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Tribit XSound Go review: An excellent mini speaker for the money

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The Good The Tribit XSound Go is a budget-priced Bluetooth speaker that sounds good for its size and price. It's attractively designed and is waterproof.

The Bad It has trouble with complicated tracks. There's some bass, just not a lot.

The Bottom Line For an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker, the Tribit XSound Go is hard to beat.

8.2 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Sound 7
  • Value 9

What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word "Tribit?" Maybe a travel app. Or a fridge-friendly Alexa device. Or a critter from Star Trek. But probably not a portable Bluetooth speaker.

But that's just what the Tribit XSound Go is -- and a cheap one at that, going for $36 on Amazon for the black version and $40 for the blue one. It's £36 in the UK, but not yet available in Australia (the UK price converts to about AU$65).

From the pictures you see online, there isn't much to distinguish the Tribit from other generic Chinese speakers. But in person it feels sturdy enough and has an understated matte-finished exterior that seems like it should hold up well over time. It weighs in at 13.4 ounces (380 grams).

Unboxed.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The speaker is fully waterproof (IPX7 rated) and comes with a lanyard that allows you to hang the speaker from a shower head, a tree branch or anything that has a hook. It has an auxiliary input and a built-in microphone for making speakerphone calls. (Don't expect business-grade performance, but it works acceptably well.)

Battery life is rated at an impressive 24 hours at medium volume levels, so it's packing a fairly large battery that probably contributes a fair amount of weight to the overall package. The only downside is that the speaker takes around 4 hours to fully charge via Micro-USB.

Part of the Tribit XSound XS's claim to fame is that it's Wirecutter's pick for best budget Bluetooth speaker, a fact that's been shamelessly incorporated into the speaker's name on Amazon.

Does it truly merit such a distinction? Well, I haven't tested every cheap portable Bluetooth on Amazon, so I can't definitively say it's the best budget Bluetooth speaker out there. But I can say that, for the money, it's certainly one of the better ones I've tested.

It manages to play loud for its small size and more importantly, it sounds pretty natural, with decent clarity. We threw the new David Byrne album, American Utopia, and Lindi Ortega's Liberty at it and came away reasonably impressed when it actually sounded OK.

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