I tried Marshall’s new wireless touch-responsive earbuds: the truest new AirPods competitor

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When it comes to delivering quality lifestyle tech (Bluetooth speakers, headphones, earbuds and more), there are a handful of brands that shoppers confidently believe will produce worthwhile products.

Two of the most notable brands are Apple and Marshall. The former undoubtedly stands as the modern leader in this space, with folks unabashedly shelling out thousands of dollars on smartphones and accessories at a moment’s notice to get the latest and greatest from the brand.

The latter has remained an iconic presence in the tech space for generations. In fact, Marshall’s iconic vintage aesthetic has only grown in value over the years.

Today, Marshall added a new product that’s the first of its kind for the long-standing brand: the Mode II, the first true wireless in-ear headphones from Marshall.

Over the past week, I’ve tested out these bad boys to see just how much they stack up against the most popular wireless earbuds on the market today: the Apple AirPods Pro — and let’s just say that they didn’t disappoint.

Shop: Marshall Mode II True Wireless In-Ear Bluetooth Headphones, $179

Credit: Marshall

What are the specs?

So, before getting into how these wireless Bluetooth earbuds perform, here’s what comes in this tiny-yet-powerful package.

Firstly, it’s worth shouting out the premium craftsmanship of the Marshall Mode II; these in-ear headphones are lightweight without feeling cheap and feature an ergonomic design perfect for all-day listening.

Unlike several of its competitors, these earbuds come with four ear tips (already included in the box) so users to create their own customized and secure fit.

Credit: Marshall

For those who would prefer using these as a workout companion, the Marshall Mode II true wireless Bluetooth earbuds have an IPX4 water-resistance rating. So a little sweat or water won’t ruin your new babies.

Also, these earbuds come with a chic portable charging case that adorably resembles a miniature version of the Beats Pill.

Why “true wireless?”

Marshall is no newbie to the headphones game; in fact, the brand’s Monitor II Bluetooth Headphones remain one of the best noise-canceling options on the market.

What makes the Mode II the brand’s first “true wireless” in-ear headphones, though, is its completely wire-free design. When compared to the popular Minor II Bluetooth In-Ear Headphones, aside from this new release’s much more powerful inner-workings and specs, there is no wire connecting the earbuds to one another, making for a fully (and literally) wireless experience.

How do these sound?

The Marshall Mode II wireless in-ear headphones sound like an orchestra in your ears. Of course, this is no surprise as the Marshall “signature sound,” is widely respected and world-renowned.

Engineered to deliver a “thunderous audio experience,” these earbuds deliver dynamically rich and crisp audio. What impressed me most was the uncompromised sound quality with boosted volume levels.

Another key feature that makes these earbuds premium quality is their built-in touch-responsive functionalities. With just a finger tap, you can control your music, answer phone calls, activate transparency mode and native voice assistant.

How do they stack up against the AirPods Pros?

When testing these out, I made the conscious effort to compare these to my most frequently used in-ear earbuds: the AirPods Pro. I found that these actually check a few boxes that even Apple failed to entertain when designing its best-selling listening device.

Credit: Moriba Cummings for In The Know

Regarding price, the Marshall Mode II is $70 cheaper than the AirPods Pros, which originally retailed for $249.

Like all Marshall products, the Mode II pairs with the brand’s Marshall Bluetooth app where users can fine-tune the equalizer settings to create their own custom sound. From higher trebles to rumbling bass (or a combination of the two), these customizable settings make these earbuds stand apart from the AirPods Pros, which have no designated sound-altering settings.

Credit: Moriba Cummings for In The Know

Adding to the commitment to customization, these earbuds come with interchangeable tips for a customized fit. This not only makes for a more comfortable and secure listening experience, but these also prevent the vessels from potentially falling out the ears when in rapid movement.

Two additional comparisons that are completely dependent on the users’ aesthetic preferences are color and noise-canceling capabilities. The Mode II earbuds come in black and have a rubberized finish with a textured portable charging case, whereas the AirPods Pros come in the signature Apple white with a sleek, smooth and minimal case.

The Mode II, however, do not have built-in noise-canceling functionality, whereas the AirPods Pro have basic-level noise-canceling and transparency modes.

Both the AirPods Pro and Marshall Mode II are compatible with wireless charging, so no plugs or cables needed. Simply rest either product (in its charging case) on a charging pad or mat and forget it.

Final thoughts?

If noise-canceling technology is a top priority for you, the AirPods Pros may be your best bet. However, if a much more secure fit, customizable sound settings and a louder, distortion-free sound output are higher on your list of musts, I highly recommend the Marshall Mode II in-ear headphones. You won’t be disappointed.

If you enjoyed this story, check out these $50 headphones that Amazon shoppers say are ‘the best’ in value and price.

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