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Marshall London Ears-on, First Impressions: A Phone That Goes All The Way To 11

Marshall London 09

We go hands and ears-on the Marshall London phone!

A few days ago audio company Marshall surprised everyone by announcing the London, their very first phone aimed at music lovers. Today, we managed to spend a few hours with the London and we have to say, we’re very impressed with it. It’s a very well built and beautiful phone, even if the specs won’t blow you away – the London is a mid-range phone at best. Nevertheless, Marshall thinks there’s a market for a phone that’s as visually stunning as the London, and we agree, though it’s timing will be a little tricky – we’ll get to that later on. First, let’s take a look at the specs:

Marshall London specs

  • 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 4.7-inch HD display, 720 x 1280 resolution
  • 16GB of storage, expandable via microSD
  • 8-megapixel rear camera
  • 2-megapixel front camera
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Wolfson DSP sound chip
  • Android Lollipop
  • 2500mAh battery

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First impressions: one of the most visually striking phones that we’ve ever come across

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It’s hard to make a phone stand out these days. There’s only so many ways you can make a rectangle look interesting. The London manages to set itself apart by sporting a faux leather finish alongside Marshall’s iconic design. The phone sports not one, but two 3.5mm jacks on top, along with a dedicated quick launch button for Marshall’s integrated music player.

Marshall London 03

On the right sits an actual volume knob which the company says allows you to control the volume precisely, which normal volume rockers can’t do, we guess? The nondescript power button sits right above that. Both the quick launch button and the volume knob on the side sport secondary functions if you press down on them and hold for a few seconds – the music button doubles as the shortcut key for the flashlight, while the volume knob launches the camera application.

Marshall London 12

If it wasn’t obvious already, Marshall is marketing the London towards music lovers. Two people can listen in to the tunes being played by the London via the two 3.5mm jacks. Users can also funnel their own tunes (from guitars and other audio sources) through the London and use the company’s own audio DJ app that allows you to mix your own music before it exits out the other end. Marshall says that the Wolfson DSP sound chip inside the London allows it to play high-resolution audio files and uncompressed FLAC files easily, and with high fidelity, which we experienced during our brief hands-on.

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The phone sports dual, front-facing speakers that sit above and below the 4.7-inch HD display, which delivers clear audio. It’s not going to surpass a dedicated Bluetooth speaker of course, but still capable of filling a relatively quiet room with enough sound.

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The Marshall also sports a universal equalizer that affects the sound qualities of all apps, not just one particular app, so whatever changes you apply affects the global settings of the phone.

Marshall London 11

Under all of that, the London is an Android smartphone first and foremost – Android 5.0 Lollipop runs the show while Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 processor keeps everything nice and smooth. While the Snapdragon 410 processor isn’t going to set any speed records anytime soon, it’s a proven, reliable and power-efficient processor that’s capable of running the OS smoothly with few issues.

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Unfortunately, the biggest problem with the London is its availability – Marshall says that it won’t be available in our side of the world until January at the latest, which means the already dated processor will further be behind the curve compared to the releases of other companies. It’s going to be rather expensive too considering the specs, retailing at around $500 which is still subject to change when it finally launches. That’s probably not going to deter people from buying it though – in the end Marshall has its own following of rabid fans, and at the end of the day that’s usually enough to rack up sales.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

9 Comments

  1. Lupet talaga ng taga unbox.. Pag may pera talaga kaya kahit london…. Pag next year pa yan labas sa atin wala na kuwenta… Puro porma nalang yan.. Kc baka next 20k na cell may kasama na aircon ung phone mo….hahahhaha tinapos ninyo agad pangarap ko phone…nganga nalang …

  2. Hindi nilagay ng Marshall sa website ang GPU, audiophiles talaga ang target market nila para dito. Mukhang black lang ang ilalabas nila sa ngayon pero mura na ito kahit mag 15-18k. Kung walang pambili, wag na lang magreklamo, iba ang buy 1 take 1 burger sa burger king. Kung masaya kayo sa mga bang for the bucks na may mga kasamang defect, iyon ang bilhin ninyo.

  3. I wonder which Wolfson DAC they put in here. I wanted to know if this will have better hi-fi attributes than ZTE’s Axon phone with Asahi Kasei 4961 audio chip with built in amplifier and supports 32 bit audio.

  4. John na-try niyo ba makinig ng music sa london?

    Better sana kung 10-band yung equalizer but kung malinis yung audio it doesn’t matter na 😀

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