• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

The Huawei AI Cube is a mobile broadband device for the home that doubles as a smart speaker with Amazon Alexa built-in. So it’s a jack of all trades, but is it a master of any or are you better off buying separate products for these two features?

This review aims to answer that question, as well as looking at the price, design, performance and features of the Huawei AI Cube. So read on to find out if this is the 4G router, speaker and smart home controller for you.

Design

The Huawei AI Cube’s name is somewhat misleading, as it doesn’t look like any cube we’ve ever seen. It’s more of a cylinder, with a speaker on the bottom half and a plain white plastic finish above, along with a ring of lights on the top, similar to Amazon’s Echo devices.

The design is fairly plain and generally reminiscent of other smart speakers. Indeed, it has far more visually in common with a smart speaker than a typical mobile broadband device. And while the design is plain, that helps ensure it will fit seamlessly into most home décor, which is important, because this is designed to replace home broadband.

Huawei AI Cube Rear Connections

The AI Cube has an ethernet port and power supply on the bottom, and volume keys and a button to mute the microphone on the top – of course, when not muted the device will mostly be controlled by voice, more on which below.

Setup

Setup of the Huawei AI Cube is similar to most other mobile broadband devices, in that it’s virtually just plug and play once you’ve stuck a SIM card in it. 

That means there’s no need to get an engineer out so you don’t need to wait for it to be installed, you can get it up and running yourself within minutes of receiving it. You will of course be able and want to change the Wi-Fi password and the like once the AI Cube is broadcasting a network, but that’s simple too as all the details you need to login to the WiFi network and the web panel are on the sticker on the bottom of the device.

Where things become a bit more involved than a typical mobile broadband device is in its smart speaker functionality, as you’ll need to get the Alexa app for one of your mobile devices, create or log into an Amazon account and link the Huawei AI Cube, but none of this is too tricky, it’s just a few extra steps that are required in order to get full functionality.

Performance

The Huawei AI Cube supports LTE Cat 6, meaning that it’s theoretically capable of 4G download speeds of up to 300Mbps. That’s more than you’ll get in practice, but does mean you should be able to get the most out of your 4G network, with speeds likely to exceed Cat 4 devices such as the Huawei E5573bs-322 4G Mobile Wi-Fi and the Huawei HomeFi.

The Huawei AI Cube can also theoretically manage upload speeds of 50Mbps over 4G. Again, actual speeds are likely to be lower, but still higher than most of the competition.

That’s good news, because some home broadband can be faster than 4G, so for a 4G alternative to compete it needs to be able to make full use of 4G speeds.

On a related note, the Huawei AI Cube can get up to 64 devices online at once, which should be far more than most people will need and is at least double what most mobile broadband devices allow.

And it’s not limited just to 4G, as using the ethernet port you can also use the Huawei AI Cube as a Wi-Fi router, with support for 802.11ac, capable of broadcasting on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and with speeds theoretically up to 1,200Mbps over LAN.

Features

The main feature of the Huawei AI Cube beyond providing 4G home broadband, is its smart speaker credentials.

With Alexa built-in plus four far-field microphones, so it can hear you clearly, you can use your voice to turn smart lights on and off, adjust smart thermostats and control other smart home devices. You can also ask for weather and travel information, ask Alexa to play music and ask it to look up information.

Huawei AI Cube Speaker

That makes it the potential heart of any smart home and a very versatile device. And it’s a speaker that you’ll likely want to listen to music through, as it includes a 400ml sound cavity and an aluminium diaphragm.

This allows for high quality audio, including strong but not overwhelming bass. Huawei’s Histen tech is also used, adding virtual bass, adaptive gain control, a linear phase equalizer and more. This isn’t going to compete with a high-end speaker, but the sound is better than you might expect for a device of this size.

On an unrelated note one thing to be aware of is that this doesn’t have a battery, so this isn’t ideal as a portable MiFi device. As it’s plug and play you can use it anywhere with power, but this won’t work for getting you online in the car or on a train.

