The Nothing Ear Stick ditches ANC for a comfier fit
Second stab at affordable in-ears to twist and shout about
After a fashion-focused teaser campaign, Nothing has fully revealed its second set of earphones. The Nothing Ear (Stick) gives up active noise cancellation in favour of a design that majors on comfort, and gets a funky new charging case to boot.
It ditches the silicone tips and in-ear approach of the Nothing Ear 1 in favour of simply resting on your ears, Apple AirPods style. They are lighter than the Ear 1, at just 4.4g each, while still finding room inside for larger, more sensitive 12.6mm custom speaker drivers.
Nothing’s signature transparent styling makes a return, with the stems of each bud revealing the internal circuitry. The antenna has been shifted from the middle of the stem to the top, for improved reception over the Ear 1s. IP54 sweat resistance is on par with Nothing’s debut effort, so they should cope just fine at the gym.
The new shape should put less pressure on your ear canal, so you can listen all day without ear ache – or at least until the buds run out of juice. They’re good for seven hours of listening, with a further 29 hours in the lipstick-like charging case. Charging is by USB-C only, with wireless charging not making the cut, but the buds should manage two hours of listening with just a ten minutes top-up.
The cylindrical case is taller but skinnier than the Ear 1’s flat rectangle, so should take up less space in a pocket. Its twist-open mechanism should be smooth enough to open one-handed but sturdy enough not to send your earbuds flying should you drop it. The buds start pairing as soon as the case is open, and play a frequency test every time you pop ’em in your ears to adjust bass response.
Each bud also has three high-def mics for voice calls, with updated voice algorithms that trim out more background noise than the Ear 1.
Ear Stick will see Nothing phase out its Ear 1 companion app in favour of Nothing X, which handles EQ tuning, customising the touch controls and find my earbud functionality.
Today’s launch coincides with a price hike for the Ear 1, which will now cost £150. The firm says the increase is due to higher costs, which aren’t as easy for start-ups to swallow without passing on to customers as they are for established mega-corps.
The Ear Stick arrives at £100, becoming Nothing’s new entry-level model. Sales begin on the 4th of November, directly from the Nothing website.