Nothing Ear (2) Are A Second Attempt At ANC Earbuds

Nothing, the buzzy consumer electronics upstart led by OnePlus alum Carl Pei, has introduced its second true wireless earbuds. The imaginatively named Nothing Ear (2) doesn't deviate much from the looks of its predecessor, but there are a host of functional upgrades under its transparent frame. 

The biggest change, however, is the price. The Ear (1) earbuds hit the shelves priced at $99, but the Ear (2) will be sold for a significantly higher $149. The price surge seems hard to digest, considering the fact that the second-gen earbuds feature the same 11.6mm drivers as the first one. The hardware tweaks are also minor.

The case is smaller, but Nothing says this time around, it has been made using "stronger, pressure-resistant material." Where the Ear (1) was limited to IPX4 level of ingress protection, the Ear (2) earbuds reach IP54, while the charging case acquires IP55-grade dust and water resistance. 

Battery life figures are mixed: The Ear (2) offer up to six hours of listening on a single charge, while the Ear (1) could only muster five hours. The case, on the other hand, promises up to 36 hours of listening time. With ANC enabled, the new earbuds can last for four hours, which is a downgrade compared to the Ear (1). Fast charging has also been juiced up, ensuring that you get up to eight hours of music playback with just 10 minutes of charging.

Siding with functional upgrades

Nothing makes some bold claims about the audio enhancements made for the Ear (2). While the magnitude of noise cancellation remains the same at 40 Decibels, the Ear (2) adds an adaptive trick to the mix. To put it simply, the earbuds automatically adjust the noise cancellation levels based on the external noise levels, which is a neat trick to save some battery juice. Beyond that, you can always choose between three ANC levels instead. 

Nothing's latest earbuds also borrow a few tricks from the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. The first one is an ear-fit tip test, which runs a beep test in your ear canal to customize the sound output. A new low-lag mode has also arrived, but it only works with the Phone (1).

On the audiophile side of things, LHDC 5.0 support has arrived, promising 24-bit hi-res audio streaming. But once again, there's no aptX or LDAC compatibilty. The triple mic array has also been carried over from the Ear (1), but Nothing claims to have enhanced them with a clear voice tech to boost clarity. 

The most notable addition, however, is dual-point connectivity, which means the Ear (2) can stay paired with two devices simultaneously. The last notable tweak is that, instead of tap-based gestures, Nothing has blessed its next-gen earbuds with squeeze gestures for playback controls.