It’s been a while since Carl Pei, one of the founders of OnePlus, left the company to found Nothing. The first product of this company has been the Nothing Ear (1), completely wireless headphones that we will not take long to know as “transparent headphones.” Because if these headphones stand out for something, it is because of their design and their personality. keep reading the review.
Nothing aims to compete in a saturated market with such important players as Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Sony, Jabra, and even OnePlus. Your bet? Mid-range headphones that want to enter our eyes and convince us with their price: 99 euros. We have already had the opportunity to try them, and this has been our experience.
Design: a lot of transparency and personality
We start with what, without a doubt, is the most striking aspect of the Nothing Ear (1): the design. We are more than used to the headphones being white, black, or of a strident color (greetings to the bronze color of the Galaxy Buds Live), but what is not at all common is that the headphones are semi-transparent and let us see their interior.
That’s what the Ear (1) and the (CASE), their case, do. The guys from Nothing have managed to make the plastic that the headphones are made of reveal everything inside. And what we see is not a sticker (which would not be something new), but rather the actual components.
The finish of the Ear (1) is exquisite. They are one of the most beautiful and best-finished headphones that I have had the opportunity to try. I know that the company wants to make transparency its differentiating point, and the path they have taken is, without a doubt, the correct one.
Beyond the visible components, the headphones nod to most audiophiles, like the red and white dots on the heads. For example, the headset with the red dot is the right one, and the one with the white dot is the left one. If you like the world of audio, you will surely understand the reference.
The shape of the earphones is slightly reminiscent of the AirPods Pro. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because if something works, it works. They are very light and feel outrageous. If I have to highlight something about the design of these headphones, it is, in addition to transparency, comfort. They are very comfortable and do not bother in the least when wearing them.
Silicone pads play an important role in this. In the box come several of different sizes and it is important to try them all to choose the ones that best fit us. Not only will that prevent us from dropping them, but it will also passively cancel outside noise. We say it in all headphone reviews, but it doesn’t hurt to remember.
The plastic the headphones are made of feels pretty good. It has a certain premium feel that I quite like. In addition, the tracks are not very marked, so not too bad. One of my main concerns with these headphones was that I was very calm after trying them.
And if the headphones are small and compact, the case is not at all. It is a large box, which is bulky, although not exactly heavy. It is also transparent and allows you to see the headphones inside. Unfortunately, it does not go any further and does not allow us to see the internal circuitry of the case, something that would have been quite a hoot.
On the right side, we have the USB type C port for charging and the button that we will have to press to start the link. At the bottom, for its part, we have the wireless charging base. The lid is magnetized (in fact, you can see the magnet perfectly), and the closure is strong.
The hinge, however, does not seem so much to me. She seems too small to me for such a big lid and even shakes a little bit. Also, I can’t help but think about how a case with this finish can get scratched. We have not noticed any more exaggerated scratches of the account during our tests, but we will have to see in the long term.
Inside the (CASE), we have an LED that indicates the case’s charging status, that the pairing process has started, or that the headphones are charging. There are also, of course, the bays to insert the headphones and charge them. And yes, I understand that it has been a design decision, but the arrangement does not seem the most comfortable.
The headphones are loaded horizontally, and we have to match the pins with those of the case. The magnet of the headphones (which can also be seen) helps them to be put on more or less easily, but I already told you that during the first days you would have to get used to putting the headphones in the box in this way.
Trifles aside, I admit that I love Nothing Ear (1). The semi-transparent finish, the case, its design, and visible details give the headphones a personal touch. Outstanding quality. And if that wasn’t enough, they are comfortable.
Experience: basic to the most
Now that we know the Nothing Ear (1) on the outside, we will address the user experience. The first thing, therefore, is to talk about compatibility. The headphones are compatible with iOS and Android thanks to the Ear app (1). It can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and the App Store, so no problem in this regard.
The problem is how basic the application is. The functions that the application offers us are scarce, to the point that we can see the remaining battery of the headphones, control noise cancellation, modify the gesture control, search for the headphones and update the firmware. Nothing special.
It is an extremely simple app that you have to have to modify the level of noise cancellation (we’ll talk about it later) or access the equalizer, which only has four default modes. We will not ask for 100 euro headphones, about 300 euros, but we expected something more.