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  • Cheryl Tan

Marshall Minor III Review: Decent Sound, Okay Looks... But Lacking In The Software Department

So, Marshall came out with their first-ever true wireless earbuds in 2021, and I thought they were okay for a first attempt. Now though, it’s getting harder to justify their true wireless offerings.

We have the Marshall Minor III with us today, and if you’re looking for some nice-looking open-fit earbuds that sound pretty okay, they might work for you. But the price might be a bit of a deterrent.

So let’s talk design first. It’s quite Marshall, if that makes sense. You get that pebbled leather look, that same white, cursive script for the logo, but in a taller case than the Motif ANC. The pairing button has moved to the bottom, next to the USB-C charging port, and well, I think I just have to say I’m not a fan of the build quality. The pebbled leather, though, doesn’t quite look like leather. It’s shiny and plasticky and it just feels…. Not premium. It’s not a feeling I associate with Marshall, so it definitely threw me off the first time I touched the case.

Anyway, inside, you get the earbuds. Looks-wise, it’s actually not too bad. You get the cursive M near the top of the stem, which is where the touch controls are, and there’s a knurled texture on the bottom of the stem which makes it easy to grip. At the bottom of the stem, you get a ringed, gold metal covering which does provide a bit of pop, but nobody’s going to see it most of the time.

It’s open-fit, so, you get the same comfort as usual. It’s easy to wear, it’s lightweight, it sits fine in the ear, although it’s not as secure as earbuds with silicone tips.

There’s the Marshall Bluetooth app that I’ve used for other earbuds before but surprise surprise, it doesn’t work with the Minor III so there's no touch control customisation.

As for the controls, a single tap on either side controls play/pause while a double tap on either side skips tracks forwards and a triple tap skips tracks backwards. Pretty decent, it covers everything I want out of touch controls except for volume control, but I mean, I can always do that myself with my phone.

There’s Bluetooth 5.2 which is nice, although the connection doesn’t seem quite as solid. I started getting cutouts when walking about 5 meters away from my phone with a single glass door in between. Additionally, there is only support for SBC and aptX codecs, so if you’re using an iPhone, you won’t be able to use AAC, defaulting instead to SBC.

Battery life is okay, Marshall claims 5 hours in the earbuds with another four charges in the case for a total of 25 hours. I got just slightly over 5 hours listening at 30% volume, so it’s pretty much about there. There is wireless charging though, which is nice.

The earbuds are IPX4 water resistance rated, although I really wouldn’t bring them out for vigorous exercise anyway, since these don’t sit as securely in the ear.

Coming to mic quality, it’s not too bad honestly. Your voice does come across quite accurately, although in noisy environments, there isn’t much background noise cancelling at all.

As for sound quality though, it’s honestly not too bad, although this really depends on if you can get a good fit with the earbuds. I don’t know why, but these open-fit earbuds really fit my ears. They’re probably some of the best-fitting open-fit earbuds I’ve tried. The bass is usually the first thing to go when you use open-fit earbuds, but for me, the bass on these was still quite impactful and present. Of course, not as thumpy as earbuds with silicon ear tips would be, but still, I was quite surprised.

The mids do get a bit of emphasis, but I’d say the top end is where things start to look up. You get a brightness here that I really enjoy, and overall, it’s a clean, relatively well-balanced sound that’s not bad at all.

The soundstage is decently wide as well, and, well, all I can say is that I lucked out with the fit on these because open-fit earbuds usually don’t fit so nicely for me. That being said, I did pull out the earbuds a bit to try and get a more general fit, and the bass basically went from “not too bad” to “barely there”. If you’re unable to get a good fit, I’d say these might be a letdown for you.

At US$139 or S$199, it’s not cheap for sure. I would say go down to a shop, try them out and make sure you can get a good fit. If you can, it might be worth the price. But if you can’t, then forget about these totally.

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