Nothing Ear (2) leak suggests personalized ANC could be on the cards

Nothing (Ear) 1
(Image credit: Nothing)

The Nothing Ear (1) earbuds (above) set out to challenge the AirPods Pro when they launched last year. But a recent post put out by OnLeaks on behalf of Smartprix appears to uncover some intriguing information on a potential next-gen model. 

There's no comment from Nothing on the recent post that appeared on Twitter, which seems to show several image renders of what the Nothing Ear (2) earbuds might look like if they do get released. The rendered images (shown below) highlight external differences on the Ear (2), with the noise-cancelling microphone shifted to a new position on the stem portion of the earbuds instead of at the top of the main portion of the earbud. 

Thankfully, the renders don't show the Ear (2) design looking any different to the transparent original. Although there may be some additional internal adjustments, there's no firm indication of what these might be at this time.

Comparison renders of Nothing Ear (1) and Nothing Ear (2)

Left images show ANC mic position on Nothing Ear (1). Right images show mic position on possible Ear (2).  (Image credit: SmartPrix)

Nothing Ear (2): Analysis

When the Nothing Ear (stick) earbuds arrived several months ago, it seemed natural to consider that there would be a successor to the Ear (1) in the works. And the renders suggest that this is looking increasingly likely. Something that's been mooted by the rumor mill if the Ear (2) earbuds do arrive, is that the noise cancelling technology could offer greater customization levels to suit user preferences, making it more effective in different surroundings. 

The current Ear (1) has two levels of noise cancellation available called Light and Maximum. Although our Nothing Ear (1) review found the settings useful for an entry-level set of earbuds, we felt it was unlikely to trouble the ANC performance of next-gen modes such as the Apple AirPods Pro 2, or the Bose QuiteComfort Earbuds 2. Both flagship models offer world-class ANC performance, and it could be that Nothing is looking to move its ANC tech along, as well as upgrade the playback control and connectivity features of its next-gen flagship earbuds to keep pace with the market leaders.

The post showing the possible Nothing Ear (2) renders aren't an indication of how soon we're likely to see them arrive. But with the Nothing Phone (1)'s successor confirmed for a U.S. launch later this year, its seems plausible that any new buds would be planned for release at the same time.

Although there's no official mention of an Ear (2) launch at this stage, I feel inclined to add a note of caution about the pricing when it does get announced. Nothing has earned something of a reputation for launching models at one price, and then increasing them significantly at a later date. For example, the Ear (1) launched at $99, but has since increased in price by 50% to $149. We've not seen this behavior from any other earbud brand, so any launch price for the Ear (2) might be for a limited period only.

All about Nothing

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.

We'll keep you updated on Nothing launches as they unfold.

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.