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Marshall rolls out Kilburn II with Bluetooth 5.0, AptX, and 360-degree sound

Marshall is introducing an updated variant of its portable Kilburn Bluetooth speaker with a new design and a host of hardware upgrades. The major change is the addition of a speaker at the back, facilitating multi-directional sound.

Another update for 2018 is water resistance with an IPX2 certification that lets the speaker withstand splashes of water. Then there's Bluetooth 5.0 and AptX, with the speaker allowing two phones to connect to it simultaneously. AptX is a key addition as it lets you listen to high-fidelity tunes.

The design is getting subtle tweaks as well. Whereas previous models in the Marshall lineup featured a design similar to that of the company's amps, the Kilburn II has a metal grille that is styled after microphones, and also has corner caps that sit flush with the body that give it added protection.

The top panel houses analog controls for bass, treble, and volume, and there's also a visual battery indicator next to the volume knob that gives you an easy estimate of the speaker's battery life. Marshall is touting a 20-hour playback from a full charge.

And when you do need to top up, the Kilburn II has quick charge that delivers up to three hours' worth of music playback from a 20-minute charge, with the speaker taking two and a half hours to fully charge.

Although the Kilburn II offers considerable hardware upgrades from its predecessor, it is slotting in at the same $299 price point as the first-gen model. The Kilburn II is now up for sale at Marshall in the U.S. and global markets.

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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.