Earlier this week, Carl Pei’s new tech startup, Nothing, launched its first product, the ear(1) wireless active noise cancelling earbuds for a very competitively priced US$99 / GB£99.
Long time GNC readers will likely recognise Carl Pei’s name as one of the two founders of OnePlus, leaving the smartphone brand last year to start this new project with the financial backing of Google Ventures (now GV) along with a number of private investors, including Tony Fadell, creator of the iPod, and Casey Neistat.
The ear(1)s have comprehensively managed to step away from comparisons with other wireless earbuds with a unique design and a transparent charging case. Carl Pei said, “Nothing ear (1) is a breath of fresh air in a cluttered and indifferent market, setting the tone for our connected digital world to come. It marries advanced technology, precise engineering, and groundbreaking design at an unbelievable price.”
I have to admit that when I first saw the design, I thought the NOTHING ear(1) logo on the side of the earbuds was actually a small LCD display that would, say, show the tracks being played or the podcast being listened to. Sadly this isn’t the case but it would be really neat if it did.
In terms of specs, the ear(1) earbuds have active noise cancelling, wireless charging, IPX4 water resistance (sweat and splash), in-ear detection, over five hours of battery life and 34 hours of listening with case recharging. The 11.6mm drivers have been tuned by the audio nerds at Teenage Engineering for balanced bass, mid, and treble performance. Bluetooth 5.2 provides wireless connectivity. Nothing provides a complementary app to customise the audio experience of the ear(1)s and to help you find them when they’ve fallen down the back of the sofa.
If, like me, you missed the keynote launch during the week, the event is available on YouTube for viewing – the Sound of Change.
However, what you might not want to miss is a presale of the ear(1)s over at nothing.tech at 1400 BST on Saturday 31st August for purchasers in the UK and US. It is a limited drop and I don’t know exactly how the sale will go down, but it’s probably worth registering on the web site in advance.
If you miss this opportunity, the ear(1) earbuds will be going on general sale from 17 August, though there will be some other opportunities to get in on the hype through a couple of fashion sites like HBX, Mr Porter and Kith. Clearly, the ear(1)s are for the cool kids.