Why I Can’t Wait to Jam Out With Nothing’s New Earbuds

Quality audio without all the fuss

Key Takeaways

  • Nothing’s first piece of tech, ear (1), is slated to arrive this summer.
  • The new earbuds will include features like advanced noise-canceling for only $99.
  • Nothing says it wants to deliver powerful sound without drawing a bunch of attention to the buds, themselves—both impressive and a nice change from many of today’s current offerings.
Nothing ear(1) concept

Nothing

Nothing has finally unveiled its new earbuds, called ear (1), and the company’s promise to deliver a digital future without any barriers has me itching to see what these new earbuds have to offer.

Earlier this year, Carl Pei unveiled Nothing, a new tech company designed around delivering tech without any barriers. Having co-founded OnePlus—a popular Android smartphone manufacturer—in 2013, Pei’s reputation in the tech world has earned him a level of respect from many consumers. So, when the company finally announced that it planned to launch its first bit of tech in the form of a set of earbuds, I couldn’t help but find myself drawn to the news.

Sure, Pei’s success with OnePlus isn’t something you can ignore. But, going from creating smartphones to creating earbuds is a completely different matter. Fortunately, everything we’ve seen about ear (1) is shaping up to look absolutely fantastic. And, I’m honestly intrigued to see if the company can pull off the promise of quality earbuds with active noise canceling (ANC) for just $99.

It’s the Principle

While the idea of great earbuds for under $100 is something I’m interested in, quality audio around that price point isn’t completely unknown. Other earbuds offer similar features at near that price. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Nothing’s ear (1) is the principles behind its design.

Back in March, the company laid out its plans very clearly. One of the key points that it tried to nail home was how it wants to put together new tech for consumers with no barriers. Instead of being this big, flashy tech, Nothing wants to empower people—the consumers—with something barely noticeable. Hence the name.

These principles boil down to three main ideas. First, the tech must be weightless. This is especially important with things like earbuds, which you’re going to have resting in your ears for long periods. No details on the ear (1) have been revealed just yet, but if the company can deliver a pair that’s both light and barely noticeable, it could turn a lot of heads when it comes out later this summer.

Next, Nothing wants its tech to be effortless. Setting up and using earbuds isn’t the most difficult thing in the world. However, a lot of earbuds come with finicky touch controls. Others feature buttons that force you to shove the earpiece into your ear whenever you want to skip a song, turn up the volume, or answer a call. This is another area that I’m intrigued to see Nothing approach. If the company can develop new and better ways for users to interact with its earbuds, it could lead others to follow suit.

Finally, Nothing says tech should be timeless and familiar. It should look natural but warm and shouldn’t feel like it’s easily outdated. Earbud design has remained fairly similar for years, and the concepts that the company has shown off don’t look all that different from what we’re already used to, which isn’t bad. But, the possibility that it might have something else up its sleeve is exciting.

Nothing ear(1) reveal date

Nothing

Putting the Puzzle Together 

These principles are intriguing when it comes to tech, and I’m excited to see how Nothing pulls it off. The ear (1) is set to arrive later this month and will feature active noise canceling—a feature commonly only seen on your more expensive earbud options—thanks to three special mics included on the device.

Nothing hasn’t detailed anything else about how the new earbuds will work or look. But, if the concept designs are anything to go by, the design should be sleek and easy to conceal. The possibility of being able to hide my earbuds a bit better is something I’m excited about, as well. 

While other earbuds out there have managed to bring ANC to the table for around the same price, putting ear (1) at the bottom of that spectrum is aggressive and ultimately good for consumers. If more and more headphones can continue to offer this quality and feature subset for less money, we could finally see Apple’s AirPods Pro dethroned or forced to pivot to offer a more affordable option for consumers. And that is a win/win in all regards.

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