Last year, the OnePlus founder, Carl Pei, broke into the audio-visual tech scene with Nothing's debut Ear 1 wireless ANC earphones. To say the release was a success would be a huge understatement with Nothing’s Ear 1 earphones securing almost 5,000 sales within the first two minutes of pre-orders going live. The Nothing Ear 1's were made to compete with established manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung and Sony and did so well, with many reviews ruling the Nothing Ear 1's over the Apple AirPods. Needless to say, the Nothing Ear 1's were a huge success for the new start-up and since their debut, Carl saw no halt in sight as he crashed straight into the smartphone scene in 2022 with the Nothing Phone 1, a mid-range handset that was even competing against the very handsets Carl created at OnePlus. If there's one thing to take from this article so far, it's that Carl Pei does what he wants and he does it well – bringing us to Nothing's third product: Nothing Ear Stick.
Nothing's third product- The Nothing Ear Stick- returns back to audio after Nothing's recent side quest into the smartphone market. The Ear Stick, similar to the Ear 1's, are as much an architectural masterpiece as they are a tech product, with a trademark cylindrical rotating case design with transparency prevalent throughout. Unlike the Nothing Ear 1's, the Ear Stick has an open-fit design rather than the silicone ear tips seen on its older sibling. Whilst this is a more cost-effective approach, there is equally a trade-off, as open-fit designs often sacrifice audio quality for comfort – as to the extent of this, we'll look at it shortly. As for the case, well, apart from initially appearing to be sponsored by Maybelline, the lipstick-lookalike housing for these buds features a lot of funky quirks. First off, as mentioned before, the case for the Nothing Ear Stick features spinning mechanics, which allow the buds to rotate as if they were on a rotating showreel. The case itself is white with red accents throughout and houses a battery which charges the buds wirelessly through the USB-C cut-out found at the top of the case. Unfortunately, we do miss out on wireless case charging with the Nothing Ear Stick however this is by no means a deal breaker. Back onto the buds now, and it's clear to see that this is the sibling to the Nothing Ear 1's. The Nothing Ear Sticks have adopted the same transparent elements as the Nothing Ear 1's on the stems and the rounded-off edges with carbon and clear colour scheming for the stems with contrasting white tips.
The performance on the Nothing Ear Stick is Nothing short of satisfactory and we'll wholeheartedly stick to that statement. The Nothing Ear Stick feature a single 12.6mm driver on each stick, supporting Bluetooth 5.2 which ensures low latency and a drop-zone-free listening experience. The Ear Sticks offers some good mid-range tone with some nice bass and treble however, where it lacks, is in the low-range sound department. Whilst by no means a bad set of buds, we'd like to see some more focus on a more balanced-out audio range rather than a mid-bias audio profile. On the flip-side, the Nothing Ear Stick offers a lot of customisation within the Nothing Audio app as well as the options to alter equalisation, bass and treble which is always something we appreciate from manufacturers. Moreover, the Ear Stick has a decent integrated microphone that offers clear listening for phone calls in clear environments although doesn't seem to deal too well with background noise.
The Ear Stick have a battery life rated at 7 hours with continuous audio playback and whilst, yes- this is more than it's superior Nothing Ear 1 sibling, we do need to remember that the Ear Stick has no inclusion of any noise cancellation which does have a huge effect on the battery life of audio devices. Nevertheless, 7 hours is a pretty solid result and will do most users perfectly to last through a normal day of usage. What's more, Nothing claims that the Nothing Ear Stick will offer 2 whole hours of playback after a mere 10-minute charge which is quite impressive.
Overall the Nothing Ear Stick is a good set of wireless earbuds. The key thing to remember is these are £50 cheaper than the Nothing Ear 1’s and considering there are still no budget offerings from Apple or Samsung in this space, Nothing may be onto a winner with this device. As far as meeting the standard that Nothing has set with their last two products that simply disappear into the background- the Ear Stick most definitely makes the cut. Let us know your thoughts on this blog in the discussion box below and what you’d like to see next.