Nothing is still considered a new brand, but it has been around for long enough to launch its second-gen product.
With these new Ear 2s, the company also believes that it can compete with established players in the market, because they are priced at ₹9,999.
Confidence in engineering or just overconfidence? Time to find out!
The Nothing Ear 2 looks almost identical to the Ear 1s, because this time around, the focus has been on refinement, and not breaking new ground with design.
So, you yet again get a semi-transparent aesthetic with these earbuds. In fact, the earbuds are exactly the same as their predecessors, except for the Ear (2) branding.
However, the charging case has shrunk marginally. But it is still too big and thick. This becomes all the more apparent when you compare it to its rivals.
For me, earbuds are considered portable if they pass the coin pocket test, and this case isn't even close.
However, while the case might be bulky, the buds themselves are supremely comfortable, and you can easily wear them for extended periods of time. You also get additional eartips in the retail box to customise the fit to your liking.
Moving on, the Ear 2s have an IP54 rating for water and dust resistance. But what’s awesome is that the charging case has an IP55 rating, and that’s something you do not find on most TWS earbuds.
The Ear 2s have Bluetooth 5.3, and connect to your Android or iOS device via the Nothing X app. This app is quite intuitive to use, with all the controls laid out in a straightforward way.
These buds also feature Google Fast Pair and Microsoft Swift Pair for quick connectivity.
When it comes to Bluetooth codecs, you get support for AAC, SBC and the new LHDC 5.0. However, aptX support is still missing.
There is also a low-lag mode on these earbuds. I highly recommend switching it on if you intend to use it with a Windows 11 computer to avoid latency.
Controls are my favourite part of the Nothing Ear 2.
Gone are the swipe-based gestures of the Ear 1s, you now get pressure sensitive squeeze controls on the stems. Each earbud has a dedicated pressure sensor which can be easily located while wearing since it is slightly recessed.
This leaves zero room for accidental triggers and adds to the overall user experience.
The squeeze-based gestures for each earbud can also be individually customised in the Nothing X app.
You also get wear detection on the Ear 2s, which, in my experience, worked pretty well.
Audio & Call Quality
The Ear 2s come with 11.6 mm custom drivers and are 24 bit hi-res audio certified.
Out of the box, the More Bass setting is enabled by default.
However, the overall sound signature of these earbuds is quite bright. This means that irrespective of the EQ setting you’re in, the treble always makes its presence felt.
But, the only time the high frequencies can be overpowering is when you are in the More Treble setting.
Despite the high emphasis on treble, these buds are also capable of producing rich and deep bass in the aforementioned More Bass mode. The balance between bass and treble in this mode will be enjoyed by a lot of Gen-Z folks.
You get 5 EQ settings in the app, including a custom one. The custom setting looks extremely simple with dedicated sliders for bass, treble, and mid frequencies. However, playing around with these sliders does not alter the audio output as dramatically as you might expect.
But, things get really interesting from here. You also have a personal sound profile in the app, for which, you have to take a rather annoying hearing test so that it can adjust the sound profile of these earbuds according to your ears.
It looked very gimmicky at first, but it positively changed the audio performance of these buds for me.
The same EQ setting sounds drastically different with the personal sound profile enabled and disabled, with the former sounding better.
I can just hope this custom sound thing works as well for everyone as it worked for me.
Anyway, at full volume, the sound also does not get distorted at all.
Also, the call quality via the in-built mics of these earbuds was pretty impressive, with good environmental noise cancellation.
The Ear 2s feature both, ANC and transparency modes. The ANC is also adaptive and can set its intensity automatically.
However, the ANC performance is mediocre at best. It's decent for fans and AC hums, but that’s about it.
On the flipside, there is no artificial suction in your ears with ANC on, so there is no ear fatigue.
The transparency mode is also very impressive. It sounds extremely natural, without giving you a feeling that noises around you are force-fed into your ears.
Nothing claims 4 hours of battery life per earbud with the ANC switched on, and I could easily hit that number during my testing period. However, do keep in mind that using the higher-res LHDC codec all the time will have an adverse effect on the battery life.
If you have ANC switched off, and are not using LHDC at all, you can extract a combined 36-hour battery life from these earbuds, but what’s the point if the key features of the earbuds are not put to use?
Just like the Ear 1s, you also get wireless charging as standard here.
The Nothing Ear 2s are a well-rounded pair of earbuds that excel in most areas, while offering good audio performance.
It is worth noting that achieving the best audio output requires some effort, but this also means you have control over the sound quality.
At ₹9,999, these earbuds offer a fantastic value, especially if you appreciate Nothing's unique aesthetics.
Also watch: Oppo Enco X2 Review: Worth the premium price tag?