Whether you’re a fan of Apple or not, it remains the most influential company when it comes to true wireless earbuds, and Marshall is using it with the launch of two new models to compete directly with the AirPods and AirPods. are designed. Pro: $129 Marshall Minor III and $199 Marshall Motif ANC. You can pre-order the Motif ANC today from Marshalls, with sales starting September 30th. Minor III can be purchased starting today.
Apple’s earbuds are incredibly popular, but the company is content to offer them only in white. It retains the instantly recognizable look of Apple’s products, but it doesn’t do much for those who would prefer something a little more stylish. And style has always been Marshall’s strong suit. Taking advantage of the Marshall brand’s classic guitar amp heritage, the Minor III and Motif ANC are the stylistic equivalent of giving Apple’s earbuds a rock ‘n’ roll bad boy makeover.
The Minor III and Motif ANC features will sound very familiar to Apple fans. The Minor III delivers a dead-simple wireless experience, with a set of buds that have an open shape instead of silicone eartips. Size wise, they are almost identical to AirPods. Even their wireless charging case uses the same flip-top shape and size. Marshall claims the Minor III will “blow you away” with 12mm drivers that are custom-tuned to deliver enhanced bass, smooth mids, and clear highs.
Hopefully that’s no exaggeration, because apart from sound and style, Minor III is incredibly bare-bones. There’s no app for EQ adjustments or control customization, and while they mimic the AirPods’ auto-pause feature, they have some way for you to trigger a voice assistant like Siri or Google Assistant when you take out an earbud. Does not happen. Controls are limited to play/pause, call answer/end, and track skip forward/back. Battery life is roughly the same as that of the AirPods (five hours per charge, a total of 25 hours with the case), and even their water protection (IPX4) is similar to Apple’s buds.
Sticking with a cooler theme than Apple’s, Motif ANC delivers an AirPods Pro experience. You get active noise cancellation (ANC) and transparency modes, both of which can be tuned within the Marshall app, as well as adjustable EQ and control customizations. Unlike the Minor III, you can choose to trigger your voice assistant via a long press of the Motif’s touch controls or flip between three different EQ modes.
The charging case, which once again looks like Apple’s but is made of textured black plastic, offers wireless charging. Battery life appears to be roughly the same as that of the AirPods Pro: 4.5 hours per charge with ANC, and an additional 20 hours of life in the charging case, but water protection is slightly better (IPX5 versus IPX4).
Marshalls charges a premium for its products compared to other brands, but in this case, the company has decided to offer a low-cost set of alternatives to Apple’s products. Are they worth considering? Marshall’s first true wireless earbuds, the Mode II, delivered great sound and plenty of style, but we found they were overkill. If Motif ANC and Minor III have found a better balance, they could be an excellent choice—we’ll let you know as soon as we try them.