There is no Ear (stick) test: earbuds that rely heavily on style

Manufacture of accessories

The Ear (stick) is the same as the Ear (1) because they have a design with a similar branch, but also because they have the same appearance. Thus we find a plastic that reveals the electronics at the level of the stem and a black and white finish (this time matte and not shiny) at the level of the head of each headset. The difference is still noticeable, because the Ear (stick) does not have silicone tips, adopting a “button” format like the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) or the Huawei FreeBuds 4. Like their big brothers, they will not fail to endure. shock and weather wear, especially since it is IP54 certified and therefore resistant to splashing water, sweat and large dust.

Comparison between the Ear (stick) on the left and the Ear (1) on the right.

Comparison between the Ear (stick) on the left and the Ear (1) on the right.

The case changes its design radically by adopting a cylindrical shape reminiscent of a tube of glue, although the brand says it was inspired by a lip stick. If the shape is different, the materials remain the same: there is a grainy white plastic element that welcomes the headphones and a transparent plastic shell that reveals said headphones. This one is unfortunately very prone to scratches. The red element at the level of the wheel and the charging port, as well as the chrome pairing button, bring a little joy to the whole.

Ear Comparison (1).

If the size of the case makes it easy to handle, it is more complicated to carry in a trouser pocket, despite its weight. The 360° rotating opening system is very fun and can be easily triggered with one hand.

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

Comfort & support

Thanks to their extreme lightness (4.4 g compared to 4.7 g for the Ear (1)) and their “button” format, or open fit, the Ear (stick) provides excellent feelings of comfort, so we almost forget about it, even for long periods. In addition, their non-intrusive format perfectly suits those with allergies to the in-ear format. Also, don’t rely on these Ear (stick) to isolate you from the outside world because they don’t provide any passive isolation. In addition, this open format will cause sound leaks to the delight of your neighbors…

If the feelings of comfort are very good, however it is necessary to place the headphones as they should be in the cavity of the ears to benefit from them. And that’s the rub. In fact, the Ear (stick) format is not very suitable for all body types. Many people we’ve tested the earphones with have trouble fitting them properly in their ears, or they just don’t stay in place at all. In fact, the earphones are not well maintained: we do not recommend that you use them in sports practices under the penalty of seeing them fall.

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

User experience

The user experience offered by this Ear (stick) is very similar to that provided by Ear (1), with some minor differences. So we are faced with a pleasant grip, but it remains frustrating at times.

The headphones have a presence sensor that can be deactivated using the application.

The headphones have a presence sensor that can be deactivated using the application.

Communication takes place via Bluetooth 5.2 (compatible with SBC and AAC codecs) and we encountered no connection problems during our testing. Features such as switching to mono or multipoint pairing are unfortunately still missing. So it is necessary to repeat the matching process every time the source changes. Fortunately, compatibility with the Fast Pair protocol makes things easier on Android devices.

The orders, they are always brought out with a pressure sensor at the level of the branches that it is enough to pinch. The completeness of the movements allows you to perform a wide range of commands (volume, navigation, reading, calls, etc.) without having to take your phone out of your pocket. Compared to the Ear (1), the swipe gesture to manage the volume is replaced by a short press followed by a long press for practicality, according to Left. Each action is accompanied by a well-felt “click” and the pairing will trigger a tone indicating that communication has been established. However, more audio aids, can improve the experience.

Headset settings are integrated directly into the Settings app on Phone phones (1).

Headset settings are integrated directly into the Settings app on Phone phones (1).

The settings app has also received a polish and is now called Nothing X. Available on iOS and Android, it now includes a three-band equalizer and even has settings to assign different commands to sensor, a function to easily find his headphones and more. or less accurate indication of remaining battery level.

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

Audio

According to Wala, the Ear (stick) is more efficient than its elders, the Ear (1), in terms of sound performance, especially thanks to the larger speaker (12.6 mm against 11.6 mm of the Ear (1) ) and better quality magnets. But their “button” shape unfortunately prevents them from reaching the level of the Ear (1) which greatly benefits their semi-intra-auricular design, especially in translating the bass.

In fact, the “open” format prevents the Ear (stick) from offering deep bass due to a very low extreme bass extension. Bass drum kicks and some synth pads thus lack foundation and fullness. The bass, however, benefits from the Bass Lock feature, which is nothing more than an automatic equalization based on a microphone aimed inside the ear to adjust the bass level according to the positioning of the headphones. In the situation where we have been able to correctly place the latter – which is far from an easy task – we appreciate the effects of large drums and instruments that manage the bass register. The headphones were also able to transcribe low frequencies with some skill, but not enough to beat a cat.



The mediums just do: the timbres are respected, but there is a lack of precision. The high-mediums are somewhat overrepresented, the fault mainly with the straightforward retreat of the low frequencies. The result is an abrasive, snapping signature, which is not always happy, especially with snare drum hits, brass or cymbals, and which gets worse as the volume increases. This characteristic, combined with the lack of detail in the treble, also affects the depth of the sound stage, which is quite frontal in headphones. It’s the same dynamic that’s a bit crushed. In addition, this emphasis on the presence zone benefits the interpretation of human voices, which are always clear and understandable even if a little nasal at times.

The Ear (stick) benefits from a nice extension of treble and extreme treble, which allows them to create a particularly wide soundstage. But, again, the level of accuracy is not enough to make you jump through the ceiling.

Strong points

  • Very comfortable if your morphology allows it.

  • Effective noise reduction in hands-free kit.

  • Lots of control available.

Weak points

  • Average accuracy across all frequencies.

  • Unbalanced sound signature (lack of bass, too sharp sound).

  • Feelings of relief are far from universal.

  • Dangerous maintenance.

  • Some ergonomic shortcomings (multipoint functionality, switching to mono, wireless charging, etc.).

  • Autonomy is quite limited.

Conclusion

Global score

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

How does grading work?

Although a little less sophisticated than the AirPods (3rd generation), their main competitors, the Ear (stick) turned out to be good headphones in the button format. However, despite Nothing’s words, they do not rise to the level of the Ear (1) in terms of sound performance, mainly because of their open format. It is also because of their design that the Ear (stick) is very comfortable, or impossible to wear.

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