Nothing Ear Stick evaluation: Earbuds, however make it vogue



  • Design idea is a enjoyable, good method to earbuds
  • Buds are light-weight
  • $99 is a good value for a way distinctive these are
  • Low latency mode is nice for cell avid gamers who’ve the Nothing Telephone 1


  • Sound leakage is actual
  • Cushion-less earbuds are a “glass half empty or half full” state of affairs
  • Microphone high quality is beneath common
  • No lively noise cancellation (ANC)

Bear in mind the Nothing Ear 1 earbuds? They have been the UK tech firm’s debut product in 2021, which showcased how Nothing’s minimalist and clear design method would differentiate itself within the business. 

Nothing says its latest earbuds, the Ear Stick, aren’t the successor to the Ear 1, however as an alternative, usher in a separate accent in a unique type issue. What stays, nevertheless, is the corporate’s fashion-forward mindset. Debuting as part of designer Chet Lo’s SS23 runway throughout London Trend Week, Nothing’s Ear Stick, impressed by a beauty basic — lipstick — are greater than only a tech gadget, they seem to be a vogue assertion. 

Whereas case design appears to be the earbuds’ most blatant draw, Nothing guarantees that the earbuds themselves are perfect for consolation and different sound facets — excluding Energetic Noise Cancellation (ANC). Whereas enjoyable, the brand new product looks like one other funky idea that Nothing is throwing in opposition to a wall, however does it stick? Learn on.



Earbuds: 29.8 mm x 18.8 mm; 4.4g

Case: 87.1 mm x 29.8 mm; 46.3g 

Earbud kind 

Half in-ear match, bass lock, customized EQ controls, clear voice expertise

Case kind 

Cylindrical form with a twist opening USB-C charging port 


3 excessive definition microphones in every bud


12.6 mm customized dynamic driver 


Earbuds: as much as 7 hours of listening time; 2 hours with 10 minutes of cost

Case: as much as 29 hours of listening time; 12 hours of discuss time


Bluetooth 5.2


Android 5.1 and above; iOS 11 and above 


Nothing X app for iOS and Android gadgets


IP54 mud and waterproof


$99 USD 

Nothing makes a case for tech-chic

Many would argue that wi-fi earbuds have develop into as a lot of a staple as lipstick. In that regard, Nothing’s play on earbuds and lipsticks right here is charming. I will be sincere, although, the clear, cylindrical charging case, with the crimson accent on the high, appears to be like extra like my ProAir RespiClick inhaler than, say, Revlon lipstick. However not like my inhaler, the Ear Stick’s crimson high has a USB-C charging port embedded within the high. 

Extra: Finest wi-fi earbuds in the marketplace

However much like my inhaler, the quirky case is compact sufficient for me to throw into my work bag or again pocket. When you can slide the Ear Stick into your entrance pocket, it is neither probably the most snug nor flattering look — particularly in case you prioritize your ‘lewk’ greater than the rest. 


As I spent extra time with the Ear Stick, I could not assist however consider its resemblance to my inhaler. 

Christina Darby/ZDNET

With the clear design of the buds — they appear practically an identical to the Ear 1, by the way in which — and the accents of crimson and dot-matrixed branding, the Ear Stick would not really feel like an off-shoot from Nothing’s present catalog, however there’s a twist — actually. 

As a substitute of flicking open or sliding out like a lid, the charging case twists open to disclose the earbuds, much like the way you’d twirl out lipstick. The case has a 360-degree twist, with a thicker, golf-ball-textured coating on the bottom of the earbuds platform. This provides the Ear Stick case extra grip when the buds are tucked inside. I would be mendacity if I stated the press mechanism of the case hasn’t been some of the satisfying facets of my time testing these. 

Additionally: These $149 earbuds solved my greatest downside with AirPods

For individuals who have learn my earlier earbuds opinions, you already know that I’ve a difficulty with charging instances that do not preserve the earbuds protected and safe. I am blissful to report for all my fellow klutzy readers that the case — even with its twists and turns — that the Ear Stick case is earbuds spill-proof.

Ear Stick next to lipsticks

The Ear Stick is designed to appear to be a beauty staple — lipstick. 

June Wan/ZDNET

What’s outdated is new

Nothing claims that the flat-based, cushionless earbuds make for a extra ergonomic and comfy match. Like Apple’s authentic AirPods mannequin, the Ear Stick lacks the silicon cushion that I sometimes see with different choices in the marketplace. The buds sit flush in opposition to the outer a part of my ear canal, however that is about so far as it will get when it comes to match. 

Additionally: Learn how to clear and sanitize your AirPods

Nothing says this design helps the earbuds go unnoticed in your ears, even after sporting all of them day lengthy. Whereas I discovered the sunshine weight acceptable within the first two hours of listening, something after that made the larger-sized buds extra obvious. Needless to say the Ear Stick solely is available in one measurement – no additional suggestions or cushions are included – so in the event that they really feel too huge and also you expertise minor pains, I would keep on with one thing extra personalizable. 

