After the Nothing Ear (1) and the Nothing Phone (1), Nothing is returned with its third product, a new pair of wireless earbuds that give a good performance (with a lot of gimmicks) at a very tempting price that makes them impossible to ignore, especially for iPhone owners.
For $99, which is $150 less than the Apple AirPods Pro (first generation), Nothing’s original Ear (1) wireless earbuds were a fantastic overall package, despite not delivering noise-canceling functionality, industry-leading sound quality, or even the tiniest charging case.
After months of well-hyped teases, the new Nothing Ear (stick) has finally been unveiled, and they appear to be aiming directly at Apple’s third-generation AirPods. This has taken just over a year.
They don’t have the same level of compatibility with other Apple products as the third-generation AirPods, but for $80 less, some iPhone users could be willing to make the trade-off.
The Nothing product release strategy has been well-established to consist of massive amounts of marketing hyperbole and a unique hardware design to set it apart from the competition.
Clear plastic was used excessively in that design’s Ear (1) product, exposing the earbuds’ internal electronics; and in that product’s Phone (1) iteration, flashy lighting on the back panel was all the rage, in the form of Glyph lights that indicated when a user had new notifications or when the phone needed to be charged.
These aesthetic decisions can be seen as gimmicks, but nobody can blame Nothing for trying to differentiate themselves in two competitive marketplaces.
The wireless earphones are virtually indiscernible from the stick when tucked into a pocket in a tubular charging case that looks like a giant Chapstick tube.
The charging case for the Ear (stick) is considerably bigger than the charging case for the third-generation AirPods, and there’s no indication that the battery life of the Ear (stick) has been significantly improved in exchange for its larger footprint.
With their carrying case, the Ear (stick) can be used for roughly 29 hours, while the latest generation of AirPods boasts a full 30 hours of use.
The cylindrical form of the case prevented the addition of a wireless charging coil, although it may be charged through a USB-C connector on one end.
A single button next to the charging port is used solely to initiate pairing mode when connecting the headphones to a new device.
That piece of red plastic? The sole motivation for the red hue is to provide visual contrast.
Nothing’s new Ear (stick) proves that high-quality wireless earbuds don’t have to break the bank. The Ear (stick) now costs the same as the original Ear (1) did (instead of $99; the latter has since jumped to $149), creating a solid argument for purchasing Nothing’s newest model rather than one of the few other half-in-ear bud choices on the market, such as Apple’s.
While the third-generation AirPods have certain advantages over the EarPods, including improved compatibility with other Apple products, wireless charging, and hands-free Siri access, I’m not sure they’re worth the additional $80. (stick).
I realize I won’t be able to persuade Apple purists to switch from AirPods, but I can assure you that anyone searching for a truly exceptional set of wireless earbuds will not be let down by the Nothing Ear (stick).
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