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Nothing ear (1) Truly Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Nov 30, 2021 at 10:45 am
Nothing ear (1) Truly Wireless Picture
7.1
Neutral Sound
7.7
Commute/Travel
8.1
Sports/Fitness
7.1
Office
5.5
Wireless Gaming
5.4
Wired Gaming
6.4
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Nothing ear (1) Truly Wireless are the first headphones produced by this company. They have a sleek and eye-catching circuitry look and come with active noise cancelling (ANC) as well as a companion app. Out of the box, they have a fairly neutral sound profile that you can adjust to suit your taste using one of their four EQ presets. They also have a comfortable and well-built design that's certified IPX4 for resistance against splashes of water. However, their continuous battery life of roughly five hours won't last through long days at the office without a recharge. There have also been user reports of receiving defective products and experiencing other issues regarding quality control. We received a defective pair and were completely unable to test them until we exchanged our unit for another one.

Our Verdict

7.1 Neutral Sound

The Nothing ear (1) are decent for neutral sound. Out of the box, they have a fairly neutral sound profile with adequate bass. However, a dip in the mid to high-mid weakens vocals and lead instruments, nudging them to the back of your mix. The buds are also somewhat prone to inconsistencies in bass and treble delivery, so you should get the right fit, seal, and positioning in your ears to ensure more consistent audio delivery.

Pros
  • EQ presets available.
Cons
  • Are somewhat prone to inconsistent audio delivery.
7.7 Commute/Travel

The Nothing ear (1) are good for commute and travel. They have a comfortable, lightweight, and well-built design. They have ANC and can block out a good amount of background noise, like the low rumble of bus or plane engines. However, their five-hour continuous battery life may not last through long days on the road without pausing to recharge them.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
  • Good noise isolation performance.
Cons
  • Are somewhat prone to inconsistent audio delivery.
8.1 Sports/Fitness

The Nothing ear (1) are great for sports and fitness. They're small, lightweight, and can easily fit into most pockets and bags without too much issue. They're also comfortable and are rated IPX4 for protection against splashes of water. However, while they shouldn't move around too much during a jog in the park, they may move around during more intense physical activity.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
  • IPX4 rating.
Cons
  • Are somewhat prone to inconsistent audio delivery.
7.1 Office

The Nothing ear (1) are decent for office use. They're comfortable, well-built, and have an ANC feature that helps block out ambient chatter around you. They also don't leak much audio at high volumes, which is nice if you like to blast your music. However, their five-hour continuous battery life may not be enough to get you through long shifts. You also can't connect them to your smartphone and computer at the same time.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
  • Good noise isolation performance.
Cons
  • No multi-device pairing.
  • Are somewhat prone to inconsistent audio delivery.
5.5 Wireless Gaming

The Nothing ear (1) are only compatible with Bluetooth-enabled PCs and other devices. While their default latency is likely too high to be suitable for gaming, they have a low latency mode that brings their audio lag within acceptable levels. That said, their continuous battery life of five hours may not be enough for long gaming sessions.

5.4 Wired Gaming

The Nothing ear (1) are wireless-only, so they aren't suitable for wired gaming.

6.4 Phone Calls

The Nothing ear (1) are fair for phone calls. Their integrated mic can separate your voice from moderate ambient noise around you, although speech takes a dive in quality in the process. However, the mic has a disappointing recording quality, and your voice sounds thin and somewhat distorted. Luckily, they have an ANC system that helps block out a good amount of ambient noise around you.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Disappointing recording quality.
  • 7.1 Neutral Sound
  • 7.7 Commute/Travel
  • 8.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.1 Office
  • 5.5 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.4 Wired Gaming
  • 6.4 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Nov 30, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Nov 24, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Nothing ear (1) have a unique transparent design that allows you to see their inner circuitry. In contrast, the buds, ear tips, and parts of the case are white, which helps make them look even sleeker. They only come in one color variation: 'Black/White'.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.02 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Nothing ear (1) have a comfortable fit. They don't have a deep fit or put pressure on your ear. Overall, they're lightweight and come with three differently-sized ear tips to help you get the best fit.

