London-based tech company Nothing has just launched its latest product, Ear (2), a pair of wireless earbuds certified for high-resolution audio streaming.
Today’s release marks the brand’s “first-ever second-generation product” and is an update to its popular predecessor — Ear (1) — that launched in 2021 and sold over 600,000 units, according to a press release issued by the brand.
Cosmetically speaking, this is an iterative update and the earbuds will be familiar to those who have seen or used the first ones. Internally, however, the new Ear (2) packs a bunch of upgrades that have improved everything from audio performance to sound personalization, battery life, and even an upgraded water-resistance rating.
Improving how the earbuds performed in terms sound wise was a priority for the brand and Ear (2) introduces new features to help this. “We’ve re-engineered everything from the ground up,” says CEO and co-founder Carl Pei, and “utilized cutting-edge technology to create the ultimate personal listening experience.” Ear (2) features created a custom-built 11.6mm driver with a newly-designed diaphragm that’s made of polyurethane (PU) and graphene. This material combination was specifically chosen to improve the delivery of certain sound frequencies: PU lets lower frequencies flow smoothly and sound clearer owing to it’s softness, while graphene’s strength-to-weight ratio allows the highs to be fully expressed while at the same time keeping the earbuds light.
Battery life on has also improved since Ear (1). The brand claims the new Ear (2) packs 36 hours of total playback time with a fully charged case, and a maximum of 6.3 hours playback between charges. The case itself supports 2.5W wireless charging and can fast charge to 8 hours in 10 minutes — a feature that will come in handy for those in a rush.
Gesture controls on the buds have changed — while Ear (1) favored ‘touch’, Ear (2) allows users to control their earbuds through a series of different ‘press’ actions, with haptic feedback helping to acknowledge these. The brand claims this change was inspired by feedback from its fans and should help to avoid unintentional actions caused by accidentally touching the earbuds.
Ear (2)’s three microphones have also been updated and repositioned to better protect against wind noise. This is complemented by the brand’s Clear Voice Technology which has an updated algorithm that claims “to make calls feel like face-to-face conversations”. Nothing has also added Dual Connection, a new feature that allows connection to two devices simultaneously — this should be welcomed by those who want to be connected to both their phone and computer, and who want to be able to switch between calls and other listening activities seamlessly.
An additional upgrade to Ear (2) is its water and sweat resistance rating: the earbuds are IP54 rated and the case is IP55, meaning the product is ready to be used in light rain and during exercise.
Other changes made to support these hardware upgrades include Personal Sound Profile, a feature that creates a tailored listening experience based on both the user’s ear structure and the range of frequencies the user can hear (this differs from person to person and is affected by various factors such as age). After a series of in-ear tests a unique profile is automatically created, and this can be further tweaked manually via the Nothing X application.
Lastly, audiophiles will be pleased to hear that Ear (2) supports support Hi-Res Audio and LHDC 5.0 codec compatible.
Ear (2) is available now at the brand’s website, with an exclusive pre-sale on HBX tomorrow. The global general release is on March 28 and Ear (2) will be priced at £129 GBP / $149 USD.
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