Meet the Nothing ear (1) in black — now the design makes sense

Nothing Ear 1
(Image credit: Future)

The recently leaked black edition of Nothing ear (1) is official, and we’ve got a pair to see how significant of a difference a color change makes.

We have two significant updates to share about the Nothing ear (1). First, the earbuds are now carbon-neutral, and second, as is obvious from the pictures and line above, there is a new black edition.

(Image credit: Future)

Take a look at my Nothing ear (1) review and you can see just how divisive the design was amongst the Laptop Mag team; from some people loving the transparent aesthetic, to those who believed the clear plastic made the earbuds look cheap and tacky.

But what makes them look cheap and tacky? That’s a question I’ve been racking my brain about, but haven’t been able to put my finger on. That was until today when I opened up the new Nothing ear (1) in black. In this dark shade, the earbuds' transparent design starts to make a lot more sense.

The problem is black and white

There are no differences in the specs, weight or dimensions of the new Nothing ear (1). The changes are purely cosmetic: a move from glossy white to matte black on the earbuds themselves, a darker translucent case, black textured material inside the bottom part, alongside a black hinge and magnetic latch.

(Image credit: Future)

What I didn’t realise is that changing the look can make such a significant impact on how much you like something. Side-by-side with the white Nothing ear (1) shows the big improvement made here. It almost makes the white model look like a prototype for the far more sleek black version.

(Image credit: Future)

Everything just feels more refined now, as the metallic textures and black surface of the internal components now match the external visual motif, rather than harshly contrasting like these parts did with the white finish. The more I used these over the past three weeks, the more it became abundantly clear that this is the obvious choice of color.

(Image credit: Future)

The first 100 units will be available on December 4 at a Nothing kiosk at Seven Dials, Covent Garden in London. There is a time window of availability between 11am and 7pm GMT, but let’s be honest, if you’re not queueing up long before 11am, then you’re not going to get a pair.

As for general release, they will become available at 11am GMT on Monday, December 13 from Nothing.tech (opens in new tab), at the same price of $99 or £99. You can pay for a new pair using either your standard currency or Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), USD Coin (USDC) and Dogecoin (DOGE).

Going green

That’s not the only big news coming out of Nothing today, as the company also announced that the ear (1) is now carbon neutral.

(Image credit: Future)

Independently analyzed by the Geneva-based SGS, the rated 1.78kg carbon footprint of these buds will be printed on a new packaging label to inform consumers of Nothing’s “journey to sustainability,” as Carl Pei, co-founder and CEO of Nothing, describes it. 

Jason England
Staff Writer

Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.