The Bottom Line
I’m always impressed when a new, more affordable brand can compete with the big boys. I feel the Tribit StormBox has certainly managed this feat. The StormBox offers much of the same features as its premium counterparts, like the JBL Flip, with similar quality and execution.
Is it a JBL Flip 4? Is it an Ultimate Ears Boom 3? No, it’s the Tribit StormBox Bluetooth Speaker. Tribit is relatively new to the market, but the company is already competing with some of the more prominent brands in the consumer electronics space. The Tribit StormBox Bluetooth Speaker is a portable Bluetooth Speaker designed to rival JBL, Sony, and Ultimate Ears. Does Tribit achieve this? Let’s take a closer look and see.
Tribit StormBox Specs
|Speaker drivers:||2 x 1¾” full-range drivers, 2 x passive bass radiator|
|Bluetooth:||V4.2, 66ft range|
|Battery:||20 hours playing time (4-hour recharge from flat)|
Design & Features
On the first inspection, the Tribit StormBox looks identical to the JBL Flip 4, with a touch of the UE Boom 3. The shape and rear control panel look similar to the JBL Flip 4, while the large control panel on the front of the Tribit StormBox resembles a similar layout to that of the UE Boom 3.
Like the Flip 4, a rubberized mesh covers the StormBox. This mesh cover offers both protection while giving the speaker a premium look and feel. The StormBox is IPX7 rated, which protects against submersion to a depth of 1m for 30 minutes. Great for use around the pool or in the shower.
Where the Tribit StormBox has the edge over the Flip 4 is its ability to float in water. The Flip 4 sinks! If you have ever used a speaker at the pool or lake, you’ll know accidents happen. If you’re in a particularly deep body of water, you can say goodbye to your Flip 4 while the StormBox will bob to the surface, still playing music.
Enjoy 20 Hours of Battery Life
Another feature where the StormBox has an edge is in battery life. The StormBox features a 20-hour battery life which is 8 hours better than the JBL Flip 4. Now, it’s important to note that this will only be achieved using the AUX input at 40% volume and not Bluetooth. If you play the StormBox and Flip 4 on 50% volume using Bluetooth, you get similar battery life results.
The StormBox allows you to pair a second Tribit StormBox to double your sound. Here is where the Flip 4 has an edge allowing you to connect multiple Bluetooth speakers using JBL Connect +. The UE Boom 3 can also connect multiple Boom 3 speakers. The likelihood users will pair two, let alone several compact speakers, is low enough that I don’t see this as a feature with much significance.
The StormBox features a built-in microphone that allows you to make calls and voice commands. The speaker works with Siri, Google, and Alexa. It is important to note you will need to pair with an Alexa device for Alexa voice commands. We’ll discuss call quality later in this review.
Inputs and Controls
The Tribit StormBox offers Bluetooth and 1/8-inch AUX for audio inputs. The speaker features Bluetooth 4.2 with a range of up to 66ft. More than enough for a speaker this size. The connectivity is stable and should hold out even when you go into a different room.
Like the Flip 4, the AUX and power inputs are located behind a watertight cover offering protection against moisture and debris.
There are two button layouts on the StormBox. Starting on the front panel, you have a volume up and down control with a multi-function button in the center.
The multi-function button allows you to play/pause, manage incoming calls and activate voice commands.
On the rear of the StormBox, is the second set of buttons. Here you’ll find power on/off, Bluetooth pairing, and the XBASS button. XBASS engages a bass boost feature which we cover below.
Speakers and Sound
The StormBox features two 13/4-inch full-range speaker drivers with two passive bass radiators. Each speaker delivers 12W giving the Tribit StormBox a 24W power output. The JBL Flip 4 only has a power output of 16W, so the StormBox has an edge here.
When it comes to bass, the StormBox is on par with the Flip 4 and Boom 3. While the Boom 3 does have a more prominent bass sound, the difference is marginal. One thing the StormBox does well is bass consistency. Whether you listen to the speaker loud or soft, the bass sound remains constant. Often cheaper speakers will lose some punch in bass response at lower volumes, so it’s good to see the StormBox manages this element well.
As mentioned, the StormBox features XBASS with a button to activate the bass boost. When engaged, I didn’t feel the speaker produced significantly more bass. The increase in bass was very slight and a little underwhelming. Still, at least it didn’t make the speaker sound bad, I guess.
The midrange clarity of the StormBox is also on par with the Flip 4 and Boom 3. The treble sound is also very similar to a standard Bluetooth speaker this size.
The only place where the sound quality is an issue is with hands-free calling. Not many manufacturers get this right for ultra-compact Bluetooth speakers, so it’s not like Tribit is alone here. The Flip 4 sounds equally bad in terms of call sound quality. Voices seem distant, and the incoming caller often complains of echo or feedback.
Overall, the sound quality of the StormBox is excellent. The speaker doesn’t sound better than the Flip 4 or Boom 3 but rather matches quality and performance. The StormBox is, however, only slightly louder.
What’s in the Box?
- 1 x Tribit StormBox
- 1 x Micro USB charging cable
Tribit StormBox Conclusion
I’m always impressed when a new, more affordable brand can compete with the big boys. I feel the Tribit StormBox has certainly managed this feat. The StormBox offers much of the same features as its premium counterparts with similar quality and execution. Most other Tribit products are significantly cheaper than its premium competitors. The StormBox costs in the vicinity of $60. Substantially less than the JBL Flip 4 or the new Flip 5. With features so closely matched, it’s hard to say which I would choose!