Nothing Ear (2) Review: A worthy upgrade over Nothing Ear (1)?

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Nothing Ear 2 Review Summary:

Editor’s rating: 3.75/5

Design & fit

Connectivity & Controls

Sound

Battery

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pros

  • Distinctive & eye-catching design
  • Good sound
  • Good voice-calling performance
  • Multipoint Bluetooth support
  • Supports LHDC codec

Cons

  • Carry case gets scratched easily
  • No ear-detection sensors
  • Mediocre battery life with ANC on

Nothing introduced its second-generation product with the launch of the Nothing Ear 2 true wireless headset. This is the brand’s follow-up to its first-ever product, the Nothing Ear 1. The Nothing Ear 2 is priced at Rs. 9,999 in India and boasts significant improvements in its spec sheet, promising an enhanced experience in terms of features and sound quality. If you’re looking to upgrade from the Nothing Ear 1 or are in the market for a mid-range true wireless headset, the Nothing Ear 2 is definitely worth considering. With several notable changes, this new earphone sets itself apart from its visually similar predecessor. Let’s take a closer look at what’s new with the Nothing Ear 2.

Nothing Ear 2 Specs and Price in India

  • Type: In-ear
  • Speaker: 12.6mm dynamic driver
  • Bluetooth: 5.2
  • Codecs: SBC, AAC
  • IP Rating: IP54
  • Battery life: 7 hours (29 hours with case)
  • Earbud dimensions: 29.8×18.8×18.4mm
  • Earbud weight: 4.4 grams each
  • Charging case dimensions: 87.1×29.8mm
  • Charging case weight: 46.3 grams
  • India Price: Rs 9,999

Nothing Ear (2) Review: Design and fit


Earlier this year, we reported on the upcoming release of the Nothing Ear 2, and now that it’s here, we can confirm that everything we previously mentioned was accurate. While the design of the Ear (2) has undergone some slight changes, it remains similar to its predecessor, the Nothing Ear 1. Notably, the new case is smaller in every dimension and has more angled edges than the previous version. The lid has also been altered, with the large dimple that held the earbuds in place now smaller.

Nothing Ear 2 review by Smartprix

One significant difference between the Ear (2) and its predecessor is that the bottom of the case no longer has a cover. This alteration means that the white plastic elements are now exposed and that the curved receptacles for the earbuds can be felt. Additionally, the plastic now has a plain white texture, rather than the dimpled finish of the previous version.

Nothing Ear 2 review Smartprix

Despite the changes, the design of the Ear (2) case may seem like a downgrade to some. The opaque plastic has become blander and featureless, while the lid’s smaller hinge has increased the amount of side-to-side movement compared to the Ear (1) models. Furthermore, the Ear (2) lid always closes with a clank rather than the satisfying thump of the Ear (1).

Finally, the new design is less visually distinct than the previous version. While the Ear (1) case had a smaller magnet and wider hinge, which made it easy to identify each side, the Ear (2) has a hinge and magnet design that looks very similar in shape and size, making it harder to determine which way it opens without paying close attention.

Nothing Ear 2 review by Smartprix

The Ear (2) is designed for comfort with its sleek and subtle appearance. The earbuds fit snugly into your ears, with the majority of the design sitting inside and only a small portion protruding out. The inner ear shape is discreet and the silicone tips are soft, providing a comfortable listening experience.

The Ear (2) has an improved IP54 water and dust resistance rating, which is higher than the IPX4 rating of Ear 1. However, it’s important to note that neither the earbuds nor their case should be fully submerged in water.

Nothing Ear 2 review: Connectivity and Companion app

When it comes to controlling and customizing the features of the Nothing Ear 2, the Nothing X app is the way to go whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android smartphone. However, if you’re using the Nothing Ear 2 with the Nothing Phone 1, the app-based settings are integrated into the smartphone’s Bluetooth settings, providing direct access to all functions.

The Ear 2 also offers a Dual Connection feature that allows for simultaneous pairing with two devices, making it easy to switch from listening to music on your laptop to taking a phone call on your phone without any hassle. We found this feature to work seamlessly and it’s a great addition to the Ear (2).

Nothing-X-app-screenshot

The app also includes an ear tip fit test, which underwent a tone update in a later firmware. It’s worth noting that the original test tone was identical to the one found on OnePlus and Oppo earbuds, which adds an interesting touch given the history between those brands and Nothing’s founder.

One major upgrade from the Ear (1) is the custom EQ in the app. While it’s not the most advanced, it still offers a 3-band adjustment in a circular layout, which is an improvement over the Ear (1)’s four preset options.

