made a lot of noise with nothing ear 1, The new firm’s first product resurrected a penchant for transparent technology—which hadn’t really been a thing since the arrival of the iMac G3 and Game Boy Color—and adopted the same fans-first approach that co- Founder Carl Pei did a great job. Influence in his past life in OnePlus. Year 2 aims to build on that momentum.
These true wireless buds come with a familiar design, yet get plenty of new features some vocal customers want: Hi-Res Bluetooth codec, adaptive noise cancellation, a customizable EQ, and improved touch controls. At £129 though, those Ears 1 weren’t quite a steal at launch. Are they good enough to impress in a crowded market?
Design and Manufacture: Nip and Tuck
The Ears 2 stick almost exactly to the distinctive visual style set by its predecessor: a mostly transparent case that houses a pair of distinctive black-and-white buds with transparent stems to show off their underlying components. Only now the case has a flat top and bottom instead of rounded ones, and the opaque base protrudes slightly from its transparent enclosure. As a result it is quite small, hence takes up less space in your pocket.
It’s made from a higher quality plastic than the type used for the outgoing model, so expect it to survive picking up a lot of scrapes and scuffs. The lid still closes with a satisfying snap, and is held in place with magnets to prevent it from flying open, even if it were to be an accidental drop. More magnets keep the buds firmly in place, helping them line up perfectly with the wireless charging contacts, so you don’t have to be as precise.
Take a closer look at the buds and you’ll also notice new sensors for the pinch-to-play controls, which have inherited ear stick To replace the micro-touch-sensitive one you see on the ear 1. The parts containing the speaker drivers keep the same bulbous shape as before, and again come with a handful of different-sized silicone ear tips—necessary to get a tight seal for passive noise isolation, so ANC is a loser. The battle is not fighting.
They’re as light as the Ear 1, and totally comfortable while walking around. Expect them to change slightly when working out, even if they didn’t actually come out of our ears during testing. The IP54 sweat resistance is an improvement over last year’s IPX4, so they should be equally well suited to exercise.
Any black Phone 1 owners hoping for matching earphones will be disappointed to hear that only the white version seen here will be available at launch. Nothing told us there were currently no plans for a black model – though the black version of the Year 1 didn’t arrive until months after the white one, so cross your fingers maybe history doesn’t repeat itself.
Features and Battery Life: In a Pinch
The Ear 1’s tap controls were inconsistent even after a few rounds of firmware updates, so it’s great to see that nothing adopts the pinch-based gestures used in the Ear Stick. They’re far better, requiring just enough force that you won’t trigger a pause or accidentally skip tracks.
The in-ear detection also works better than on the Ear 1: we disabled it on those buds because our music stuttered so often, but we didn’t have any issues even when running around the London Underground.
With LHDC 5.0 streaming at a maximum 96kHz sample rate, it’s great to see a high-quality Bluetooth codec making the cut. Naturally Nothing’s Phone 1 supports it, but it’s arguably not as comprehensive as LDAC or aptX, so it’s worth checking your device before investing in a Tidal Masters subscription. iPhone owners are out of luck, and have to make do with basic AAC.
The other standout addition is a personalized audio test, which amplifies sound frequencies you struggle to hear so songs sound richer and you don’t miss any details. nothing borrowed from technology audio specialist mm, and uses a similar test setup: a series of beeps played over white noise, increasing in frequency. You tap the screen when you can hear them, and let go when you can’t.
It’s a bit more abrasive than other hearing-based calibration systems that rely only on beeps, and initial results were a bit too tinny for our tastes, but there’s an impressive amount of customization on offer. You can choose between Recommended and Rich profiles and set the intensity to anywhere between 1 and 100%. While this may not help the Ear 2 compete with more expensive earphones, it can certainly make up for any major gaps in your listening range.
Battery life hasn’t seen a huge jump, but an official ANC off time of 6.3 hours from the Buds alone is a welcome improvement over the quoted 5.7 hours for the Year 1. Add a few trips to the charging case and you should get approximately 36 hours of listening time. You’re still looking at around four hours with ANC enabled, depending on the volume, and a little over 22 using the charging case, which stays on the low end for active noise-canceling earbuds. Still, 10 minutes over USB-C is more than enough for several hours of playback, which takes a little over an hour.
