If Carl Pro's tech company, Nothing, is aiming for a distinctive signature look for its products, it's definitely getting there with its portfolio of transparent gadgets - four of them, and counting. The idea is to stand out from the sea of products in crowded segments and "make tech fun again” as well as to apparently underline the idea that technology should be as easy as nothing rather than getting in the way of the user. The new Ear (2) wireless earbuds carry the philosophy forward.

The awkwardly written ear 'Ear (2)' buds follow the styling of the Ear 1 with their squarish transparent case. But everything is a bit more compact and there are a few nuances here and there by way of refinement. For example, the underneath of the case has been redone to prevent scratches. The top of the case still will, however, as it touches other objects in a bag or any such situation. In its newness, it looks very pristine and stylish. 

The buds themselves also look one-of-a-kind with their transparent stems. One glance and those in the know will recognise them as Nothing buds. The right earbud has a red dot for distinction.  

Easy fit

The earbuds are an instant comfortable fit with no twisting and angling and other fussing about needed. They’re comfortable enough to wear for long sessions - or until the battery lasts, whichever comes first. There are extra ear-tips in case you suspect you aren’t getting a good enough seal. Other than that, what you get in the modest but stylish package is a very short cable. One of the new features of the Ear 2 is that it’s IP54 rated for the buds and IP55 rated for the case, which means a bit of water and dust won’t do too much damage.

Capable app

To set up the Ear (2) buds, the user should download the Nothing X app, available for both Android and iOS. This app leads one into the setup by testing the ear tip fit and uses test sounds to configure personalised noise cancellation and sound profiles depending on each user’s individual sensitivity to different frequencies. It’s from the app that one can tinker with the equaliser (or use pre-sets), set noise cancellation status manually, and also see the battery status. There are controls on the earbuds themselves, activated by various presses and holds, much better than tapping which causes a thump in the ears and is apt to be triggered by accident too often. One can set the actions to be initiated by these presses, such as navigating tracks. A few of the actions are fixed, such as a long-press to change noise cancellation status. This happens with an interesting sighing sound which is quite unique and amusing. You can control volume from the stem as well and take calls. One can fairly quickly learn just how much to pinch the stem so as no to shift the fit of the bud in the ear. 

The companion app is thought by users to be one of the best around, simple and yet elegant and responsive. 

Clarity in focus

The Ear (2) buds are quite loud. There’s even a little unfortunate sound leakage at higher volumes. The buds use 11.6 mm custom drivers that have been paired with a new dual chamber design so that high frequencies sound clearer and brighter. There are three mics for clear calls. The earbuds are hi-res audio certified, supporting the LHDC codec. The Bluetooth 5.3 standard is used and connectivity is good. The buds are also lag-free when watching video. 

You will want to try the different equaliser presets, but may eventually just opt for balanced sound. The More Bass setting boosts volume to a surprising extent while being a bit muffled and More Treble subdues the sound and sharpens the highs a lot. Overall the sound is lively and likely to appeal to the general listener. 

The noise cancellation is good, though not in the top league. The highlight with ANC is that it’s adaptive, if you do the ear-fit test, but it’s a little subtle and difficult to tell. 

Battery life with these buds is four hours with ANC. Not that impressive. Without, it goes up to six hours. The case can do four rounds of charge cycles, supports wireless charging and quick top-up. Impressive. In all, you get 36 hours of charge. 

The Ear (2) buds cost ₹9,999. The earlier original came in at ₹5,999. 

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