personalized sound profile created via a test.
Active noise cancellation
Almost no wireless in-ear can do without ANC today and is a very important feature for many. That’s why the ear(2) also has active noise suppression. Disappointingly, this is one of the headphones’ greatest weaknesses. Even with personalization and maxed out, you only get suppression here, which is fine.
You can still see a bus engine or a circular saw from outside with the window open. Of course, the noise is muffled, but there are far better solutions that can be found in the $100+ range. Voices are not a strength either, you can still quite understand when people are talking around you.
In transparency mode you get a solid performance. Outside noise and voices are much more intelligible, but we’ve heard better results from models like the Galaxy Buds 2 here as well.
Headset / Microphone
The recording of the microphones is okay, one is understandable and also sounds relatively natural. Background noise could be filtered a little better, keyboard clicking and slight noise still make it into the recording.
One of the biggest innovations is the changed input method. While the ear(1) still uses touch surfaces on the listeners, the ear(2) uses push buttons , which are actuated by pinching the headphone trunk. It doesn’t matter whether you scratch your ear, lie on a pillow or wear a hat, there is no wrong input. The input is also reliable and can be carried out very intuitively.
You can set almost everything you need via the headphones. The single press is fixed to play/pause or answer/reject a call, but you can customize the rest within the app. Options include skip/skip back, adjust volume, turn on noise cancellation/transparency, and voice assistant. I also like the additional control method, where you press and hold twice, which is not assigned by default.
Connection & App
The Nothing ear(2) only supports Bluetooth 5.3. SBC, AAC and LHDC 5.0 are offered as codecs. The former is absolutely standard fare, while LHDC 5 is more exotic. You support this with your own Nothing phone(1) and otherwise you can find it at OPPO, Huawei and partly at Xiaomi. So you have a high-resolution codec with low latency there, but LDAC or aptX would be supported much more widely. The new LC3 codec is also missing , but it can still be delivered in an update.
But the bigger innovation is Multipoint, which allows you to be connected to your smartphone and laptop at the same time, for example. So you can listen to music on the notebook and when a call comes in, switch quickly. A super useful system that is now finally being installed more.
The battery life is a bit disappointing, which is really underwhelming at 4 hours with ANC switched on. Without active noise suppression, it is at least 6 hours, which some other headphones can also do with ANC. The dilemma reminds me a bit of Huawei and their FreeBuds 3. Good headphones that just don’t quite tick off the checklist simply because of their battery life. If you can improve here, maybe with slightly larger listeners, and could get to the 6 hours with ANC, you can become competitive here.
When it comes to charging, everything is done right here and offers both wired USB-C charging and wireless Qi charging.
The Nothing ear(2) are a good evolution of the company’s debut offering . You have the unique design again and have saved a little on the size. I like the change from touch keys to pressure control and it works very well. They don’t blow my mind when it comes to sound, but they deliver a good sound image, which suits the taste of the masses.
The customization options via the app are also exemplary and the dual connection with Multipoint is a welcome addition. With the LHDC, some people are offered another codec, even if it is not as widespread as aptX or LDAC. But there are also two clear areas where Nothing in an ear(3) should improve. The ANC is not great and the battery life is acceptable, but definitely below average.
- good sound
- Extensive app with many setting options
- Multipoint allows dual device connection
- High-resolution LHDC codec
- Active noise cancellation not too strong
- Battery life just about acceptable
The Nothing ear(1) originally appeared for €99, until the RRP was increased to €149 a few months later. Of course, the ear(2) now also start at €149, which puts you in the full shark tank of in-ear headphones. Sony, Soundcore, Huawei, Samsung and many more are in this area.
They don’t come close to the active noise suppression from Sony or Soundcore , and in terms of sound, you get more overall from Huawei. Ultimately, an RRP is often not the market price either, the ear(stick) started at €119 and are now available for ~€80 in some cases. With a price approaching $100, they are definitely more competitive and are sure to impress some with their unique design and feature set.