Reviewing the Huawei AM08 Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Huawei is an electronics company best known for its Android smartphones. However, their portfolio is more diverse than that and it also includes portable Bluetooth speakers. One of their more recen t models is called the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08), a portable speaker with a very interesting design. A few weeks ago, we received one in testing and, after playing with it since, now we'd like to share with you what we've found. Read this review and we will tell you everything there is to know about the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08):
Unboxing the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08)
The Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) comes in a white cardboard box that's filled with pictures and information about the device. Although the images are doing a very good job at telling you what the speaker looks like, the text printed on the box is useful only for those of you who speak Chinese or at least this is the version that is sold in our home country: Romania .
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Inside the package, you will find the speaker wrapped in a protective foam, together with a short white USB charging cable and a quick start guide.
Now let's see a bit of technical data about this Bluetooth speaker:
Huawei says that the Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) is designed not just to be pretty, but also to offer high quality audio and a "360 ° Surround Sound". The 1.8 Watt speaker should do that, but we'll talk more on the sound quality in the next section of this review.
In order to connect to your devices, the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) uses a Bluetooth 4.0 chip that theoretically supports a 33 feet or 10 meters wireless range.
Another quality of the Bluetooth chip is the fact that it lets you connect two devices to the speaker at the same time. That is definitely useful, because you won't have to disconnect your smartphone (or any other device) from the speaker when you want to let one of your friends play music from their own smartphone.
The Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) also has a built-in microphone which means that you can use it to make handsfree calls when paired with your smartphone. In this case, the recommended distance between you and the speaker is of 23 inches or 60 cm.
Unfortunately, the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) has no 3.5mm audio jack, so you won't be able to use it with a sound cable if that's what you wanted. The device is powered by a 700mAh battery that promises an autonomy of about 4 hours on a single charge.
As you know by now, this speaker has a rather uncommon shape, but if you would circumscribe it in a geometrical form, you would get a cube of about 3.27in x 3.27in x 3.27in or 83mm x 83mm x 83mm. The circumference of the wider section is about 10.4in (26.5cm) and the total height of the unit is 3.27in (83mm). If you're curious about it, you should know that the speaker weighs around 8.7 ounces or 247 grams.
If you want more details about this Bluetooth speaker's features, check its web page, here: Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08).
Using the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08)
The Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) bears the name of Swan because its designers probably thought it looks like a real swan. However, that's not exactly what we pictured in our heads when we first saw it. In terms of looks, this Bluetooth speaker appears to be more like something born from the marriage between the Star Trek's USS Enterprise and the Star Wars Death Star.
Huawei's Bluetooth speaker is built from a thick and glossy plastic material, that looks nice but is also a fingerprint magnet. The plastic should be able to stand normal pressure, but we're pretty sure it won't help if you drop the speaker on the floor. That's not because of the plastic, it's because of the design of the speaker: the top part, where the buttons are, is "connected" to the actual speaker via a thin "swan neck" which is practically inviting you to break it. Whatever you do, we don't recommend you to carry this speaker in a pocket or in a bag.
Speaking about the top side of the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) - this is where all the control buttons are found: volume up and down, next and previous track controls, and Bluetooth pairing. They are all touch sensitive buttons and are very easy to use and find, even in the dark. The media controls are lit red and the Bluetooth button is blue, obviously.
The buttons are all nice and pretty, but they often lag and touching them doesn't always mean that the speaker also does what you tell it to. However, this is not something very irritating, as you can always choose to control the music you play directly on your smartphone or tablet.
There's also a non-touch button on the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) - the power on and off button, which you'll find on the bottom of the speaker. And close by, you'll also find the microUSB jack and its LED light which turns orange red when you're charging the speaker. Speaking of which, the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) we had in tests managed to last us for about 4 hours on a single charge, which is exactly what the manufacturer advertises. Unfortunately, 4 hours is not that much and there are other options in this price range that can last for a lot longer.
As far as the sound goes, we found the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) to be decent. It manages to offer good audio quality and a pretty high volume, but the small driver doesn't excel. If you turn the volume to the maximum and you start playing some loud music, there are going to be some distortions. In other words, if you're a heavy metal fan or maybe a dubstep fan, don't throw any parties with this Bluetooth speaker. :)
One nice graphic detail at the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08), that will surely turn heads, is the red LED light underneath the "swan neck". When turned on and connected via Bluetooth, this LED light pulses slowly. It's a nice and calming effect, but it has nothing to do with the music you're listening to, like we assumed it would. It's a cyclic light that turns bright and then dims periodically, at a predefined interval. We were expecting it to pulsate on the rhythm of the music playing, but maybe that's too much to ask from a Bluetooth speaker in its price range.
Finally, we'd like to mention that the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) is a decent choice if you intend to use it for handsfree phone conversations. The microphone is not top notch but it's good enough if you stay in the recommended range (23 inches or 60 cm): your voice won't be extremely clear, but you will be understood by the people to whom you talk to.
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Pros and cons
Here are some of good aspects about the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08):
- Good audio quality, if you're not pushing it to the max
- Innovative design, breaking the standards with its "swan" appearance
- Touch sensitive buttons
- You can connect to it two different devices, simultaneously
- Very good price
There are also some negative aspects about this Bluetooth speaker:
- At maximum volume, the sound often gets distorted
- Although interesting, its "swan neck" design makes it easy to break
- No NFC support
- No 3.5mm audio jack
- Rather short battery life
- No option to connect two speakers in a stereo setup
- Buttons are often unresponsive
The Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) is a good little speaker, with plenty of positives as well as some important negatives. It's not a Bluetooth speaker for everyone: it's not for you if you want powerful sound and an impressive volume, it's not for you if you want a highly portable speaker that you can carry without being afraid to break it, and it's definitely not a good choice if you want a Bluetooth speaker with a long battery life. But then again, the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) is a very good device if you want a Bluetooth speaker to use in your home, to play music in your kitchen or in your garage while doing stuff, without spending a lot of money. Even if the Huawei Swan Portable Bluetooth Speaker (AM08) has a very accessible price tag, this doesn't show in its design and build quality. It will look good anywhere you put it. Our recommendation for you is to buy it, if you want an affordable portable speaker, that looks great and offers good sound at normal volume levels.