Software

The router can be controlled via a web panel which you can login to using the credentials on the sticker on the bottom of the device. It offers all the features you would expect, including the option to change WiFi settings and channels along with advanced features such as VPNs, NAT, Mac filtering and more. You can also monitor data usage and users connected to the network.

Similar functionality is available through the Huawei HiLink and SmartHome applications, although they lack some of the advanced features of the web panel. While, the Amazon Alexa elements are controlled through the Alexa app which is easy to use and improving all the time.

Alternatives

Fibre Broadband is a one of the main alternatives delivering potentially higher speeds and lower latency, but they require a landline and setup by an engineer whereas with the Huawei AI Cube you can setup instantly, don't need a landline and can take the device anywhere with a network signal and mains supply.

There are also a couple of alternative products on Three. The HomeFi B311 has slightly lower specs with only 2.4GHz WiFi and lower maximum speeds, but has the option to add an external SMA aerial which can boost range significantly. The Huawei E5573bs-322 mobile wifi dongle also has lower speeds and single band WiFi, but is a portable device that you can charge and take anywhere.

 

Huawei AI Cube

Huawei AI Cube

Huawei HomeFi B311

HomeFi

Huawei E5573bs-322

Huawei Mobile WiFi

Maximum Speeds Up to 300Mbps Up to 150Mbps Up to 150Mbps
Maximum Connected devices 64 32 10
WiFi 

Dual Band 802.11ac

(2.4GHz and 5GHz)

Single Band 802.11b/g/n 

(2.4 GHz)

Single Band 802.11b/g/n

2.4GHz/5 GHz

Ethernet Ports 1 1 0
Power Mains Power Mains Power Battery
  - Full Review Full Review

Price

The Huawei AI Cube is available from Three but currently you can only get it on one plan, which keeps things simple. That plan includes unlimited data – which isn’t something any other UK network currently offers with mobile broadband devices.

You’ll pay £25 per month on a 24-month contract with no upfront cost for that. That makes it more expensive than other mobile broadband devices from Three, such as the Huawei HomeFi and Huawei E5573bs-322 4G Mobile Wi-Fi at £22 a month, but then the Huawei AI Cube can do more.

It’s worth noting also that the price still makes it far cheaper than many typical home broadband plans, especially as they often require a landline, which this doesn’t.

Conclusion

The Huawei AI Cube is a seriously impressive device, managing to both match most smart speakers and better most mobile broadband devices.

It’s faster than HomeFi while packed with all the same sort of tech as an Amazon Echo. So if you want both 4G home broadband and a smart speaker then going all in one with this is a great option – you’ll save money and space.

Even if you only really want one or the other it’s definitely worth considering, especially if it’s the broadband side that appeals. It’s pricier than some, but more than justifies the cost.

Best Huawei AI Cube B900 deals

phone
Huawei AI Cube B900
Unlimited data Data Only Mobile Broadband Plan. 24 month contract.
£25.00 a month
View Deal
Mobile Broadband Plan. 24 month contract. Worldwide Roaming Tethering Go Binge Wuntu
phone
Huawei AI Cube B900
24GB data Data Only Broadband Pay As You Go Plan. 0 month contract.
£0.00 a month
View Deal
Broadband Pay As You Go Plan. 0 month contract. Worldwide Roaming Tethering Go Binge Wuntu
phone
Huawei AI Cube B900
12GB data Data Only Broadband Pay As You Go Plan. 0 month contract.
£0.00 a month
View Deal
Broadband Pay As You Go Plan. 0 month contract. Worldwide Roaming Tethering Go Binge Wuntu

Specifications

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm): 146.8 x 68.7
  • Weight (g): 900
  • Modem: 4G
  • Colours: White
  • 4G specs: Cat 6, up to 300Mbps
  • Wi-Fi specs: 802.11ac, up to 1,200Mbps
  • Power: Mains powered
  • Launch date: Out now
  • Price: £25 per month on contract

Featured Mobile Deal

phone deal
SIM Only
8GB Data Unlimited Minutes Unlimited Texts
£10.00 a month
See Deal
Advanced SIM Only Plan. 12 month contract

Latest Phones

x

EPIC SIM DEAL UNLIMITED data £20 a month See Deal