Nothing Ear(1) Review
A mixed bag of emotions
The excitement was strong on this one. After 3 months of constant refreshing and trying many other sources, I finally got the Ear(1) delivered last week. My Airpods (Gen1) stopped quite sometime back and I was using the Sony WI-C200 for video calls and occasional music. I’m not a music or sound enthusiast, so if you are looking for spec and sound quality review, this is not the place. In my reviews I always focus on making a decision. Well let’s be real. No one just reads a review (that too from me) without liking or having an interest about that product. For me conveying the user experience is extremely important.
I love base. For me, I rarely enjoy songs without a base. Unless it’s from the god himself, Ilayaraja. Before I start, all songs are tested in the following environment:
- Apple iPhone 12
- Apple Music (Lossless & Dolby enabled)
- Volume not exceeding 80%
The first song I always play..
It’s called Evolution by OSC. Why this song? For me, like I said the base ranges are very important. And this is probably one with so many ranges. If I can enjoy this, any headset/earphone is A+ for me.
Verdict: Well it’s definitely matching the Airpods Pro range but… but .. but.. it has a slightly higher treble setting. A little more than I expected. That is a bit concerning to me as it visibly reduces the focus on the actual base. I tried adjusting the EQ settings in the default Ear(1) app, but the mods barely make a difference. Like barely, just to show that there are some changes. I hope they bring more EQ’s in future updates.
If you are reading this Carl, I know how difficult it is to focus on products that are already in the market and when you are moving on to making more awesome things. But we are your early adopters. It all begins here. We love you and want to keep supporting you. This level of engineering with a new team, is unheard of in the industry. I wish you all the success there is. Keep updating the Ear(1) experience!
Microphone was pretty good for video calls. Considering how small the stem is, it’s incredible. I tried around 10–15 calls with the Ear(1) and people on the other end never had any issue hearing me in even in crowded places.
Like every true wireless headphones, it takes a bit time to get adjusted to all the touch controls. For me, the Ear(1) has better controls than the Airpods Pro since I don’t have to find the earphone stem and then squeeze it. Tap is always better. Sliding up the increase and decrease the volume is also nice. Since the design is flat, my fingers have no issue in sliding the right area. Good engineering again.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
With all in ear earphones, it already works by creating a vacuum so most of the external sounds are already blocked. It works pretty decently as expected. I keep it off mostly to get more juice. Transparency mode is good too. It’s textbook, nothing more — nothing less.
Nothing much to write here. It’s solid. How will it hold up after a year? Well, I’ll surely update that here! But I don’t mind getting another one or an updated version with this price tag. My wallet would bleed if i try to buy the Airpods Pro again after a year.
Other use cases
I went cycling with the Ear(1) and found that it catches air and creates that windy noise even at slow speeds. I’m guessing this is due to the air hitting the top portion of the earphone and getting trapped there. It’s not completely disturbing, but can be an issue if you cycle frequently. I also don’t know if this is an issue on the Airpods as well. Can someone confirm? Also for a day or two I had a small pain in my left ear with prolonged use. This can happen if the earphone is putting excess pressure on your outer ear, or pinna. This is nothing serious, your body will cancel it out. Mine stopped after changing the ear tips with a smaller one.
And oh before I forget, the ear buds which comes default is very soft. Sometimes when you remove the earphone from the ear, it’ll flip like an umbrella. That’s mainly due to the pressure release but the next versions might come with a more sturdy design. Minor inconvenience.
Should I get the Ear(1)?
Not commenting on the black design leak but if you keep that aside, Ear(1) is a fantastic earphone for $99 (AED 300). There is nothing like it whether it be design, price or sound. The best part? I can go sleep today knowing that my bank account is intact and yet I have something of immense quality and craftsmanship.
Over and out ️♥️