7.6
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls No

The Nothing ear (1) have good controls. They have touch-sensitive controls that are easy to use and responsive. There are beeps to let you know when you play and pause audio as well as skip tracks. There are also beeps when cycling between ANC on, transparency mode, and off (though the 'off' setting is only available via the app). However, they don't have a manual way to pair the headphones without their case. There aren't any voice prompts or audio cues for volume either. By default, you can't skip to the previous track either, but you can map this control via the companion app.

On either bud:

  • Double tap: Plays and pauses audio.
  • Triple tap: By default, skips to the next track. You can also map this control so that one bud skips to the next track and the other skips to the previous track.
  • Tap and hold: Cycles between ANC on and transparency mode, which allows you to hear your surroundings without taking out your earbuds. Note that you can set the left and right headphones to different settings, so if you want ANC in both ears, you need to make the same command on both buds.
  • Slide on stem: Raises or lowers the volume.

On the right earbud:

  • Double tap: Answers and ends a call.
  • Press and hold: Rejects a phone call.

9.5
Design
Portability
L 1.3" (3.3 cm)
W 1.1" (2.9 cm)
H 0.8" (2.1 cm)
Volume 1.23 inยณ (20.10 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

The Nothing ear (1) are exceptionally portable. They should easily fit into most pockets and bags without an issue.

7.5
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 2.3" (5.9 cm)
W 2.3" (5.9 cm)
H 0.9" (2.4 cm)
Volume 5.10 inยณ (83.50 cmยณ)

The Nothing ear (1)'s case is good. Like the earbuds, the case is transparent with white plastic accents. There's a pairing button on the side of the case and a small light inside the case to indicate the battery life of the buds and the case. Inside the case, there's a small white and red dot to indicate where the left and right buds should be placed.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Nothing ear (1) have a good build quality. They're mostly made of plastic and feel durable enough to survive a couple of accidental drops without taking on too much damage. The buds are also certified IPX4 for protection against splashes of water. However, the plastic carrying case feels a bit cheap.

Some users have noted quality control issues with their own units. We also received a pair of defective headphones. There wasn't a charge going through the carrying case, and resetting the buds didn't work. As a result, we had to exchange our unit for another pair.

7.5
Design
Stability

These headphones have good stability. Although they lack stability fins, they shouldn't fall out of your ears during casual listening sessions. However, if you wear them during high-intensity physical activity, they may move around or fall out.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Nothing ear (1) headphones
  • Charging case
  • USB-A to USB-C charging cable
  • 3x ear tips
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
0.73 dB
Treble Amount
-0.19 dB

The Nothing ear (1) have a fairly neutral sound profile out of the box, making them well-suited for a variety of audio content. Although a dip in the high-mid can weaken vocals and lead instruments, they're still present in mixes. While the headphones lack more robust sound customization features, they have a few EQ presets you can use to adjust their sound. You can see a comparison of these presets here. To check these presets, we had to play pink noise for the buds to stay connected to our PC, and that's why the bass seems less smooth in the 10Hz to 200Hz range.

Note: These headphones have skin detector sensors on both buds. While you can turn off in-ear detection in their app, the ANC still doesn't work. To keep the ANC on during our testing, we connected copper cables and tape to the sensor to trick it to activate. However, you shouldn't experience this issue with real-life use.

6.7
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.7 dB

The Nothing ear (1)'s frequency response consistency is okay. Unlike most in-ear headphones, they're prone to inconsistent bass and treble delivery. You may need to adjust their fit, positioning, and seal to get a more consistent sound.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
9.1
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.28 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
-0.53 dB
Mid-Bass
-1.48 dB
High-Bass
-1.35 dB

The bass accuracy is outstanding. The range is fairly flat across the range, although it's very slightly underemphasized. As a result, mixes are a touch light on body and boom.

7.6
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.16 dB
Low-Mid
-0.11 dB
Mid-Mid
-2.32 dB
High-Mid
-4.5 dB

The Nothing ear (1) have good mid accuracy. The low-mid is very neutral, so vocals and lead instruments sound clear. However, the rest of the range is underemphasized, so these sounds are nudged to the back of your mix and are weak and distant.

