Huawei AI Cube Review

Verdict

Alexa-powered intelligent speaker and 4G wireless router, the Huawei AI Cube appears as a versatile device that can do a lot of things while replacing your fixed broadband. Unfortunately, the experience does not match the promise. Relatively poor sound quality, a relatively high price and the lack of many features on Amazon Echo devices are very detrimental. Available on the Three network, broadband performance also varies by location.

Advantages

  • Integrated 4G modem
  • He seems smart enough
  • Has an echo type LED ring

The inconvenients

  • Limited dynamics
  • Lower than alternatives
  • 4G is less reliable (and probably much slower) than normal broadband

Key specifications

  • Price of the opinion: £ 219.99
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
  • Gigabit Ethernet Port
  • Amazon Alexa
  • CAT 6 LTE Modem
  • Micro-sim slot

What is the Huawei AI Cube?

The Huawei AI Cube is an unusual hybrid. It’s a smart speaker with Amazon Alexa, similar to an Echo, but it’s also a 4G router. You need a mobile Internet signal, just like your mobile phone, and broadcast it to your home. Up to 64 devices can connect simultaneously, making it a feasible alternative to standard home broadband; no more phone line required.

The Huawei AI Cube is full of promise, but we suggest you manage your expectations. 4G speeds always vary a lot from one place to another, and this is just a “passable” smart speaker. The sound quality is not close to that of Sonos One and Spotify support is included at the time of the review.

However, if 4G speeds are good in your home and you find a competitive data plan, the AI ​​Cube allows you to take a completely different approach to connecting your home. Southeast of London in the middle of the end of 2019? We are not convinced for the moment.

Huawei AI Cube Review 1

Huawei AI Cube – The best of 4G can be tapped, but the location is important

If you are reading this in the UK, you have probably stumbled upon the Huawei AI Cube thru three. The network provides the smart speaker as part of its 4G home Internet service.

You can use a SIM card and the Huawei AI Cube to replace traditional home broadband with Three’s more than reasonable data plans. You can currently sign up for “unlimited” data at £ 26 per month. The first six months are charged at half price.

But should you accept the offer? This is a question I asked myself recently. Virgin Media holds the monopoly of fast internet in my area, but seems to consider regular price increases as a fun hobby.

Three HomeFi is not yet a perfect solution for South East London. The speeds I see are invariably slower than traditional home broadband, by far, and less consistent.

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The fastest recording speed was 8.2 Mbps, after the use of Huawei HiLink phone application, which has a very convenient power indicator to find the signal area the most powerful of the house. The speeds tested throughout the day have sometimes fallen below 1 Mbps, tending to oscillate around 2 to 3 Mbps.

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Three also provides my phone service, so I had the opportunity to compare the results. The Huawei AI Cube tends to provide slightly higher speeds than the phone, but this is not always the case because they are quite unpredictable.

This is only proof that the speed of 4G depends on geography. I regularly live on 30/40 MB when I’m in the world, downloading podcasts to my phone. If you have an unlocked phone, try using a Three SIM card before registering for a Huawei AI Cube with a contract. You can have a much better experience – some people report speeds of 30 to 40 Mbps.

Huawei AI Cube Review 3

My apartment is in an area considered to offer 4G “indoor and outdoor” coverage. These 3G style speeds are therefore disappointing. You can try your own address on the Three website. Three claim the HomeFi offers an average of 14 Mbps.

Huawei AI Cube’s networking hardware is basic, but it’s still much better than the experience you’ll get from using your phone as an access point.

It can connect to 64 devices simultaneously and has a CAT 6 4G modem capable of downgrades of 300 Mbps and 50 Mbps. You will not be near touching that ceiling here. There is also a single Gigabit Ethernet port, which allows faster speeds than those achievable over a 4G Internet connection.

Huawei AI Cube Review 4

The Huawei AI Cube is also a slight opportunity missed as a connected device. The absence of battery means that it must be plugged in at all times. If it has its own power source, you can theoretically use it as a portable streaming music speaker that does not require your phone. just ask Alexa.

Of course, this is not the purpose of the IA Cube, especially from the point of view of Three. It’s a vehicle for Three’s broadband home. Make it portable would almost do it as well powerful.

Huawei AI Cube – He has Alexa but lacks many features

The AI ​​cube is certainly not a powerful one either. The device does not seem as polite as a loudspeaker resembling Amazon Echo. First, his version of Alexa does not support Spotify. So all you have to do is use a streaming service, which I do not know uses: Amazon Prime Music.

