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Marshall Motif ANC review: Solid sound

Marshall Motif ANC

The Marshall Motif ANC offers the brand's signature sound in a stylish package. These wireless earbuds are comfortable to wear for hours, though the battery life, especially with active noise cancellation (ANC) enabled, isn't the best in class. Neither is the ANC, but it's comparable with some earbuds I have tested. Overall, the Motif is slightly on the pricey side, given its features and performance.

Quick specs

  • 6mm drivers
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • IPX5 water resistance for earbuds
  • Battery life of up to 4.5 hours with ANC (total 20 hours with wireless charging case)

The Motif ANC earbuds look like grungier versions of Apple's AirPod Pros. The stems have a meshed textured finish, while the charging case has a rugged, faux leather look, and of course, that iconic Marshall logo. Pricing-wise, Marshall also appears to have its sights set on Apple — the Motif's S$349 retail price is slightly cheaper than the AirPod Pros (S$379). There's in-ear detection, which mostly works well, while the touch controls feel accurate enough. The earbuds come with the usual three sizes of eartips. I had no issues with fit or comfort with the default ones. The headphones are also rated at IPX5 water resistance, but the wireless charging case is only rated at IPX4 splash resistant. It takes about three hours to fully top up the earbuds via USB-C, which seems par for the course.

Marshall Motif ANC
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

You can pair the Motif with your device using Marshall's mobile app (for iOS and Android). Or simply pair it like any Bluetooth headphones. The app adds an equaliser, and lets you customise the touch controls. The former comes with six audio presets, but there's no option to create your own custom one. You can cycle through these equaliser presets, as well as ANC and transparency modes via the earbud's touch controls. Both modes work fine, though the ANC is average at best. Don't expect the ANC to block out your fellow commuters, unless you're listening at relatively high volumes. Speaking of which, I was disappointed that you can't adjust the volume through the touch controls. In addition, there was an annoying bug in the app, which caused the Motif to repeatedly connect and disconnect to my Android smartphone. Thankfully, it only occurred twice during my testing.

Marshall Motif ANC
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

The Motif has much more bass oomph than I had expected. This, coupled with its solid mids and clear trebles, make for a great listening experience. The audio presets in the equaliser are handy, but they give the impression that the Motif is best suited for certain genres, like rock and pop. For one, there aren't any presets for jazz or classical. However, the soundstage is average — you get more distinct separation with the Klipsch T5 II ANC earbuds, for example. In short, the Motif sounds better than average, but it doesn't quite blow me away.

In terms of battery life, the Marshall Motif ANC lasted around 5hr 40min with ANC enabled, which is actually better than the claimed 4.5hr. However, there are plenty of earbuds with better battery stamina, from the budget Creative Outlier Air V3 to the premium Sony WF-1000XM4. Overall, the Motif is a solid pair of wireless earbuds that sounds good with competitive features and performance. At S$349, it's a tad more expensive for what you get, but at the same time, it's in line with premium, branded earbuds. The Motif ANC is available from local distributor TC Acoustic from its online store, and on Lazada.

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Note: Review unit provided by Marshall.


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Verdict



CAN BUY

Solid-sounding wireless earbuds with decent active noise cancellation.

Buy from TC Acoustic
Available at Lazada

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