Speakers from high-end French audio brand Devialet sound great and look even better, but they come at a pretty steep cost, with the cheapest being S$1,890. That’s not something everybody can afford, but Huawei has launched their Sound X speaker in collaboration with Devialet for less than half of that price.

Looks-wise, you’ll be forgiven for thinking it looks pretty similar to an Apple HomePod. It does, although I think the glossy surface on the top half makes the speaker feel just a bit more premium. The glossy polycarbonate body is an absolute fingerprint magnet though, so I recommend either trying not to touch it at all, or keeping the included microfibre cloth nearby so you can wipe smudges off it.

There are two vertical cutouts on the speaker, revealing the two 3.5-inch diameter woofers that operate in a push-pull configuration. The other six tweeters are all hidden inside the cabinet, with a touch-sensitive ring on the top for volume controls, microphone mute/unmute and a Multi-Functionality button which seems to only be able to be used for Bluetooth pairing and resetting the speaker. The speaker can be quickly muted and unmuted by placing a palm over the touch control ring.

There’s also NFC functionality that allows for quick pairing with Android phones. iOS users are out of luck here, they’ll need to manually go into their settings to pair to the speaker.

Now, a bit of clarification on the microphones. There are six microphones built into the speaker, but currently, it’s unable to be used in countries other than China. This means the speaker isn’t a smart speaker, just a regular Bluetooth one.

Granted, you might be able to cast music over Wi-Fi if you install Huawei’s AI Life app and set it up, but I wasn’t able to get it to work. I tested that functionality with two different Huawei P40 Pro+ phones but found that only Huawei Music was able to be cast over Wi-Fi, and Spotify and Tidal weren’t able to find the speaker.

This isn’t a portable speaker either, with an AC adapter required to power the speaker thanks to its 65W power output rating. But truthfully, you won’t be looking to lug a 3.5kg speaker anywhere. Just leave it on your coffee table or side table.

But how does the speaker sound? Honestly? It’s got a lot of the Devialet DNA in it, and it sounds exceptional for its price. Keep in mind music still has to be played over Bluetooth, so imagine how much better it would be if Wi-Fi music cast was available for Tidal. I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed for this functionality to be worked out for us here in Singapore soon.

Bass is tight and punchy, all while retaining clarity and detail that doesn’t get distorted even at higher volumes. The soundstage is expansive and while it’s not omnidirectional, if you put the speaker near the middle of the room, you’ll have a good listening experience no matter where you’re standing or sitting in the room.

The mids are a tad bit recessed though, so you might find midrange detail a bit lacking. Treble is bright and clear, with female vocals shining. There’s definitely sparkle in the high ends but I do think there could be a bit more energy. Separation is well done, with a good sense of airiness between instruments.

Credit: Huawei

So is the Huawei Sound X worth it? Personally, I’m on the fence. This speaker sounds great for its price point, but it’s lacking a lot of functionality outside of China. People looking for a smart speaker will definitely have to give this a miss, and I admit I’ve found myself frustrated occasionally because I need to reach out and adjust the volume either through the phone or the volume controls on the speaker itself.

But if you want a great sounding speaker that looks great and won’t look too techy in your house or room, the Sound X is a great option. If Huawei is able to get the microphones working overseas and enables usage with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or other voice assistants, I can see this being a much more popular option.

Needless to say, if you own a Huawei phone and laptop, the Sound X is definitely more palatable to own since it’s all part of the Huawei ecosystem. It’s just unfortunate that the functionality has been scuppered by the fact that Huawei’s own voice assistant isn’t yet available in Singapore.

More information and purchase options for the Huawei Sound X (S$498) can be found on Huawei’s website.