This story was originally published and last updated .
When Carl Pei left OnePlus and started his own company, we all knew the drill. Nothing employed infamous OnePlus-style hype tactics from the outset, but — thankfully — it's time to finally see what the company has been working on. The Nothing ear (1) seem to have all the features you'd want from a set of true wireless earbuds, and their distinctive design will no doubt elicit the fawning adoration of fashionistas and influencers.
The diminutive earbuds boast 11.6mm drivers and weigh just 4.7g. Perhaps the least interesting thing about them is their overall shape — they look very much like AirPods with their rounded housing and stem, but the transparent casing sets them apart. The tips are liquid silicone and there are vents for relieving pressure.
Nothing worked with founding partners Teenage Engineering on the ear (1), so we can expect an expertly tuned, balanced sound profile. The accompanying app will let you choose from various EQ options as well as fiddle with active noise cancellation settings. There's also a Find My Earbud feature to help you track down a lost bud. Touch controls on each earbud allow you to toggle ANC or Transparency mode, with three microphones being used to reduce noise pollution.
Other features such as in-ear detection and Android fast pairing are also on board. Connectivity should be solid thanks to Bluetooth 5.2, and they support AAC and SBC codecs. Battery life is listed as a passable 5.7 hours with ANC off, four hours with it on, and up to 34 hours in total with the case. With just 10 minutes in the case, you can get an extra 50 mins of listening time from the buds. You can top the case up via USB-C or super convenient Qi wireless charging.
All of that makes the Nothing ear (1) pricing even more surprising — they cost just $99 / £99 / €99 / ₹5,999. A limited number will be made available on July 31 at nothing.tech before open sales begin on August 17. It's hard to think of another pair that competes on both features and price. On paper, Nothing's debut earbuds sound infinitely promising. We're currently testing them, so watch out for our upcoming review to find out if they can deliver.