The Ear (stick) is a $99 AirPods rival that could actually take down the champ

Promotional image for Nothing Ear (Stick) with butterflies
(Image credit: Nothing)

Nothing has announced that its Ear (stick) wireless earbuds will be on sale November 4 priced at $99. We have been following the British tech company's teaser campaign for the third product in its lineup for while now, and the new Ear (stick) will join the Nothing Phone 1 released in 2021, and the Ear (1) ANC earbuds.

For anyone unfamiliar, Nothing is a young brand looking to shake up the relationship consumers currently have with tech through inspirational and functional product designs that offer a strong user experience at every level. The aim, according to Nothing's CEO and co-founder Carl Pei, is to "make tech fun again" and a whole lot more accessible — from unpacking a product for the first time all the way through to the everyday usability experience. 

To emphasize the company’s commitment for fun and tactile products, the cylindrical Ear (stick) charging case is very different to anything we’ve seen in the earbuds market before. Nothing tells us: “The case is inspired by lipstick silhouettes and features a unique, yet functional, twist opening.”

Unlike the Nothing Ear (1), which recently increased in price by 50% and now cost $149, the Ear (stick) earbuds are a half in-ear design that sit outside of the ear canal. They weigh less too at 0.15 ounces per earbud, which should mean they'll feel super light when worn, and are IP54-rated for dust, water and sweat resistance. Auto detect and touch controls with customization are also included.

Battery life is said to run to 7 hours on a single charge (which is better than the AirPods 3rd Generation), with a total of 29 hour top up time from the charging case — as far a we know the case does not support wireless charging. A 10-minute charge gets up to 2 hours playback and is Android Fast Pair compatible. 

Nothing Ear (stick) earbuds with Nothing Phone (1)

(Image credit: Nothing)

Each 'bud is fitted with a sensitive 12.6mm dynamic driver that uses a special coating and powerful magnets. Smart software called Bass Lock Technology measures the unique shape of the ear canal and the fit of the earbuds as they're being worn to optimize the sound output automatically for each wearer. 

Ear (stick) settings and features are integrated into the Nothing Phone (1), while a new Nothing X app provides support for other Android as well as iOS devices. Wireless Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC and AAC audio codec support is on board, as well as audio low lag mode for gaming.  

Other than the white with black stems version unveiled today, there's no mention of alternative color options at this time. The Nothing Ear (stick) earbuds go on sale across the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Europe on November 4 priced at $99 / $149 CAD / £99 / €119. A limited number will be available through retail partners on October 28, as well as the first Nothing store in Soho, London.

You can also check out our full review of the Nothing Ear (stick).

Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.