Nothing Ear (Stick)

For some reason, it has simply become a fashion, and a function in itself, to have an elongated piece of plastic on the ear. This is usually for several reasons, partly to balance the in-ear part, and partly to avoid the in-ear part being large, as is the case with some Jabra, JBL and B&W models. And then there are just a lot of people who prefer to press this little stick, instead of pressing directly on the ear part that, well, sits inside the ear.

So now there’s the Nothing Ear (Stick), which, like its predecessor, has a small stick, but now they look much more like Apple’s competing product, and that’s probably more the point, because I have a hard time seeing the big difference otherwise visually, that is, other than the fact that there are no longer silicone tips.

They’re nicely made, with a hardcore designed case where the whole cylinder rotates for easy access, sort of a combination of an insulin syringe and a pill box, but it’s cool and it looks super exclusive, just missing the wireless charging. Yes, there’s no wireless charging, although Nothing’s introductory product, the Ear (1), had that as a key selling point. Weird.

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The devices themselves do not take up much space. The tiny 12.6 mm device sits in a housing of just 4.4 grams, and the fit is amazingly good. But instead of putting silicone around like on the standard model, they just put a hard plastic shell. It works fine though and they fit well. There is just under 30 hours of battery life in them. I’ve been commuting with them and I charged them about every three weeks.

Nothing’s website is full of quite a lot of nonsense, such as “technology gets in the way too often” followed by “Ear (Stick) takes away these walls. This is technology you can’t feel. So you can experience everything else. Here I have to point out that wireless charging is not the only thing missing, because Nothing has also chosen to drop the active noise reduction, and it is disastrous when you also do not have silicone tips and charge just under NOK 1,400 for the product.

Ear (Stick) sounds pretty good, and they come with a pretty good app – but Nothing’s own marketing indicates that I could actually get even more features if I used their special cell phone, and that kind of “feature” just seems silly to me. I shouldn’t be forced to switch cell phones to get the full benefit of a pair of earbuds. Practically, their low-latency gaming mode seems to only be supported if you’re using a Nothing Phone, and that might matter to many.

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Nothing, on the other hand, is good at revealing specifications, and I can clearly see that AAC and SBC are supported and that the device itself is made of plastic at the good end. On the other hand, I’m surprised that AptX is left out, especially the Low Latency version, because then you can get a delay of about a quarter of what Nothings Gaming Mode offers – that is, if you have a Nothing Phone. SBC gives less than a quarter of the latency of a CD, and AAC is actually worse, and then you might not get LDAC since it’s a Sony standard, but at least you’d expect AptX HD at this price point.

Nothing Ear (Stick)

The sound is a little bassy, ​​but otherwise nice and clear, although not surprisingly it lacks a bit of clarity, and it has therefore been difficult not to notice some connection problems during calls, where there are better options in terms of call quality.

For everyday music and podcast playback they work acceptably, but I personally can’t live without active noise cancellation when I live a commuter lifestyle, and if you have kids or live in a very noisy home, it’s probably even worse. At NOK 1,400, it is a very important function to be missing, especially when there is no passive noise reduction otherwise, and it is a shame because the design, case and battery life are good.

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