Over the past few months, I’ve been using the Nothing Ear (1)’s on a on and off basis. That’s when I came to the sudden realisation that they’re actually really good!
Not only are you getting a lot for the price, but they’re actually one of the most stylish on the market.
Since its release last year, the Nothing Ear (1)’s have faced mixed reactions from several experts and influencers. However, I want to give you my genuine opinion as a paying customer.
This is my long overdue review of the Nothing Ear (1)’s.
- Very stylish
- Exposed design
- Reasonable active noise cancellation (ANC)
- Decent, easy-to-use app
- Wireless Charging
- Decent amount of Bass
- Good overall sound quality
- Constant updates
- Possible connectivity issues
- Not the best battery life
- No AptX
The earbuds arrived well packaged in a strong and sturdy box and they were actually a joy to open, something that can’t be said for many more expensive earbuds.
The box includes a small USB-A to C cable as well as 2 additional ear tips, which is quite understandable and pretty much standard. I mean for that budget price you honestly can’t expect too much.
One of the first things I noticed about the earbuds is how astonishingly beautiful they are, particularly in that clear case. I mean let’s face it, the case may not be of the best design, but it certainly does make the product stand out.
Setting the earbuds up on my phone was very easy and if I combine the setup process with the App, it was possibly one of the best setup experiences I ever had. I mean let’s get things straight, you can connect your earbuds to your phone via Bluetooth and there’s nothing special there (No pun intended), it’s all about the app. The app allows you to customise the name of the earbuds as well as the touch controls. The app also comes with basic EQ modes.
Moving on to my first impressions of the sound, I thought that it was very good. I mean, it really is difficult to tell whether earbuds or headphones sound good after the first try but they certainly did impress with the clear, crisp sound without any overpowering bass.
To summarise my first impressions, I was actually pleasantly surprised with these earbuds, mainly because of the style but also with the very reasonable sound quality. On top of that the very reasonable price tag.
Let’s start with the design, this is the one area where these earbuds excel from any other wireless earbuds out there. The design is absolutely stunning, I test many wireless earbuds of various price ranges and I find it difficult to compare the style of these to any other earbuds out there.
When it comes to the design, I understand that this design may not be to everyone’s taste and that’s understandable, it is a very unusual design. However, I think that it’s that unusual, exposed design that makes these stunning. Let us know in the comments whether you like the design or not.
The earbuds are absolutely perfect in design, they fit well and are snug in my ears and are very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
But when it comes to the case, I’m not a huge fan, I mean don’t get me wrong the case too is very stylish and makes the product stand out, I’m just not a fan of the overall closing mechanism. You get that feeling of insecurity that your earbuds may fall out if the case opens in your pocket. However, whilst I’m not a fan of the design, I do like the look of it.
Overall, it’s the design that motivated me into buying these earbuds, I mean could you blame me? They are the best-looking set of earbuds I have ever seen!
Let’s move on to something a little more important than the style, the sound quality. The sound quality is arguably one of the most important factors when buying any audio device, I mean you wouldn’t want to spend your well-earned cash on an audio device with poor sound quality.
Like with style, everyone has their own preferences when it comes to sound quality. I like clean, crisp sound combined with a decent level of bass and when I say decent, I really mean some decent punches without them becoming too overpowering.
The Nothing Ear (1)’s provides both a crisp audio experience combined with a decent amount of bass, nothing too overpowering even with the EQ set to bass boost (No pun intended again). Therefore if you’re a fan of extremely heavy bass you may be disappointed.
Overall, these sound really good to my taste and the sound quality is better than many earbuds in that price range. I would go as far as saying that they sound better than the previous generation of AirPods. I can’t really speak for the latest generation as I haven’t tested them yet.
Moving on to the second most important thing after sound quality, performance. When spending an amount of money on a set of earbuds, you’d at least expect them to perform well, especially when spending a lot of money on them. The Nothing Ear (1) actually performs quite well, I wouldn’t say it’s anything over my expectations, it’s not below either.
Starting off with the battery life, with ANC enabled I got just under 4 hours on a single charge and just above 5 with it disabled. If you ask me that’s actually quite reasonable. I never had them run out on me when out and about, even on long train journeys just shy of 4 hours.
I think it’s important to mention that whilst battery life is important for wireless earbuds, it’s all about how we use them. If you’re listening to music for the hourly commute to and from work, they will last pretty well and when you finish using them, you just put them back in the case to charge.
One thing I will mention is that a lot of people seem to forget that the case is a charger, a power bank for your earbuds in effect. This may be coming from my student days as a sales associate for an electronics retailer, but it is something people asked about a lot and I see it in Reddit comments too. The overall point I’m trying to make is that the fact that they have a smaller battery life won’t really affect you if you plan to use them for extended periods of time without putting them back in the charging case at least once.
I would rate the overall battery life as reasonable, once again special and nothing unreasonable.
In terms of connectivity, these have been said to have connectivity issues. Various articles I read and videos I watched mentioned that sometimes the connectivity between the earbuds and the phone is poor.
Based on my own user experience and testing I can confirm that I very rarely experience any form of connectivity issues. I can confirm that there were only a few occasions where the connectivity was poor and I have noticed a pattern to when this happens. For me the connectivity issues only occurred when the device was fully discharged, in each occasion where this occurred, I was able to fix the connection by simply forgetting the device and pairing again, they worked well after.
However, these issues only happened around 3 times in the 5 months I had them, so to me that either means that the issue was fixed in a firmware update or they were one-off issues.
As you would expect, Nothing’s app is very minimal in design, and you’re not wrong! The app is absolutely beautiful in design and works extremely well.
Whist, it is limited in terms of features such as an advanced EQ, which is a shame. However, I don’t have a real problem with that as I believe the idea is to make it as simple and minimal as possible.
After reading and watching several reviews online, I definitely think that these earbuds are underrated. A lot seem to describe it as a marketing gimmick. However, I don’t think that at all, whilst the style is stunning I also think that the sound quality is excellent for my taste.
I would definitely recommend these earbuds to a friend or family member.