Marshall's New Itty Bitty Smart Speaker Packs Big Sound

Image: Marshall

Marshall’s latest smart speaker is an unusually small boy. How small? The new Uxbridge Voice, which is integrated with Amazon Alexa, measures a mere 5 by 6.6 by 4.8 inches.

For reference, the Uxbridge Voice is just a smidge taller than an iPhone XS Max, which measures 6.2 inches tall. That’s not quite as small as the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2, but given its size and the fact that it weighs just over 3 pounds, the Uxbridge Voice still counts as a pretty portable speaker.

The speaker has a max sound pressure level (SPL) of 96 dB, a mains input voltage of 100-240 volts, and a frequency range of 54-20,000 Hz. That’s pretty loud for a speaker that small. Marshall also claims that its new speaker features an “advanced setup with high-end components” that result in “screaming highs,” “hard-hitting lows,” and “brilliantly balanced sound.” That’s blatant marketing speak, but generally, Marshall is known for its sound quality, especially for rock music. At the very least, it looks like you can futz around with the bass and treble from the device itself as opposed to needing an equaliser app—which is often the case with connected speakers.

The Uxbridge Voice also supports Airplay 2, so you can link it up with other Airplay 2 speakers as well as various other Amazon Echo speakers for a multi-room setup. Plus, it’s compatible with Spotify Connect. The speaker also has a far-field microphone array so Alexa can recognise your voice if you’re cranking up the volume.

You know, I kinda appreciate having an equaliser on the smart speaker itself. (Image: Marshall)

For a smart speaker, the Uxbridge Voice is an interesting option. Amazon speakers are...well, let’s just say even the best of them don’t have the greatest audio quality. (Have you heard how bad an Echo Dot sounds?) They’re also fairly blah in terms of style. That might not be an issue for some, but it’s definitely a problem for audiophiles or folks who don’t want their smart speakers to be so obvious. Meanwhile, portable options like the UE Wonderboom are nice, but they lack voice assistant capability and come with a more athleisure-minded aesthetic. Marshall’s other smart speakers are quite nice to look at—and more importantly, sound amazing—but their size can be an issue if you want the option to easily move from room to room. So in that sense, the Uxbridge Voice fills a very specific niche.

But at $US200 ($338), the Uxbridge Voice isn’t the cheapest speaker around. There are plenty of Bluetooth speakers that size for at least half the price. That said, it’s a chic lil guy that looks more stylish than, say, the $US350 ($592) HomePod. We’ll have to test it out for ourselves to get a handle on the sound quality, but it’ll be available starting April 8 from Marshall’s site. And, if Alexa isn’t your jam, Marshall says a Google Assistant version will be available June 11.

Editor's Note: The Uxbridge Voice is not currently available in Australia. Stay tuned for availability at a later date.

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