The Bottom Line
The Treblab HD-Force is a small to medium-sized Bluetooth speaker with subtle lighting effects and impressive volume capabilities. While the HD-Force excels in battery performance and portability, the sound quality has some noticeable flaws which can benefit from equalization.
The HD-Force is one of Treblab’s newer portable Bluetooth speaker releases and positions itself between the HD77 and the HD-Max in terms of both size and weight. Despite sharing some similarities with the other speakers in the HD range, this speaker features a unique design that stands out from other products in their lineup. Moving away from the classic cylindrical design and taking on a slightly more angulate approach, though it still retains soft rounded edges.
A Classy & Versatile Design
The somewhat subtle design of the HD-Force makes it ideal for home use and outdoor uses. It offers an IPX6 waterproof rating and features a woven fabric exterior. The built-in carry handle assists in its portability, and at 3.2 lbs, it isn’t likely to cause any fatigue when carrying moderate distances.
Durability of Finish: 7.6/10
Feel of Buttons: 8.2/10
Much of Treblab’s HD range has been focused on portability and outdoor use; the HD-Force has a design that resembles some of the existing home smart speakers on the market. It has a rounded trapezoid shape that sees the speaker’s base being a little wider than the top, ensuring good stability. The HD-Max and HD77 could be placed upright, but only the HD-Force feels sturdy enough to withstand a fairly aggressive bump without losing its placement.
I particularly like the versatility of the design. It holds an aesthetic that can be used around the home without looking tacky while still being made with durability in mind. The majority of the speaker is covered in a woven fabric that sits fairly flush against the speaker. This fabric is tightly knitted and isn’t prone to snagging, which is often a concern with speakers intended for the outdoors. And the HD-Force is certainly intended for the outdoors as well, with a fairly robust IPX6 weatherproofing rating.
With that said, the woven fabric exterior is prone to gathering dust and dirt- especially if knocked over onto sand or soil. Once it does gather that dirt, it can be a bit challenging to remove it, so be careful to avoid direct contact with things like mud and sand.
The speaker weighs in at 3.2 lbs, which is light enough to take out camping. The built-in carry handle also improves the portability of the speaker. The weight and size will limit this speaker in terms of extended hiking but remains viable for most everyday use scenarios.
The top of the speaker features a lightly textured rubber control area where there is a power button, volume up, volume down, and play button. There is also a blue indicator light to represent the pairing status, along with three battery indicator lights. These indicator lights are extremely useful and a feature that I wish I saw on more Bluetooth speakers.
The HD-Force also has a small microphone hole just under the control area, which can be used for taking calls.
Lighting effects on Bluetooth speakers tend to be polarizing, but the RGB LED light is fairly minimal, with a 5mm area extending around the top of the speaker. This lighting isn’t sufficient to drive a party environment, but it can add a bit of flare to the speaker, especially when used in darkness. You can use the play button to toggle between lighting functions, and the lights can range from a single-color slow pulse to a vibrant and rapid movement between colors. You can also turn the lighting off if you want to tone the speaker down. There is also an option to sync the lights with your music.
Controlling The Force
The HD-Force is controlled using the four buttons at the top of the speaker. The button area is relatively easy to use but can become complex depending on the task you’re looking to perform.
The buttons require a reasonable amount of force to press and make an audible click when pressed. These buttons also offer multiple functions, depending on how you press them, and the truth is they can all be overwhelming to remember. For this reason, I’ve mapped out the buttons and their functions below:
|Power On||Press and hold the power button for 2 seconds|
|Power Off||Press and hold the power button for 3 seconds|
|Play/Pause||Single press the play/pause button|
|Volume Up||Single press the plus button|
|Volume Down||Single press the minus button|
|Next Track||Press and hold the plus button for 2 seconds|
|Previous Track||Press and hold the minus button for 2 seconds|
|Switch Between Wireless / AUX / SD||Press the power button once already turned on|
|Toggle LEDs||Double-press the play/pause button|
|Answer Phone Call||Press the play/pause button when the call is incoming|
|Reject Phone Call||Press and hold the play/pause button|
|TWS Mode||To pair with TWS, turn both HD-Force speakers on without connecting and then press the power button twice on each speaker|
|Disconnect||Press and hold the plus symbol and the minus symbol at the same time for 3 seconds when connected to a device|
|Factory Reset||Press and hold the plus symbol and the minus symbol at the same time for 3 seconds when not connected to a device|
|Hard Reset||Press the hard reset button under the rubber seal near the base of the speaker|
When I review Bluetooth speakers, the controls are often a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I would rather have multiple functions that are harder to remember initially than a complete lack of those functions altogether. The HD-Force’s controls aren’t bad by any means but be aware that it may take a little getting used to before you’re able to feel fluent in these controls.
