What do you do if you’re a forward-thinking upstart tech company interested in changing the ‘once-half-OnePlus’ image? You show off your new headphones coquettishly at London Fashion Week, not exactly revealing any new information about them – no, not even a scrap of information. Anything.
Founder Carl Pei has never taken a specific path when it comes to Nothing, and this recent fashion stunt is no exception. Nothing products were showcased during designer Chet Lo’s SS23 show (part of this year’s London Fashion Week), including the brand-new headphones case and Nothing Phone 1 – with its signature lights shining on the translucent stretchy bag inside. .
According to previous leaks, the Nothing Ear (1) follow-up appears to have both a tube-shaped and a stick-shaped case. And of course it’s transparent. Unfortunately, we have nothing else to go on – and my love for headphones and music runs a little deeper, I’m afraid.
Based on these images, the headphones themselves look relatively unchanged from the previous model (look closely and you can see them coming out of a model’s ears), but it’s impossible to know if our best headphone buying guide wireless will need to be edited soon, because we don’t know anything else.
We can’t talk to you about Nothing Ear (stick) – if that’s really the name – in terms of driver configuration, battery life, Bluetooth version, or features like ANC, transparency profiles, and touch-on-ear controls.
It’s a stroke of genius to present these natural companions to Nothing Phone 1 like this, or outright madness. We do not know. In fact, we don’t know anything…
Opinion: Is it more a case of style over substance?
Sorry. I want to be proven wrong, I really do. I’ve even written about the changes I’d like to see to Nothing’s potentially talented headphones – I love a gritty underdog and rival to Apple’s soon-to-be-ubiquitous AirPods Pro 2 as much as the next audio lover.
But my criticism of the original Nothings headphones was, and still is now, that it all feels a little superficial. These brilliant images of Nothing’s tubular box held by beautiful people suggest I should want them – there’s no denying that making them to look good was a priority.
But even if the urge to tuck that stick-shaped case into the translucent, ribbed handle of my designer fishing net…bag (pod?) is strong, I need them to sound good too.
And it’s not like beauty, physical transparency and sonic brilliance can’t co-exist – check out the stunning Campfire Audio Trifecta.
Don’t want to see your friends’ innards but want a bold aesthetic? Look for the Cubist Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW for a budget option, or the Audeze Euclid if you have a lot of expendable income.
I would love to hear the new Nothing headphones, I really would because I want believe that it is genuinely working to remove the physical boundaries between us users and our boring old technology. But I can’t make that judgment on appearance alone.