HomeCinemaAudio SystemsNothing Ear (2) Review: Back In Black

Nothing Ear (2) Review: Back In Black

We gave the Nothing Ear (2) another go, testing the new features on offer. Here’s our review.

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Nothing’s second instalment in the ‘Ear’ TWS series, Ear (2), was launched earlier this year. This is Nothing’s third TWS product, following the Ear (1) and Ear (stick). We reviewed Ear (2) soon after it was launched in India. The TWS impressed us on all fronts, but left one lingering question – does it come in black? And now it does. However, an all-black colour scheme is not the only new addition to the Ear (2). It also gets an Advanced Equaliser feature, something that hardcore audiophiles will certainly enjoy. We spent a few days with the Black variant of Nothing Ear (2), here is our in-depth review.

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Nothing Ear (2) review: Design

Ear (2)’s black theme extends to its retail packaging as well. Even the user guide and safety manual carry an all-black look. The USB Type-C cable, however, remains white. Tucked to the right of the TWS, you will find two additional pair of ear tips.

Nothing Ear (2): Design

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Nothing’s transparent design philosophy really shines on its darker-coloured products. While there are no changes in design, the black variant of Nothing Ear (2) is a total attention grabber. Overall, the Ear (2) is not a radical departure from its predecessor. It is more compact but retains the briefcase-shaped form factor. The case is made entirely out of plastic, but it feels quite sturdy. The hinge and pairing button have been blacked out in the new variant.

Nothing Ear (2): Design

Our biggest reservation about this design is the transparent plastic lid. It has a tendency to attract smudges and fingerprints that can mess with the see-through look of the device. While we didn’t use the device long enough to register any scratches on this lid, it does not seem like it can ward them off, especially if the case shares the pocket with keys and loose change. On the bright side, this case is rated IP55 for dust and water resistance.

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In-ear design for the earbuds is the correct choice for the Ear (2). Anything else and you’d have to settle for mediocre ANC (if you get any at all) and no size options. We also like that Nothing colour codes the left and right earbuds instead of leaving the user to find the appropriate lettering before putting them on. The right earbud has a red dot on its panel while the left bud has a white dot right next to the noise-cancelling microphone. The earbud stems respond to pinch gestures for audio and call controls. We like this approach as it greatly reduces accidental touches, but it takes some time to get used to the double pinch gesture.

Nothing Ear (2): Design

We did not have any issues with the fit during our time with the Nothing Ear (2). These earbuds feel comfortable inside the ear and you can easily work out while wearing them. Since the outer panel only responds to sideways pinching gestures, you can easily adjust the earbuds in your ear and not worry about pausing the music. Even in sweaty conditions, the fit remains secure.

Nothing Ear (2) review: Performance

Pairing Nothing Ear (2) with your smartphone or PC is as easy as it gets. All you need to do is flip open the lid and use your phone to scan for nearby Bluetooth devices. For devices that struggle with finding the TWS, the Bluetooth pairing button on the side of the case will be of tremendous help. With an 11.6mm audio driver on either earbud, the Ear (2) delivers a thumping output.

Nothing Ear (2): Performance

Nothing has done a great job of curating Ear (2)’s sound profile. Special attention has been paid to the mid and low frequencies, without letting them cloud over the entire mix. The subtleties of the higher frequencies do not go unnoticed either – they are well represented on the soundstage. We used the Ear (2) to listen to a diverse range of genres, and the earbuds produced did justice to the mix every time. 

Listening to Khruangbin on the Ear (2) was a delight. The sharp hits of the hi-hat in the background were very distinct, just as the mix commanded. Even though the lower end of the mix felt a little elevated, it made for a great listening experience. The audio output barely distorts upon cranking up the volume, but we wish these earbuds were a bit louder.

Advanced Equalizer on the Nothing X app

The Nothing X app remains the best TWS support app we’ve used, and it only gets better with the new firmware update. The new ‘Advanced Equaliser’ feature gives the user more control over the audio output. We’ve seen this feature before on several TWS products, but Nothing’s intuitive approach to the process is far ahead of the curve. The graphical interface for the 8-band interface makes it very easy to control. Any changes made to the equaliser are instantly reflected on the audio output. The Nothing X app also lets you manually set the frequency and Q factor for every band. You can also share your equaliser profile with other users, and import someone else’s profile by scanning a QR code within the app.

ANC and other features

Nothing Ear (2)’s ANC chops are seriously impressive for a TWS in this price range. In an indoor environment, Ear (2) easily cancels out the general humdrum. If you’re sitting inside a car, these earbuds will not completely nullify the surrounding traffic noise but reduce it to a more conducive level. You can change the level of ANC from the Nothing X app and even set up a personalised profile.

Another feature which we really enjoyed using was multi-device connectivity. You can pair the Nothing Ear (2) with two devices at one time. So, if you’re watching a movie on your laptop, these earbuds will pause the playback and play your phone’s ringtone every time you get a call. The only problem we encountered was that the transition between devices wasn’t seamless. While the earbuds quickly adapted during calls, switching media playback between two devices took some time.

The transparent case packs a 485mAh battery. Each earbud also holds 33mAh of charge. With ANC turned off, you can push the battery life to 6 hours, with an additional 36 hours inside the case. This amounts to 6 complete charge cycles. We were constantly using ANC on the Ear (2) and were able to squeeze out 3-4 hours of use. The charging case gave us 4 complete charge cycles. Not bad for a TWS in this price range.

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We personally prefer the black Ear (2) over the white one. It keeps the transparent design from looking too campy and brings its own special flair. The Advanced Equaliser is a brilliant addition too, one that certainly won’t be reduced to a gimmick. The overall sound profile of this TWS is very pleasing and will appeal to most ears. But what really sells this TWS is its amazing app support.

Nothing Ear (2): Pros

  • Looks great
  • Very pleasing audio output
  • Advanced Equaliser
  • Tremendous app support

Nothing Ear (2): Cons

  • The transparent lid is prone to scratches
  • The audio could have been a little louder

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Nothing’s second instalment in the 'Ear' TWS series, Ear (2), was launched earlier this year. This is Nothing’s third TWS product, following the Ear (1) and Ear (stick). We reviewed Ear (2) soon after it was launched in India. The TWS impressed us on...Nothing Ear (2) Review: Back In Black

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