Out of the blue, legendary guitar amplifier maker Marshall unveiled their first entry into the smartphone market with the Marshall London. And it’s very clear – these guys know their market. It’s stylish, and, most importantly it’s all about the music.
Since they’re not absolutely insane, the phone’s look follows that of their headphones and bluetooth speakers – it’s of course modeled after Marshall’s iconic amplifiers. Thankfully, they didn’t go to Try-Hard Town by attempting to give it a grill or something silly – rather, Marshall emblems are tastefully placed, the back and sides are covered with material resembling the amps tolex and the phone’s controls and jacks create the gold accents needed to complete the look. I mean, seriously. How do you not feel like a guitar god spinning that volume wheel?
Two front-facing speakers that the company assures are plenty loud enough to make the phone a standalone music player aren’t anything unique. What is, though, is the presence of two headphone outs – each with its own volume control. Yep, you can throw on T. Swift’s latest at a pleasing volume whilst reading your In Touch Weekly while your deaf drummer buddy cranks “Shake It Off” up to 10 in order to learn that sick drum pattern. And the sound coming out promises to be pristine – the London sports a dedicated Wolfson high-definition soundcard and, when purchased through Marshall comes with a pair of their excellently reviewed Mode in-ear headphones.
In keeping with the ‘double up’ motif, dual microphones facilitate stereo recording, with a noise reduction feature that mitigates background noise. Never again will you forget that sure-to-be-chart-topping song idea you recorded at the bar because someone behind you was yelling about how much he hates Kanye. Perhaps the best example of their dedication to the music side of things is the ‘M button’ – a gold button found on top of the phone the sole purpose of which is to instantly whisk you to whichever app you’ve chosen as your main music source.
What about software? Yes, my song-loving little friend, they amped (sorry, I had to) up that area for you as well. With a global equalizer, tunage from every app will put out the frequency mix you most enjoy. The popular Android app LoopStack allows you to record 4 individual tracks of 32 minute loops to get those verse and chorus ideas down pat. And while the DJ App might seem nothing more than a tired gimmick, remember – two outputs. One for your headphones, one out to the sound system: Booyah, you’re the DJ Shadow of thumb mixing.
The one complaint that’s been popping up? Phone-wise, this thing is pretty average. It has a 4.7-inch, 720p display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera and runs a Snapdragon 410 processor which can often be found in the best of low-end phones. I’d say those pooh-poohing the hardware specs are missing the point. That more than enough for the average person to run their everyday apps along with the London’s music goodies – if you’re looking for an HTC One level pocket computer, you wouldn’t be looking here anyway. If you do want one of the most music-centric phones ever and to hopefully catch the eye of that sexy lad or lady across the venue, I’d say look no further.
Hey. Hey, Marshall. Shut up. Take my money.