On the lower edge of the Treblab HD-Force is a sealed charging port area where you’ll gain access to the USB-C charging port, auxiliary input, USB-A, and Micro SD card slot. When using these ports, ensure that you fit the rubberized seal back into place with careful attention to how it fits. I found that, at times, there was a gap between the edge of this seal, which can cause problems with regard to its waterproof abilities. You need to be conscious of this and ensure the fit is snug and completely sealed.
The Audio Experience
The Treblab HD-Force uses its three drivers to create a wide sound dispersion. It is capable of reaching impressive volume levels that can fill a moderate-sized room with sound. The bass has limited extension into the deep low end. The upper midrange and treble performance is exaggerated in the tuning and can cause some songs to sound too sharp, especially at louder volume levels.
Bass Performance: 6.3/10
Mid-tone Performance: 6.2/10
Treble Performance: 5.8/10
Balanced Sound: 5.2/10
The Treblab HD-Force features three primary drivers. There are two full-range 15W drivers that operate at 4 Ohms, each with a 15-core voice coil and dual-magnetic design, and then an additional 30W downward-facing subwoofer with a 20-core voice coil with an external magnet design. The two full-range drivers are located on two of the four sides of the speaker, positioned next to each other. The speaker has a total peak power output of 60W, which puts it up there with the HD-Max.
This driver configuration spreads audio quite well, and even though there is some directionality in how the audio is dispersed, the speaker still sounds relatively good from all angles.
With the inclusion of a dedicated subwoofer into the HD-Force, I was expecting a deep low-end response, but the majority of the bass presence felt as though it was occurring in the mid-bass or upper-bass, with only a moderate presence of deep low bass. The bass presentation is heavily dependent on the track and is likely related to certain peaks and dips within the bass range, more so than purely related to the production/mixing. This makes sense when you see that the speaker has a frequency response ranging from 80hz to 16kHz, showing that some of the deep low end isn’t present.
Midrange & Treble Performance
Most of the midrange performance is good, but we start to see things getting rough toward the upper end, especially if the volume is pushed up. As we move into the upper ranges of the frequency response, the HD-Force stumbles into its biggest challenge, an overly tuned upper midrange and treble that can cause some tracks to sound too sharp.
Treblab, unfortunately, doesn’t have a dedicated mobile app to make EQ adjustments, but this speaker can benefit from a third-party EQ app that will let you dial in the sound and reduce some of those upper-end peaks that may be a bit too emphasized.
It should be noted that despite the sometimes aggressive highs, I didn’t encounter issues with sibilance in the tracks that I was testing with.
Charging Type: USB-C
Estimated Playtime: 25 Hours
Playtime: 21 Hours 37 Minutes
Charging Time: 4 Hours
The HD-Force has a 10400 mAh Lithium-ion battery, offering extensive battery life and relatively quick charging. It takes close to 4 hours to fully charge the battery from an empty state; once charged, you can expect between 18 and 22 hours of battery life in most traditional use scenarios and up to 25 hours at lower listening volume. As indicated earlier, there are battery status LED buttons at the top of the speaker, which allows you to monitor how far drained your battery is and helps you maintain the best battery charging practices.
While the HD-Force resembles a home smart speaker, it doesn’t offer WiFi connectivity but comes with Bluetooth 5.0, a modern and efficient version. The connectivity of the HD Force is also impressive in terms of range. It can hold a Bluetooth connection from further distances than some of the other Bluetooth speakers I’ve recently reviewed, including the JBL GO 3 and Sony XB13.
The pairing process is both simple and reliable, and I didn’t run into any hassles in my testing.
In terms of closest competitors, the HD-Force plays in the same field as the Tribit Stormbox Pro, with the two speakers featuring similar designs, features, and pricing. We plan to directly compare these two speakers in the future to let you know which is the better buy.
For around $120 to $140, the Treblab HD-Force is a viable choice for a portable Bluetooth speaker that has enough volume to entertain a small audience and is best suited as a versatile choice for both the home and the outdoors. If you’re sensitive to higher-pitched frequencies, this may not be your best option unless you opt to use a third-party equalizer to tone them down.