Nothing Ear (stick) Review
The Nothing brand continues to amaze: so far, it succeeds due to the freshness of its approaches, although not everything goes smoothly – the Nothing Phone (1) smartphone is not perfect, it has prospects. But with the first headphones – Nothing ear (1) turned out well. They have already visited us on the review and left positive impressions. This time we have Nothing Ear (stick) – a different form factor, probably different impressions. We will not tell you again where the little-known brand Nothing came from, just a few words.
The appearance and construction of the Nothing Ear (stick) case is impressive right off the bat. Although in English, there is a concept of overengineering, which describes the design of a product that solves a problem in a way that is too complex. In the case of Nothing ear (stick) headphones, the same thing is observed: the case is magnificent in its dissimilarity to others in execution, but at the same time there are difficulties with usability. More precisely, not exactly complexity, but rather usualness.
- Case. The case is compact and fits easily into the palm of your hand. It is almost completely covered with a plastic “lid”, on one side it has an oval window through which you can get the headphones. White plastic has a texture that is distinct to the touch, but hardly noticeable to the eye. On the side of the body of the case there is a washer (with a red element), it is motionless, you grab it to rotate the rest. At the end there is a charging connector and a Bluetooth button (the chrome column it is).
- Design. You can rotate the cover in any direction without restrictions, and when the window coincides with the location of the headphones, a soft click occurs, the cover is fixed and the charge indicator lights up. The same happens when you close the case, but the indicator goes off.
- Textured surface. In general, a big like for the case. Although over time it will probably get covered in micro scratches and not be as transparent. And the second point: if you carry a case in your pocket, where there may be crumbs and all sorts of extraneous pellets, with a certain degree of probability, they will be in the space between the cover and the case body. Then the magic will dissipate a little.
The headphones themselves are held inside by magnets very tightly: the open case withstands shaking along the axis, the headphones do not fall out – even if shaken vertically, will have to try. But if you pull them by the leg, they come out without much effort. Design:
- Indicators. White and red dots are applied to the legs of the headphones – these are the left and right, respectively. But unlike the Nothing ear (1), there are no color indicators in the case itself: they are replaced by the shape of the indentations and the headphones themselves – you can understand where to return which one (although the color indication would probably help you orient yourself).
- IP54. The shape of the Nothing Ear (stick) is also different from all the others (at least, they don’t come to mind right off the bat, and you can hardly compare them with someone from AirPods). And so, they look like miniature Mentos dragées, they are united with sweets by the fact that it is better not to throw them into cola. Although the headphones meet the IP54 standard – protected from dust, moisture and sweat.
- Transparent housing. Nothing Ear (stick) headphones use the same feature as the rest of the brand's devices – a transparent housing. The outer shell of the legs is completely transparent, but something “technological” in the form of contacts can be seen from the inside – the one which is pressed against the user's ear. But this does not negate the fact that the headphones stand out from the crowd, and the white and red dots become an interesting accent.
Nothing Ear (stick) are in-ear headphones, and there is an opinion that such a design is less effective in terms of blocking external noise and transmitting sound. In addition, these can be worse kept in the ears, since you have to make them (headphones) universal – there are no interchangeable ear pads. But both Apple and other manufacturers were able to somehow solve the “problem”. The Nothing Ear (stick) will take a little extra time the first time to find the correct position in the ears. Let's put it this way: people with larger ear canals will be more comfortable. I got the impression that one earpiece, “as if improper.” But in practice, nothing like that: no one falls anywhere, sits tight enough when jumping and running. After some time, they sit comfortably, do not press anywhere, but there are nuances, which are discussed in the section on the sound of Nothing Ear (stick).
To fully control the headphones, you need to install the proprietary Nothing X application. To complete this, there is a QR code on the protective film that is wrapped around the case – the software is downloaded from the Nothing website. But not from the Android application store (the headphones were connected to Android - smartphone, there is also a software version for Apple devices). Nothing X:
- Gestures. In the application, you can configure and reconfigure all control gestures for each earphone – more precisely, “tweaks” or clicks, which are accompanied by a perceptible click (on the one hand, there is feedback, on the other, it is quite loud).
- Equalizer. Plus there is a set of sound settings: “Balanced” (active by default), then “More bass”, “More Treble”, “Voice”, and “Custom”.
- Settings. “Voice” is probably suitable for those who use headphones mainly for communication, and in “Custom” the user is slightly allowed to change the default settings: no separate 10 sliders for different frequencies, visual map only.
- Connection. Yes, the connection is fast: after launch, the application will ask you to press the chrome button on the case, after which Nothing Ear (stick) will “pair” with your smartphone.
From a technical standpoint, Nothing Ear (stick) received a slightly larger driver (by 1 mm in specifications) than Nothing ear (1) – in theory, there will be no problems with bass, since past headphones had tender feelings for them. Along the way, it turned out that before changing the equalizer settings, you need to check whether the headphones are sitting correctly with a running melody: nevertheless, there may be nuances due to the form factor. Sound Quality:
- ANC. As for the blocking of external sounds, Nothing Ear (stick) has it characteristic of this form factor: some muffles, but the environment is audible. Note that this model does not have an active noise reduction system (as well as a “transparency mode”) – “sticks” are positioned as a more affordable version compared to Nothing ear (1), and for in-ear headphones ANC is a so-so idea.
- Sound spectrum. As expected, the headphones work out the low frequencies perfectly, and there are enough of them in the “Balanced” mode, but someone will probably want to add more. But there was no high desire to add. The fact is that Nothing Ear (stick) obviously protrude them and in some genres – medium and high frequencies stick into the ear. However, it is possible that the experience will vary from user to user.
- Depth. It turns out a rich picture with deep, but with dense bass at high volume, the impressions of which are dulled due to the raised “tops” – if there are a lot of them. Therefore, in some compositions, volume may be lost, there are no characteristic rifts, “not enough air.”
- Low delay mode. And it's worth mentioning Low latency mode, aimed at mobile gamers, is also applied when watching videos. It allows you to reduce the lag between the picture on the screen and the sounds accompanying the action. In practice, Nothing Ear (stick) does not cope with all games: in some, apparently resource-demanding (or insufficiently optimized), the delay can be noticeable: in my case, one of the five tested caught this, in one the lag was barely distinguishable (maybe it would not be noticeable if I didn’t pay attention to this moment), in others everything turned out fine.
- Conversation. In telephone conversations, Nothing Ear (stick) — ordinary good headphones without noticeable negative and positive sides: you can hear perfectly, but the interlocutor also hears the environment.