Of course wireless charging makes a comeback, so you can top it up using the Glyph-tastic Phone 1. Most similarly-priced rivals usually force you to choose between wireless charging and active noise cancellation, so it’s still great to have both.
Interface: Solve for X
Whereas phone 1 Owners can continue to control their earphones directly from the Android quick settings toolbar if they wish, so anyone who has a different manufacturer’s handset in their pocket can download the NothingX companion app. According to the firm, fans would have really preferred to have a separate app anyway, so all the major new software could be added.
This includes the new customizable EQ (which only gives you sliders to tweak the bass, mid, and treble, but is better than relying on fixed presets) and the Personal Audio Test.
As well as the remaining battery life of each bud and how much juice is left in the case, the app lets you configure pinch gestures, enable the high-quality LHDC Bluetooth codec if your device supports it, turn on in-ear detection Or turn off , and activate low latency mode for gaming.
Active noise cancellation is fully customizable here, with multiple strengths as well as an Adaptive mode that automatically increases or decreases based on ambient noise. There’s even a hearing test to personalize it based on how sensitive your ears are. The differences were subtle to us, but could make a greater impact if you’re particularly sensitive to noise.
You can also set up a dual device connection, perform an ear tip fit test to make sure you’re using the right size tips, and use Find My Earbuds to play tones through each bud Do, if they have disappeared. It handles firmware updates as well, didn’t issue anything to fine tune EQ settings during our testing.
Sound quality and noise cancellation: Sharpen
The Ear 2’s 11.6mm dynamic drivers are the same size as those found in the Ear 1, but nothing but stronger magnets have been added, the driver openings have been widened to reduce damping, and there is less space to push them around. Additional venting has been added to allow more air to pass through. The sound signature has also been completely retuned based on customer feedback.
Even from our first listen, it was clear that this time nothing has managed to elicit much detail. These are still plenty of fun and energetic, with a frequency curve built to please most, but have added clarity and a better managed high end that was missing from Nothing’s first effort. Some may find the upper end of the frequency range a bit too crisp, and it can lean into treble territory at higher volumes: the brass on Public Enemy’s “Harder Than You Think” overpowers Chuck D’s vocals a bit, until That we don’t dial back treble. Via companion app.
The low-end is impressive, with slightly boosted sub-bass giving rock and electronic tracks plenty of oomph without detracting from the rest of the mix. This avoids straying into boom territory, and there’s plenty of room for tweaking depending on how much thump you like. The soundstage also seems wider than before, giving instruments more space. These aren’t as fond of in-ears, but take a step more in that direction than the In-ears 1.
Active noise cancellation also takes a step up this year. While its ability to quiet the outside world still doesn’t compete with rivals that cost twice as much, the overall experience is far greater, and isn’t as easily caught up by loud noises or different frequencies. Cars passing by are suitably quiet and oncoming can be enjoyed without having to crank the volume right up. Wind noise reduction remains a struggle, but the feature seems about as effective as we’d expect for the money. Transparency mode is also now much more consistent, and better able to pick up on other people’s speech.
Verdict of Nothing Year 2
Absolutely nothing has replaced your first pair of second-generation earphones — but then it didn’t really need to. The Year 1 was distinctive and feature-rich, so improving on its weak aspects was a sensible move. The Ear 2 offer punchy audio, effective noise canceling and ample battery life thanks to the cache, and more customizable software is sure to please fans who take their listening seriously.
like mainstream rivals beats studio buds go without wireless charging, and while Oppo Enco X2 And oneplus buds 2 pro Mail it at facilities, they are a bit more expensive.
They have much of the same design appeal as their predecessors, but the Ear 2 now have audacious performance and feature list to match their demanding price.
nothing ear 2 technical specifications
|the drivers||11.65mm dynamic|
|codec support||AAC, SBC, LDHC|
|battery life||ANC on: 6 hours (buds) 18 hours (case)
ANC Off: 8 hours (Buds) 24 hours (Case)
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