Comes with either Alexa or Google Assistant
Sound quality just so-so
The Marshall Uxbridge Voice's sound performance may have kept it out of the top slot in our list of the best smart speakers, but there is a lot to love about this speaker.
Most smart speakers on the market are designed to visually work well with a broad range of styles and tastes. When compared to competitors like Bose's smart speakers, the Sonos One, and the Echo line, the Marshall sets itself apart with a bold logo, contrasting buttons, and squared edges. It's made to draw the eye, and it does.
About the Marshall Uxbridge
Here's a quick look at the Marshall Uxbridge Voice's specs:
- Price: $199.99
- Colors: Black, white
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi, Airplay 2, Chromecast
- Smart assistants: Alexa, Google Assistant
- Weight: 2.34 lbs
- Dimensions: 5.04” D x 6.61” H x 4.84” W
What we like
A cool, vintage amp aesthetic
While it might not be everybody’s cup of tea, I was in love with the look of the Uxbridge Voice the moment I opened the box.
The vintage aesthetic of a Marshall guitar amp inspires the casing of this very compact speaker. Even the control buttons on top that adjust the volume, bass, and treble look like large guitar frets on the surface. This speaker is designed to be a visual centerpiece, and it will fit in perfectly in a home with music inspired décor.
Your choice of Alexa or Google
The Uxbridge Voice is available in two different models, one with Alexa and one with Google Assistant. Most smart speakers currently available offer just one smart assistant, while our favorites allow you to choose which one you want within the associated app.
As most households generally use either Alexa or Google Assistant, you’ll probably know which assistant you want to use before you add your smart speaker to the shopping cart. If not, you might want to opt for a speaker that will allow you to switch back and forth, like our best overall smart speaker, the Bose Home 300.
What we don’t like
The sound quality isn’t going to blow you away
This is a small speaker. And as such, it can only do so much in the way of big sound. It’s not incredibly loud when compared to the other speakers we tested, and the clarity is just so-so. When I first listened to a few songs on it, I didn't have any complaints. But when I played the same tracks on the Echo Studio, Bose Home Speaker 300, and Homepod, it became obvious that this little speaker can't compete with the clarity and volume you can expect from the best.
Marshall does offer the larger Action II and Stanmore II smart speakers that will give you better sound quality and much more power, so this little speaker is really about its ability to look cool and fit into small spaces.
Smart speakers have gotten extremely affordable, with speakers like Amazon’s Echo Dot and Google’s Nest Mini for $50 (often even less on sale). While the Marshall certainly outperforms those entry-level models, at nearly $200, we expected a little more detail and power from the Uxbridge Voice. Especially since its aesthetic and namesake make me feel like turning it up to 11.
The design isn’t for everyone
As much as I loved the vintage amp look, it is certainly not something that everyone will be attracted to. I’m honestly not even sure it really fit into my own high-tech and eclectic living room, so I’m certain it would look awkward surrounded by more traditional décor.
Several of the other speakers we've tested were designed with a more minimal look to blend in with their surroundings, so if you want a speaker that won’t scream, "hey, look at me!" you might want to check out the others on our list of the best smart speakers.
Should you buy it?
Unless you love this speaker's look, you'll be happier with the Bose Home Speaker 300.
If you’re looking for smart speaker that won't take up much space and will fit in with your vintage coffee table and classic rock posters, this is it. It’s a fun purchase, plain and simple. But do you really need guitar fret buttons and the ability to adjust bass and treble on the fly? For most of us, the answer is "no."
We love that the speaker comes in both Alexa and Google Assistant models (though, at the time this was published, the Google version was out of stock), it has a variety of ways to stream music, and that it fits nicely into small spaces.
However, Marshall really designed this speaker with a specific audience in mind. If that person is not you, you’d likely be happier with the best smart speaker we’ve ever tested: the Bose Home 300.
They both will run you about $200, but the Bose offers louder and crisper sound, it's easier to use, and it allows you to switch back and forth between Alexa and Google Assistant. It outperformed the Marshall in every one of our tests, so we feel confident recommending it unless you just really dig the Marshall aesthetic (and no judgment if you do — as you can tell from my tweet above, I definitely did).
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Editor, Smart Home@sarahkovac
Sarah Kovac is an award-winning author and smart home editor for Reviewed. Previously, she worked with a multitude of outlets such as Wirecutter, TIME, PCMag, Prevention, The Atlantic, Reviews.com, CNN, GOOD, Upworthy, Mom.me, and SheKnows.
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