Nothing’s second attempt at wireless headphones come in a carry case that tries to combine a cosmetics packaging aesthetic with the glossy white, transparent style of its other devices so far. The Ear Stick, priced at $99, works best with the company’s phone (of course) but will happily work with any Android device or iPhone. The Nothing Ear 1 buds were eye-catching and surprisingly capable true wireless earbuds that offered tech like active noise cancellation (ANC) at a competitive price – although that’s since gone up.
While the Nothing Ear Stick is cheaper than its predecessor, these buds lack ANC. There are no silicone buds this time around, so you can expect more noise bleed-through, too, although some headphone wearers may find them a more comfortable fit. Nothing says it tested the new headphones with 100 pairs of ears. But I prefer silicone buds, so I’m looking forward to trying the Stick and forming my own opinion. The buds are still, thankfully, IP54 dust-, water- and sweat-resistant. One of the drawbacks of Nothing’s Ear 1 was occasionally patchy connectivity, both when pairing with your device and talking on calls. With the Ear Stick, the company has redesigned the antenna and shifted it further away from the face to reduce signal blockage.
The company has also worked to improve sound quality, both listening and speaking. For the latter, there are now three high-definition mics (up from two mics on the Ear 1) that work with algorithms to filter out louder background noises and what it says is “wind-proof and crowd-proof.” Regarding audio quality, there’s a new 12.6mm custom dynamic driver inside each bud. A new feature called Bass Lock Technology will detect how much bass is lost during wear and adjust the equalizer automatically. You can also tweak the equalizer settings (with presets for different kinds of audio) from a new companion app. There are gesture controls on each headphone's tips, which can also be reassigned in the app.
Nothing says the Stick will offer up to seven hours of playback between charges, with 29 hours of total playback with the case. In a pinch, 10 minutes in the case should offer up to two hours of playback.
If you already own the see-thru Nothing Phone 1, many of these settings and features are already baked into the device, accessible by a widget in the Android phone’s drop-down menu. For other devices, a new Nothing X app will act as a settings hub for all of the company’s peripherals. The Ear stick will go on sale at 5:30 AM ET, on November 4th, directly from Nothing’s online store and other retailers, including Farfetch.