(Pocket-lint) - The speaker market is full of stacks of options, many of which look the same, others which might look interesting but don't offer good enough audio quality. Marshall, on the other hand, presents itself with style, offering signature appeal and a sound profile that rocks too.

Now all of that is wrapped into the smallest Marshall speaker to date. Called the Emberton, this amp-styled speaker - complete with brass finish control knob - is a little rockstar with bigger audio chops than its size would suggest.

Design

  • Dimensions:  68 x 160 x 76 mm / Weight: 700g
  • Finishes: Black, Black and Brass
  • Multi-directional control-knob
  • Bluetooth pairing button
  • Battery level indicator
  • IPX7 water-resistant

As you can see from our lead picture, the Emberton isn't a lot bigger than a cup of coffee really. Except it packs espresso strength in terms of distinguised design. It's small. Daresay it's almost cute - just don't tell it that, apply the black eye-liner instead.

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There aren't the array of protruding knobs that you'll so often see on Marshall speakers, though, instead the Emberton has a brass-colour control knob up top to handle volume up/down and track skip - if you need to use it, as your connected phone or device will also provide controls.

The Emberton is a strictly Bluetooth-only device. There's no Wi-Fi, no mic for voice assistant, and no 3.5mm AUX input either. But, hey, it knows what it is and what's wrong with a one-chord wonder anyway?

Portability is centre stage with this product, as you can slip it into a bag no problems, and its on-board battery lasts for up to 20 hours - which is pretty good innings. We love the amp-inspired battery indicator level, which is a series of 10 red lights, to indicate how long remains.

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There's water-resistance too, to the point that the Emberton can end up face down in a puddle for half an hour without popping its clogs.

Sound

  • Two 2-inch 10W full range drivers, two passive radiators
  • Frequency response: 60Hz – 20,000Hz
  • 20-hours battery life, USB-C charging
  • Bluetooth 5 wireless only

Just because it's small, however, doesn't mean this little speaker doesn't rock out. There's lots of hip-thrusting volume and the sound profile caters for a wide variety of genres - not just rock'n'roll.

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We've been listening to Moderat's trio of albums, where even the bass-driven tracks aren't left by the fire exit. The lowest 60Hz frequency isn't as technically capable as some, but for many tracks that's the sweetspot for bass anyway - a bass guitar won't hit a note lower than 40Hz however you tune it.

The only issue we've had with the Emberton is occasional and random disconnects from Bluetooth. A bit like your favourite band turning up 15 minutes late and too pissed to play. But once things get back into the rhythm it all works out.

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Although it's loud, don't expect ear-shredding top-end volume - but there's more than enough here to entertain you at your desk or in the kitchen as if it's transformed into a mini stadium.

Verdict

No, the Emberton isn't smart as there's no mic for a smart assistant and no Wi-Fi. But as a Bluetooth speaker this one-chord wonder is a little banger that delivers sound well beyond its small frame.

But the real appeal of the Emberton is its classic Marshall styling. Not only does it sound good, it's got distinction to stand out among the crowd of boring suit-n-ties speakers. It's a little rockstar.

Also consider

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Ultimate Ears Boom 3

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Our go-to portable speaker in this price bracket is still great - but its design makes it entirely different to the Emberton.

Writing by Mike Lowe.