- Beautiful Design that carries the Devialet's DNA in Looks
- Takes very minimal space and you dont have to worry about anything
- Technologically advanced Subwoofers co-engineered with Devialet
- SAM and Push-Push Technology works beautifully
- Setting up is relatively easy and quick
- Huge shortcoming in the Software Department
- Lacks support for better codec, let alone connectivity via Ethernet or Optical like the Phantom
- AI Assistant doesnt work and there's no control over the EQ
- Hi Res Playback isnt available through Bluetooth
- Very hard to recommend
Truth be told, the moment I heard about the Huawei Sound X and when they mentioned that they co-engineered this speaker with Devialet, a French audio company that made the infamous Phantom speaker – which I have tried personally – I was extremely excited because now audiophiles will be able to own a Devialet engineered speaker for a good price tag. I wish it was that simple, but it isn’t – while it may connect to the Bluetooth and play songs from your device, that’s just a part of the story. This speaker has a lot going on and it’s complicated. We are going to talk about that in this review.
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Look and Feel
Taking outside the box, the moment I look at the Sound X – it has a very Devialet-esque design language to go with. If you have seen their Phantom speakers, you know how minimalist the design is and that’s pretty much what you’d notice with the Sound X. It has a glossy finish on the top and a mesh bottom. It’s the kind of speaker that would fit in well in spaces where minimalism is the theme. It’s a very gorgeous speaker.
The logos on the speakers are in Grey color and it doesn’t catch too much attention – in fact, I love how they placed the NFC logo for easy pairing and the HUAWEI logo at the bottom. The co-engineered by Devialet logo is on the back in a subtle print. On both side of the speaker, you will see the bass units with these little red accents which is bespoke.
The speakers touch control and indicator are on the top and everything is a touch-based interface – from launching the Assistant, Muting, and controlling the volumes.
In terms of weight, the speaker isn’t light to begin with. It weighs in at a whopping 3.5kg – and the weight is due to the drivers that’s inside the speaker – but since there’s no other input like a 3.5mm Port to connect to the speaker via Auxiliary and its completely wireless – it’s the kind of speaker where you would connect it to an outlet and leave it be. The cable management on the speaker is quite alright with the DC IN port located at the bottom, you will notice that there’s a slot to run the cable with the speaker staying flat to your table surface. Very thoughtful design.
The specification on paper with the HUAWEI Sound X is partly magical and partly technical. For the first part, the Sound X is a part speaker and part IoT – at least that’s how it looks like and the speaker as it’s own AI Assistant baked right into it followed by a processor, Wi-Fi module and Bluetooth to connect to the internet to take complete advantage as an independent IoT product – think of it as a Google Home because that’s kind of what the Sound X is like. On to the audio part, this is where Devialet plays a role – hardware wise, that is.
- Dual Subwoofers with Devialet’s Speaker Active Matching
- Capable of hitting low bass frequency of 40Hz
- Maximum amplitude of 20mm
- 6 Full Range Speakers (Tweeters) at the Bottom
- Huawei Share and support for Hi-Res Audio
Setting up the speaker was easy as 1, 2, 3. You just have to take it outside the box, connect it to the adapter, plug it in and the speaker is alive. From here on, THEORTICALLY (seriously) speaking, it should tell you things like download the app to connect to the speaker, connect to the internet and do those kinds of step. In our case, our Sound X is a Chinese Unit – so the AI Assistant feature did not work as it required the Chinese App. So, we switched the AppGallery on our HONOR View30 and Huawei Mate 20X to China Region to download and use it, it still didn’t want to work. So, we couldn’t connect the speaker to the Wi-Fi, and we were pretty much limited to just pairing it with our phone via Bluetooth and listening to the speaker.
From a Technological Standpoint
Let us talk from a technological standpoint. SAM – short for Speaker Active Matching, does something which you can notice in person and its amazing. What it does is that it alters the sound signals in real time to give the proper experience. Even a slight change to the environment or adjustment to the speaker makes the bass unit respond in real time by lowering its frequency and intensity and when it realizes that there’s no more interruption or something in its way, it returns to the normal state. A simple test where we moved and hovered our hand around the speaker’s bass unit, we noticed that the bass frequency dropped, and the vocals were high. The moment we moved out hands away, it went back to normal. This is fascinating.
Now, the Bass unit on the Sound X works a little different than the usual which you see on other speakers – Devialet calls it the Push-Push Acoustic Design where the dual subwoofer negates the vibration and suppressing the distortion given at any volume. Think of it as cancelling off the vibration and suppressing the distortion. You can clearly notice that too. We tried some songs with the Sound X and here’s how we feel about it. We really got disappointed.
The vocals were clear, and the bass is definitely noticeable by a lot – in fact, playing songs like Revolution by Diplo, Lo Lo by Destiny Rogers showed the speaker resonates hip-hop/EDM vibe well. Other than that, generally playing EDM like music showed this speaker is quite capable in being a party like speaker. But thing is, I didn’t sign up to just enjoy EDM song but to enjoy Hi-Res – High Fidelity Music too.
I always test two of my favorite song with Hi-Fidelity speakers: Killing me Softly by Roberta Flack and Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye. Truth be told, these are not bass heavy songs, but it does little notes of it to give it a deeper feel that makes you emote and sway to the haunting vocals by these amazing singers. Coming from a bass head, the vocals is a hit and miss with this speaker, especially with the overpowering bass, the vocals tend to get suppressed – I was not happy with it. At maximum volume, the treble in the vocal can be too sharp. In Somebody That I Used to Know, his voice tends to sound too mellow at 50% volume and the rattle sounds gets lost thanks to the overpowering bass again.
So, here I am sitting in the room – wondering how to play my Hi-Res FLAC files and what codec it runs and boy, it got disappointing.
The speaker doesn’t have support for a good amount of Codec to be able to play Hi-Res Audio via Bluetooth. In fact, the speaker natively only supports SBC and AAC. Most of the time we forced the speaker to run on different codec, it outright refused to run – that said, it turns out the Hi Res support is baked within the speaker – so, in order to take advantage on that, it requires an internet connection to be able access the High Res file, download it and play from the speaker within. Thing is, it doesn’t work at all. So, you see how frustrating it can get. If you are thinking about controlling the EQ, that’s not possible either. With the only hardware flex from Devialet, the speaker has so much shortcoming in the software department from excelling further. It doesn’t even have aptX or aptX HD support – but that’s something I can understand because given their relationship with Qualcomm and the speaker uses a MediaTek Processor. But still, I am really bummed out.
I am really not going to deny this – the moment Huawei dropped the Sound X, co-engineered with Devialet, I was excited – not because it can be the alternative to Devialet Phantom because that’s impossible and that will never happen but I saw the speaker as something an audiophile under limited budget to work with could get.
Devialet’s engineering with this speaker is astounding, but it’s hard to recommend because of how restrictive the IoT part of the Speaker is – non-existent is a better way to put it. Coming in at RM 1299, all you want to do is Feng-tau through, sure it works as that but if you want the occasional pure High Res experience, this just might not be the one to go for – at least for now. If you do want a speaker to Feng-tau on, you just might enjoy UE Megaboom – trust me, you will.