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    HomeTechnologiesNothing Ear inspire inexpensive or very inexpensive

    Nothing Ear inspire inexpensive or very inexpensive

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    The wireless earphones Nothing Ear and the slightly less expensive Nothing Ear (a) impress with great sound, effective active noise cancellation and high comfort. Both versions are inexpensive, but the (a) class offers an outstanding price-performance ratio.

    Nothing is bringing two new wireless Bluetooth headphones onto the market. The Nothing Ear costs just under 150 euros and is the direct successor to the Ear (2). Then there is the Nothing Ear (a), which is a little less comprehensive and costs around 100 euros, but is intended to attract more frugal users with a particularly good price-performance ratio. Both newcomers are convincing in practical tests, but especially the new (a) class.

    Design unchanged

    The Nothing Ear look exactly like their predecessors, the plugs are protected against water according to IP54, the case according to IP55. The manufacturer has not changed anything in the basic design. There was no reason to do so, the earphones sit comfortably but securely and the control via the pressure-sensitive stems is uncomplicated.

    You can hardly notice that the (a) class (right) is almost 1.5 millimetres longer. You can hardly notice that the (a) class (right) is almost 1.5 millimetres longer.

    You can hardly notice that the (a) class (right) is almost 1.5 millimetres longer.

    (Photo: kwe)

    What's new here is that you can now use one of the freely assignable gestures to call up ChatGPT instead of Google Assistant or Amazon. However, this only works with a Nothing Phone (2) for now, but later with another Nothing smartphone. There are no special conditions; if you want the better AI help, you have to pay; you can only use an older model for free.

    Great sound, many possibilities

    The sound of the predecessors was already good, but Nothing has taken things up a notch with the new earphones. Equipped with a new ceramic membrane and additional ventilation, the new earphones deliver even more powerful, but still controlled bass and finer treble. The mids are still cleanly defined and hold the reins firmly in your hand.

    The charging case of the Nothing Ear (a) is significantly smaller. The charging case of the Nothing Ear (a) is significantly smaller.

    The charging case of the Nothing Ear (a) is significantly smaller.

    (Photo: kwe)

    The improvement over the predecessors could also be due to a different tuning, but the differences are not really that big. This is especially true if you adjust the sound with the very extensive equalizer or through presets. A personal sound profile is particularly effective. To do this, you do a test in which pulsating beeps at different pitches are faded in and out over a strong background noise.

    As with its predecessors, the sound is ideally more precise, more pleasant and opens up a wider stage. The effect does not have to be due to a decrease in hearing, the sound is also adapted to personal preferences.

    With appropriate sources, the Nothing Ear supports the high-resolution Bluetooth codecs LHDC or LDAC, otherwise only AAC and SBC are available. The newcomers do not support LE Audio or 3D sound (Spatial Audio).

    Good ANC, acceptable endurance

    The active noise cancellation of both newcomers is very good. The active noise cancellation of both newcomers is very good.

    The active noise cancellation of both newcomers is very good.

    (Photo: kwe)

    The active noise cancellation (ANC) does a very good job, especially with constant noise on trains or busy roads. The Nothing Ear has now reached top level here. The inherent noise is minimal and the sound is only slightly changed. It is also nice that the earphones can handle wind well. The ANC does not dampen office noises such as clacking keyboards and conversations with colleagues quite as effectively as the best in this discipline, but even with quiet music you can have peace and quiet.

    There is also an adaptive ANC mode that automatically adjusts the strength of the effect. However, it dampens the sound somewhat cautiously and is rarely as effective as when manually set to the highest level. The transparency mode does a good job, it seems largely natural and, like ANC, has only a small amount of inherent noise.

    The battery life is a little better than its predecessors, at around five hours with ANC activated and around eight hours without noise cancellation. That's not a top value, but it's okay. Empty earbuds can play music for around eight to ten hours after ten minutes in the case, and the box can also be charged inductively.

    Cheaper, but hardly weaker (a) class

    The Nothing Ear (a) are also available in yellow. The Nothing Ear (a) are also available in yellow.

    The Nothing Ear (a) are also available in yellow.

    (Photo: Nothing)

    The Nothing Ear (a) have largely the same properties as the more expensive earphones and also look almost identical. Their membrane is made of plastic rather than ceramic, but that doesn't make a big difference in the sound. The highs don't seem to be as fine at the top, the bass perhaps a little softer. But that could also be my imagination. Either way, the (a) class also sounds excellent.

    However, there are fewer customization options. There are no individual sound profiles and the equalizer is not as comprehensive. In addition, the only Bluetooth codec available is SBC and AAC, and LDAC. But these are not major limitations, and you don't have to miss out on any ANC functions with the inexpensive earbuds.

    The charging case is only protected against moisture according to IPX2 and cannot be charged inductively. However, it is more compact and almost 12 grams lighter than the charging case of the Nothing Ear. There are no relevant differences in terms of endurance; even the (a) class lasts about five hours with activated noise cancellation.

    Conclusion

    At 150 euros, the Nothing Ear are strong competition for many significantly more expensive earphones. The sound and ANC are very good. They are very comfortable to wear and have an app with extensive options. The endurance is not outstanding, but absolutely suitable for everyday use.

    The Nothing Ear (a) are even more exciting. For 50 euros less, they sound almost as good and are just as effective at noise cancellation as their more expensive brothers. Inductive charging is not a problem with earphones and the other limitations are hardly worth mentioning. An interesting alternative to both newcomers are the Nothing Ear (2), which you can currently get for around 120 euros.

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