Review: The tiny but mighty Marshall Emberton Speaker packs quite a punch
Go ahead, turn up the volume.
From Marshall, a rock legend of a company founded in the 1960s, comes the Emberton Speaker. This durable Bluetooth speaker is small enough to toss in your bag but it plays your music seriously loud. The sound is rich and powerful. It's an iMore favorite, as we've named it one of the best wireless speakers you can buy. I found it quite easy to pair with my iPhone 12 mini. Unlike many Bluetooth accessories I've tested, the connection remains each time I turn on the Marshall Emberton Speaker.
A single control knob serves several functions: power on/off, play/pause, skip forward/back, fast forward/rewind, and volume up/down. Push and hold the knob for two seconds to power the speaker on and off. Press it once to play or pause. Push the knob to the right to skip forward or to the left to skip back a song. Push and hold the knob to the right to fast forward, push and hold it left to rewind. Push the control knob up to turn up the volume, push it down to turn it down.
To the left of the control knob is the Bluetooth pairing button and indicator, so you press the button to enter Bluetooth pairing mode. A ten-segment battery indicator light to the right of the knob tells you how much remaining battery life you have, and you can get up to 20 hours on a single charge. The USB-C port on the side is used for charging. A USB-C to USB-A charging cable is included in the box, but you'll need to use your own charging brick.
Marshall Emberton Speaker
Bottom line: This small but powerful Bluetooth speaker sounds great.
- Powerful, rich sound
- Goes loud
- Excellent battery life
- IPX7 water resistance
- Control knob takes practice
Marshall Emberton Speaker: Price and availability
You can find the Marshall Emberton Speaker at Amazon, Best Buy, and other big box stores. You can find all of the available colorways on Marshall's own website. There are four colorways: Black, Black and Brass, Forest, and Cream. I have the Cream, as you can see in my photos, but that color is sold out as of this writing. The Marshall Emberton Speaker sells for $149.99, though one of the colors (Black and Brass) is on sale right now at Best Buy for $20 off.
Marshall Emberton Speaker: What sounds good
I was quite surprised to hear just how loud this speaker gets. In fact, I had to take it outside to test its upper limits to avoid getting a headache. I tested it with a number of different songs to listen for overall balance, attack and decay, dynamic range, bass control, mid-range, treble, and more. The sound is so rich, it makes my iPhone's speakers sound tinny in comparison. Emberton uses Marshall's signature multi-direction "True Stereophonic" sound, so that no matter where you are in relation to the speaker, you're in the sweet spot.
It's quite small, measuring just 2.68-by-6.30-by-2.99 inches and weighing only 24.6 ounces. You can easily pop this into a bag or backpack to take on your adventures with you. It's also water-resistant with an IPX7 rating. The silicone exterior and solid metal grille make it pretty rugged. It looks darn good too, with a distinctive classic rock look.
The battery life is incredible. While I didn't time it out myself, Marshall's claim of a 20-hour playtime sounds about right. When you do need to charge it up, it takes three hours to charge fully. But for a fast charge, 20 minutes of charging will give you 5 hours of playtime. I've been quite pleased with the Emberton's Bluetooth 5.0 technology. Unlike some Bluetooth devices I've tested, my iPhone and the Emberton consistently remember each other so I don't have to reconnect them constantly.
Marshall Emberton Speaker: What doesn't sound good
The control knob looks elegant and it works as described. But there is definitely a learning curve and it's easy to make mistakes until you get used to it.
Obviously, this speaker is on the pricier side. You are paying for quality here. But there are perfectly good speakers to be had for much less.
Marshall Emberton Speaker: Competition
Of course, Apple's HomePod mini is another iMore favorite. If you're in the Apple ecosystem already, it's got to be on your list of speakers to consider. It packs a lot of features, including Siri control and HomeKit integration, into a tiny package with great sound. At $99, the HomePod mini costs about one-third less than the Marshall Emberton.
The Treblab FX100 Extreme Bluetooth Speaker is a rugged outdoor speaker that's both shockproof and water-resistant. It can even serve as a power bank for your iPhone or other devices. If you tend to be rough on your speakers, or you have kids, this is a great pick for about half the price of the Marshall Emberton.
Marshall Emberton Speaker: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want rich and powerful sound
- You want a small, light, portable, durable speaker
- You want a strong Bluetooth connection and long battery life
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You want separate control buttons for each function
- It's not in your budget
- You don't like the look
This is a great pick for someone who values rich and powerful sound. It's great for the person who wants to listen to music at home or on the go and have plenty of battery life. It's not for you if it's out of your budget, or if you dislike having a single control knob to perfect all the functions.
The Marshall Emberton Speaker has a loud, rich sound. Marshall uses multi-directional True Stereophonic in this Bluetooth speaker to ensure 360° sound, so every spot is the sweet spot. The form factor is tiny, and the battery life is long. It's also water-resistant, so it's the perfect speaker to take with you on your adventures.
Marshall Emberton Speaker
Bottom line: Enjoy powerful sound and long battery life with this tiny Bluetooth speaker.