8.4
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.43 dB
Low-Treble
-0.8 dB
Mid-Treble
-1 dB
High-Treble
-3.2 dB

The Nothing ear 1 have great treble accuracy. It's slightly underemphasized under the range, but it's still fairly even. Vocals and lead instruments are slightly veiled, while sibilants like cymbals are a bit dull.

7.7
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.47 dB
Dips
1.09 dB

The Nothing ear (1)'s peaks and dips performance is good. The left driver has a slight peak in the low-bass, which adds extra thump to mixes. A peak in the low to mid-mid in both drivers clutters your track a bit while vocals and lead instruments are a bit forward. A dip in the high-mid weakens vocals and lead instruments, while a peak in the low-treble makes their upper harmonics harsh. The uneven mid-treble turns sibilants like S and T sounds alternatingly dull and piercing.

8.0
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.45
Weighted Phase Mismatch
3.78
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.68
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.62

These headphones have great imaging. The group delay falls below the audibility threshold, resulting in tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers are also well-matched in phase and frequency response, which indicates a more stable stereo image. However, there's some mismatch in amplitude, so there may be some shifts in the image. There are also some peaks across the phase response, which may be audible with real-life content. The left driver, in particular, sounds louder and off-centered in the mid-range. That said, our results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.

1.0
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
2.2
Acoustic Space Excitation
1.8

The passive soundstage performance is bad, which is to be expected from in-ears. By design, they bypass your outer ear, which needs to be activated by sound resonances to create a spacious soundstage. As a result, the soundstage seems small and as if coming from inside your head, rather than from speakers placed in the room around you.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No
8.0
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.249
WHD @ 100
0.091

The Nothing ear (1)'s weighted harmonic distortion performance is great. All frequencies fall within good levels, resulting in clear and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
0.6700.1.81
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Balanced
ANC
Maximum
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test the Nothing ear (1). Our results are only valid when using them with these settings.

Isolation
7.8
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-20.84 dB
Bass
-16.39 dB
Mid
-15.34 dB
Treble
-30.41 dB

The Nothing ear (1)'s noise isolation performance is good. While they don't block out as much ambient noise as the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless or the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless, they can reduce the low rumble of bus and plane engines as well as ambient chatter. They can also cut down the high-pitched hum of AC units.

8.5
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
30.57 dB

The Nothing ear (1) have an excellent leakage performance. Leakage is mostly concentrated in the treble range, and escaping audio sounds thin. That said, if you're listening to audio at high volumes in a moderately noisy environment like an office, people around you shouldn't be able to hear it.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
5.2
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
106.79 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
5.19 dB
HFE
2,002.74 Hz
Weighted THD
11.96
Gain
-4.97 dB

The Nothing ear (1)'s integrated mic has a disappointing recording quality. Your voice sounds full-bodied but thin, somewhat unnatural, and distorted.

6.9
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
32.21 dB
Noise Gate
Always On
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
6.5
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
7.5
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The integrated microphone's noise handling performance is fair. The mic can separate your voice from moderate ambient noise, although speech quality declines if the mic picks up loud noises. If you're taking a call from a busy street, your voice should still be understandable.

Active Features
6.1
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
5 hrs
Additional Charges
4.0
Total Battery Life
25 hrs
Charge Time
0.8 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

The Nothing ear (1)'s battery performance is mediocre. They're advertised to last five hours continuously, and we measured a similar amount. Battery life can vary depending on usage, though, so your real-life experience may vary. That said, their carrying case holds roughly four additional charges, and you can use one bud while the other one charges.

7.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name ear (1)
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Presets
ANC Control
Presets
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping Yes
Surround Support
No

The companion app is good. You can switch between four different EQ presets: 'Balanced', 'More Treble', 'More Bass', or 'Voice'. You can also see the battery life for both buds, update the firmware, turn on and off in-ear detection, and rename the buds. If you misplace your buds, you can use 'Find my Earbuds' to help locate them. You can also switch between light or maximum ANC, transparency mode, or off. You can map the double-tap as well as the touch and hold controls. The app offers a low latency mode too, which is nice if you like to stream video.

