Nothing Ear Stick- When it comes to new gadgets, you may have heard of the “early adopter tax.” The idea is that a company’s first attempt at an idea may be flawed; it may be buggy, poorly designed, or otherwise fall short in some way. Nothing makes its debut. Ear 1 true wireless earbuds are a prime example. We discovered a lack of polish at launch, along with some software glitches as well as a lack of software features, once we reviewed them last year.
The Ear Stick, on the other hand, feel like a pair of earbuds from a business that is still learning its lessons. This time around, the customer experience is far superior, with far fewer connectivity as well as charging issues, and Nothing has updated its app to provide more control over one‘s sound and shortcut controls. They also come in a restyled cylindrical case that is both quirky and entertaining to use.
However, the Ear Stick are more of a stripped-down alternative to the Ear 1 earbuds than a direct replacement.
- There is no active noise cancellation,
- No silicone ear tips to passively block out background noise,
- No wireless charging.
- The Ear Sticks are cheaper than the Ear 1s at $99
but that’s only because Nothing raised the price of its first buds to $149 earlier this week. The Ear Stick is almost a textbook example of shrinkflation.
Nothing’s Ear Stick earbuds have fewer features but are more polished than the Ear 1. As a result, they’re a good pair of earbuds, albeit for a specific type of listener.
Pros and Cons of Ear Stick
|Fun charging case||Fit could be improved.|
|The press controls are excellent.||Not completely bug-free|
|Voice calls have greatly improved.||There is no wireless charging.|
Nothing’s approach to the charging case for the Ear Stick is fantastic.
- It’s a cylinder about 3cm in diameter and 8.5cm in length, with a wheel on the right side that spins to reveal the earbuds. (The “Stick” in the name appears to be a reference to the case’s shape as a lipstick tube.)
- Nothing’s case is a little thicker than Apple’s flat-ish charging cases for its AirPods, but it slid easily into my jeans pocket next to a wallet.
- It was also the perfect shape to fit in a pocket normally reserved for energy gels in my running shorts, which was ideal for me.
Ear Stick Charging case is delight
With lots of transparent plastic as well as white, black, and red detailing, the charging case & earbuds are unmistakably Nothing products. It looks great right out of the box, but I didn’t talk to how the transparent plastic will age over time. For comparison, here’s how Ear 1’s charging case looked after a week of heavy use. My colleague Becca also got an eyelash stuck beneath the clear plastic of her Ear Stick case, as well as there’s no obvious way to get it out.
The earbuds have a similar overall appearance to the Ear 1s but lack the silicone ear tips that provide a snug fit in your ears. This has an effect on sound quality, which I’ll discuss later, but I think what’s more important is how it affects the fit of the Ear Stick earbuds.
This fit is functional, but it may not be to everyone’s liking. The Ear Stick earbuds happily stayed in place during a 50-minute jog, and they never slipped or fell out (they have an IP54 rating for dust as well as water resistance, so a little sweat shouldn’t be a problem). Nonetheless, I frequently nudge the left earbud toward my face, attempting to get it to sit a little deeper in my ear. This isn’t a unique issue with the Ear Stick, but if you dislike the fit of the regular AirPods, you’re unlikely to like the fit here.
Because these earbuds lack ear tips and do not have active noise cancellation, you will hear a lot of background noise while wearing them. If you’re looking for a pair of truly wireless earbuds used on public transportation, long plane flights, or even in a noisy office, you might want to consider the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro. However, there are genuine reasons to prefer a more open design, such as the Ear Stick earbuds. You might want to be conscious of your surroundings while running without needing to rely on the transparency mode of your earbuds.
I also prefer this more open form of earphone for voice calls because it lets me to plainly hear my own voice when speaking. It simply feels more natural. The Ear Stick’s three mics per earphone outperform the Ear 1 in terms of microphone quality. Although they sound almost identical to Nothing’s first earbuds in a silent place, with background sound (such as water running from a kitchen faucet), the Ear Stick did a significantly better job of keeping my voice audible with loud sound of washing up going on and were on par with Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live.
The battery life is comparable to that of many other earbuds on the market today. The Ear Stick earphones provide up to seven hours of listening time (a modest improvement over the 5.7 hours provided by the Ear 1 with ANC turned off), and when combined with the case, you get a total of 29 hours (down from 34 hours with the Ear 1). That’s not exceptional, but it’s par for the course. There is a USB-C charging port on one end of the case, but no wireless power option — another feature lacking in comparison to the Ear 1.
In contrast to the tap controls featured on the Ear 1 earphones, the Ear Stick’s shortcuts are activated with a press of the stem. While out running with sweaty hands, the Ear Stick’s controls are significantly more dependable than touch controls, albeit it can be difficult to raise or lower the level in small increments without accidently halting your music (the Ear 1 used a more distinct swiping gesture). Except for the single push, you can configure every shortcut via Nothing’s companion app, which also includes EQ controls for adjusting the earbuds’ blend of bass, mids, and trebles.
During my time with the earbuds, I encountered only one glitch in which the connection seemed to become confused and played only from the left earbud for half a second before reconnecting to both earbuds. Otherwise, I had no problems listening to the earphones at home, when exercising, or while driving in central London. I could also listen to either the right or left Ear Stick earbud on their own.
No ANC and no ear tips mean you’ll hear lots of background noise
As previously stated, in addition to allowing more background noise in, the lack of silicone ear tips has an effect on sound quality. The less snug fit allows more bass to escape out, resulting in a less powerful sound. Nothing attempts to compensate for this using a function called “Bass Lock,” which attempts to measure your ear canal and adjust the bass of the earphones accordingly.
The technology appears to function, but only to a certain extent. Listening to the Ear Stick earbuds alongside Nothing’s prior Ear 1 earbuds revealed how much punchier a set of noise-isolating ear points can make earbuds sound. Where the Ear Stick falls short on bass, it makes up for it in overall balance. The Ear Stick has a less muddy and more balanced sound, with less hissy sibilance in the trebles. Their overall detail cannot compete with more expensive competition, but they are adequate for $99.
As a second-generation device, it should come as no surprise that the Nothing Ear Stick is far more refined than its predecessor. In my time with the earphones, I only had one minor connection hitch, voice call quality is considerably enhanced, and the redesigned charging case is great.
The Nothing Ear Stick, on the other hand, is more of an alternative to the Ear 1 and was built with a different audience in mind. The open fit is less snug in the ear and allows a lot of background noise in. When combined with the lack of ANC, the earbuds appear to be unsuitable for use in noisy places where you’d rather not hear what’s going on around you. They may be significantly superior for listening to music and making phone conversations in a quiet office, but you may not want to use them on the way to work.
As a result, they are a nice pair of earbuds for the price, but not for everyone.
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NOTHING EAR STICK EARBUDS AGREE TO CONTINUE:
Before you can use any smart device, you must agree to a set of terms and conditions — documents that no one reads. It is impossible for us to read and examine each of these agreements. But, because these are agreements that most people don’t read and certainly can’t negotiate, we started counting how many times you have to touch “accept” to use gadgets when we reviewed them.
The Nothing Ear Stick earphones can be paired over Bluetooth and utilized without the need for any software. However, by using the mobile app to change settings, you agree to:
- There is no user agreement.
The app also contains an opt-in button for the Nothing “improvement programme,” which allows you to submit feedback and share usage data with the firm.
The final count indicates that there are no mandatory agreements and three voluntary ones.