My ZDNET colleague, Emery Wright, shared an identical sentiment, saying that she’d relatively play it protected together with her “archaic AirPods” than try to match the broader buds into her ears.

Earbuds, however make it vogue

Simply as you would not put on Gucci sneakers on a treadmill as a result of they’re technically tennis footwear, I would not select these earbuds as an train companion. The Ear Stick works greatest whenever you’re sitting and stress-free. Something extra they usually will fall out — I’ve tried.

Ear Stick case and earbuds

The precise buds themselves look totally different than most in the marketplace, with a bigger floor space to suit.

Christina Darby/ZDNET

Does sound high quality stick the touchdown?

As stylish because the Ear Stick are, I used to be stunned that they did not help one of many market’s most-demanded options: Energetic Noise Cancellation (ANC). At first, I used to be skeptical about not having ANC, fearing that the shortage of noise management would have an effect on the fullness of the playback. I used to be stunned and glad to be confirmed unsuitable. Even in increased treble moments, there wasn’t an awesome “tinny” sound. Sadly, the buds aren’t probably the most bass-heavy, even in case you make the most of the customized EQ within the Nothing X app. 

Additionally: Finest noise-canceling earbuds

Bass Lock is a bust

Instead of ANC is what Nothing calls Bass Lock, a digital characteristic that ought to, theoretically, present a sound seal over exterior noises. Nevertheless, even at increased volumes, I used to be capable of clearly hear the conversations round me simply as a lot because the audio. For those who’re somebody who finds ANC disorienting, although, and need transparent-sounding buds, these might as nicely be the right choice.

Sound leakage is one other downside with the Ear Stick. With the shortage of passive noise cancellation — sometimes from cushioned ear suggestions and a tighter seal — my deskmate, Sabrina Ortiz, was capable of guess the songs that I used to be listening to throughout testing. That stated, in case you plan on touring with these earbuds, count on to listen to the ambiance round and, probably, see the faces of judgment from neighbors.

Holding the Nothing Ear Stick with charging case

The Ear Stick has a refreshing earbuds case design. 

June Wan/ZDNET

Nothing says ecosystem like unique options

ZDNET’s June Wan, who reviewed the Nothing Telephone 1 earlier this 12 months, additionally hung out with the Ear Keep on with get a really feel for Nothing’s product-exclusive options. Most notable is the Ear Stick’s low lag mode, which reduces the latency of the audio transmission and is good for cell gaming. From what he is seen (and heard), the characteristic actually helps with producing the audio from video games in order that what you see on display is heard virtually instantaneously. Related low-latency options can be found with gaming-centric earbuds, however if you would like one thing a bit of extra mainstream, then the Ear Stick does the job simply as nicely. 

The Nothing Telephone 1 additionally presents you with a fast toggle to entry the Ear Stick’s native settings while not having to obtain Nothing’s X app, however that is so far as unique options go.

Nothing Ear Stick with Nothing Phone 1

The Ear Stick matches completely with the Nothing Telephone 1 aesthetic. 

June Wan/ZDNET

Mic high quality

I take advantage of earbuds principally as a microphone/speaker duo to make calls whereas strolling by way of New York Metropolis. So, I used to be upset that Nothing’s clear voice and filtering expertise did not dwell as much as the advertising lingo. I spent most of my telephone calls shouting into my telephone’s speaker for my mother to inform me it seemed like a whisper. So, in case you’re in search of streetwear earbuds, these have the look, however not fairly the fitting sound filter. 

Extra: AirPods Professional 2 provide two huge upgrades however one main challenge persists

Gesture controls that will not finish calls

For those who’re as pissed off as I’m with how delicate gesture controls on earbuds may be, particularly when it causes you to hold up on calls prematurely or skip your favourite music, here is some excellent news: The Ear Stick’s gesture controls require a really agency, intentional squeeze to pause, play, or cling up a name. Very similar to the second-generation AirPods Professional, Nothing additionally integrated a phone-free option to flip the quantity up and down by swiping in opposition to the earbuds’ stems. 

Nothing Ear Stick spilling out of cosmetic bag

The case blends in completely with my beauty bag. 

Christina Darby/ZDNET

I am impressed with the practicality of the gesture controls, however I’ve to channel my inside Goldilocks and say that the buds are a bit too powerful to manage. I discover that I actually must press down within the actual proper place for a operate to occur — particularly when controlling the quantity. However, hey, I am going to take that over random switching.

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Backside Line

If there’s one factor going for Nothing’s newest earbuds, it is the appears to be like. These are uniquely designed, from the buds themselves to the case that protects them. That stated, you may be compromising on sound for such aesthetics. For $99, the Ear Stick ship comparatively clear audio, however they’re removed from market-leading — not with the shortage of ANC and the sound leakage points. In case you are trying to begin or add to a unusual headset assortment or reward your fashionista pal or member of the family, Nothing makes a powerful case going into the  vacation season. However in case you’re extra involved in maintaining with sound developments, look elsewhere. 

Options to contemplate

Moreover the Nothing Ear Stick, listed below are three different wi-fi earbuds that you need to contemplate: 

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