Sound upgrade in a familiar design- QHN
The Ear 2 are second-generation true wireless earbuds from UK-based consumer technology start-up Nothing. Successor to the Ear 1 (review), the Nothing Ear 2 does not look much different but brings improvements in sound quality, battery life, noise cancellation, and personalised experience. These upgrades bump the cost by Rs 4,000 than the Ear 1 launch price, at Rs 9,999. Are the upgrades in the second-generation earbuds worth paying extra for? Let’s find out:
The Nothing Ear 2, both earphones and charging case, has a transparent design similar to the predecessor. With core upgrades centered around sound, there is a little done on the design front. The case is a tad smaller and the earphones are a little bigger compared to the Ear 1. However, the difference in size is barely apparent. Like the Ear 1, the Ear 2 is launched in just white colour with no promise from the company about new colour options coming in future. Nevertheless, the design is still novel and sure attracts attention. Nothing has got the basics right by keeping IP55 on the case and IP54 on the earbuds for water splashes and dust resistance. And, there is support for wireless charging (Qi certified – up to 2.5W).
Coming to audio, there is a noticeable difference in the quality compared to the predecessor. The Nothing Ear 2 are powered by custom 11.6mm dynamic audio drivers, which are not loud but deliver a comfortable listening experience. Output from the earbuds is bass rich but not overwhelming on low frequencies to compromise mids and highs. Therefore, the sound signature is rich with deep bass, clear vocals, and fine treble.
Besides sound, Nothing bets big on personalised experience in the Ear 2. There are four dedicated equalisers – balanced, more bass, more treble, and voice – and an open equaliser for custom setting, but lifting the experience is the addition of a personal sound profile. The latter let the user personalise sound experience based on hearing profile, which is created by running a rather lengthy test available within the earbuds supplementary smartphone app called Nothing X – available on both Android and iPhones. Likewise, there is a personalised active noise cancellation feature within the app that calibrates earbuds’ noise cancelling intensity based on user hearing sensitivity. It makes a difference in the ANC experience, but needs to be recalibrated every time you shift to a different place because of changing ambient noise levels.
As for the connectivity, the Ear 2 supports Bluetooth 5.3 with multipoint, which means they can connect to two devices at once and switch between them automatically. The earphones support LHDC 5.0 codec for Hi-Res audio over wireless, besides AAC and SBC codecs. However, these mostly connect using AAC because there are not many smartphones that currently support LHDC 5.0.
As for the battery life, the Nothing Ear 2 leaves one asking for more. The earbuds deliver a modest on-battery time of about four hours on a single charge, without case, on mixed usage with ANC enabled. With the case, the on-battery time extends to up to 30 hours but that means storing the buds in the case on regular intervals.
The Nothing Ear 2 are a good pair of true wireless earbuds that offer a lot of features for a reasonable price. These have a distinctive design, a comfortable fit, a good sound quality, an effective ANC and a comprehensive app. Though not perfect, the Ear 2 is still worth considering if you are looking for an alternative to more expensive or mainstream options.
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