NOTHING Makes Something

Review and Rating of the new NOTHING Ear (1)


Graphic By Oliver Park.

Nowadays, the phone industry remains silent, with major companies such as Apple and Samsung releasing new products with no imagination and innovation. Customers all around the world crave extraordinary and creative products that bring something new to the table. Unlike the other top tech companies, a newbie startup company unexpectedly raised the bar for the Apples and Samsungs of the world: NOTHING. In 2020, the company was founded by Carl Pei, creator of OnePlus+, a Chinese phone company, with a $7 million investment from CEOs of Reddit, Twitch, and other Web Summits. NOTHING has drummed up a lot of attention around its first product launch. 

The company unveiled its newest earbuds – the NOTHING Ear (1) and Ear (stick). They also showcased their first smartphone, the NOTHING Phone (1). The startup received numerous positive feedback from TechCrunch, an online high-tech newspaper, which commented, “Pei has turned his concept for ‘Nothing’ into one of the buzziest hardware companies in recent history.” Forbes even went as far as to add, “Apple’s got new competition.”

Among the many products the company released, I would like to share my experience with one of their products, the NOTHING Ear (1). When the company put the Ear (1) on the market, it caught every tech YouTuber’s eyes with its affordable price and stylish, transparent design. Needless to say, it caught my eye as well. As soon as I received my wireless earphones ordered through Amazon, my first impression was that they had an insanely ingenious design. The company insists that the structure of the Ear (1) contains the value of NOTHING by removing unnecessary branding and design elements. They focus on adding real value to the user experience by eliminating everything else that’s superficial. The crystal clear case and earbuds give us a refreshing surprise. 

The simple yet stylish design on the Ear(1) buds is one of the defining features that appeal to the users. Photo by Oliver Park.

Compared to the affordable price, the Ear (1) has a noise cancellation feature, primarily included in high-end models like AirPods Pro. The Active Noise Cancellation equipped on the Ear (1) utilizes three microphones to allow you to focus more on sound. Light mode provides a moderate level of noise cancellation, and maximum mode offers a more thorough block of ambient noise in loud environments.

In addition, the native app, “NOTHING X” significantly boosts the overall experience by having an equalizer and customizable controls. Along with the lightweight bud of a mere 4.4 grams, these features made the earphones extra comfortable. 

The NOTHING X is completely customizable; a feature unique to the brand. Photo courtesy of NOTHING.

However, there are several cons that I found using this gear. When I dropped the earphone case, it broke into pieces in an instant, which indicates that there is a problem with product durability, the downside of a transparent plastic case that we extol. Moreover, the apertures of the Ear(1) look like flower buds – they didn’t fit satisfactorily into my ears when I listened to the music for a long time. It’s not an understatement that the company needs to consider changing the bud’s design of wireless earphones.

NOTHING’s first product launch received critical acclaim. Photo by Oliver Park.

My overall rating for the Ear (1) would be a three out of five. The sound quality is the best in its price range, including the noise cancellation system, and I love the unique transparent design of the product. I hope some quality and structure issues improve and the company considers a warranty system in Korea. But cons aside, the NOTHING Ear (1) is worthy of consideration for anyone seeking affordable wireless earbuds. In its first attempt, NOTHING delivers a more affordable wireless earbud compared to its competitors. Like Forbes said, will they be the next strong competitor to AirPods? Do you think that NOTHING is the next Apple in the tech industry?