Iterative is probably the best adjective to describe the Marshall Motif II ANC. But it would also be a generous one, because except for improved battery life, and new battery health options, not much has actually changed for this second iteration. It looks more or less the same, sounds similar, and still has underwhelming active noise cancellation (ANC). The good news is these true wireless earbuds, like the previous model, still cost S$349, but there are better options at this price.
- 6mm dynamic drivers
- Bluetooth 5.3 LE
- IPX5 water resistance for earbuds
- Battery life of up to 6 hours with ANC (total 30 hours with wireless charging case)
As I said in my Marshall Motif ANC review, these black earbuds are like grungier versions of Apple's AirPods. They will probably attract more attention than your average earbuds. Especially now that the bottom of the stems are in brass. It's one of the several subtle design tweaks, such as a rougher feel to the stems. The charging case, which has a textured, faux leather appearance, also looks slightly different. But there's no doubt that fans of the brand will instantly recognise the Motif II as a Marshall product, which surely is a win for the design team. The earbuds are average in size, and feel comfortable enough. There's in-ear detection that resumes/stops playback when you remove/put on either earbud.
Pairing the earbuds with your device is easy enough using Marshall's mobile app (for iOS and Android). The app has an equaliser, which is set to Marshall's signature sound by default. But you can choose another preset, or customise the sound. The Motif II ANC earbuds have fairly accurate touch controls, though they are a tad sensitive. While you can't change the music playback or call controls, you can choose what happens when you long-touch the earbuds, from noise control to cycling through the equaliser presets to activating the voice assistant. But the new feature in the app is the battery preservation section. There's a slider here that changes the charging process based on how much you want to prioritise battery health. For instance, you can opt for a slower charging speed and restrict battery charge to 90% to extend the battery lifespan.
Battery life has gone up. The Motif II ANC boasts 6 hours of music playback, up from 4.5 hours. Charging speed has also improved, it now takes 1.5 hour for a full recharge. That's half the amount of time compared with the original earbuds. But the noise cancellation is mild and underwhelming. These earbuds will be mostly drowned out on public transport, especially on the noisier underground trains. It's a pity since the earbuds themselves sound pretty good using the default Marshall equaliser preset. The bass is solid without being overpowering. There's a good mid-range, and clear trebles.
With the improved battery life, and battery preservation features, the Marshall Motif II ANC counts as an upgrade over the previous version. But its ANC remains poor, and at S$349, you'd expect more out of these earbuds. After all, there are plenty of options at this price segment, including the likes of Apple and Samsung. The recently-launched Jabra Elite 10 (S$378) is another option that's more comfortable, offers more effective ANC, and sounds better, too. However, if you dig the Marshall design (and don't see noise cancellation as a priority), the Motif II ANC is available from TC Acoustic, Lazada, and Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Marshall.
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