True wireless headphones have been around for a long time. Enough to have enough experience with the design, hardly surprising the user. For this reason, Nothing’s Ear (1) have managed to stand out from the crowd thanks to their transparent design.

In addition to this feature, these headphones have others which, due to their price range, place it halfway between the discount headphones and those of more advanced proposals. During the last days, we tested the Ear (1) of Nothing, it was our experience.

Nothing Ear headphones (1): technical specifications

Helmet dimensions: 28.9 x 21.5 x 23.5 mm. Case dimensions: 58.6 x 58.6 x 23.7 mm. Headphone / Case Weight: 4.7 grams / 57.4 grams. Battery capacity: 31mAh per earphone, 570mAh in case. Charging: USB-C, included. Pilot: 11.6 mm. Connection: Bluetooth 5.2. Compatible: iOS 11, Android 5.1 and above. Noise cancellation and transparency: yes. Others: touch control, splash and sweat resistance IPX4. Price: € 99.

Fun seamless design in a boring market

Nothing’s Ear (1) are unique headphones. Nothing we’ve seen so far looks like them, thanks to the fact that they’re transparent. And that already says a lot today.

The transparency adds a fun touch to a technology that we have already absorbed from all four sides. Microphones, sensors, charging points and other internal circuitry can be seen. Nothing has gone into a significant effort to make it all attractive, polishing the materials and removing any glues that might be visible.

If we were to do without this transparent, effortless design, they would be extremely similar to the AirPods Pro. Their rounded shape and trimmed “stem” are very similar. Perhaps this is why they fit very well in the ears and do not fall when talking, eating or running with them.

To distinguish left and right, the headphones have a white or red dot: red is for the right and white is for the left. Which, along with the white and transparency of the rest of the body, gives it an interesting touch. The case also has a clear outer shell that reveals the interior and headphones, as well as a white module where batteries and other electronics are stored.

The case looks good, although it has a major drawback, in our experience. Its size is striking, with a square shape and rounded corners, but it far exceeds other cases such as AirPods. This makes them more uncomfortable to carry in a trouser pocket and impossible to slip into a jeans pocket. As a result, it is very likely that we end up carrying it in a backpack or bag.

The Ear (1) on a daily basis

In our daily tests, Nothing’s Ear (1) doesn’t look spectacular compared to other premium options. What’s for sure is that they sound better than you might expect in this price range, perhaps thanks to their 11.6mm speaker. The bass holds up well and the bass is decent, but nothing spectacular.

In a first test, the noise cancellation was surprising. We could barely hear what was going on around us with the music blaring. But in successive tests this feeling of almost total isolation was not repeated, it may be due to a recent firmware update. In any case, the noise suppression is always satisfactory.

The ear (1) has an automatic pause and resume when we take them off, as well as touch volume control

I continue to find it uncomfortable having to tap on a helmet that we wear to carry out orders. One tap, two taps, three taps, press and hold. All of this generates a lot of noise when we listen to music or audio. Yes, we liked that we could turn the volume up and down by sliding our finger up and down the shaft.

Where we found more downsides was during phone calls. We’ve been heard from the other side at times with interruptions and lingering grain, which we hope will be resolved in future updates. The official launch date is August 17th, so it may well be resolved by then.

All in all, Nothing’s proposition is quite interesting, especially when you take into account the design, functions and price of the whole. They represent a halfway between the discount headphones that abound in the various digital bazaars and the alternatives of established brands like AirPods or Sony.

More information | Nothing is official site.