HUAWEI grew into becoming, as a brand, synonymous with “high quality” and “premium”. I was glad to witness this over the past decade and be part of the company growing into a benchmark. First they did it with photography, and now, in the more recent years, they’re doing it with audio.
We’ve experienced the HUAWEI Sound last year, and, despite having amazing sound, one of the entries on our “cons” list was the fact that the speaker needs to be connected to a power source the entire time. Sure, its target demographic is not on the move, but still...
Either the company listened to complaints or someone on the team had the exact same thoughts, because they recently announced a kick-ass speaker for those on the move. Just like previous Sound-generation speakers, the new Sound Joy is also a fruit of the Devialet collaboration, and, without giving everything away (but I probably will), I’ll say this: I have never been so impressed by an audio product in a long time.
Weighing 680 grams, the Sound Joy is 202mm tall, with a circumference of 73mm. We have both available colors: Obsidian Black, and Spruce Green. The reason for this is not just to simply show the options off, but for something much cooler, described down in the Experience segment later in this review.
Due to its IP67 certification – yes, you can immerse it in one meter of water for 30 minutes – the hardware buttons are rubberized. The outside is wrapped in a rubbery textile mesh which is really awesome to the touch, and, thanks to its stand on the bottom and rubber pads on its side, you can either use it in vertical or horizontal orientation.
The top and bottom (or left and right, depending on how you use it) feature two rubber passive radiators (which are really bouncy at higher volumes thanks to the awesome bass response). The one at the top is surrounded by an LED ring which either cycles through colors during playback or indicates volume levels, charging status, or firmware update progress.
The two huge volume control + and - buttons are also rubberized, and their size is for pure convenience. The rest of the rubberized buttons are for operation control, namely Power, Voice, Play/Pause, Bluetooth, and Stereo.
The back also has a lanyard attachment hole above the buttons where the strap goes, which is included out of the box so you can easily carry it or hang it somewhere.
In terms of output, the Sound Joy features one 20W (50 mm x 75 mm) racetrack-shaped full-frequency speaker, one 10W (19 mm) tweeter, as well as two passive radiators (as mentioned above).
There are also three microphones and, depending on the G-sensor readouts, the Sound Joy switches between the two horizontal and one vertical mics.
Connectivity is limited to Bluetooth 5.2, but you can take advantage of NFC, and everything is powered by a hefty 8,800mAh battery you can charge via 5V/2A, 9V/2A, and 10V/4A charging standards. Charger is not included though (cable is), but any charger you own will do, though the faster the better.
When you combine Bluetooth with speakers and microphones, you can of course expect to be able to take phone calls on the speaker, which, the Sound Joy is capable of.
My first surprise moment was when I plugged the Sound Joy in for a charge after unboxing. This automatically triggered the speaker to turn on, and its turn on welcome/greeting sound (not coincidentally) is heavy on the bass. “Wow” was all I could say once I heard it pop on.
While you can pair the Sound Joy and use it with any device via Bluetooth, from your iPhone to your Mac/PC and even Apple TV, you get the best experience if you hook it up to a HUAWEI or HONOR phone, because of the AI Life app.
That’s where you have access to equalizer presets and firmware updates. While I left the EQ on its default setting (I didn’t really like the sound of the other options), I did manage to update the firmware via the app. If, for whatever reason, you need to boost the bass (or reduce it), you can do so between -6db and 6db from within the app. If you can live without these tools, you can safely jam to the tunes from any device.
You know what’s better than the Sound Joy? Two Sound Joy speakers. Whether you have two, like we do for the purpose of this review, or one of your friends brings one over, you can pair the two by simply shaking them (or using the Stereo button on the back). Given you agree on the genre and artists to listen to, both speakers will act as one Stereo speaker, complete with the advantages of stereo effects and double the sound. That’s really cool!
I’ve got one on each side of my computer and I simply love this setup!
Since I’ve mentioned it above, the firmware update experience is seamless and streamlined. The AI Life app alerts you of the update. You tap the button and the Sound Joy enters its update mode, flashes the alert on the LED ring, which then turns into a progress bar. When all is done, the speaker restarts and you’re good to go.
When in single mode, the two speakers will show up independently on the AI Life app. When stereo paired though, the app will show both of them as a Stereo unit.
“How the heck does so much sound come out of such a small enclosure?” This was legit the bulk of the first impressions I’ve got from people I introduced to the Sound Joy. Of course, this was my first question too, but I just waved it off like I knew something they didn’t, and I just said “HUAWEI and Devialet”, followed by a wink. 😉
According to specs on paper, the frequency response of the system is from 50Hz lows to 20KHz highs. That is from the combined 30W output from the 20W full range speaker and the 10W tweeter.
The Sound Joy is not only loud, really loud for its size, but the sound is very pleasant. It’s not lacking in any department, the lows are deep and clear, with no distortion at higher levels, and the highs are crystal clear.
The full range speaker doesn’t sacrifice on the mid-range frequencies either. Mids are clearly discernable, just like lows and highs, so the Sound Joy will play nicely with any genre you choose to listen to.
Now, if you take all that and multiply it by two, thanks to its capability to stereo-link up with another Sound Joy, you instantly double the sound and the fun. For a decent sized room, one Sound Joy is enough to bother neighbors in the apartment building, but once you have both of them rocking to the same tunes, you can fill up a large room with quality sound (and double the amount of neighbors annoyed).
Availability is limited, so check with your local HUAWEI branch and online stores. Where available, its price ranges from €139 in France to €149 in Germany, and the equivalent of €125 in Romania. Some countries in Latin America also have.
You get a lot of sound, quality sound, for the price, and with a battery life impossible to deplete in one day (the Sound Joy is rated for 26 hours of continuous playback), you can safely take it with you on your next hike, pool party, barbecue, or even to the court if you want to shoot some hoops.
...and yes, you're not seeing a Pros and Cons segment, as you usually do in our reviews, because the Sound Joy is one of the few, if not the only product that I reviewed, where there are no Cons, and everything's on the Pro list, which kind of defeats the purpose of the entire Pros and Cons segment of our review.