In just a few months, Nothing, One Plus co-founder Carl Pei’s new company, has managed to quickly build brand recognition and hype by teasing a product that doesn’t actually exist. Today that changes, however, as Nothing has officially revealed its ear (1) wireless earbuds that boast a solid set of features for just $99.
What immediately sets the ear (1) earbuds apart from the seemingly endless list of options already available now is their design, which reflects the Swedish-based aesthetics of Teenage Engineering who are best known for their Pocket Operator synthesizers and recent collaborations with Ikea. The clear plastic housing used for the ear (1) earbuds and charging case will also undoubtedly remind ‘80s kids of the see-through gadget fad where all of the electronics inside were laid bare, although Nothing hasn’t left the inner workings of the ear (1) buds quite as exposed.
Teenage Engineering also assisted in making sure the ear (1) earbuds sound as good as they look, and as a result inside each bud is a powerful bass-boosting 11.6-millimeter driver which is a feature we’ve yet to see on wireless earbuds priced below $100. The same goes for active noise-canceling (ANC), which on the ear (1) takes advantage of three microphones to block out as much sound as possible in noisier environments, but can also be turned down to a less aggressive mode when you don’t want to tune out everything, or a transparency mode which boosts sounds around you for when you want to have a conversation without removing the buds.
The various ANC modes can be toggled using a connected mobile app, or tap gestures on the earbuds themselves, while sliding a finger up and down the flat side of the ear (1)’s stems provides quick access to volume adjustments. Battery life for the earbuds alone is promised to be up to 5.7 hours and clocks in at 34 hours in total when paired with the wireless charging case while you’re away from a power source. It’s not the smallest charging case we’ve ever seen, but it does feature the same transparent design of the buds, which may or may not be welcome depending on how clean you keep your earbuds.
The ear (1) will be available through Nothing’s website starting on July 31 in limited quantities (borrowing a page from Nintendo’s playbook to keep the hype going) and then available en masse around the world in various retailers starting on August 17. We have a full review of the ear (1) coming soon but even if they’re not an industry-changing addition to the wireless earbud market, for $99 they already make a compelling case over the competition.