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nothing ear a vs ear
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
aa2020 editors choice

The Nothing Ear and Ear A are the wireless buds I'm recommending to everyone

Nothing took an excellent product and made it all-around better — twice!

Published onMay 4, 2024

aa2020 editors choice

Nothing Ear and Ear A

The Nothing Ear are the best-sounding and most comfortable mid-range earbuds you can buy, while the more affordable Ear A bring Nothing's excellent comfort and features to a lower price range, with few compromises.

What we like

Fantastic sound
New, fully customizable equalizer
Exceptional comfort
Affordable price (especially Ear A)

What we don't like

Average noise cancelation
Ear can slip out if your ears are sweaty
No wireless charging or custom EQ for Ear A
Limited IP rating for Ear A case
aa2020 editors choice

Nothing Ear and Ear A

The Nothing Ear are the best-sounding and most comfortable mid-range earbuds you can buy, while the more affordable Ear A bring Nothing's excellent comfort and features to a lower price range, with few compromises.

Nothing has struck gold with the fourth iteration of its in-ear earbuds. The new Nothing Ear — no series number there, for extra confusion — and Ear A are as comfortable as their predecessors, but they sound better and pack more features than ever before. I’ve been using both models for a couple of weeks now, and my verdict is clear: These are the mid-range and budget true wireless buds I’m recommending to anyone who asks me.

Don’t mess with a winning formula

nothing ear 1 2 ear a buds
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Nothing won me over with the Ear 1 back in 2021. The company’s first true wireless buds had something that I had yet to find in other earbuds: comfort. Unparalleled comfort, actually. Where other buds would cause mounting pressure in my ears in less than an hour (sometimes even 10-20 minutes), the Ear 1 were so comfortable I could wear them for three or four hours — until their battery died, really.

Comfort is subjective, of course, but I have yet to meet someone who calls Nothing’s earbud design uncomfortable. Slippery, maybe, if you listen while exercising or in humid weather, but not uncomfortable. For me, this is the single biggest factor in any earbud recommendation. All the features and sound quality don’t matter if an earbud causes you physical pain after 30 minutes.

The Nothing Ear and Ear A keep that comfortable design and make positive improvements across the board.

With the Ear 2, Nothing didn’t change that winning formula. It kept the same design, improved the materials, and added a lot of audio and feature enhancements. Not fixing what ain’t broken is a mantra other companies should follow.

Now, the new Ear and Ear A are essentially doing the same thing, keeping that comfortable design and making positive improvements across the board.

Nothing Ear A review: Upgrades where they matter

nothing ear a yellow 8
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Let’s start with the Ear A. Just like it did with the Phone 2a, Nothing is creating a more affordable A series version of its flagship product. The Ear A get most of the features of the higher-end model at 66% of the price — or $100. Nothing says these are a good upgrade for Ear 1 or Ear Stick users — though, personally, I think the Stick is a whole other category, and the Ear A don’t really replace it.

The best improvement here is in battery life. Gone are the three to four hours of listening. Instead, we’re looking at six or more, depending on volume and ANC usage. Personally, this was the first time I grew tired of listening to music before the battery of a Nothing earbud died.

Nothing's budget Ear A have all the great qualities of the more expensive Ear at a fraction of the cost.

The noise cancelation is not the best in the business, but it’s good enough for public transit and working from home. And it’s par for the course at that price point. The sound quality is great, and so is the microphone. I don’t sound as sharp and pitchy on this as I did on the Ear 2. Having pinch controls is an upgrade over tap controls on other buds; they’re nicer for people with long hair like me. Plus, I don’t end up lodging the earbud further into my ear by tapping on it repeatedly.

The dual connection feature is still a welcome bonus over the older Ear 1. Being able to connect two devices simultaneously and save more in the app means I only need to pair these once with my many Android phones, tablets, iMac, MacBook, and Chromecast, then toggle on or off the devices I want to activate at any point in time.

There are also countless other improvements over the Ear 1 and Stick, like the Bass Enhance modes, equalizer, and high-quality Bluetooth LDAC codec support. The only downside of the Ear A is that the case is only IPX2-rated, so it can handle some minor water sprays, but it doesn’t have any dust resistance at all, and it lacks wireless charging. Only USB-C is supported, I’m afraid.

Oh, and did I mention it comes in a vibrant yellow now? Forget about white and black — bumblebee is where it’s at! I’d really love to see Nothing play with more colors. A pure red, similar to the company’s own logo and branding, would look awesome, too.

