Nothing is back in the news with the second-gen Ear TWS earbuds in the market, and while the product did launch a few weeks back, we decided to put the Ear (2) for a longer test to see its capability. The new Nothing Ear (2) promises better active noise cancellation, more equaliser settings and the transparent mode that everyone seeks in a TWS earbuds that costs around Rs 10,000.
Compared to the Ear (1) and its competitive focus, the Ear (2) wants to battle it out in a premium segment, where the options are plenty and the logical successor wants to show it has the tools to challenge the best in this range. The Ear (2) also has minor design changes and here’s our review which will tell you if the price bump on the Ear (2) gives it enough value in the market.
Nothing Ear (2) Review: What’s Cool?
The popular transparent design remains on the Ear (2) as well and that is hardly surprising to see, because that element helps Nothing differentiate from other brands. The case has become smaller, as the company felt people needed a smaller box to carry around. And when you place it in front of the Ear (1), the change is evident.
It is sleeker but the battery size has not taken a hit, which was crucial. The design of the earbuds are the same, no changes on that front, but we did feel the comfort level and the fitting of the Ear (2) was far better than what you got with the Ear (1). These might be small changes but do help with the overall experience.
The sound output from the earbuds have improved, not only because of the new drivers and the materials to make them, but also the overall tuning feels more refined. Nothing also has the app to let you manually tweak the settings to suit your preferences. Earbuds in this range need to deliver quality ANC performance and in most cases you will find the Ear 2 live up to the billing. You have the option to change the settings from the Nothing app on your smartphone.
The overall quality of the ANC was quite good, and you could easily isolate the ambient noise once you wear the Ear (2) buds. You might have to increase the volume of the music to completely block the noise but in most cases having around 50 percent volume should be enough. Now, let’s talk about the sound quality, and the Ear (2) feels better in terms of the overall performance, be it any music genre you like to listen to.
The default emphasis on bass is hard to avoid but the equaliser settings allows you to change the tone to a balanced nature, which gives you the best of vocals and bass. Most of the tracks we played on the Ear (2) delivered optimum results, and you didn’t feel like the bass was overpowering the vocal tones of the music playing in your ears.
The Ear (2) also gives you the multi-device support which has become a must-have for TWS earbuds in this range. With many people having multiple devices connected simultaneously, this feature comes in handy. And we can’t end this section without stating the durability of the Ear (2) which gets IP55 rating for the charging case and IP54 rating for the earbuds.
Nothing Ear (2) Review: What’s Not So Cool?
As we mentioned above, the ANC has its pros and cons. And over here, we would like to talk about its shortcomings. You tend to notice the less efficient transparent mode failing to work like the other brands.
First, when you activate the mode, you hear a hiss sound which alerts you about the feature, and then the ambient noise is oddly audible, and this is where the implementation feels wanting. We are hopeful that future updates can make this feature more effective.
You also have the less comfortable option of squeezing the stem of the buds to control the music playback and for volume. Granted, it helps you avoid accidental touches, but the learning curve is steep and everyone might not like the option.
Nothing wants to build an ecosystem and it is fair to say that to get the best out of the Ear (2) you might need to use the Nothing Phone (1). The customisation features and optimisation of the earbuds with the Nothing Phone (1) are much better, similar to Samsung’s integration of the Buds Pro 2 with its smartphones.
And finally, the battery life, which takes a hit because of the smaller charging case in some ways. Nothing says the battery size has not gone down but with an average battery life of around 4 hours for the earbuds, you fall short compared to the other brands in this range. Again, it would be interesting to see if Nothing can improve the figure with some power management tweaks in the software. But for now, the Ear (2) is not a powerhouse with its battery life.
Nothing Ear (2) Review: Should You Buy?
Nothing Ear (2) enters the premium segment, where the competition is tough. Having said that, the Ear (2) has a lot going in its favour, especially the refined touch in the audio department, and the focus on balanced music shows up well. The charging case is smaller and the earbuds fit comfortably, which is much-needed for a product in this category. The ANC works effectively but even then you find it lacking in some aspects, especially when you compare it with Oppo Enco X2 and other TWS earbuds in this range.
The battery life also feels limited for the price. All in all, the Nothing Ear (2) is a logical upgrade, with focus on audio, comfort and overall experience. And if you are in the market for a quality TWS earbuds, the Ear (2) should get a look in.
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