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A good speaker with a big flaw

Illustration for the article titled Tribit's versatile, long-lasting new Bluetooth speaker has a strange error

Photo: Catie Keck / Gizmodo

There is a lot to like about Tribit’s new flagship Bluetooth speaker. StormBox Pro is only 7 inches high and is very portable. It also sits in the sweet spot between being big enough to have a solid sound, but also small enough that you could definitely fit it in a backpack or tote bag. But for some of the best features at $ 120, Tribit is a bit expensive for what it offers. And depending on what you need from your Bluetooth speaker, you may be better off with something else.

The thing I immediately liked StormBox Pro is its clean, minimal lines and a handle that can be tilted up for easy carrying. That makes it a decent choice for something that might look good on a bookshelf, but thanks to its durability features, it can also handle outdoor use. I think this speaker could be the right choice for the right shopper, but it depends a lot on how you plan to use it.

The good news is that the StormBox Pro has a Bluetooth range of up to 100 feet and can have up to 24 hours of battery life – though it depends on how you listen and is likely to be smaller at peak volume. With just three pounds, it’s easy, too, and Tribit said the speaker can be paired with another StormBox Pro. It is equipped with a single sub- and two medium-frequency drivers. A button on a device labeled XBass will increase the bass (of course), which I almost did while testing. Without it being enabled, the sound did not bump quite as much as I expected from many Bluetooth speakers in this category.

In terms of durability and portability, Tribit provides a pretty solid case for itself. In addition to the extended battery life, it has an IP67 waterproof rating, and based on my test, it can definitely be dropped – especially on softer surfaces like grass or indoor floors – without fear of suddenly going to bed. However, it is a bit of a minimum gain for this speaker. Similar speakers in this price category can similarly take harder handling and produce better sound.

For example, if I had to choose between this speaker and the slightly more expensive one Bom 3 (priced at $ 130 at Best buy at the time of this writing), I would without question go for Boom 3. Boom 3’s sound blows StormBox Pro out of the water across the board, especially for genres like hip hop and electronic.

Illustration for the article titled Tribit's versatile, long-lasting new Bluetooth speaker has a strange error

Photo: Catie Keck / Gizmodo

I found that StormBox Pro would sometimes give the absolutely awful popping sound in peak volumes, and that is frankly unacceptable for a speaker at this price point. You do not have this problem in intermediate volumes. But as someone who generally pushes their speakers to the extreme, this was a big issue for me during testing. You do not get the same battery life on the Boom 3, as the speaker gets up to 15 hours depending on your listening habits. The Boom 3 also lacks the handle that I actually liked on the StormBox Pro. But the boom also weighs half as much as the Tribit, so there it is.

If Boom 3 exceeds your budget and you would like to spend a little less than the price of one of these speakers, I would recommend Anchor Soundcore Flare 2 ($ 70), which gives you as good, if not better sound than StormBox Pro. This speaker has 360 degree sound, absolutely impressive bass for its price and size, has a waterproof rating of IPX7 and can be paired with more than 100 other Flare 2 speakers (just in case you are in this extreme niche situation and decide to, I guess , blow up your whole neighborhood). Plus, the speaker has amazing EQ features and light show settings on the device. But again, you are compromising on battery life, as Flare 2 only gets up to 12 hours of playing time on a single charge, which means it is trumped by both LargemBox Pro and the Boom 3.

In the end, I do not think the StormBox Pro is a bad speaker. I think it’s actually a pretty good Bluetooth solution. I just did not love the sound handling on this speaker as much as I have heard and tested on similar (or even cheaper) speakers, as was the case with Anker. But I think that if battery life and portability are important to you – I can not stress how nice it is to have the opportunity to cut this speaker on a backpack with a carabiner for e.g. Camping or hiking – and you’re typically a mid-volume listener, this could be the perfect speaker for you, even if it was not for me.

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