Tribit StormBox Micro review: River-tested, ears-approved

Tribit StormBox Micro speakers

Tribit StormBox Micro

“The StormBox Micro is durable, sounds good, and is remarkably affordable”
  • IP67 weather resistance rating
  • Exceptional Bluetooth range
  • Good sound quality
  • Lightweight, portable design
  • Boring aesthetic
  • Battery could be better
MSRP $49.99

A series of events happened in near-perfect succession: One weekend, I rediscovered my love of river floating, a relaxing, socially distant activity that shines as one of the more enjoyable things to do on a warm summer Sunday afternoon. The key ingredient missing was good, easy-listening music. I had Bluetooth speakers, but none that I would confidently take near the water.

So, the next week, when my editor told me I’d be editing the $50 Tribit StormBox Micro portable Bluetooth speaker, I couldn’t wait to get started.

Out of the box

The packaging, much like the speaker itself, is quite small. Accordingly, the contents of said packaging are minimal; there’s the StormBox Micro, a USB-C charging cable, and a quick start guide. That’s essentially it, and honestly that’s all you really need.

StormBox Micro
Nick Woodard/Digital Trends

The setup process is almost nonexistent. Simply power the speaker on via the button on the side of the Micro, hold the Bluetooth button right next to it for two seconds, and the Micro will enter pairing mode. From there, you know the drill: Find the speaker in your device’s Bluetooth settings, make the connection, and start enjoying your music.

I put the Micro at one end of my backyard and went as far away as my property would let me, and the Micro continued to pump out tunes without a glitch.

The StormBox Micro comes with Bluetooth 5 tech, and Tribit claims it supports a 100-foot range. While I can’t confirm that exact number, I can say the range is impressive. I put the Micro at one end of my backyard and went as far away as my property would let me, and the Micro continued to pump out tunes without a glitch.

Design

Stop my if I’ve said this before, but the StormBox Micro is small. The square-shaped speaker is 3.87 by 3.87 inches around, and about 1.4 inches tall. It weighs about 10 ounces, which to put into perspective, is heavier than your standard smartphone but no bulkier than an overstuffed wallet. In other words, the dimensions of the Micro scream portability.

StormBox Micro
Nick Woodard/Digital Trends

The aesthetic of the Micro isn’t great. In fact, I’d say it’s downright boring, with a ridged mesh cover across the top and Tribit’s logo sitting squarely in the middle. That said, I’d also say the aesthetic shouldn’t matter to most people interested in this speaker. You should be more focused on its durability, and the Micro does feel like it can take a beating. And from my experience, it can. I dropped it as I was traversing a steep bankside on my way down to the river, but I was able to retrieve it, dust it off, and continue jamming out like nothing happened.

There are three controls on the top of the speaker: Volume up, volume down, and a multi-function button. The volume buttons do what you think they would, and the multi-function button can pause and skip tracks, activate your smart assistant, or navigate phone calls. Yes, you can answer, reject, and toggle between two different phone calls on this $50 Bluetooth speaker.

The Micro also has a tear-resistant strap that Tribit says you can use to attach the speaker to your bike or backpack. It’s a little small to be universally useful, but it is flexible and I looped it through a strap on my hiking backpack without issue. To be clear, I did not use the Micro while hiking. Please, don’t be the person who blasts Cardi B while hiking.

Features

For most people, this is going to be the most important part of this review. The fact of the matter is, there’s an endless number of Bluetooth speakers you can buy, many of which will provide you with pleasantly decent sound for a similar price. But when you search for something that can handle the elements and take on the constant grind of an outdoor lifestyle for hours on end, the options narrow dramatically.

StormBox Micro
Nick Woodard/Digital Trends

The StormBox Micro has an IP67 weather-resistance rating, which protects it against dust and being submerged in up to a meter of water. To test the limits of this speaker, I took the Micro out on the river with a few friends. It sat tethered to a rope on the edge of our raft, consistently taking on water as we paddled away from rocks and pointy sticks. I stopped short of dropping the Micro underwater, because I had concerns both about the buoyancy of the speaker and the depth of the river, but it got thoroughly soaked and didn’t skip a beat during our float.

You’re going to want to keep that USB-C charging cable handy for a multi-day camping trip, but the Micro has just the right amount of juice for a full day of fun.

The Micro also has a claimed eight hours of battery life, which is decent for a speaker of this size. The Micro ended up providing us constant music for two consecutive floating trips and the barbeque that ensued afterward. You’re going to want to keep that USB-C charging cable handy for a multi-day camping trip, but the Micro has just the right amount of juice for a full day of fun.

Audio quality

Look, I’m not going to tell you that the Micro is capable of things that are physically improbable for a speaker its size. If you’re looking for larger than life sound, try the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom. If you’re after more high-fidelity sound while maintaining some weather resistance, try the Marshall Emberton or even the Sonos Move.

StormBox Micro
Nick Woodard/Digital Trends

If you’re searching for a pocket-sized speaker that can play louder (and clearer) than it seems possible for something so small, then you’ve come to the right place. The Micro delivers decent bass, especially for its size, though it won’t rattle your raft. It sounds reasonably clear, and it doesn’t distort at high volumes. Speaking of high volumes, this may not be the speaker of choice for a high-octane house party. But did we bump some Beastie Boys or Zac Brown Band every time we passed onlookers on the banks of the river? You bet your Bluetooth we did.

The sweetest part of the Micro’s sound capability, to me, is its ability to pair with another Micro to create a stereo soundstage. This stereo mode — or Party Mode, as Tribit calls it — is enabled after you hold both your Micro’s Bluetooth buttons together simultaneously for five seconds. The result significantly improves the audio I mentioned above, increasing the volume and bass capabilities twofold. It’s the way music was meant to be heard, after all, and I think a setup like this would be far more ideal for a backyard hangout or a weekend camping at the lake. The only downside is that it’s just going to cost you twice as much.

To my surprise, it’s actually fairly decent for phone calls, if you find yourself needing that feature. The Micro’s microphone is not great, but I wouldn’t expect it to be anyways. In a nutshell, this isn’t a speaker meant for taking calls, but you can do it effectively if you need to. That’s more than we could say for the Marshall Emberton.

Our take

The StormBox Micro doesn’t oversell itself. It seems to know the kind of consumer it’s for, and it checks all the necessary boxes. It’s durable, it sounds good, and it’s remarkably affordable for what it offers.

Are there better alternatives?

The $100 UE Wonderboom has better battery life at 10 hours, but a worse weather resistance rating (IPX7). The same goes for the $100 JBL Flip 4, which has 12 hours of battery life and an IPX7 rating. Does more battery but less protection justify doubling the cost of the Micro? I’d say it depends entirely on what you’re using your Bluetooth speaker for. The new river bum in me would opt for better resistance against the elements.

How long will it last?

Tribit offers an 18-month replacement warranty, 30-day money-back guarantee, and lifetime support for the product. Combined with an IP67 weather-resistance rating, the StormBox Micro doesn’t seem likely to fail anytime soon.

Should you buy it?

Yes. There are Bluetooth speakers out there with better sound and improved battery, but for a $50 package that includes excellent weather resistance, good sound, and convenient portability, the StormBox Micro is an impressive value.

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