The first consumer product from Nothing, the startup co-founded and headed by Carl Pei, formerly of OnePlus fame, goes on sale today. Called the Ear (1) the truly wireless earphones have generated huge hype since they were first teased in February. Nothing says a limited number of units will be available on its website, nothing.tech, starting at 9:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, July 31, and general sales will begin in 45 countries starting on August 17.
The active-noise-canceling buds are priced at $99, a price that significantly undercuts Apple’s AirPods Pro, Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, and Amazon and Sony’s latest noise-canceling in-ears.
Much ado about nothing — Nothing auctioned the first 100 units of the Ear (1), which it’s made in partnership with Germany’s audio hardware company Teenage Engineering, through reseller StockX, further cementing both its hipness, and whipping up additional excitement for the brand ahead of its mass-market launch. If Pei learned anything from his OnePlus days, it’s how to create hype and get consumers excited about your wares before they’ve even had a chance to try them.
App-dependent — We’ve also gotten a few more of our questions about the Ear (1) answered today. Yes, there’ll be a Find My Earbud feature and the ability to adjust EQ both via the accompanying app. The buds are also sweat- and splash-resistant, and on-bud controls are gesture-based and customizable. Nothing says users can also look forward to “in-ear detection and fast pairing,” though it’s unclear yet how the latter will work, and whether the experience will be the same on both Apple and Android devices.
Battery life is rated at up to 5.7 hours of listening time (less if you’re making calls, no doubt), and the case can top up the buds enough for 34 hours of total listening. The case itself supports fast charging and wireless charging from any Qi charger.
Each bud weighs a mere 4.7g, and Nothing’s included three mics for noise cancelation and a transparency mode for when users want to let a bit of the outside world in. The company says it’s also developed its own “Clear Voice Technology” for cutting out background noise like wind or traffic.
Proof is in the listening — Of course, attractive design can only take you so far, even if you’ve got names like Pei’s and Teenage Engineering’s on board. The success of the Ear (1) will come down to the user experience and the quality of the sound from the included 11.6mm drivers. To that end, we’ll have a full review of the buds soon.