There are also no other common methods of wireless speakers. The Huawei AI Cube has no Bluetooth and does not appear in the Spotify app; Spotify Connect is not supported.

This loudspeaker shows how well we have it with cheap Bluetooth speakers and a seamless “multi-room” unit from Sonos, etc.

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The AI ​​cube also seems less responsive than Amazon’s Echo speakers when treated as a pure voice-controlled speaker. Alexa devices use a light ring or tone to inform you that the speaker has heard you. The Huawei AI Cube uses a ring of LED light around its top, but its output is so soft that even in a room bathed in ambient light, you will hardly see it.

And, because of the mediocre 4G performance at home, music cuts and the lack of general reaction have been commonplace in my apartment.

Since AI Cube is compatible with Alexa, it also lacks many features of the actual Amazon Echo speakers, including the ability to make calls. You can not group the AI ​​Cube cube with your smart devices, which complicates voice control because you must specify the name of the device you want to control. With groups, an Echo loudspeaker knows which smart devices surround it, which facilitates control, such as “Alexa, turn on the light.”

Huawei AI Cube – The device looks nice and should integrate into your home

The Huawei AI Cube has problems, but its appearance is perfectly nice. It measures 22 cm and is curved to fit other smart speakers. The gray fabric covers the bottom and the top has touch buttons allowing you to control the volume without using a voice command. You will also find here a physical button that disables the microphone.

Like the camera sliders on the Echo Show speakers, Huawei brings out this button – as if the buttons were more reliable than the touch pads.

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There are four pickups instead of seven used in Amazon’s Alexa units, and no connectors beyond the Ethernet jack on the back. It’s simple, compared to wireless speakers and routers. But the main goal here is to avoid a cumbersome router look – and that Huawei has succeeded.

Huawei AI Cube – Sound Quality

The Huawei AI Cube has an active driver and a pair of passive radiators. This tells you that in the first place, this speaker does not offer 360-degree sound. All higher frequency information comes from the front, although side-firing radiators help disperse the sound and give it a sense of width.

Amazon’s Echo Plus uses down-oriented amplifiers and a wave reflector to emit sound in all directions. The AI ​​Cube board is more conventional.

It would be nice if Huawei did not market this speaker as “360 degrees” – but it is. To convince at a distance of this assertion, a speaker needs active pilots producing a higher frequency sound on at least two faces. The bass emission from the sides does not really matter.

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The passive radiators used here, however, are important. They assure that the Huawei AI Cube has a semblance of bass, avoiding a too spicy sound.

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Compare it to the best smart speakers in its class and the Huawei AI Cube is not very powerful. The Sonos One decimates it on all audio fronts. His bass is much deeper, his mediums are more detailed and better projected, the dynamics are in the league; the magnitude of the sound is barely comparable.

The Huawei AI Cube does not offer the sound corresponding to its stature. The limited dynamics make it flat, the midrange is basic and the bass does not have the punch or the depth to give a particularly lively sound to the music.

Comparing Sonos with Huawei is not quite right. The Sonos One sells for the same price, but does not have a 4G modem. But comparisons with cheaper speakers reveal the same problems.

I’ve listened to the Huawei AI Cube alongside Bluetooth Ultimate Ears Boom 3 and Jam Heavy Metal, as well as the Alexa speaker from Echo Show 5. The two cheaper Bluetooth speakers still present a much more appealing sound , with deeper bass, larger midrange and better scale. Fortunately, he beats the Amazon Echo Show 5 at £ 79.99 in some respects. The high-mids are slightly better detailed, which makes the sound of the AI ​​Cube more refined. But the Show 5 strives to offer “fun” bass and is not so late on the issues of sound quality.

For context, Amazon Echo Show 5 is cheaper than the Huawei AI Cube and has a screen.

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Should I buy the Huawei AI Cube?

Do not buy the Huawei AI Cube as it expects it to replace both your hi-fi system and your router. Its smart speaker side looks like, but it’s finally a disappointment. Spotify has not received support yet and the sound quality is mediocre for the price.

Combine the AI ​​Cube with one of the unlimited data plans of Three and it becomes even more interesting if you have a decent connection to the Three network at home. My experience was mediocre, the AI ​​Cube being far too slow to replace my broadband. However, if you have a great home signal and you already have no love for traditional broadband providers, it might be worth it. There is a 14 day return policy. You should not find yourself immediately stuck in a 12 month contract if your connection turns out as bad as mine.

Huawei AI Cube Review
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Verdict Alexa-powered intelligent speaker and 4G wireless router, the Huawei AI Cube appears as a versatile device that can do a lot of things while replac

Editor's Rating:
2.5
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