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Nothing has been making some waves since its inception in 2020, following the advent of both a set of earphones and a smartphone. The Nothing Ear 1 were well received at launch, and the Nothing Phone 1 was a good phone with even better marketing. Now, the Nothing Ear 2 are here, and they double down on a lot of what worked with the original Ear 1 while bringing in some key improvements that make them a much better product overall.

I still use the Nothing Ear 1 quite a lot for sleeping and as a second pair of earphones because while they have issues, I'm a big fan of the sound profile. The Ear 2 manage to improve the audio experience while still retaining the Nothing classic look and feel. The software issues of the original Ear 1 no longer seem to exist, and with improvements to the controls and the audio quality, everything about these seems like a no-brainer improvement.

They're not a perfect pair of earphones, but for $149, they're a lot better than a lot of the competition, even some of the best wireless earbuds at higher price points.

About this review: Nothing sent us the Ear 2 and did not have any inputs into the contents of this review. It was written after using them for more than a week.

Nothing Ear 2

The Nothing Ear 2 double down on a lot of what made the original Nothing earphones so good, while making some much-needed changes. They're a second-generation product, and it absolutely shows.

Battery Life
ANC on, 22.5 hours with case and 4 hours with buds
Charging Case Included?
Audio codecs
Solo bud mode?
Driver Size
11.6mm dynamic
Wireless Charging
2.5W Qi
Case battery
51.9g (case)
Dimensions (earbuds)
29.4mm x 21.5mm x 23.5mm
Dimensions (case)
55.5mm x 55.5mm x 22m
Charging Port
Android, IOS
Noise Cancellation

Nothing Ear 2: Pricing and availability

The Nothing Ear 2 will be available for purchase starting on March 23 in person at the Nothing Store Soho in London and select Kith stores worldwide, including the U.S., France, and Japan. They will be available to the rest of the public on March 28 at the following regional prices for $149 / £129.

Design: Unique and beautiful, as usual

  • Continue Nothing's streak of great-looking products
  • Very comfortable
  • Smaller than last year

Nothing made a name for itself as a bold and flashy brand, and the Nothing Ear 2 are no exception. The earphones are built out of clear plastic, which I expect will make them a bit of a magnet for scratches over time. My Nothing Ear 1 case is a bit banged up at this point, and I imagine that the same will happen here.

Nevertheless, they look great, and showing off the earphones' internals adds to the overall presentation. The earbuds themselves are half transparent, with the stem showing some of the PCB on the inside. Nothing likes to go all in on pretty tech, and the Ear 2 certainly double down on that idea.


The case has a groove on the outside that serves two purposes, just like the last model. It helps to hold the earphones in place, and it allows you to use the case as a mini fidget spinner of sorts. On that note, the case is smaller than last year's by a tiny bit, making it that much more compact to carry around in your pocket.

Comfort-wise, these earphones nail it in the same way as the last ones did. I can wear them for long periods of time without any problem, and there are other gel silicone tips that you can put on if you don't like the default ones. Certain earphones have trouble staying in my ears when going for a run or just moving around, but I have no such problems here. The Nothing Ear 2 are, in fact, some of the most comfortable earphones I've worn.

Sound quality: Great for their size

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Good software tuning options
  • Powerful active noise cancelation

We are somewhat at an apex of what sound quality can be in earphones at this point, and that's because of the limited space that earphones possess. Some of the largest drivers will come in at 15.4mm, and larger is usually better for bass reproduction, while a smaller driver tends to be better at reproducing treble. For this form factor, Nothing's 11.6mm driver is about average and there's nothing wrong with that.


Using the "balanced" audio preset, the audio is, well, balanced. I primarily listened to this playlist for the duration of my testing. The bass was smooth and didn't overpower the rest of the mix, and the tracks sounded exactly how they should. I noticed that the hi-hat in Freaks by Surf Curse rang a little bit too high, suggesting a slightly enhanced treble. If you're sensitive to higher frequency noises, you can do what I did — set a custom equalizer in the Nothing X app, turn everything to zero, and decrease treble by two.

From lo-fi songs like Waking Up Early To Leave This Place to more heavy-hitting tracks like Major Crimes, the Nothing Ear 2 sound excellent no matter what. They handle a wide range of sounds and acoustics, and they're just an enjoyable pair of earphones to listen to overall.

The Nothing Ear 2 sound excellent no matter what.

Like most earphones these days, there's a hearing test that you can take that will try and generate an equalizer that suits your ears. What it created for me sounded fuller in some ways, but overall I didn't enjoy it as much as just listening in the balanced preset (or my slightly modified preset). There's an active noise cancelation profile that you can create too, but I didn't really notice any difference when using it.

There are, of course, headphones that sound better than the Nothing Ear 2. However, these are earphones. They're smaller and more portable than over-ear headphones, and to be honest, they're still great. The noise cancelation is great on public transport and even just for removing quieter noises in the background, like the whir of PC fans as I write this review.

Software and gesture controls: Much improved, except for one omission

  • Better app than before
  • Less finicky gestures
  • No more volume gesture

Nothing has changed up the gesture controls from the Ear 1 for the better, aside from one specific change. Previously, the Ear 1 had touch controls on the side of the stem, but because of their capacitive nature, they would activate if moving hair brushed against them or if water got on them.

Instead, the Nothing Ear 2 use stem squeezes to enact gesture controls. They make a lot more sense in most instances because the action has to be deliberate instead of accidental, but as a result, there's no longer a way to turn up and down the volume just by swiping. If that bothers you (it certainly bothers me), it might be a dealbreaker. It doesn't bother me enough to do that, but I get why it might be problematic for some people.

The app itself has improved too, with more options, a good design, and useful features. A built-in equalizer is an especially welcome addition (even if it's not quite a five-band EQ, which it really should be), and there are plenty of options relating to noise canceling and personalization, too.

Should you buy the Nothing Ear 2?


You should buy the Nothing Ear 2 if:

  • You want good quality earphones
  • You want unique-looking earphones
  • You want a robust app

You shouldn't buy the Nothing Ear 2 if:

  • You want smartphone integration. Only the Nothing Phone 1 integrates with these earphones
  • You're on a budget
  • You want touch controls

The Nothing Ear 2 are a stellar improvement over last year's model, acting as a testament to the company's growth. They're significantly less buggy, the app is more robust, and they're still super comfortable to wear. There isn't a lot negative we can say here. They're a solid pair of buds that sound good and last a long time, and that's all you really need.

Even on pricing, the Nothing Ear 2 do quite well. They're $149, which is relatively pricey, but that puts them on par with the best of Google and OnePlus. But they're worth it; while I like the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, for example, the Nothing Ear 2 are just overall better for my usage. I prefer the design, they're more comfortable, and the app that you use to control them on non-Nothing phones is a lot better than the Oppo/OnePlus "HeyMelody" app.

Nothing Ear 2

The Nothing Ear 2 double down on a lot of what made the original Nothing earphones so good, while making some much-needed changes. They're a second-generation product, and it absolutely shows.