Review unit on loan from Huawei
Huawei Sound Joy is a Bluetooth speaker with good-mood inducing bass, 26 hours battery life with 40W fast charging and can be paired into a stereo set. This speaker is co-engineered with French audio company Devialet.
Official retail price is SGD 188. At the time of this review, it's available on Shopee SG and Lazada SG for SGD 168. And there's a promotion where you can get two speakers for SGD 298 (make each SGD 149).
Here's the product page:
Audio quality is a 3.5 out of 5 stars for me. I don't rate Bluetooth speakers or earphones more than 4/5 so 3.5 stars is considered good. My reference is the Mark Levinson No 5909 headphones and Sennheiser IE600 earphones. The Huawei Sound Joy could use more definition with the mids and treble. The bass is really good.
The Huawei AI Life companion app is only available from the Huawei AppGallery (app store) and not from Google Play Store or Apple App Store due to the ban by USA. The app doesn't improve audio quality significantly so you're not really missing out.
One of the main selling points is the ability to pair the speakers into a stereo pair, and the process is really easy. According to Huawei, you can connect up to 100 speakers together this way.
So this speaker worth buying? Well, I happen to need a Bluetooth speaker because my Bose Soundlink Mini 2 has finally died and I ordered the Huawei Sound Joy instantly after testing the review unit for an hour. The audio quality is good enough and I do enjoy the sound. After I return the review unit, I will be buying another so that I can pair the two into a stereo set. So yes, I can
The body is made with woven fabric that looks tough and feels durable. This is a speaker designed for rugged and outdoor use. There's IP67 water resistance and Huawei claims it can "withstand just about any weather conditions you can throw at it, as well as staying protected in up to 1 metre of water." The USB-C charging port is not covered though so that may the only weakness of the water resistance design.
Weight is 680g
The speaker is available in three colours: Obsidian Black, Coral Red, nnSpruce Green.
Those are humongous volume buttons,
The buttons on the back are for
- Voice control
- Bluetooth pairing
- Stereo pairing
The buttons are on what feels like rubber or soft plastic. I hope it's not the type of material that will become sticky with humidity though because it's really humid in Singapore
The base is also made with the same material.
The top has lighting effects which will either turn or if you have the Huawei AI Life app you can set it to react to the beat of the music. The ring of light will also show you the current volume level whenever you adjust the volume.
The speaker uses Bluetooth 5.2.
You can use Windows Quick Connect for Bluetooth pairing and a pop-up box will appear when you get the speaker into pairing mode. Additionally, there's automatic pairing with selected Huawei laptops such as the HUAWEI MateBook D 16, HUAWEI MateBook 13 2021, HUAWEI MateBook 14 2021 and HUAWEI MateBook X Pro 2021.
There are two ways to pair two speakers into into a stereo set. First way is to press the Stereo Pairing button twice on both speakers. Second way is to shake both speakers. Stereo pairing is quite fast and works great.
The stereo effect sounds alright but sound stage can certainly be better. There are laptop speakers with Dolby Atmos with better soundstage. I was quite surprised the stereo effect only sounds alright.
There are two symmetrical passive radiators at the top and bottom.
Here's what Huawei says about them:
The dual 'push-push' passive radiator further enhances low-frequency sensitivity and extension, with a maximum excursion of up to 16 mm,8 providing better device stability, and ensuring your music is clean and low-noise even at high volumes."
Just behind the HUAWEI logo on the speaker is a 20W speaker that "employs specially engineered carbon-fibre diaphragm to help bass frequencies as low as 50 Hz (-10 dB) resound more fully".
And just beside that is a 10W silk-dome tweeter "tuned by Devialet for exceptional clarity even at very high volume, and offers frequencies up to 20 kHz (-10 dB)."
The weights and two rubber feet on the speaker will automatically orientate the speaker to either face forward or 45 degrees upwards.
Since the main speaker is behind the Huawei logo, if you place the speaker horizontally, the sound will come out from the side and not the centre which feels weird to me. I prefer deploy the speakers vertically where the sound comes out more naturally.
Audio quality is good. Bass sounds exceptionally good. Mids and treble could certainly use more definition and clarity. The mids and highs are not muddy or muffled, just that they don't sound high-def enough for my personal preference. These speakers are not ideal for listening to orchestra or solely instrumental pieces. Songs and vocals sound good with enough clarity.
Audio codecs are limited to just SBC and AAC.
The sound is directional and not 360. You'll get the best sound quality when you can see the Huawei logo and that little circle. Even turning the speaker slightly away from you will affect audio quality.
The ring of light is supposed to be at the top. But I found out that by placing the speaker upside down where the light is beneath, there's actually more clarity and better treble. The reason is because the main 20W speaker is now raised higher closer to your ear level.
If you have two speakers in stereo set, you can hold them out with your arms and move them into different positions or orientation to see how you can get the best audio quality.
As these are portable, they are incredibly convenient. When I'm using my laptop or desktop, I can have them by the side of display.
When I use my projector to screen movies, I can have one speaker at each corner of the room.
Volume is really loud. I'm not sure how many levels there are in the volume because I'm usually at level 2 and rarely go past level 3.
The companion app is Huawei AI Life and is available only from the Huawei AppGallery aka Huawei app store. This app is not available from Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
You can use the app to adjust volume, update firmware, change the lighting effect, schedule inactivity power off time (15 min default), switch L & R channels when using stereo, choose from preset EQ settings (Hi-Fi, Voice and Devialet mode), adjust the bass.
It is not possible to create your own customised EQ settings.
I don't find the app to be very useful as you can't really do much to improve audio quality. When I switch to preset Voice EQ settings, voice sounds pushed back.
It is possible to pair the speaker to multiple devices but not simultaneously. You can see the list of devices the speaker is paired with using the app. To switch between devices, you have to disconnect the Bluetooth connection with the first device before pairing with the second.
The speaker works fine without the app so you're not missing out if the app is not available to you.
Huawei claims 26hrs battery life with the 8800Mah battery capacity.
It's not possible for me to test the actual battery life because I'm mostly playing at level 2/3 volume. Based on extrapolation, battery life is about 40 hours. Yeah, battery life for this speaker is really good. It can go on for days as long as you don't use it 24/7.
Things I don't like
There's no 3.5mm audio jack.
Number of volume levels is too low. Increasing the volume by one step leads to a huge increase in volume.
When speaker is vertical, main speaker is at the bottom instead of top where the light is.
The start up and shut down sound cannot be turned off.
The speaker sounds good enough and I enjoy using the speaker especially with stereo pairing. Audio quality could use more high definition though. I hope Huawei can improve the audio quality with the next model if they do come out with one because there's a lot of potential yet to be realised.
Is the Huawei Sound Joy worth the money?
That's a yes for me since I've bought it and I'm going to buy another. Pricing of SGD 168 is quite reasonable.
I was actually quite close to buying the Marshall Emberton II. That speaker can be used in so called Stack mode (dual speakers) but there's no mention of whether you can get stereo. I doubt the sound quality will be significantly better than the Huawei Sound Joy since it's also a Bluetooth speaker. And even if Marshall Emberton II sounds better, it's just going to be 4/5. And the Marshall Emberton II is SGD 299. So it's $169 vs $299, or two for $298 vs $299 (Marshall). Choosing the Huawei Sound Joy is the better choice here.