The $50 speaker is one of the best-sounding pocket-size portable Bluetooth models we've tested.
Over the years Tribit has made some of the better budget portable Bluetooth headphones and speakers, starting with its XFree Tune and XSound Go, respectively. The latter speaker is still around and delivers surprisingly good sound for less than $30. The larger MaxSound Plus ($60) gives you more bass and volume and the StormBox ($52) is Tribit's more affordable take on such popular speakers as the UE Boom and JBL Flip 5. Now it's doing a budget version of Bose's excellent SoundLink Micro speaker. The smaller model is called the StormBox Micro and it's one of the best-sounding pocket-size speakers I've heard. It retails for around $50.
While we originally reviewed this model back in May of 2020, it's stood the test of time versus products that have come after in the category. As such, we're awarding it an Editors' Choice.
Measuring 3.87 by 3.87 by 1.37 inches (7.3 by 7.3 by 3.5 cm) and weighing 9.9 ounces (280 grams), the StormBox Micro has a slightly larger footprint than the Bose, which weighs 10.2 ounces (290 grams). The StormBox Micro is IP67 dustproof and water-resistant, which means it can take a dunk in shallow water (the Bose is IPX7, which means it hasn't been tested against dust). Its battery life is rated at up to 8 hours at moderate volume levels, versus 6 hours for the Bose. It has USB-C charging and it can also be used as a speakerphone.
Read more: Best Bluetooth speakers of 2020
Like the Bose SoundLink Micro, the Tribit StormBox Micro has an integrated rubber strap that allows you to clip the speaker to anything from a backpack to poles, tree branches, your bike's handlebars or a belt loop on your pants. With its fabric covering, the speaker doesn't seem as durable as the Bose, but it seems sturdily enough built. It should fit in most pockets as long as you aren't wearing tight jeans.
Aside from its great design, the SoundLink Micro stood out because it was able to deliver more bass than every speaker in its size class (and it also managed to have limited distortion at higher volumes). And it's the StormBox Micro's bass and overall volume level for its tiny size that allow it to stand out. For example, it's clearly superior to the JBL Clip 3, which costs around $50 but is slightly smaller.
The StormBox Micro does have its limitations and distorts slightly with certain tracks when you take it to max volume. But the point is it sounds much fuller than you'd expect from a speaker this size. You can also wirelessly pair up two of these little guys in party mode for expanded sound. Once linked in party mode -- it's an easy process -- you can then switch to stereo mode with one speaker serving as the left speaker and the other as the right.
I fired up a Spotify playlist of songs with lots of stereo separation (the old standbys are Pink Floyd's Money, the Beatles' Here Comes the Sun and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody). The speakers are basically using the same technology as true wireless earbuds, and stereo sound definitely sounds better than the mono sound you typically get from these little speakers.
There isn't much else to say about the StormBox Micro, except that it's settled in to a better price point. When we first reviewed it, it sold for around $60. But towards the end of 2020, it's listed at $50, and almost always on sale for closer to $40. That's a great price for a very good little wireless speaker.