As a budding brand that’s hard to ignore, Nothing has again unveiled its innovative prowess with the Ear 2. Lauded for its trendsetting design aesthetics and savvy marketing, Nothing seems to be on a mission to “make tech fun again”. While the name might suggest a void, these earbuds have substance.
Nothing Ear 2 Review
- Innovative transparent design
- Solid audio performance
- Competitive price point
- Mediocre battery life
- Limited EQ options
- Touch controls need refinement
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Nothing Ear 2 UAE Pricing and Availability
Weight (earbuds+case): 60.4 gm | Size (per earbud): 2.9 x 2.1 x 2.3 cm | Active Noise Cancellation: Yes | IP Rating: IPX4 | Battery (with case): Up to 34 hours
- Unique transparent look
- Wireless Charging
- No other colour options
- Box scratches very easily
The Nothing Ear 2 is currently available at a retail price of AED 479. They come in a single colour variant – Transparent. For that price, they punch above their weight, especially in the saturated midrange earbuds market. They deliver a solid performance and work well regardless of your phone’s OS – a no-brainer if you’re on the hunt for earbuds under AED 500.
Design & Controls
The most striking aspect of Nothing Ear 2 is undoubtedly its transparent design. The see-through approach is refreshing and stands out boldly in a sea of monotonously designed earbuds. However, this design choice does make them a tad heavier.
The buds look similar to Apple AirPods Pro but with shorter and flattened stems. With a sturdy and compact build, the Nothing Ear 2 buds strike a great balance between form and function. They nestle snugly in your ears and sit comfortably during long listening sessions, and will stay put while you headbang to your favourite metal song.
The touch controls, located on the outside of the pressure-sensitive stems, allow you to navigate through tracks, adjust volume and manage calls by squeezing the stalks. It’s worth noting that the touch sensitivity can be slightly finicky at times, requiring a gentle touch and some getting used to it.
The charging case is scratch-resistant, which makes them durable in the long term. The case features a magnetic lid and a convenient thumb indent, making it easy to open and close. They also offer wireless charging capabilities but it’s slow and you’re better off with wired charging.
Taking the earbuds in and out of the case is something that takes a bit to get used to. Since they don’t lie directly flat into the case, you might find yourself fiddling with the buds at first. It also would have been preferable if more ear tips were included to cater to diverse ear sizes, but the inclusion of a personalized ‘Ear Tip Fit Test’ on the Nothing X App mitigates this issue to some extent.
The Nothing Ear 2 comes with ANC, which does a pretty solid job at cancelling out noise in quiet places, but don’t expect miracles on the Dubai Metro. Plus, these earbuds come with a handy transparency mode that lets you stay tuned into your surroundings when you need to. The ANC can cause slight in-ear pressure, which may be uncomfortable for some users.
Cycling through ANC or transparency mode involves holding the stem for about two seconds, which can feel a bit long. The audible cues for mode changes, such as a woman sighing for transparency mode and a blip for ANC, add a touch of humour but may not be to everyone’s liking.
Running on Bluetooth 5.2, they offer multipoint connectivity, a steady connection and pair up quickly. When paired, they maintain a stable connection and re-connecting to a device whether it’s your laptop, Android phone, iPhone or iPad is seamless. Finicky connections and pairing have often been a pain point for midrange wireless earbuds but Nothing’s polish on this makes the experience easy and streamlined.
The Nothing X app enhances the Ear 2 experience with its user-friendly interface and helpful features. One standout feature is the Personalized Fit, which helps you find the perfect fit by assessing the earbuds’ comfort through an Ear Tip Fit Test. This personalized approach ensures optimal comfort and sound isolation by helping you choose the right ear tip size. The app also gives you access to essential settings like battery life monitoring and firmware updates. Plus, you can fine-tune your audio experience by adjusting the limited equalizer settings and sound profiles to suit your preferences.
The Nothing Ear 2 pack in 11.6 mm drivers help them belt out a well-rounded sound. You get a well-balanced dose of mids, clear highs, and a decent thump of bass. They might not be on par with the more high-end earbuds in terms of granularity, but for what they cost, they punch above their weight in delivering clean sound and a respectably wide soundstage with a good level of instrument separation.
There’s support for LHDC, AAC, and SBC Bluetooth codecs, ensuring compatibility with various devices. Android users can enjoy the benefits of the LHDC Bluetooth codec, while iPhone users can rely on the reliable AAC codec. These codecs contribute to maintaining high-quality audio transmission, providing a great listening experience regardless of your operating system.
The default frequencies of Nothing Ear 2 lean towards a treble-heavy sound signature and neutral tones. The highs tend to veer towards harshness, leading to a loss in the warmth and depth of sound. The pronounced treble also often clouds subtle nuances in music, which detracts from an otherwise detailed sound profile. This bright audio profile works great for most consumers and creates an illusion of clarity. However, listen closely and you’ll hear the mids getting scooped and a tad compressed, which affects richer details in tracks.
But all of these quirks can be addressed with EQ tweaks in the Nothing X app. Whether you prefer a bass boost, a more neutral response, or customized sound profiles, the app allows you to shape the audio to match your individual taste. While it may not have the breadth of options that some enthusiasts crave, it still provides enough flexibility to tailor the sound signature to your liking.
Battery performance on the Nothing Ear 2 is just average, delivering about 5-6 hours of playback on a single charge with ANC activated. The case is equipped with quick wired charging and provides around 24 hours of additional juice. While not outstanding, it’s a fair trade-off given the earbuds’ other strengths and the competitive price point.
Nothing Ear 2 Alternatives
When considering alternatives to Nothing Ear 2, there are a few noteworthy options to explore based on different preferences and needs.
Weight (earbuds+case): 43.3 gm | Size (per earbud): 1.9 x 2 x 2.1 cm | Active Noise Cancellation: Yes | IP Rating: IPX7 | Battery (with case): Up to 39 hours
- Perfect for Samsung users
- Colours options
- Supported across Android and iOS
- Odd shape is difficult to hold or remove from ear
- Not the best sound quality compared to others on this list
For Samsung or Android device owners, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offers a good ANC experience and a higher IP rating for added durability. The integration with Samsung devices is seamless, thanks to the Samsung Seamless Codec.
Weight (earbuds+case): 50.8 gm | Size (per earbud): 3.1 x 2.2 x 2.4 cm | Active Noise Cancellation: Yes | IP Rating: IPX4 | Battery (with case): Up to 24 hours
- Perfect for iOS users
- Great Mic Quality
- Wireless Charging
- Only white colour
- Loss of features when connected with Android
If you’re an iPhone user, the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is a popular choice. It’s designed to seamlessly integrate with iOS, offering convenient features like ANC, device switching and spatial audio. For those on a tighter budget, the AirPods Pro (1st generation) still delivers effective noise cancellation at a more affordable price.
For those who value cross-platform compatibility, the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless is worth considering. While its noise cancellation may not be the most advanced, it still provides satisfactory performance. With support for aptX, AAC, and SBC codecs, it offers reliable audio quality across both Android and Apple devices.
The Nothing Ear 2 brings a lot to the table with its out-of-the-box design and strong performance. They offer a fresh take on earbud design and a solid listening experience at a price that won’t break the bank. Sure, there’s room for better touch controls and battery life, but they’re a great addition to the mid-range earbuds market.