Marshall has two new ultra-portable Bluetooth speakers just in time for your spring/summer adventures. The company has created a new version of its excellent Emberton — the $170 — with more power and new features, plus it has a new, palm-sized offering called the , which sells for $120. Both are available in black/brass and cream colors and can be pre-ordered starting May 3 from Marshall’s website.
The Willen is incredibly small — literally palm-sized — but Marshall says you can expect decent sound from its 2-inch driver and dual passive radiators. It also has surprisingly decent battery life for such a small speaker. Marshall claims more than 15 hours of playtime and it says you’ll be able to fully charge the internal battery in three hours, while a 20-minute quick-charge will buy you an additional three hours of use if you’re in a pinch.
The Willen sports an IP67 rating for water and dust protection which means it’s effectively waterproof and can even survive full immersion for up to 30 minutes. It also has a built-in mic, which lets the Willen double as a speakerphone, something that’s becoming harder to find on some Bluetooth speakers.
But there are two features that help set the Willen apart from the BT speaker masses: First is the integrated strap on the back of the speaker, which lets you secure the Willen to a variety of objects like backpacks or even bicycle handlebars. The second is a feature called Stack Mode, which lets you pair the Willen with other Willens — as many as you want — for an essentially unlimited ability to scale up your music for group gatherings. Those familiar with Marshall amplifiers will be no strangers to the idea of a “stacked” set of Marshalls.
The Emberton II brings back one of the best Bluetooth speakers we’ve ever tested. It now comes in two colors (black/brass and cream) and it gets several upgrades from the first version.
As before, the Emberton II is a stereo speaker, with two, 2-inch drivers and dual passive radiators. But to justify its higher price ($170 versus $150 for the first version), Marshall has given it 50% more battery life, for a total of more than 30 hours of claimed playback, and it’s now IP67-rated for both dust and water (the first Emberton lacked dust protection).
There’s also more going on under the hood. Marshall has added a companion app for iOS and Android, which lets you update the Emberton II with new firmware when available, plus there’s a new equalizer so you can fine-tune the sound to your tastes. Like the Willen, the Emberton II also gets Stack Mode, which gives it the ability to pair with an unlimited number of other Emberton II speakers for a much bigger sound, whether you choose to actually stack them, or put them in different locations.
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