OnePlus founder Carl Pei’s first new product is a pair of wireless earbuds that are designed to take down Apple’s AirPods. But are they any good? Let’s find out…

How do you enter a market and take it over? You could ask Apple because that’s exactly what it did with its AirPods way back when. But Apple is Apple, so if you want to emulate its success, and you don’t have an iPhone, you need to do something a little different.

And that’s exactly what Nothing has done with its Ear 1 earbuds. With a focus on design and value for money, Pei and company at Nothing are attempting to pull off the same kind of coup OnePlus did when it first arrived on the scene many moons ago.

Nothing Ear 1 Overview

  • Price: $99
  • Release Date: August 17, 2021

Nothing Ear 1 Specifications

  • Microphone: Yes
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Driver Size (mm): 11.6
  • Number of Drivers: 1
  • Water Resistant: IPX4
  • Weight (g): 4.70
  • Weight With Case: 57.4
  • Charging Port: USB Type-C
  • Battery Life (Hrs) Earpieces Only: 5.7
  • Battery Life (Hrs) With Case Total: 34
  • Battery Capacity (mAh) Earpieces: 31
  • Battery Capacity (mAh) Case: 570

Nothing Ear 1 Reviews


It’s rare to find a pair of earbuds as accomplished as the Nothing Ear 1 in the affordable market segment. They look unique, sound great, and are reliable enough to use day-in-day-out.


The Verge

The Ear 1s are the new hypebeast earbuds and have a fun air of freshness. But right now, their individual parts — sound quality, noise cancellation, etc. — fall short of excellence and leave plenty of reason for sticking with one of those “boring” established players.



Ultimately, the noise cancellation here can’t compete with the likes of the $280 Sony WF-1000XM4 or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, and the lack of custom EQ means you’re either stuck in Balanced mode (which sounds pretty darn good) or dealing with extremes in the bass or treble departments. But at $99, these earphones compare quite favorably with the AirPods Pro and other pairs in the $200 range.


What HiFi

Ultimately, however, sound quality is the making or breaking of a set of wireless headphones. Here, Nothing Ear (1) falls short of the class leaders in terms of timing and neutrality across the frequencies, as well as for bass grip and accuracy. That said, Nothing is definitely on to something here, and we cannot wait to listen to future iterations.



The Nothing Ear 1 are – by far – the best value true wireless earbud currently available. They sound great, look awesome and work flawlessly. Noise cancellation is superb, and the fit is secure. The Pros sound better though. £100 better? Maybe, but in truth, if audio fidelity is your main purchasing driver, we suggest you look elsewhere entirely.


Nothing Ear 1 PROS & CONS


  • Excellent Value For Money
  • Good-Looking Design
  • Active Noise Cancellation
  • Comfortable
  • IPX4 Water Resistance


  • Sound Quality Not As Good As Competition
  • ANC Lacks Finesse of Apple and Sony’s Tech
  • Battery Life Isn’t Great – Around 5 Hours
  • Lacks Bass
  • Charging Case is Massive

Are Nothing Ear 1 Worth It?

If you take the time to read all of the above reviews in full, you’ll see that while the Nothing Ear 1 serves up plenty of value for money, they do fall short of delivering the kind of performance you get with Apple’s AirPods Pro and Sony’s WF-1000XM4.

Granted, both of these options are more expensive. But if you’re looking for outstanding performance from your wireless earbuds, you will have to pay an additional $100 on top of what Nothing is asking for with its $99 Ear 1 earbuds.

You do get things like active noise cancellation with the Nothing Ear 1 earbuds, but it is not on a par with what Sony, Apple, and Bose are doing. The upshot of this is that you’ll pay over $100 less for the Ear 1’s – though you will notice the difference.

As a value option, I think the Nothing Ear 1’s are a great option – especially if you want a pair of good-looking earbuds for less than $100. If things like battery life, sound quality, and perfectly executed active noise cancellation are your thing, however, you’re going to be better off with a pair of Sony’s WF-1000XM4 – right now, these are the best wireless earbuds out there.