Lastly, the app allows you to change the pinch gesture options for the Ear (2). While you can customize the left and right earbuds separately, not all options are available for all gestures. Unfortunately, the single pinch gesture cannot be changed, which may be frustrating for those who accidentally trigger it.

Nothing Ear 2 review: Sound and ANC

The Ear (2) boasts a number of internal improvements to enhance its sound quality. It uses the same 11.6mm driver as its predecessor but now features a custom diaphragm made from a combination of polyurethane and graphene. The dual chamber design also promotes cleaner sound by improving airflow. Nothing has also made adjustments to the Ear (2) based on feedback from users of the Ear (1), resulting in a sound profile that is more refined. With LHDC 5.0 support, the Ear (2) is now Hi-Res Audio certified and can stream high-res music up to 24-bit/192kHz.

While the Ear (2) maintains a V-shaped tuning similar to its predecessor, it delivers noticeable improvements in several areas. The bass boost shelf now stops lower down in the frequency range, providing a more localized and precise bass sound. The mid-range is also significantly improved, with greater detail and separation, though there is still a dip in certain male vocals. However, the treble region remains a point of concern, with an excessive punch that can be unpleasant on certain tracks.

One of the major drawbacks I encountered with the Nothing Ear 2’s audio is the tendency for sibilance to become particularly pronounced at high volumes. This is most noticeable in sounds that feature hard s, t, and th enunciations, as well as in dry snare drums and cymbals. While this issue only crops up in certain tracks, it can be mitigated by adjusting the treble down in the Nothing X app’s equalizer settings. However, given that sibilance is present across all of Nothing’s presets, a custom EQ setting is required to fully resolve this problem.

In terms of noise cancellation, the Ear 2 fares about as well as other earbuds in its price range. It is effective at muting consistent low-frequency sounds and reducing higher-pitched and sporadic noise. Comparing it to its predecessor in a noisy coffee shop, I couldn’t discern a significant difference in ANC quality. While it may not match up to high-end options from Sony or Samsung or Apple, the ANC on the Nothing Ear 2 is more than satisfactory for earbuds that cost. The personalized ANC mode, which is informed by the aforementioned hearing test, sounds no different to me than the stock high ANC setting.

A new feature in this iteration of the Ear is the adaptive ANC mode that automatically adjusts the intensity of ANC based on the surrounding noise level, presumably to prolong battery life. However, I noticed that the buds occasionally misjudged the loudness of my environment and turned ANC off for a brief moment, producing a hollow whoosh sound. As a result, I found myself frequently switching between the high ANC setting and the transparency mode manually.

Nothing Ear 2 review: Battery life

The Ear (2) boasts a battery life of 6.3 hours with ANC disabled, and 4 hours with ANC enabled. Unfortunately, I was unable to test the performance of ANC-enabled mode as the feature only activates when the earbuds detect that they’re placed in your ears. To determine the battery life with ANC disabled, I conducted tests using both AAC and LHDC. The AAC test resulted in a battery life of 5.7 hours, which is close enough to Nothing’s claimed 6.3-hour figure to indicate that their tests were likely conducted using either AAC or SBC. However, the LHDC test only lasted for 4 hours, falling significantly short and rendering it insufficient for general use. It’s worth reiterating that these tests were conducted with ANC disabled.

Review Verdict: Should you buy Nothing Ear 2?


The Ear 2 is a pair of sophisticated Bluetooth earbuds that offer exceptional sound quality for everyday use and an eye-catching design that sets them apart from other contenders, particularly considering their competitive price point. While the noise canceling feature does a commendable job of reducing ambient noise during daily commutes, it struggles to suppress speech, making it less effective than the best alternatives in the market.

The earbuds fit snugly and the squeeze controls are easy to use, while the voice quality for calls is impressive. The added convenience of simultaneous pairing with two devices and a cross-platform application compatible with both Android and iPhone is noteworthy. The earbuds’ battery life is relatively short, offering just four hours of listening time before needing a recharge in the case.

Reasons to buy

  • Distinctive & eye-catching design
  • Good sound
  • Good voice-calling performance
  • Multipoint Bluetooth support
  • Supports LHDC codec

Reasons to not buy

  • Treble heavy
  • Carry case gets scratched easily
  • No ear-detection sensors
  • Mediocre battery life with ANC on
Deepak RajawatDeepak Rajawat
Experienced technology journalist with over 7-years of experience. Before embracing online journalism, he has worked with several legacy publications including print editions at Hindustan Times and The Statesman. He also has a keen interest in Sports, which he used to cover with equal enthusiasm in his early career.

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