If Nigel Tuffnel of Spinal Tap’s Marshall amp goes all the way to 11, then we’re going to have to assume the new Marshall Willen, the company’s latest and smallest-ever Bluetooth speaker, goes all the way up to at least 0.11.
Despite measuring just 101.6 x 100.5 x 40.4 mm and weighing 0.31 kg, Marshall promises that the Willen will deliver the company’s signature “heavy” sound via three presets, boasting one two-inch full range driver and two passive radiators for “solid instrument separation” – something that’s not a given in a speaker this tiny.
IP67 dust-and-water resistant, you’ll get around 15 hours of playback from a single charge of the Bluetooth 5.1 Willen, which can fully recharge in three hours and squeezes three hours of playtime out of a 20 minute charge, if you’re strapped for time.
Built-in microphones let you take and reject calls from a connected mobile device, while a “Stack Mode” function allows you to chain together multiple Willen speakers over for multi-speaker audio. Marshall doesn’t mention if the function extends to support alongside its older speakers, however, which are among the best wireless speakers you can buy.
Small stature, big market
The key appeal here though is likely to be the look of the Willen, which apes the larger Marshall speakers of old with a leather-like finish and amp-style grille, as well as physical control knob just like you’d find on guitar amplifiers. It’s a pretty versatile speaker in terms of placement too – not only is it small, it can sit on its side, back or upright, with a rubber-backed strap letting you attach it to other objects too.
That signature look has to do a lot of heavy lifting here too, as the portable speaker market is so competitive. Music fans have loads of options to choose from right across the range of price points, from the top end Sonos Roam to more affordable choices like the JBL Flip 6 and pocket friendly JBL Go 3. Marshall’s bigger speakers have held their ground well in the past, and at first glance the Willen is at least as attractive as its larger counterparts.
It’s priced pretty reasonably too. Launching “this summer” in the US and UK, it’ll cost $119 / £89.99.