Nothings’ strategy of giving the new Ear (stick) upgraded features over the Ear (1) could end up cannibalizing sales of the latter. The new Ear (stick) has improved connection stability over the Ear (1) owing to a redesigned antenna layout and offers 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.
Ear old vs new
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). This is significant and substantially differentiates the two, offering Nothing with a clearly differentiated earbud product line-up targeting different consumer segments.
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.
Sound quality is more complicated than simply the size of the driver. 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 (stick) fares against the competition.
What can $100 get you?
At seven hours of music playback, the Ear (stick) offers better battery life compared to some similarly priced rivals, which usually offer five to six hours. However, it underperforms compared to others. Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, for example, offers ANC and a longer battery life (eight hours) while retailing for the same price as the (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.”
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