Marshall Major V headphones — 3 reasons to buy 3 and 3 reasons to skip

Marshall Major V
(Image credit: Future)

The Marshall Major V are Marshall Headphone's latest folding pair of wireless headphones that are instantly recognizable for their retro styling. They combine all the latest tech like Bluetooth LE and wireless charging with tactile controls and textured black vinyl that gives you all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a high-end pair of headphones. But it's all packaged in a $149, practical design that you can take basically anywhere with you.  

Although the look remains largely unchanged from the Marshall Major IV, there are a number of finer details that improve comfort and its neutral sound profile, as well as the introduction of new smart features. Plus, the battery life has been increased to 100 hours, which is something most of the best headphones can't beat.

But are the Marshall Major V worth your money?

Follow along with our full video to learn more.

Marshall Major V: Reasons to buy

Convenient, comfortable design

The first reason the Marshall Major Vs are worth buying is its convenient design and comfortable fit. These are one of the most compact pairs of headphones you can get. They’re extremely lightweight, fold down to about the size of your hand, and they have built-in clips that secure its band together so you can pack them up easily. 

The Vs have softer and plushier ear cups and the headband has also been tweaked this year to allow the ear cups to lay against your ears better. You can wear these for several hours and they won’t feel fatiguing. These are probably the most comfortable on-ears I’ve tested. But even when I’m not listening and I take these off, I can lay them around my neck, turn the ear cups, and I hardly notice they’re there. 

Marshall Major V

(Image credit: Future)

Despite their small size, these are super rugged. The band stretches and twists and they feel like they can take a major (hah) beating for several years. Even the textured plastic on the cups and band is designed to resist scratches but even if you manage to scuff it up, it’ll probably be hidden pretty well.

Great battery life

If your priority is having extremely long battery life, then the Major Vs won’t disappoint. A big upgrade for this year is the jump to triple-digit playback time. You can get about 100 hours on a single charge, which is a 20+ hour boost from its predecessor the 4s. 

The headphones supports fast charging via USB-C or wireless which is built into its right ear cup. For added longevity, you can program when and how fast the battery will recharge which helps prevent extra wear on the battery. 

Marshall Major V: $149 @ Marshall

Marshall Major V: $149 @ Marshall
These retro-looking headphones with up to 100 hours of battery life are great for listening on the go. They're comfy and we really appreciate the intuitive physical controls. Just don't expect noise cancelling. 

 Physical controls

A final reason you should buy the Major Vs and something that I think is overlooked, is its controls. A lot of headphones either don’t include any, or try to be too fancy and use touch controls. With the Vs, we have a very simple brass-colored knob that gives you quick adjustments for changing tracks, rewinding, fast-forwarding, and adjusting volume. I like having a physical button like this because I always know what input I’m making, which can’t always be said about touch controls. 

Similarly, the Major Vs now have an M Button underneath their left earcup. You can program this in its app to quickly switch between different EQ presets or activate your voice assistant, or quickly launch Spotify and start listening right away. It’s simple, but it’s a handy feature to have that lets you not need to reach for your phone as often. 

Marshall Major V: Reasons to skip

No noise cancellation

The first reason you may want to skip the Major V is that these are on-ear headphones — not over-ear, like the AirPods Max or Sony WH-1000XM5. While this helps with its compact size and helps keep your ears a little cooler with longer listening sessions, it comes with a few disadvantages. 

One, you’re going to hear much more of the outside world. Sure, this is great when you want to know when someone is trying to talk to you and you want to be more aware of what’s happening around you. But when you’re in the zone or you just want to block everything else out, these are going to fall way behind. Now that said, when you’re music or media is playing, these headphones do a surprisingly good job with its passive noise isolation for sounds like the hum of an AC or quiet chatter.

You're not looking for bells and whistles

I also think the Major Vs aren’t necessarily the right choice for someone looking for a simple and cheap pair of headphones. I think these are priced very competitively, but if you don’t need all of its bells and whistles, like Bluetooth LE, its folding design, or its super long battery life, you can find a lot of great sounding options at the $100 or even less if you wanted. 

See the best cheap headphones under $100 we've tested.

You don’t like the styling

The styling probably isn’t for everyone. If you're familiar with Marshal’s amps, you can see where the design inspiration has come from, but at the same time, those retro touches may not resonate with you as much — especially with its squared cups. Personally, I’m a huge fan and I love how they have their own unique identity. 

Almost everything else on the market is round, shiny and smooth. These definitely look and feel more utilitarian and honestly, that’s what makes them so special. But if you look at some of the other best selling headphones like the Sony XM5s or the AirPods Max, they instead go with a more futuristic look which you may prefer.   

Marshall Major V: Buy or skip?

If it were me spending my $149 and I needed to buy a new pair of headphones, I would buy the Marshall Major Vs. I travel and work remotely a lot and I prioritize size, durability, comfort, and battery life. As something that I can always have chucked in my backpack without it taking up much space, that doesn’t need a case without me worrying about it getting crushed — and that I know is always going to have a good charge even though it has been weeks since I last plugged them in — these fit the bill. 

Again, I probably wouldn’t bring these on a long flight, but for pretty much everything else, the Major V offer a lot and at its price point, there really isn’t anything else quite like them.

Paul Antill
Video Producer & Content Creator

Paul Antill is a Video Producer and Content Creator at Tom's Guide, specializing in video/audio recording, smart home technology, and laptops. His passion lies in making tech coverage not just informative but also fun and accessible to everyone answering the question “Why does this new product or feature matter to me?” Paul has been a tech host and video producer since 2019 where he has also covered major tech and gaming events. His love for tech and video began on his YouTube channel where for the low price of one subscription he shares head-to-head comparisons and clever ways to make the most of your gear. You can also see the behind-the-scenes and the magic that goes into our Tom’s Guide videos over on his Instagram. Paul graduated from the Mason School of Business at William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, with a degree in Marketing and Business Analytics. When he's not on camera, you’ll probably still spot him behind one doing street photography and videography. Back home he’s probably in a heated Overwatch 2 match with his friends.