London calling: Marshall rocks amp-inspired smartphone
Buying a smartphone in 2015 can be apretty daunting and often humdrum task, with numerous flagships andranges that all offer slight variations of the same general featureset. Well, if you're an audiophile and you fancy something a littleout of the ordinary, then Marshall might just have the device foryou. It's certainly not the most high-end handset we've seen, but itoffers a host of features aimed squarely at music lovers and musicians.
Once upon a time, you'd only reallyfind the Marshall logo on its range of highly respected guitaramplifiers. But times change, and the company is diversifying. Itbegan with the release of some tasty headphones, followed by active speaker systems such as theHanwell, Woburn and more recently, the comparatively diminutiveKilburn. Now the brand is moving into all new territory, releasingits first ever smartphone.
Let's get one thing out of the way –this isn't a flagship level handset. The device, known as theMarshall London, is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor,paired with 2 GB of RAM, 16 of GB internal storage (expandable via amicroSD card slot), and features a 4.7-inch 1,280 x 720 display.
If you're familiar with high-endsmartphones in 2015, you'll be aware that those aren't exactly topshelf components. However, what the London lacks on the telephony spec sheet,it does its best to make up for with an audio-focused feature set.
For starters, there's a dedicatedWolfson WM8281 soundcard, allowing for high resolution, FLAC audioplayback. There are dual front-facing speakers (which are said to “possibly” be the loudest on any mobile phone), as well as two stereo audio jacks with independent volume controls. Marshall is alsoputting a pair of its Mode in-ear headphones in every box.
Elsewhere, there's an old school touchin the form of a scroll wheel for adjusting volume, and an “M-Button”on the top of the handset that, when clicked, takes you straight toyour music, complete with a global equalizer.
Some attention has been paid to the softwareside of things, too. The device runs on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop,and comes pre-installed with DJApp and Loopstack – a four trackrecorder that allows for 44 kHz/16 bit recording. Of course, it'llalso work with other third party music and recording softwaredownloaded from the Google Play Store.
For many, the classic Marshall stylingsalone might be enough to tempt them into a purchase. We can't helpbut wish that the core specs packed a little more punch, but thededicated features make this an interesting handset with a veryspecific focus.
Marshall hasn't announced when you'llbe able to get your hands on the London in the US, but it'll land inthe UK for £399 (about US$600) next month.
Source: Marshall Amps
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*(oh golly gee, would ya look at that, a preamp/effects loop!)