Test Marshall Minor III: TWS Open headphones made at AirPods 2?

Test Marshall Minor III: TWS Open headphones made at AirPods 2?

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At a time when TWS in-ear headphones have invaded the market, we would have almost forgotten the existence of models that are not. If companies like Huawei are trying to stand up to the famous Airpods 2, it seems that the Apple firm dominates this segment. Now Marshall is stepping in with a similar product. Are these Minor III convincing?



Marshall Minor III technical sheet

Unboxing of Marshall Minor III wireless headphones

This new model forms a trio with the Marshall Mode II and the Motif ANC, both in-ear. The box does not hide much unexpected. In addition to the headphones and their case, you will find a user manual and a small USB type-C cable. No silicone tips to adapt them to all ears. In principle, open fit models are suitable for most body types. Moreover, this design allows neither the integration of the active noise reduction function nor a pronounced passive isolation.

The atypical design of the TWS Marshall Minor III earphones

It is on this aspect that the designers sought to distinguish them from the others. Out of the question to make yet another all-white pair that goes into the Airpods copy category! As with all of the brand's products, the Minor III take up the aesthetics of the latter. First of all, its charging case has a grainy black leatherette covering that changes from the ordinary white and smooth plastic. Shape-wise, it looks like an Airpods 2 case that has taken on love handles. Its flap overlooks the brand logo as well as an LED indicating the status of the battery. The latter lights up as soon as you open the lid or press the button at the base of the case. Small flat, the hinge seems fragile and does not really provide the satisfactory "clap" of the Airpods. Honestly, we'll get over it.

And the headphones?

Those who sit enthroned in this strange case have not escaped the Marshall touch. They take over the stems of the Airpods. However, the brand has made them shorter and slightly thicker. These have a streaky black coating and a semblance of brass at the end. As for the top, it sports a matte black paint job with a small M on the outside in case you were unsure about the brand of these headphones. We appreciate this design which stands out from the others. Aficionados of the Marshall aesthetic should appreciate.

Getting started with the Marshall Minor III wireless headphones

Pairing works exactly like on Airpods. Just open the lid and hold the button on the case to pair them with your smartphone. Once in the ears the outfit is quite convincing. The same goes for short and long term comfort. If open-fit headphones do not reproduce sound as well and do not isolate as much as in-ear headphones, they are much easier to forget. Thanks to this discretion, we did not notice any unpleasant sensations even after several hours of wearing. Regarding the commands, the headphones each have a touch zone on the top to perform them. They react well, no need to take it twice. Too bad the options are limited. Indeed, no commands for the voice assistant and volume management:

No dedicated application

Marshall Minor III review: TWS headphones open fit at the Airpods 2 level?

This absence is a bit of a stain. Indeed, recent headphones with a price equivalent to the current price of Airpods 2 should offer as many or even more options. From his iPhone, a user of these can customize his touch controls. We would like to be able to do the same thing with the Minor III. This function could also be an additional selling point to reach Android smartphone owners. Since they do not have access to the full customization of Airpods, it would be wise to offer them a product that can do the same thing but on both OS. Here, we have to settle for the customization of the equalizer.

The performance of the Marshall Minor III headphones

They each have a large 12mm driver. A size equivalent to that of the components that equip the Airpods Pro. We can therefore expect a sound quality superior to other open fit models. Note that this earphone format tends to offer a less interesting musical performance because it remains on the periphery of the ear canal. It is for this same reason that the Minor III do not provide true passive isolation. Thus, you will always perceive what is happening in your environment. In addition, the Bluetooth connection did not have any stability issues during our tests. As for the issue of calls, we were hoping for more than just one microphone per earphone to make them. This seems a bit tight to us to ensure a good capture of the voice.

What autonomy for the Minor III?

Marshall announces 5 hours of listening time with a charge and around twenty extra hours thanks to the case. On paper, it's an hour longer than the Airpods 2. Although comfortable, this autonomy does not stand out from the average. It is not with this aspect that Marshall will differentiate itself from the competition. We welcome all the same the respect of the announced figures. During our tests, the right earphone died after five hours and two minutes with use at 50% volume. As for the case, it also fulfills its role by offering the four complete refills announced by Marshall. In short, nothing to report.

A convincing sound reproduction?

For this test, we listened to music at 320 kb/s with the aptX codec compatible with these Minor IIIs. Without being breathtaking, the result is satisfactory. We perceive the different elements of the sound stage without too much emphasis on one of them. On the other hand, the lowest frequencies are quite discreet compared to the rest. This observation can be explained in particular by the open architecture of the headphones. Also, voices are arguably less flattering than having a pair of Airpods 2 in your ears. Keep in mind that these Minor III are primarily intended for users who want to listen to music while maintaining a good perception of the outside. For them, there is no need for a millimetric reproduction or a considerable level of detail.

Should you buy the Marshall Minor III wireless headphones?

Given their characteristics, they are not intended for everyone. Indeed, the vast majority of TWS headphones on the market are in-ear. Among them, it won't be difficult to find a model with more features, longer battery life and better sound quality for the same price. Therefore, these headphones are worth it if:

In conclusion, if you do not yet have an opinion on in-ear headphones, try a pair first. The offer for this format is plethoric and has much more complete models for the price of the Minor III. Marshall also launched its Motif ANC in-ear headphones at the same time. The brand therefore seeks to offer different models to reach as many people as possible.

7.4An effective alternative that is not aimed at the greatest number

These Marshall Minor IIIs are effective. They offer a good hold in the ear, remain pleasant to wear even after several hours and deliver a convincing sound. We really appreciate the design with the Marshall imprint which allows these headphones to stand out from the others. For the same price on Amazon as the Airpods 2, you have a good alternative there, which however lacks a few commands and a tad of customization. To sum up, it is a more than effective open fit model. Unfortunately, this format cannot conceal its limitations when compared to in-ear headphones. At the same price, the latter benefit from a more complete offer, superior sound quality, more functions and better autonomy. With €129.99 on the bill, the Marshall Minor IIIs do not offer enough things to hold the duel. Thus, they are only interesting for those who are looking to avoid in-ear headphones or who particularly like the open fit architecture.