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Nothing Ear review: Subtle improvements to the best-in-class

Published Apr 18th, 2024 6:45AM EDT
Nothing Ear earbuds on a wooden table
Christian de Looper for BGR

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Nothing Ear earbuds

Rating: 4.5 Stars

The Nothing Ear earbuds offer some new features and improvements to what were already among the best earbuds you can get.


  • Sleek design
  • Comfortable fit
  • Good audio quality
  • Solid ANC
  • Reasonable price


  • Charging case is a little bulky

Nothing may be best known for its smartphones, like the Nothing Phone (2), but it also makes some excellent earbuds, which have consistently ranked among the top wireless earbuds in their price range. Last year’s Nothing Ear (2) earbuds rated highly in our review for their sleek design and solid audio quality. Now, Nothing is back with not one, but two follow-ups, in the form of the Nothing Ear, and Nothing Ear (a) earbuds — with the Ear (a) buds being the budget option.

We’re going to look at the budget earbuds in a separate review — here, we’ll be sticking with the standard Nothing Ear earbuds, which cost $149, or $50 more than the budget alternative. How do the Nothing Ear earbuds perform in the real world — and are they a worthy successor to the Ear (2) buds? I’ve been using them for a while not to find out.

Nothing Ear design

If you liked the overall design of the Nothing Ear (2) earbuds, you’ll like the look of the new Nothing Ear buds, too. That’s because they look more or less exactly the same. I reviewed the white model of the Ear (2) earbuds, but have the black model of the new headphones. Both look great — but I do prefer the sleek black look a little more.

The earbuds come with a see-through charging case, which allows you to see the earbuds even when the charging case is closed. On the right of the case, you’ll see a USB-C port for charging, along with a pairing button.

Top of the Nothing Ear earbuds on a tableImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Open up the case, and you can take out the earbuds themselves. Again, these have a design that’s more or less the same as the previous-generation earbuds, with a transparent stem, and a white dot on the left bud, and a red dot on the right bud. They’re also water-resistant — with IP54 water resistance for the earbuds themselves, and even better IP55 water resistance for the charging case. Don’t take these swimming, but they should survive some accidental water exposure.

The stem controls on the earbuds work well and are easy to get used to. Controls like this are my preferred way to use earbuds — they’re hard to accidentally control, but easy to grab onto to control when you want to. The squeeze controls here are easy to get used to — and you can tweak the controls from the app, which is handy.

Open charging case of the Nothing Ear headphonesImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Generally, it’s a good look. The charging case is a little larger than I would have liked, with alternatives like the AirPods Pro being quite a bit smaller. But, I do like the fact that the overall design is quite unique.

The earbuds come with a USB-C port for charging, and two additional ear tip sizes that can replace the ones that come pre-installed out of the box.

Nothing Ear features and battery

One of the main things that set the Nothing Ear earbuds apart from the cheaper Ear (a) earbuds is the selection of features. The headphones are a little more advanced and actually offer many features that you won’t offer on more expensive headphones.

Charging case of the Nothing Ear headphonesImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

As you would expect, the headphones come with noise cancelation and transparency mode, and the ANC tech here is pretty good. I still find the tech on the AirPods Pro to be a little better, but those are quite a bit more expensive. Rest assured, the noise cancelling tech on the Nothing Ear headphones is high-quality, and can easily cut out most consistent background noise. And, at least according to Nothing, it’s a little better than the ANC on the previous-generation model — but I didn’t have the Ear (2) buds on hand to test that.

I tested the Nothing Ear earbuds with the Nothing X app on iOS, and it’s pretty well-designed and easy to use. Like before, the earbuds offer a simple EQ to control bass, mids, and treble — but new for these earbuds is an advanced 8-band EQ that lets you control the gain of specific, user-set frequencies, and the Q, or width, of the frequency bands. As someone with a degree in music production, I love this — though many users may find it a little too advanced. After you create EQ profiles, you can save them, so you can have multiple different advanced EQ profiles, which is cool.

Holding one of the Nothing Ear earbudsImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

There are other features on offer, too. The earbuds support Bluetooth Multipoint, which means you can connect them to both your phone and your laptop, for example. Like before, you’ll also be able to access features like Find My Earbuds, which plays loud audio through the earbuds when they’re within range, to help you find them.

The earbuds offer a rated battery life of up to 5.2 hours of continuous listening with ANC turned on, or up to 8.5 hours with it off. That’s a solid battery life, though not necessarily groundbreaking. With the battery in the charging case, you’ll get 24 hours with ANC, or 40.5 hours without it. Again, not bad at all. The charging case also supports wireless charging, which is frankly a feature that all wireless earbuds should support.

Nothing Ear comfort

The Nothing Ear earbuds have the same design and shape as the Ear (2) earbuds — and that means that like the previous-generation earbuds, they’re highly comfortable and pretty good at staying in your ears. I was able to wear the earbuds for a number of hours without them getting uncomfortable.

Ear tips of the Nothing Ear headphonesImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Of course, the ability to “not get uncomfortable” is a pretty low bar — but the fact is that earbuds overall are getting more comfortable, and the Nothing Ear earbuds are among the more comfortable earbuds out there.

Nothing Ear sound

The Nothing Ear earbuds come with 11mm drivers, which are slightly different than the drivers found in previous Nothing earbuds. Thankfully, they sound quite good — especially for a pair of earbuds in this price range.

For starters, the bass response on the earbuds is great. Out of the box, the bass is a little more accented than it would be on a pair of totally natural-sounding headphones, but you can obviously change that with the EQ, if you so choose. The bass extension on the earbuds isn’t bad, allowing them to play deeper low frequencies than some alternatives.

The mids on the headphones are also very well-tuned. As you might expect from a pair of consumer headphones like this, the mids are a little scooped, meaning that they’re tucked away a bit. That’s common, and actually, many like this approach.

The highs offer good detail and clarity, though the high-end extension isn’t quite as impressive as that in the low end. That said, the highs sound great for a pair of earbuds in this price range — and actually, for a pair of earbuds in general, which typically aren’t built to offer an audiophile-level experience.


The Nothing Ear headphones aren’t really radically different than the previous Nothing Ear (2) headphones — but that doesn’t make them sub-standard headphones. While it’s not worth buying them if you already have the Nothing Ear (2) headphones, they are absolutely worth buying in general — considering their cool design, great sound quality, and advanced features.

The competition

As mentioned, we also published our Nothing Ear (a) review separately — but it’s worth quickly mentioning them here. They’re $50 cheaper than these headphones, but they don’t have wireless charging or the advanced EQ feature. That, however, is really it — so you’ll have to decide if it’s worth spending a little more to get those features on the Nothing Ear headphones. The fact is that the Nothing Ear headphones are of a similar quality to many more expensive alternatives, and easily the best option for $150 or less.

Should I buy the Nothing Ear?

Yes. They’re excellent earbuds at a reasonable price.

Christian de Looper Senior Reviews Editor

Christian de Looper is based in sunny Santa Cruz, California. He has been expertly reviewing tech products for more than 8 years, and brings experience in deep technical analysis of consumer electronics devices to BGR's reviews channel.