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Huawei Sound Review

Verdict

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The Huawei Sound is as entertaining as it is compact and demonstrates real hi-fi capabilities. However, its appeal is likely to be dampened by a lack of connected smarts (there’s no Google or Alexa voice control on offer). Still, it punches above its weight musically, making it well suited for smaller listening rooms.

Pros

  • Classy, high-gloss appearance
  • Devialet audiophile design
  • Omnidirectional soundstage

Cons

  • No smart functionality
  • Devialet Space audio preset
  • A bit of a faff to set up

Key Features

  • Devialet SPACE SoundstageExpands the soundstage with digital processing
  • Hi-Fi/Vocal presetSeveral EQ effects to change how the speaker sounds
  • Huawei AI Life appAllows for management of the speaker from a mobile device

The Huawei Sound is the second Bluetooth wireless speaker collaboration between Huawei and French hi-fi specialist Devialet. It’s a good deal smaller than the original Sound X, but looks much the same, with a piano gloss finish and two cut-outs to showcase the speaker’s push-push woofer configuration.

Inside you’ll find a single 4-inch woofer and three tweeters, for a 360-degree omnidirectional soundstage. Total power output is rated at 55W, which makes it suitable for small-to-medium-sized rooms.

The catch, of course, is that it isn’t smart; there’s no Alexa or Google voice control. 

So, is this a bargain-priced Devialet hi-fi speaker or a wireless Huawei curiosity?

Availability

  • UKRRP: £150
  • USAunavailable
  • Europeunavailable
  • Canadaunavailable
  • AustraliaRRP: AU$329

The Huawei Sound was originally listed at £200 in the UK. This put it at the higher end of the wireless Bluetooth market, and more expensive than the Amazon Echo Studio that’s a comparable size, but comes with smart functionality and support for Dolby Atmos music. That early launch price has slipped somewhat, and it’s currently selling for £150.

In Australia, the Huawei Sound retails for AUS$329. The speaker isn’t available in the US at all.

  • Stylish high-gloss design
  • 360-degree driver configuration
  • Proximity activated touch controls

There’s no doubt that the Huawei Sound is a great-looking wireless speaker. With its piano-gloss finish and split-level cloth grille, it appears unapologetically premium. A 4-inch 40W woofer and three 5W tweeters are arranged for 360-degree sound dispersion. The tweeter trio is evenly spaced to create the circular spread.

Confirming its Devialet origins, the Sound uses a push-push configuration with two passive radiators visible through distinctive opposing cut-outs. Look closely, and you’ll spot Huawei’s signature red flash, used to signify superior performance.

proximity controls on the Huawei Sound wireless speaker

Up top is a volume control, illuminated by a proximity sensor – sneak up and it lights up.

Significantly, though, the Huawei Sound lacks traditional smart home functionality.

  • No voice control
  • Bluetooth with LDAC
  • No Wi-Fi streaming

While the Sound does have a microphone icon on its control panel, that’s only applicable to the iteration sold in China. For the rest of us, it’s a reminder that the Sound doesn’t listen.

auxillary input for the Huawei Sound wireless speaker

The Bluetooth version here is v5.0, and supports wireless transmission up to 990kbps from LDAC compatible sources. First championed by Sony, LDAC is increasingly finding traction with other brands, including Huawei, and offers a significant improvement in headroom when it comes to Bluetooth streaming.

The Sound also supports Wi-Fi, but this is only used as a connection with the Huawei AI Life app.

  • Devialet SPACE Soundstage
  • Crowd-pleasing mid-range performance

The Sound may be a good deal more compact than its predecessor, but don’t be tempted to buy one for your office desk. It isn’t tuned for near-field listening; this speaker needs space to breathe – clarity and musicality improve at distance.

The Huawei AI Life app offers three music presets for the Sound: Devialet SPACE Soundstage, Vocals and Hi-Fi, plus adjustable Bass.

Devialet’s SPACE technology is an algorithm supposedly able to create a broader ambiance.

bass driver on the Huawei Sound wireless speaker

Unfortunately, any hope that this might give the speaker more immersive capabilities is quickly squashed. It actually dulls down the unit’s audio performance, taking the edge off higher frequencies and muffling bass. The most satisfying listening mode is Hi-Fi.

The theme from The Dark Knight, from Hans Zimmer The Classics (Amazon Music HD), is recognisably sharp and menacing in Hi-Fi. Played with SPACE engaged, it sounds dull and compressed.

This Bluetooth speaker is characterised by a sweet treble and solid, forceful low-end. Devialet’s push-push driver configuration is rhythmic, able to keep the beat without sounding plodding. 

Control panel and QR set-up code on Huawei Sound speaker

The speaker sounds its best with acoustic cuts, soulful R&B and tuneful singer songwriters. I also liked its fulsome delivery of talk radio and audio books.

Thanks to Devialet engineering, this wireless speaker is a good deal more compelling than might otherwise be the case. It’s extremely well built and finished for the price, and while not quite as refined as its bigger brother, the Sound X, it’s still darn impressive.

The circular speaker arrangement makes it a good choice as a living room sound solution – but give that SPACE mode a swerve.

The lack of connected smarts is a major issue, however. All key Bluetooth speaker rivals have either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa functionality built in. Their absence here is hard to ignore. 

Should you buy it?

You want a compact Bluetooth speaker with audiophile credibility The influence of Devialet can be seen and heard all over the Sound – from the cutaway drivers to its polished mid-range performance. Given even the cheapest Devialet equivalent will set you back multiples of the price of this Huawei, the Sound could be considered a bargain…

You don’t want to wrestle with old-school Bluetooth connectivity issues There’s no doubt that other Bluetooth models offer an easier life. The Sound will leave you scratching your head during set-up…

Final Thoughts

The Huawei Sound is as entertaining as it is compact and demonstrates real hi-fi capabilities. However, its appeal is likely to be dampened by a lack of connected smarts (there’s no Google or Alexa voice control on offer). Still, it punches above its weight musically, making it well suited for smaller listening rooms.

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FAQs

What Bluetooth streams does the Huawei Sound support?

The Huawei Sound speaker can play audio over LDAC, which allows for higher-quality Bluetooth streaming.

Does the Huawei Sound support Wi-Fi?

No, this model doesn’t support a Wi-Fi connection.

Is the Huawei Sound available in the United States?

No, the Huawei Sound doesn’t have a US release date.

Specs

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
Manufacturer
IP rating
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
Release Date
Driver (s)
Ports
Audio (Power output)
Connectivity
Colours
Frequency Range
Audio Formats
Speaker Type

Jargon buster

Hi-Res Audio

 

Hi-Res audio is referred to as a standard as well as a marketing term that describes digital audio files of better-than-CD quality (16-bit/44.1kHz).

AAC

AAC stands for Advanced Audio Coding and is a lossy codec used most prominently by Apple and YouTube to deliver audio quality better than SBC (Sub-Band Coding).

Bluetooth 5.0

Bluetooth 5.0 is the latest iteration of the standard, and allows data to be sent at twice as much as speed over previous standards, cover four times as much in terms of distance and transfer eight times as much data.

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