I Switched to the New Nothing Ear for a Week and Here’s What I Think

One of the biggest perks of being at the heart of the tech industry is that I get to try and use almost every audio accessory and wearable that arrives at the Beebom office. That makes my ears the perfect testbed to analyze the quality of such products. While I did review the Nothing Ear (a) last month, I never really could dig deeper into the top-of-the-line Nothing Ear. To change that, I decided to shift to it from my personal OnePlus Buds Z2 for a week. And, here are my honest thoughts.

Familiar Design, Incredible Fit

Nothing Ear vs Nothing Ear (2) design comparison
Nothing Ear (L) vs Nothing Ear 2 (R) Design

Right off the bat, if you have seen the Nothing Ear (2), you won’t see any difference in terms of design. The transparent case, the design of the earbud, and the crater on the case, are all too familiar. However, it’s when your ears embrace the earbuds that you realize there’s a lot more to it.

For starters, the latest Nothing Ear have a very impressive fit. Better than even the Sony WF-1000XM5s that I tested last year. I could wear them for hours on end without any issues. At one instance, I fell asleep listening to some music and woke up with both earbuds in my ears like nothing happened. You also get two extra L and S pairs of ear tips in the box, which is the norm.

Personalized Audio Experience for the Win!

Nothing Ear fitting in the ears

Moving on to the audio quality of the earbuds, the problem with coming from OnePlus earbuds is that they are unapologetically loud. So, at first, the volume levels of my new Nothing Ears felt pretty low. While I’m not used to taking the volume slider beyond 60%, I had to max it out with these. But, when I made a coworker listen to it, he found the Nothing Ears to be adequately loud.

A couple of hours with the earbuds had me settle comfortably into the new audio levels. Besides, the range of customization options that I got for the earbuds with the Nothing X app was very impressive. The Advanced EQ stole the show and I had control over every minute frequency of my audio. You go beyond just controlling the Mid, Bass, and Treble, like on the Ear (a).

Not to mention that you also get Hi-Res audio with support for both LDAC and LHDAC. I played tricky tracks like Bohemian Rhapsody, We Don’t Talk Anymore, Paper Trail, and Blinding Lights to determine the quality of the earbuds, and they sound absolutely amazing.

Not only was the audio output very rich, but the mids, highs, and lows were well-separated and didn’t overpower each other in any way. There was no crackling of sorts either on max volumes, which is always a good thing.

That’s not everything to it though, as you can even share your custom EQs with others as QR codes. Upon scanning it, they can import it onto their Nothing X app. Very thoughtful of you, Nothing, honestly.

Nothing X app Advanced EQ

Note that I found the default sound design to be a tad flat. So, you might end up tweaking it too. A lot. Once you land on the perfect tuning though, there’s no going back. I will go so far as to say that, upon tuning, the audio quality is very similar to the Sony WF-1000XM5.

That’s a big claim, I know, especially since this is Sony we’re talking about, and the WF-1000XM5s cost twice as much. However, the ANC and Transparency modes on Sony’e earbuds are just unparalleled. If you don’t compare it to Sony’s earbuds though, the Nothing Ear’s ANC mode is pretty commendable. However, the Transparency Mode could use some work, since it doesn’t exactly isolate individual sounds as well, creating a bit of a hotchpotch at times.

There’s also a home screen widget for the Nothing X app that allows you to select between the ANC and Transparency modes and view the battery percentage of the earbuds as well. Very convenient, actually.

You also get to create a Personal Sound Profile, to further enhance your experience. However, since I was mostly running on LDAC or LHDAC, I barely used the feature, since you’ll have to choose between either.

Nothing X Personal Sound Profile

The battery backup is also solid and after gaming for around 2 hours, the earbuds were down to just 65% from 100%. So, around 6 hours of battery life on continuous usage, which is more than enough. With the charging case, you can easily get around 40 hours of backup, which is incredible.

The microphone quality is also very crisp, and I never had anyone complain about clarity, whether I was on calls or on a CoD Mobile match with friends.

Nothing Is Perfect Though

Nothing Ear and Nothing Phone 2a side by side

While it has a lot of good going for it, there’s obviously some bad in the mix. For starters, the around 120ms latency is not at all gaming-friendly. This latency is in Low Lag Mode, so there’s that. Anyway, for gaming, I’d recommend going wired.

In addition, you don’t get features like Spatial Audio or Zen Mode like on the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 in the segment. Spatial Audio does make a difference, especially if your device doesn’t have any additional audio services like Dolby Atmos.

Also, since the case is transparent, minor scratches get easily highlighted. Gradually, the case can get pretty cloudy and ugly with those scratches. I can confirm this, thanks to my coworker’s Nothing Ear (2)s.

Then comes the new ChatGPT integration, which is mediocre at best. The feature doesn’t work most of the time, making it an annoyance instead of a convenience. Moreover, it only works if you have a Nothing device. While I did use a Nothing Phone 2a to try out the feature, it’s a dud right now.


Nothing Ear box contents

After using the earbuds for around a week, I’ll probably hold on to them for as long as I can. The reason is that there are not a whole lot of options in the premium mid-range category of ANC earbuds right now. Those that are available are either outdated or don’t offer as much control over your audio.

Even if they do, you won’t get as good an ANC or Transparency mode. Nothing has really improved on its earbuds (let’s not talk about the Nothing Ear Stick) over the years. While the Nothing Ear (2) was an improvement over the Ear (1) in terms of audio quality, it had a terrible microphone setup. That’s something the latest Ears improve on, further making them solid options.

Then comes the Nothing X app, which is just so easy to use. Moreover, it’s snappier than any of the other dedicated hearables-supporting apps out there. For example, the Sony Music Center app is an absolute pain to set up and takes around an hour given that the servers are working in your favor.

However, if you’re on the lookout for specifically gaming earbuds, these are not for you. Instead, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 with its 94ms latency is a better choice. Keeping that aside, the Nothing Ear 2024 is an easy recommendation for someone who’s looking to not go all out, and yet, get a fantastic audio listening experience.

All things considered, I’d give this a solid overall rating of 8/10, making it worth the Rs 11,999 (Buy on Flipkart) price tag.

comment Comments 3
  • Rich says:

    Odd comment on the ANC. Almost universal consensus is ANC on these buds is so bad there’s a possibility it doesn’t even exist. My set was laughable.

  • Eli says:

    Great breakdown/review! Thank you very much! I’m personally curious how these nothing ear stack up directly against the soundcore library 4 and the OnePlus buds pro 3 as well as the Samsung pro 2 and fe model head to head in comparison.

  • Sankar Babu says:

    Great review. Help me what is the other lookout brands to try it than this Nothing earbuds in this same budget range (+2k to 3k) specifically for songs and calls? Thanks again

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