The last Bluetooth speaker I reviewed for GeekDad was the Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM. It was an incredible speaker, but at 13 pounds and 14-inches tall, it was pushing the definition of portable. At just 1.4-inches tall and 9.9 ounces, the speaker I’m currently reviewing couldn’t be a sharper contrast. The Tribit StormBox Micro is the smallest portable speaker I’ve reviewed in years. With a $50 price tag, I think it’s the cheapest. But don’t let the size or price tag fool you—this is an impressive little speaker.
The StormBox Micro’s design and build are much better than I was expecting in a speaker of this price. It stands just 1.4-inches tall, with sides that measure 3.9-inches square. In other words, it’s about palm-sized.
The bottom half of my review unit was beige plastic coated in a soft-touch material. There are four mini spiked silicon feet that keep the speaker from sliding around on a flat surface. They also raise it slightly to allow air to flow out of a downward-facing grill. The top half is covered in bright orange mesh, with a logo in the center and raised volume and multi-function (pause/skip track/answer call/invoke Siri) buttons.
A power button, Bluetooth pairing button, USB-C charge port, LED battery indicator lights, and an integrated silicon strap are all on the bottom half. Note that there is no 3.5mm AUX input, connectivity is purely wireless.
It’s a nicely finished little speaker with no rough edges or exposed seams. If you don’t care for the orange, the speaker is also offered in black.
Tribit doesn’t offer a lot in the way of specs other than to say the StormBox Micro has 9w of power and has a frequency response of 70Hz-20kHz. Squinting at the grills visible beneath the cloth cover, I think I can make out a drive and what looks like a bass radiator, but that’s speculation.
If the build quality of this $50 mini speaker was a surprise, the audio performance is a bigger one. I was expecting tinny and thin. Instead, I got a totally unexpected degree of bass, an overall warm tone, plenty of energy, and considerable power. That low-end performance supports the bass radiator theory…
The audio isn’t perfect. The highs are a little on the dull side and there’s not a ton of detail, but this speaker punches far above its weight class. It can put out a lot of volume as well. In my office (about the size of an average bedroom), at 50% volume, it is very loud. Get much over that, and the limitations quickly become apparent, though, as the sound can get too boomy to be listenable. Sound is dispersed straight up, so it doesn’t travel as far as speakers with 360-degree audio or those with a traditional angled or vertical driver orientation.
I was streaming from an iPhone, and the speaker supports AAC. On the Android side, the codec is SBC, so your mileage may vary on the audio quality front.
Tribit says you can pair two StormBox Micros for “party mode,” or left/right channel stereo sound.
I should mention range. Tribit claims up to 100 feet (the speaker uses Bluetooth 5.0). In the house, I was able to make it almost to the basement before it started cutting out. That’s three floors and a lot of brick and concrete between the speaker and my iPhone. For comparison, most Bluetooth headphones cut out after I get more than one floor away.
Manufacturers tend to post optimistic battery life numbers, always qualified with the “up to” disclaimer. In this case, the claim is 8 hours of battery life. However, in testing, I was easily seeing 10 hours or more. Battery life goes down as volume goes up, and since this speaker sounds best at about 60% or lower, I was usually listening to it at anywhere from 30% to 50% levels—with the occasional blast at higher volume when a favorite track came up on my playlist.
A full charge took a bit under three hours using my iPad charger and the included USB Type-A to USB-C charge cable.
There are five pinpoint white LEDs to show battery charge remaining, and they light up when you touch any of the buttons.
The Tribit StormBox Micro not only looks like it would survive a tumble, but it also has an IP67 water- and dust-resistance rating. I used it outside and tossed it in the snow and there were no issues. If something does go wrong, the speaker is covered by an 18-month replacement warranty.
You Can Bike-Mount It!
With the snow and ice still in our backyard, I couldn’t get into the shed to access a bike. So you’ll have to make do with the photo supplied by Tribit that shows the speaker mounted to a bike’s handlebars. I can confirm the integrated silicon strap feels to have just about the right tension to secure firmly to a bike’s handlebars, and the fastener is quite secure. The volume and pause buttons on the top of the speaker would be especially useful in this configuration—assuming you have the speaker pointing up for better hearing, and not facing forward in an attempt to share those tunes with passers-by.
The strap can also be used to easily attach the speaker to other things like tree branches, fences, or umbrella poles.
Tribit StormBox Micro Recommendation
The StormBox Micro isn’t the portable speaker that I would recommend as your primary speaker (although a pair in stereo mode might be another matter). The sound it pumps out is surprisingly good, with far more bass than you might expect from something this size. However, it’s not a replacement for a good, full-sized speaker with multiple drivers and a more powerful amp. But that’s not what Tribit is going for here.
As an ultraportable speaker that can take water and the elements, slip into the pocket of a backpack, strap to the handlebars of a bike, or sit on the arm of your chair while you relax around a campfire or on the beach, it’s tough to beat. Especially at the price. At $50, it’s practically an impulse purchase.
Disclosure: Tribit provided a speaker for evaluation but had no input into this review. As an Amazon Associate, I earn affiliate fees from qualifying purchases.