Finally, some actual tech specs for Nothing’s transparent Ear (1) wireless earbuds launching on July 27 for $99.99. In a conversation with CNET, Nothing CEO Carl Pei shared some battery life figures for the Ear (1): up to 24 hours total (with the charging case) with active noise-cancellation turned on and up to 36 hours with it off.
The interview also confirms the semi-transparent charging case will support wireless charging (presumably Qi) and fast charging the buds (10 minutes gets up to 6 hours with ANC and 8 hours without).
So there you go. Specs, in case you didn’t want to bid a ridiculous amount of money for early units of the Ear (1) being sold on StockX without first knowing what you’re buying. Yesterday, the max price bid was around $550. Twenty-four hours later and the top bid is $850. For earbuds.
Other details on the Ear (1) — CNET has also extracted a few other notable details on the Ear (1) buds from Pei, like the ability for the charging case to work like a fidget toy:
A solid white module sits in the middle and joins to a USB charging port. Meanwhile, red and black contact points will hopefully match up with colors on the earbuds, making it intuitive to fit them into their respective slots. On the top, an inverted bubble in the plastic will hold the buds in place. It also doubles as a playful element, designed to please fidgeters who might enjoy spinning the entire case between thumb and forefinger.
He also shared a behind-the-scenes look at the design process, specifically on the difficulty of working with magnets in transparent design:
The magnets that feature in the new case are a classic example of why. Magnets in tech are usually hidden behind plastic, but in Nothing's product casing there is nowhere for them to hide, so they needed to be perfectly polished with no blemishes. These are requirements manufacturers aren't used to meeting, leading the company to be fired by two magnet factories along the way.
Inspired by Apple and Sony — The entire interview is well worth a read to understand Nothing’s ethos and Pei’s vision (naturally, for the company to survive). And in case it wasn’t already obvious, the Ear (1)’s transparent design was inspired by old Apple and Sony products — industrial designs that defined eras. Calling out current wireless earbuds, Pei relayed to CNET: "They all look the same — white with a stem.”
With stems of their own, we’ll have to see just how different the Ear (1) compare to other wireless earbuds such as the AirPods and OnePlus Buds. How far can transparent design go in distinguishing the Ear (1) and will it be enough to move the needle in any meaningful way?