Nothing's budget earbuds offers little over rivals

The biggest difference between the new Ear (stick) and the older Ear (1) is that the new model does not have in-ear silicone tips and active noise cancellation (ANC).
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NEW DELHI: The new affordable Ear (stick) earbuds from London-based consumer company Nothing offers little over rivals and could even cannibalise the sales of the earlier Ear (1), a report showed on Thursday.

The biggest difference between the new Ear (stick) and the older Ear (1) is that the new model does not have in-ear silicone tips and active noise cancellation (ANC).

According to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, this is significant and substantially differentiates the two, offering Nothing with a clearly differentiated earbud product line-up targeting different consumer segments.

"However, Nothing's strategy of giving the new Ear (stick) upgraded features over the Ear (1) could end up cannibalising sales of the latter," said Ardit Ballhysa, technology analyst at GlobalData.

The new Ear (stick) has improved connection stability over the Ear (1) owing to a redesigned antenna layout and its offer of a 12.6mm dynamic driver to provide for crisper highs and deeper lows, whereas Nothing's more expensive earbuds feature an 11.6mm dynamic driver.

"While the driver found in the Ear (stick) is indeed larger than drivers found in most rival earbuds, including premium earbuds such as the AirPods Pro 2, Galaxy Buds Pro, and Sony's WF-1000XM4, it is incredibly unlikely that Nothing's budget-tier earbuds will produce better sound quality than the aforementioned premium earbuds," Ballhysa said.

The WF-1000XM4 houses a 6mm driver but is known to be one of the best, and considered by some as the best earbuds on the market.

The same can be said for the AirPods Pro 2, which features an 11mm driver. As is often the case, the software behind the technology is just as important as the technology itself, so it remains to be seen how the 12.6mm driver on the Ear (stick) fares against the competition.

"At seven hours of music playback, the Ear (stick) offers a better battery life compared to some similarly priced rivals, which usually offer five to six hours. However, it underperforms compared to others," the report noted.

For example, Anker's Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, offers ANC and a longer battery life (eight hours) while retailing for the same price as the Ear (stick).

"Some rival offerings at the $100 price point also offer six mics, compared to three in the Ear (stick), to provide for a better and clearer calling experience," Ballhysa said.

Reports suggest that the budget device may come at $ 45 (nearly Rs 3,700).

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