Nothing Ear 2 adds hi-res streaming and improved ANC
Second-gen true wireless in-ears learn lessons from Nothing's first attempt
Nothing, the fledgling phone maker and purveyor of all kinds of transparent tech, has officially revealed the Nothing Ear 2 true wireless earphones (£129, from nothing.tech). The see-through buds are the firm’s first ever second-generation product, building on the successful Ear 1 with improvements to noise cancelling, ergonomics and build quality, as well as adding hi-res streaming support.
Announced in a video hosted by company cofounder Carl Pei, Ear 2 keeps the signature transparent design as Nothing’s other gadgets. Except the charging case is more pocket-friendly this time around, and is made from more premium plastic which should prove more robust over time. The buds are IP54 splash resistant while the case is IP55, with wireless charging support – handy if you’ve also got a Nothing Phone 1 in your pocket.
The buds themselves now use press controls (as seen on the Ear Stick) instead of the swipes used on Ear 1, which should mean fewer accidental pauses or track skips. Their overall shape hasn’t changed, keeping the see-through stems and silicone ear tips as before. The custom 11.6mm dynamic driver also makes a return, with a larger dual-chamber layout.
It’s all change on the software front, though, with LHDC 5.0 support for hi-res playback, dual device connectivity, and MiMi personalised audio which can be calibrated to suit the frequencies you’re able to hear using the Nothing X companion app. In-ear detection makes a return from Ear 1, and a new ear tip fit test helps you work out which size tips are best for your lugs in order to minimise audio leakage.
Active noise cancellation has been improved with a new adaptive mode, using a trio of mics on each bud to increase strength in noisy areas and dial it back in quieter ones. There’s also a personalised mode, based on a sound test performed using the companion app. Clear Voice tech inherited from Ear Stick should mean clearer voice calls, now the antenna has been moved to the outside of the buds and away from your face.
Battery life has been improved to eight hours from the buds and a total of 36 hours using the case, with active noise cancellation disabled. That should be a welcome boost over the Ear 1, which had merely average longevity. Fast charging should now deliver several hours of playback from just a ten minute top-up over USB-C, too.
Everything will be controlled through the Nothing X app, which is now standard; the firm said fans preferred the app to the quick settings shortcuts built into Phone 1, so it’s now standard whether you have a Nothing handset or not. Phone 1 owners will find the low latency mode turned on automatically, while it’s an optional toggle for Android and iOS users.
The Nothing Ear 2 goes on sale next week for £129 in the UK, undercutting that of the outgoing Ear 1 post-price hike. It will only be available in white, with no black version currently planned.