Here at Rock My World we’ve been giving away the new Marshall smartphone. We’ve had a few round the office and figured now would be a good time to give it a review from the sort of people it was clearly intended for.
Is it just a mediocre phone with a big brand slapped on it?
Yes and no, in some ways it is, as a traditional smartphone there isn’t really anything that special about it. It’s relatively average in terms of performance and isn’t going to cope well with the high end of the apps market (think Telltale Game of Thrones and the like). The cameras are also pretty average and don’t produce great results. The Tap focus is lacklustre and probably is best compared to a blackberry’s offering.
But that’s not what it’s for!
All that said this clearly isn’t what the phone is designed to be for. Firstly the phone itself is beautiful and really does well to capture that classic Marshall styling. The build quality is fantastic and having it in your hands really does make you feel like you’ve got something special not just a cheap gimmick.
It also had a pretty strong battery life, so you won’t have to worry about charging the phone as soon as you get home. Which is always nice and personally we wish we could say this for all phones. We all know it’s very frustrating when your phone dies on a night out. The 16gb of storage is adequate when you can easily add in an extra memory card to bulk that up, although it’s nothing to shout about.
The sound quality is about as good as it gets with a phone (and you’d hope so seeing as that’s kind of the phones point) with the built in speakers being the best that you’d find, or at least the best we’ve heard. It’s also pretty loud for a phone without losing too much quality, but again this is what we expect Marshall to do well.
And the earphones that come with the phone are definitely good, but seeing as this is something that will break in the phones life and something you’d expect to replace we can’t really count this as a major plus. The Wolfson hub also does a solid job and as such the sound is a cut above other phones. The phone supports high def files, but the reality is that it’s not going to make that much difference on phone speakers or earbuds regardless.
The really cool bit
The Marshall Phone does however have some really cool features. The dual headphone outputs are pretty cool and a nice touch. Although use situations are limited. The really cool bit however is that in theory you can record 4 track input (with the use of splitter cables and mics) straight onto the phone. Now, we should note that this is by no means studio quality and you could do a better job on your laptop if you’ve got the gear.
That said it wasn’t too bad with an acoustic and vocals so it could be a nice touch if you fancied recording a small (very small) acoustic set or open mic etc. Or even just if you wanted to record a bedroom jam.
The phone feels reminiscent of the old Sony Walkman phones. If you lived through the mid 00s odds are you or a friend had one. The phones themselves were average at best delivering a lacklustre camera and features. But, had great storage, battery and music features at the time when we were swapping our iPods for phones with enough storage to make them irrelevant.
The main difference however is the price. The Marshall is expensive. This will be a problem for a lot of people. The reality is it looks stunning, feels great, seems to have a top end build quality. The drawbacks are the poor camera, low graphical performance and high price tag. If you don’t care about the camera or playing games though, this is quite probably the phone for you!