Bottom line: With excellent sound quality, decent battery life, and pretty good call quality, the Marshall Minor III has a solid foundation. Unfortunately, they seem to slip out of ears a little easier than is ideal and their touch controls aren't up to snuff versus the competition.
Decent battery life
Good call quality
Signature look and style
Mediocre touch controls
Have trouble staying in ears
No extra features
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Marshall leans heavily into its rock-and-roll roots when it comes to headphones. Everything from the aesthetic to the sound harkens back to the 1960s or 1970s when the company was first making its amps with that signature crunchy guitar sound, But, in 2021, it's hard to rest on your laurels — especially up against the best true wireless earbuds.
Marshall Minor III are open-fit earbuds like AirPods (the design is so similar), and they sound pretty good to my ear, but there are just a few too many comprises that make their price tag a little hefty.
Marshall Minor III: Price and availability
The Marshall Minor III earbuds are currently only available from Marshall's website; however, if their other headphone releases are any indication, you can expect third-party retailers like Amazon to sell them eventually.
Another thing to note, they are only available in black and cost $129.99. Right now, the product is out of stock, but the stock should be back soon.
Marshall Minor III: What I liked
The biggest strength of the Marshall Minor III is the sound quality. In a pair of open-fit earbuds, it's actually impressive how great they sound. The excellent clean sound was always bright and had a good mix in my ears. I never experience the bass to be overpowering nor the high-tones to be shrill or tinny. It makes listening to genres like rock, pop, hip-hop, and EDM an absolute joy, but even genres like classical or orchestral compositions have sounded awesome when I pop them in my ears.
Its excellent sound quality is its biggest strength.
Another great strength is the call quality. Each earbud of the Marshall Minor III has a microphone located at the bottom of the stem, and I made quite a few calls with these earbuds and have always been impressed. Whether it was a phone call via my iPhone or a meeting in Google Meet on my iMac, I was always coming through loud and clear. I didn't experience any connection drops, and I could always hear the person(s) on the other end perfectly.
The battery life is pretty decent as well. Each bud will get about 5 hours of listening on its own, and then the charging case comes with 25 hours as well. In total, that 30 hours of listening time is pretty great for the size of its compact charging case. Plus, if you do run out of juice, just 15 mins of charging the buds should produce about 90 mins of playback, so with a few charging breaks throughout the day, you should be able to make the battery life last.
Marshall Minor III: What I didn't like
I have tried a ton of wireless earbuds in my time, both open-fit designs like the Marshall Minor III's or AirPods and designs with ear tips, but I've never had more trouble keeping a pair of earbuds in my ears before. I'm not sure what it was, but Marshall Minor III fell out of my ears a lot. It seemed anytime I quickly jerked my head or tried to work out, they would slip out of my ears. Now, it's important to remember, and this may be just a problem I have because of the shape of my ears. You might not experience this, but with my vast experience with many different wireless earbuds, it certainly seemed strange to me, and it made my experience with the Marshall Minor III less pleasant.
I had trouble keeping the Marshall Minor IIIs in my ears.
My other biggest gripe with the Marshall Minor IIIs is the touch controls. They aren't as slick or as responsive as many other options I have tried over the years. Tapping the buds once to play/pause works pretty well most times, but double-tapping and triple-tapping to skip forward or skip backward was very finicky. Most of the time, I found all it would do was pause the music, causing me to have to get my phone out of my pocket if I ever wanted to switch tracks.
Marshall Minor III: Competition
Due to its design, it's easy to point to the AirPods 2 as a direct competitor to the Marshall Minor III. However, since the AirPods 3 launched, the AirPods 2 have gone down to the same price — $129 — and although they don't quite sound as good, they have all the Apple magic that makes the AirPods so great to iPhone users. Plus, the AirPods have better touch controls.
Marshall Minor III: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- If you like the unique style
- You want wireless earbuds with great sound
- Don't mind having fewer features than other options
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You want more features
- You want better touch controls
- You want a better fit
The Marshall Minor III earbuds sound great and have a unique look, compelling reasons to buy the earbuds. Still, with all the competition in the wireless earbuds category, you don't have to look far to find something that's cheaper, has more features, or even has ANC if that's what you want on this type of product.
At the end of the day, my time with the Marshall Minor IIIs just wasn't as enjoyable because of the few setbacks I encountered. First, the constant falling out of my ears was a real drag. I realize that may not be a problem for everyone, but adding the finicky touch controls made it hard to justify keeping the Marshall Minor IIIs in my ears over other earbuds I have.
That being said, the sound is excellent, and they performed exceptionally on calls, making them a pretty decent set of earbuds to use while I'm working at my desk. So, if you're looking for something simple, with great sound, and don't plan on moving around too much, these might be an excellent option for you.
Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.