Nothing Ear (a)Nothing Ear (a)
AA Editors Choice
Nothing Ear (a)
Stylish design • ANC • LDAC
MSRP: $99.99
Nothing delivers feature-packed earbuds that don't break the bank.
The Nothing Ear (a) delivers most of the features you expect from Nothing earbuds but at a more affordable price. Plus, they come in yellow!

Nothing Ear review: Excellent audio quality

nothing ear black 4
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

The higher-end Nothing Ear kicks it up a notch both in price and features. At $150, it’s the one to get if you have the budget and want the absolute best audio quality in a Nothing earbud-shaped form factor.

All of the Ear 2 and Ear A’s features are here — pinch controls, active noise cancelation, dual connection, Bass Enhance, LDAC support, and so on. The case is IP55-rated, though, so it can handle water jets and more dust. It also supports wireless charging. Plus, battery life is improved over the Ear 2. I haven’t managed to run these dry in a single listening session yet.

Nothing also upped its game with audio quality and features. The new 11mm driver is fantastic, and if you don’t believe me, check out what the folks over at our sister site SoundGuys had to say about the Nothing Ear. (Spoiler: it scored very highly on their MDAQS rating.) I’m not as much of an audiophile as they are, but I can say that I really enjoy listening to music on these buds.

The high-end Ear are basically a no-compromise set of earbuds at an acceptable price point.

On top of this, there’s a fully customizable equalizer now, a personal sound profile, and LHDC codec support if you have a compatible Xiaomi, Nothing, HONOR, or OnePlus phone.

Basically, the Nothing Ear buds take everything about Ear 2 or Ear A and make it better. It’s just a shame that the customizable equalizer isn’t making its way to the A series yet or that the bumblebee color scheme isn’t available for the more expensive Ear model. All arbitrary limitations, if you ask me.

Nothing EarNothing Ear
AA Editors Choice
Nothing Ear
LDAC and LHDC • Comfortable • Advanced equalizer
MSRP: $149.99
Excellent earbuds for casual listeners and audiophiles alike.
The 2024 Nothing Ear brings new features while retaining the classic Nothing design.

Nothing Ear vs Ear A: Which should you buy?

nothing ear a vs ear
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

There’s no definitive answer for everyone here, but let me deconstruct my reasoning into three scenarios, which I’ll be using whenever anyone asks me for my wireless earbuds recommendation.

If you’re a Nothing Ear 2 owner, I don’t think it’s worth upgrading unless you have the budget and you want that better battery life and sound quality. In that case, only the Ear makes sense, as going to the Ear A will be more of a sidestep than an upgrade.

If you’re a Nothing Ear 1 owner, both the Ear A and Ear will be fantastic upgrades for you. Longer battery life, pinch controls, dual connection, better sound, better microphones, better noise cancelation; you get all of the improvements. The choice between the two, though, depends on a few factors that I’ll explain in the next scenario.

If you don’t have either of the Ear 1 or 2, but I’ve convinced you to get a pair of these new buds, then the Nothing Ear A will be good enough for most people. They have most of the features at a fraction of the price, and you can’t really ask for a better pair of earbuds for $100. But if wireless charging matters to you, if you’re an audiophile, and/or if you go outside in the rain a lot, the Ear are the best buy because they solve those problems.

See price at Nothing
Nothing Ear (a)
See price at Amazon
Nothing Ear

Nothing Ear and Ear A review: FAQ

The earbuds of both the Nothing Ear and Ear A are IP54-rated, so they are protected against dust ingress and water sprays from all directions. The charging case of the Nothing Ear is IP-55 rated for dust ingress and stronger water jets from all directions. The Ear A’s case, however, is only IP-X2 rated, so it can only handle minor water sprays. Read more about IP ratings.

The Nothing Ear case supports wireless charging at up to 2.5W. The Nothing Ear A case doesn’t support wireless charging.

Yes, both the Nothing Ear and Ear A have active noise cancelation up to 45dB, with four different user-customizable settings: high, mid, low, and adaptive.

Yes, both the Nothing Ear and Ear support Bluetooth Multipoint. This allows them to stay actively connected to two devices at the same time. You can also pair multiple devices and keep them saved, then manually switch on two at a time in the Nothing X app.

Yes, both the Nothing Ear and Ear A are compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers.

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