Marshall’s new $ 149 Emberton Bluetooth speaker gives the beloved Logitech Ultimate Ears Boom a run for its money. For starters, it charges via USB-C for fast and hassle-free charging, borrowing the excellent joystick-style controls from Marshall’s recent range of headphones. Rather than having to learn a few combinations of buttons to change the number or check the battery level, everything here is dead simple. The remaining battery life is easily displayed in an LED-lit window at all times. To navigate, simply tilt the gold spiral stud in one of the four labeled directions to adjust the volume or find the song you want. Since some companies are trying to find smart ways to let you control your devices, such as swiping or gesturing, there is something to be said for the fact that physical buttons are easy, accessible and fun.
The Emberton’s design may not appeal to everyone: it’s a stone-shaped speaker that looks like a portable guitar amp with metal grilles covering the front and back. The speaker is covered with a robust, detachable silicone cover that is put on as standard. This is Marshall’s most understated speaker design so far, and it looks simpler than previous models, although it’s not as fashionable or colorful as some other small Bluetooth speakers.