This stylish, compact speaker, with omnidirectional driver array, is something of a wireless wonder in performance terms, says Steve May. Usability could be slicker, though

  If the new Huawei Devialet collaboration sounds familiar, thats because it is. The Sound is a second-gen iteration of the Sound X, downsized and more affordable, and, well, it sounds remarkably similar...

  The Chinese smartphone giant’s first collaboration with the respected French audiophile outfit resulted in a surprisingly convincing wireless audio system that performed much like a thoroughbred Devialet speaker. This new iteration, which at £200 is some £100 cheaper the Sound X, lacks some of that models finesse, but it still impresses, and has enormous room presence. And with its piano-gloss finish and total lack of right angles, it also looks the part.

  Sound all around

  The lower half of the Sound's cabinet is cloth-wrapped to conceal its quartet of drivers: one 4in woofer (with associated 40W amplifier) and trio of 5W-rated tweeters. These are arranged for omnidirectional dispersion, the three tweeters evenly spaced at 120-degree angles, giving a circular spread that means you really aren’t restricted to a sweet spot.

  Confirming its Devialet heritage, the Sound employs a Push-Push configuration for two additional passive radiators, visible through distinctive opposing cutouts. These radiators are adorned with Huaweis signature red flash, for a bit of bling.

  There’s a volume control on the top of the speaker, which illuminates thanks to a proximity sensor. This colourful flourish makes the Sound look similar to a number of smart, voice-activated speakers, but in the UK it's nothing of the sort the on-body mic mute button is for the Chinese market only.

  The Sound can be paired in the traditional Bluetooth fashion out of the box (the spec is v5.0, with transmission up to 990kbps from LDAC-compatible sources). However, you’ll need the Huawei AI Life app to unlock its wider feature set.

  A word of caution here: I found the AI Life app from the Google Play store unable to find the Sound at all. I had to download the app from Huawei’s own app store, using a Huawei smartphone to get connected.

  Lost in SPACE

  There are music presets which can be selected via Huawei's app: Devialet SPACE Soundstage, Vocals and Hi-Fi. The first of these is of particular interest, as the SPACE algorithm separates the input signal into direct sound, reflected sound and ambient noise, supposedly to create a broader ambience.

  However, in practice engaging it merely seems to throw a virtual blanket over proceedings, taking the edge off higher frequencies and muffling bass. I discovered the best listening mode, by some distance, was Hi-Fi.

  The main theme from The Dark Knight, from Hans Zimmer The Classics (Amazon Music HD), exhibits familiar steely menace in Hi-Fi, but with SPACE engaged it sounds as though Batmans leather cape has been draped on top.

  A dance through of Paul Stanley’s Soul Station debut (Amazon Music HD) confirms sweet highs and that characteristic Devialet bottom end. It has weight but isn’t lumpy or ponderous. The bands cover of Smokey Robinsons Tracks of Your Tears is smooth and melodious, delivering a convincing R&B groove.

  Despite the small form factor (less than 19cm high and 15cm wide), this isn’t a desktop speaker and doesnt give its best with near-field listening. Allowing the driver array room to breathe pays dividends. Spatial imaging and clarity both improve.

  Cool and compact

  The Sound takes all that was cool about the original Sound X, and repackages it in a more inviting form factor. It may not be smart in the connected sense, but the Devialet technology in this engineering collab makes the asking price something of a bargain. A caveat is that you’ll probably need a Huawei smartphone to use the thing seamlessly. That aside, this is a fine Bluetooth solution for smaller rooms.

  HCC Verdict

  Huawei Sound, £200

  Rating: 4/5

  We say: It's neither smart nor particularly intuitive to use, but this latest Huawei Devialet release sounds huge for such a small design.


  DRIVERS: 1 x 4in woofer; 3 x tweeters



  CONNECTIONS: 3.5mm aux input

  DIMENSIONS: 187(h) x 147(w) x 147(d)mm

  WEIGHT: 2.2kg (each)

  FEATURES: Dual passive radiators (Push-Push design); Bluetooth v5.0 with NFC; LDAC; dual-band Wi-Fi; Devialet SPACE Soundstage; Hi-Fi and Vocal presets; bass adjustment; proximity sensor volume control; Devialet Speaker Active Matching (SAM) technology


Maryan Barbara
Maryan Barbara

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