Marshall's AirPods Pro-style earbuds look good – but the battery life doesn't deliver

the marshall motif ANC true wireless earbuds in their charging case
(Image credit: Marshall)

Marshall, the company best known for its iconic guitar amps, has announced two new pairs of true wireless earbuds: the Motif ANC and the Minor III. 

The flagship pair are the Motif ANC, which come with an AirPods Pro-style design, active noise cancellation, and an IPX5 water-resistance rating. 

That all sounds promising, but we'd describe the battery life as average, at best. You get 20 hours in total, with 4.5 hours of playback from the earbuds themselves. 

That's about the same as the AirPods Pro, but Apple's noise-cancelling earbuds are a good two years older than the Marshall Motif ANC. Plus, there are plenty of true wireless earbuds that offer far longer battery lives, such as the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, which offer 35 hours in total. And yes, they come with noise cancellation as well. 

The Marshall Motif ANC aren't cheap either, coming in at $199 / £179.99 / AU$285. For that price, we'd expect a more impressive battery life. 

Still, they do offer a taste of Marshall's signature aesthetic, with a leather-look charging case, textured stems, and the classic 'M' logo on each housing. As well as that, you're getting adjustable EQ, noise cancellation, and transparency settings, so you can customize their sound to your exact tastes.

a man wearing the marshall minor iii true wireless earbuds

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Is there a cheaper option?

If you're on a stricter budget than the Motif ANC allow for, the Marshal Minor III might be the most appealing of the two new models. 

These wireless earbuds come with an open fit (so they rest against your ear canal rather than just inside it), touch-sensitive controls, and an IPX4 water resistance rating. Imagine someone painted the 2019 AirPods black and slapped on an 'M' logo, and you're halfway there. 

They boast much larger drivers than the Motif ANC (12mm compared to the Motif's 6mm drivers), so they'll probably sound more powerful. If they're anything like their neckbud predecessors, the Marshall Minor II, you can expect a crisp, punchy sound.

Saying that, a good fit is crucial in achieving the best possible audio performance, and some will prefer the snugness of the silicone eartips that come with the Motif ANC for that reason.

The Minor III, which offer a more palatable 25-hour battery life, are also far cheaper than their noise-cancelling siblings, coming in at $129 / £119 / AU$179. Both sets of wireless earbuds are available to preorder from the Marshall website now, and will go on sale officially on September 30.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.