Connectivity
6.8
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.2
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
234.58 ft (71.50 m)
PC Latency (SBC)
301 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
186 ms
Android Latency
208 ms

The Nothing ear (1) have alright Bluetooth connectivity. Unfortunately, they don't support multi-device or NFC pairing. On their default mode, they also have high latency on PCs as well as iOS and Android devices, which is annoying if you like to stream video. That said, when using their 'Low Latency' mode, their PC (SBC) latency drops to 134 ms, iOS to 75 ms, and Android to 106 ms, which is much better. That said, some apps and devices compensate for latency differently, and your real-life experience may vary.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection
No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

You can't use truly wireless headphones wired. They come with a USB-A to USB-C charging cable to replenish their carrying case.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
No
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

The Nothing ear (1) are fully compatible with Bluetooth-enabled PCs. However, you can't connect them to your PC in any other way.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
No
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
No
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
No
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No
2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
USB-C

These headphones come with a carrying case that holds roughly four additional charges. It has a USB-C port for recharging the case and also supports wireless charging.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Nothing ear (1) come in one variant: 'Black/White', and you can see our model's label here. If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Nothing Ear (1) are the debut product by this manufacturer and have a retro-futuristic look that sets them apart from the crowd. They're often compared to other in-ears like the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless and Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless due to their ANC and neutral sound profile. However, while their noise isolation is good overall, it still falls a bit short compared to that of their competitors. Their continuous battery life of roughly five hours is less than headphones like the Jabra Elite 3 True Wireless, which have over seven hours of continuous playback time.

Check out our recommendations for the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $100, the best sounding wireless earbuds, and the best noise cancelling earbuds and in-ear headphones.

Beats Studio Buds True Wireless

The Nothing ear (1) Truly Wireless are slightly better headphones than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable and well-built, the Nothing have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their ANC can significantly reduce more ambient noise. The Nothing also have more extra charges in their carrying case, and their companion app offers EQ presets. However, the Beats can deliver sound more consistently.

OnePlus Buds Pro Truly Wireless

The Nothing ear (1) Truly Wireless are more versatile headphones than the OnePlus Buds Pro Truly Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable and well-built, the Nothing have a significantly better noise isolation performance, longer continuous battery life, and their companion app offers EQ presets to help you adjust their sound to suit your needs. However the OnePlus cater better to users with a OnePlus device. They deliver audio more consistently and have a 'Pro Gaming Mode' to help reduce latency when paired to compatible OnePlus phones.

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless

The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Nothing ear (1) Truly Wireless. The Anker have significantly more consistent audio delivery, a better noise isolation performance, and their companion app offers a graphic EQ to help you adjust their sound to your liking. However, the Nothing have a more comfortable fit and a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer.

Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Nothing ear (1) Truly Wireless. While both earbuds are comfortable, the Apple are better built, have a more stable in-ear fit, and have more consistent audio delivery. Their sound profile is more neutral, their ANC can block out a superior amount of ambient noise, and their battery performance is better. However, the Nothing have a few EQ presets you can select to customize their sound.

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Truly Wireless

The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Truly Wireless are slightly better in-ears than the Nothing ear (1) Truly Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable and well-built, the Samsung headphones have a somewhat better noise isolation performance, and their carrying case feels more sturdy. They also deliver audio much more consistently, and their mic offers better recording quality. However, the Nothing headphones have a somewhat better battery performance as their carrying case holds more additional charges.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Truly Wireless

The Nothing ear (1) Truly Wireless are slightly better in-ears than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Truly Wireless. The Nothing are more comfortable, have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and can isolate you from more ambient noise. The Samsung have a more stable in-ear fit, and their battery performance is better.

TOZO T6 Truly Wireless

The Nothing ear (1) Truly Wireless are slightly better in-ears than the TOZO T6 Truly Wireless. The Nothing are more comfortable, can isolate you from slightly more ambient noise around you, and have a better battery performance. Their companion app also offers EQ presets to help you adjust their sound to suit your tastes. However, the TOZO have a higher IP rating for water resistance.

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The Beats Solo Pro Wireless and the Nothing ear (1) Truly Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either one. The Nothing are in-ears with a more comfortable as well as stable fit, a slightly better noise isolation performance, and have EQ presets in their companion app. However, the Beats are on-ear headphones that are better built, have a longer continuous battery life, and have an H1 chip for seamless pairing with your Apple devices.

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