OnePlus co-founder aims for transparency with Nothing ear(1) earbuds
Following wave after wave of teaser announcements over the past few months, the Nothing ear (1) true wireless earphones have launched, bringing active noise cancellation, tuned sonics, and a budget-friendly price tag – all wrapped up in a simple but stylish design.
Nothing was launched in London back in October 2020 by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, and went on the fundraising offensive before partnering with Teenage Engineering for the company's first product – a pair of true wireless earphones that combined "raw beauty and precise engineering for a pure sound experience."
And then began a continuous teaser campaign to whip up interest, all the while managing to keep most of the tasty details securely under wraps, not an easy achievement in these connected times. But today, the curtain was finally pulled back on the Nothing ear (1) earbuds.
They look at once familiar and brand new, and are clearly designed to stand out in a bustling true wireless marketplace, with a minimalist aesthetic designed to "expose the engineering, including microphones, magnets and circuit board." As such, the earbuds rock a white body and eartips, and a short transparent stem, and this transparent theme follows through to the charging case too.
Each earphone is home to an 11.6-mm dynamic driver with a graphene diaphragm, and a relatively large (0.34 cc) air chamber, with sound tuned by Teenage Engineering for the promise of top notch listening. Each bud tips the scales at 4.7 g (0.16 oz), and includes air vents to relieve any pressure build up during long-haul listening sessions.
Two different flavors of active noise cancellation are on offer here – a light mode for moderate ANC or a max mode to deal with noisier environments like aircraft rumble. Plus there's a transparency mode for allowing the outside world in when needed, such as listening for announcements at the transport hub or having conversations with friends without having to remove the earphones (though music is automatically paused when an earbud is removed).
Other key specs include Bluetooth 5.2 with support for AAC and SBC audio codecs (no aptX though), clear voice technology to focus on the wearer during calls – even during gusts of wind up to 40 km/h (25 mph) – and up to 34 hours of total listening (with the ANC off) when used with the charging case, with each earbud offering 5.7 hours before needing some juice. The buds are IPX4 splash resistant too, for worry free use at the gym or while out and about in wet weather.
And naturally there's an iOS/Android app to enhance the Nothing experience, which can help tweak the sound, set up the touch and slide control gestures and even locate misplaced buds.
But perhaps the best news about these new true wireless earphones is the price, which undercuts many similar products by quite some margin, coming in at just £99 (~US$135). The Nothing ear (1) package is available as a limited drop from July 31, with wider availability around the globe scheduled for August 17.
"Nothing ear (1) is a breath of fresh air in a cluttered and indifferent market, setting the tone for our connected digital world to come," said Carl Pei. "It marries advanced technology, precise engineering, and groundbreaking design at an unbelievable price."
Product page: Nothing ear (1)