Marshall Motif ANC Review
A stylish set of true wireless earbuds that deliver a strong audio performance
A stylish set of true wireless earbuds, the Marshall Motif ANC deliver strong audio performance. Although the active noise cancellation isn’t great, nor is battery life isn’t top of the class, these buds still sound and look very good.
- Stylish design
- Good sound
- Comfortable fit
- Middling battery life
- Disappointing ANC
- UKRRP: £179.99
- USARRP: $219.99
- EuropeRRP: €199.99
- CanadaRRP: CA$270
- AustraliaRRP: AU$285
- Water/sweat-resistanceIPX5 rating for the earbuds and IPX4 for the case
- BatterySupports wireless charging with a Qi pad
Marshall’s amplifiers are iconic for their design as much as their sound, and the brand is evidently hoping to carry over that same winning formula to its true wireless earphones.
Beyond looking distinctive and stylish, the sound is also very good. However, the efficiency of the Motif’s ANC may well disappoint if you’re hoping to shut out outside noise.
- Both buds and case look stylish
- Buds sit comfortably in the ear and have an IPX5 rating
- Capable of wireless charging
The design of these earbuds is a huge selling point. Although mostly resembling Apple AirPods (which is no bad thing), the case and buds have been made to look thoroughly on-brand with Marshall’s inimitable style.
The faux-leather exterior imitates the covering of the iconic amplifiers, while the brand name and lettering is in clear evidence on the exterior – and in the form of a monogrammed ‘M’ on each of the buds, too. There’s no doubt onlookers will know which brand you’re rocking, and that’s surely part of the appeal.
When it comes to practicalities, the buds are just as useful as they are attractive. Lightweight at 4.25g a piece, they sit comfortably in the ear without slipping out when going for a run. Should they tumble out – which didn’t happen in my time with them – then you’ll be relieved to know that each bud has an IPX5 rating (the case has an IPX4 rating), so the package should be fairly safe from water droplets or even a brief dunk.
- Disappointing ANC performance
- Some sound customisation options available
- Irritating connectivity issues when using the app
- Middling battery life
Considering ‘ANC’ is literally in the product’s name, evidently a key feature, I was expecting big things. Unfortunately, I was fairly disappointed by the execution of the noise cancellation. Sat at home, I could still hear sounds from outside my closed window, and when taking a train journey with some noisy passengers across the aisle, I found myself frequently distracted by external noises.
If you have a transatlantic flight coming up, you’ll probably want something that cuts out background noise far more efficiently than these (such as the Bose QuietComfort earbuds, for instance).
With the app up and running, you’ll notice there are a few EQ customisation options available, with the ability to modify the equalizer to suit different music genres. You can also shift ANC on and off, or apply Transparency mode, and toggle touch controls so that you can control the earbuds without having to resort to using your mobile device.
While the app is helpful, there was one key problem with it in my experience, and that was the strength of the connection. Unfortunately, when I went to use the app, I often found that the buds, which were still reliably playing my music at the time, would take some time to reconnect before I could access these options, the reconnection process also causing music to skip. This was irritating, and put me off using the app to tweak settings unless absolutely necessary.
Battery life is respectable, although certainly not incredible. Marshall states each bud should deliver 4.5 hours of use with ANC on and 6 hours with it off. The case holds a total of 20 hours of listening with ANC, or 26 hours without. These figures appeared accurate with my experience. On occasion, I was disappointed by the case’s lack of power following a few day’s listening; and note that it takes a full 3 hours to get these buds fully topped up again. Overall the battery life certainly isn’t one of the Motif ANC’s strong points.
- Good sound quality overall
- Strong bass sound
- Crisp detail
Of course, if you’re a fan of Marshall then in addition to the distinctive design you’ll also be hoping for great sound quality, and in my opinion these earbuds tick both boxes.
Sound is clear and well defined across the spectrum, but I was particularly impressed by the relatively strong bass. Whereas other in-ear headphones can often neglect this area, making it feel as if the bottom has fallen out of your favourite tunes. However, the Motif ANC faithfully reproduced the lower tones, giving a fullness to the sound overeall..
Running from different genres, from rock to jazz and classical to folk, I was consistently impressed by the level of detail given to both instruments and voices – and the buds were great for listening to podcasts, too. Nobody would expect these earbuds to compete with the absolute best in the category, given the price differential with the top performers such as the Sony WF-1000XM4 or Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, but I was perfectly happy with the sound quality throughout my experience with them.
Should you buy it?
They look great and offer good sound quality too.
Active noise cancellation is disappointing, and battery life isn’t brilliant, either.
The Marshall Motif ANC True Wireless Headphones both look good and sound good, too. You might think that’s all that matters when it comes to headphones, but relatively disappointing battery life and sub-par ANC mean that these headphones, while decent, aren’t quite the excellent all-rounders that they could have been.
How we test
We test every headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Tested over several weeks
Tested with real world use
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Along with the headphones and charging case, there’s also a USB-C cable, user manual, and different-sized silicon tips for the earbuds.
The earbuds will get you 4.5 hours of use with ANC enabled, and 6 hours without it. The case can hold a total of 26 hours of charge (which comes down to 20 hours if ANC is always on).
Yes, you can use touch controls to pause or play music, toggle ANC or Transparency mode on or off, and receive or end calls.