Since 1962, Swedish Marshall London is the ultimate smartphone for audiophilesbrand Marshall has been synonymous with guitar amps, music and rock ’n’ roll. In a revolutionary and unexpected move, it has announced a gorgeous music-centric, Android smartphone called London.
Sure, it isn’t the first audio-focused smartphone in the market, with Nokia in the early days and Sony Mobile’s Hi-Res Audio-powered Xperia series. But there’s none as retro cool as the London. It even has a textured back that’s mimicking the texture of its classic amps.
Judged solely from a smartphone standpoint, the London is mid-range at best, with hardware specs similar to the Moto E LTE. It weighs just 145g, and is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 mated to 2GB RAM. It’s got 16GB of storage built-in, with a microSD slot for packing those high-res audio files.
It packs a 4.7-inch HD IPS LCD with Gorilla Glass 3 and it takes a single nano-SIM, supporting 4G LTE.
It’s also equipped with an 8MP rear camera with flash, and 2MP front camera. The Marshall London runs Android 5.0 Lollipop. It is unclear if it has a custom UI layer but it does seem like it’s mostly stock.
Not exactly specs that make your heart race, no. However… listen up for a minute. The London is all about audio. And Marshall brings it with guns a-blazing.
On the exterior, you’ll see the M-Button on top of the London. This gives you a dedicated one-click access to your music.
Next is a scroll wheel that gives you quick access to volume control. With tactile precision it gives you precise control over the volume of your favourite track. Welcome back, scroll wheel. Haven’t seen you on a phone since the Z series Sony phones of the 90s/early 2000s (‘Jog Dial’).
Moving on, two speakers with enhanced volume and bass on the front are claimed to be ‘loud.’ Importantly, underneath its rocking exterior is a Wolfs WM8281 Audio Hub. Nothing does audio better than a dedicated sound card to process audio at a higher resolution. This means even MP3s will sound better with the London. For true audiophiles, the London also lets you play uncompressed music like FLAC format. Win.
The London is also equipped with two stereo jacks, something unprecedented in a smartphone. It allows a friend to plug in and share your music or watch a video. Each source has independent volume control. Sweet.
There’s also dual microphones with noise-reduction that record in beautiful stereo.
On the software side, the London has a global equalizer where you can create and assign profiles to your favourite music apps. You can access the equaliser quickly via the M-Button.
Pre-installed on the London is a well-known 4-channel recorder app called LoopStack. It allows you to record four tracks independently in high quality 44KHz 16-bit. Coming in late 2015 is also DJApp.
Every unit of Marshall London comes with the highly-rated Marshall Mode in-ear headphones.
Pricing and availability
Marshall London is available for pre-order online via the Marshall Store for SEK 4,995 (US$577.30 / RM2,196). Expected delivery is 17 August 2015.