Now, when it comes to high-end audio, there seems to be an inverse relationship between how portable the device is and how good the audio is; As devices have become more portable, the audio quality suffers. However, most regular users don’t seem to be deterred that they are listening to less-than-high-quality audio through their $30 Apple Earpods.
There is no real incentive for them to seek better equipment for audio that is “good enough”. Then, we have Audiophiles. Now, I can’t speak for all Audiophiles, but I bet the last device on Earth that an Audiophile would use for their high-end setup would be a smartphone. Maybe there’s an exception of the Pono Player, but I can’t see that as an Audiophile’s only setup.
Enter the London. With the rather odd name, Marshall Headphones revealed the details on a phone nobody would have ever seen coming. With phones getting thinner and thinner with processors and SOCs rivaling household computers, the London is the Unicorn of the modern smartphone.
So, what makes it different? According to Marshall, the phone has been specifically designed with music in mind. Starting with its dual front facing speakers, Marshall claims that it is the “Loudest phone on Earth”. I can definitely vouch for any phone if it has front facing speakers. Even if they’re not great speakers, putting speakers on the front makes the phone’s audio better tenfold. The design is pretty generic if you just glance at it. It’s a glass rectangle with a few buttons on some of the sides, but if you look closer, you’ll see that this phone has two headphone jacks for simultaneous listening.
Additionally, there is a wheel in place of a volume jack and a button on the bottom of the phone that serves as a method to access music without turning on the device, opening your app of choice, hitting the play button, and then putting the device to sleep. It’s basically a dedicated pause/play button. We’ve seen leather and gold implemented in designs of phones in the past, so it’s not the most noteworthy thing about the phone, but the build quality of it from the existing pictures looks pretty solid. What really makes this a phone really meant for music is the dedicated audio chipset. That being said, there is also a built-in DJ and equalizer app with this phone. Whether or not that makes all the difference is up for the user.
By the looks of it, it looks like Marshall took the specifications of an iPhone 6, slapped on a Wolfson audio chipset and called it a day. Well, and also put Android on it. In fact, the London almost perfectly matches the specs of the iPhone 6 from the 4.7 inch 720p display to the 16GB base model. Maybe it’s no shock that the London will cost around the same as an iPhone 6 at around $600, but if you feel this is worth your time, pre-orders are available now. It’s worth checking out if you want a phone with killer audio if you’re willing to give up the latest and greatest specs.