Geek Review: Huawei Sound X

Parties just aren’t the same without good music to pump up the atmosphere, and what better way is there to liven up the party than to blast your favourite Spotify playlist from your very own state-of-the-art speakers?

And like in-ear monitors and headphones, just about anyone and everyone wants to be heard in the space, such that you end up with the overrated Beats, the premium Sonos and the knock-offs in between, so which one do you really listen to?

Tech-giant Huawei has partnered up with leading audio technology company, Devialet, to introduce Huawei Sound X, the newest speaker in the market. Engineered with Devialet’s Push-Push Acoustic Design, the Sound X promises to deliver a premium auditory experience.

Gone are the typical grilled or mesh speaker covers that face the room and with its cylindrical body and round LED touch display, the Huawei Sound X is rather familiar looking, and can almost be a clone of the Apple HomePod. The main difference is that the Sound X stand uses a sleek glossy impact-resistant polycarbonate finish, and has visible subwoofers, with a stain resistant mesh encasing the lower third of its body, adding to its durability. 

The LED touch display is also encircled with a beautiful rainbow RGB ring light indicator which is a nice design touch to the overall look. It’s an evolution of the buttons free interface but the touch button used to access the Bluetooth functions could have been made clearer instead of simply placing ellipses as the “More Functions” symbol.

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Standing at only 20.3cm tall, the Sound X fits perfectly next to your television set or on your desk. Surprisingly though, the small device is rather hefty, weighing a total of 3.5kg and it won’t make for a very portable speaker.

Besides the solid exterior, the interior of the Sound X is also thoughtfully designed, featuring dual 3.5” subwoofers and 6 powerful tweeters, allowing for a versatile range, reaching frequencies as low as 40Hz and as high as 40kHz. Even if most songs do not reach such extremes, the high-performance limit makes for better quality mid-range sounds.

We played some tunes such as Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and were amazed by the performance of the speaker. Thrumming out a powerful yet balanced bass, we could see, hear and feel the vibrations of the subwoofers as they delivered quality sound despite their smaller size.

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For those of you who prefer bass heavy speakers, these are not for you. There is a nuanced soundstage here as the bass does not drown the other components of the song. There was great instrumental separation and every guitar riff, every guttural rumble of Kurt Cobain’s voice and even the individual voices of the chorus are clearly distinguished.

What’s more, there was no driver rumble despite the high volume thanks to the Push-Push Acoustic Design which allows for each of the subwoofers to negate the vibrations of the other. This is coupled with high-fidelity audio, allowed the speakers to perform well without any audible distortion even at max volume or with heavy music.

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The speaker also features 6 tweeters, which allow for the audio to be transmitted in all directions, which is fitting for those living room setups where the speaker can be placed in the middle of the room, by the coffee table to deliver multi-directional audio in any space.

To push the speaker and test its range we continued experimenting with a few other different tracks. With Electronica we had .gif’s Vacant Speak, the bass and the lows of the song were, as expected, clear, but what stood out for us was the mid sounds like the snares which were still audible. Moreover, Weish’s mellifluous vocals distinctly flow out from the speakers, proving its ability to deliver good vocal clarity. 

We also played aha’s Take On Me and were impressed by its ability to hold out even with the high notes projected. And with Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy, we were even able to hear the background vocals of the song, something that isn’t very noticeable on ordinary speakers.

A downside though is that the Sound X is AC powered, hence there is a bulky charger attached to it. As mentioned with the weight earlier, the speaker won’t make for a portable device. Though, a good design detail is that the wire can be disconnected for easier storage though it probably won’t make so much of an impact as the speaker can run without the cable.

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As with any new hardware Huawei has also made some proprietary features to this speaker, including the use of HiLink, Huawei’s proprietary network to connect smart home devices through the use of routers. Some products that can be connected are the Huawei Mobile WiFi (E5 series), Huawei routers, Honor Cube, and Huawei home gateways.

Like the Sonos systems, two Sound X speakers can even be paired together, to deliver a more immersive, surround sound experience. With a single tap, your Huawei smartphone can also be easily paired with this device. However, in other regions and for those who don’t own a Huawei, the Sound X unfortunately functions as an ordinary Bluetooth speaker.

The Sound X retails at S$498 in all Huawei Concept stores and online shops and like many speaker brands with proprietary technology, it’s an investment to an ecosystem which works best with Huawei’s devices. If you are not a native Huawei user, you would simply be paying a premium price for a Bluetooth speaker and not a smart speaker. Unlike Google or Amazon speakers, there is no smart concierge here either, so Huawei could consider allowing the Sound X to work with Alexa, even if working with Google is not possible, as this comparison would definitely come into play as the company launches the product overseas.

Despite the small form factor, the Huawei Sound X produces a quality auditory experience for audiophiles who want something smaller yet packs a good punch. Overall, with good sound staging, 360 audio and punchy lows, the speakers are great for people who love house parties and are willing to fork out a little more cash for them.

GEEK REVIEW SCORE

Summary

A smart speaker perfect for parties with powerful sound delivery and huge potential, that is unfortunately restricted by its software and regional requirements.

Overall
7.6/10
7.6/10
  • Aesthetics - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Build Quality - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Performance - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 7/10
    7/10
  • Geek Satisfaction - 7/10
    7/10
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