Cheap, Small, and Pretty Great: Our Tribit Stormbox Micro Review


Doubts are in order when we see a cheaper speaker like this one promising all the latest snazziness, so we weren’t sure what we’d get when we opened our latest box: the Tribit Stormbox Micro BTS10.

A tiny clip-on speaker that still sounds great? Absolutely.

But we’re overall delighted that we decided to give this ultra-portable speaker a listen, and in fact it has now replaced our previous cheap travel speaker recommendation. The Tribit Stormbox Micro is a truly pocket-sized speaker that nevertheless sounds far better than anything else I’ve been able to stick in my pocket. It of course doesn’t sound quite as good as some of the much larger (and way more expensive) speakers we love. But for this price point and portability, it’s nearly perfect.

Review in a Nutshell: The Tribit Stormbox Micro

Simply put, the Tribit Stormbox Micro is the best-sounding truly pocket-sized speaker we’ve heard thus far. The upsides:

  • Full, rounded, satisfying mids; we particularly loved the inviting production of vocals and horns
  • An impressive suggestion of bass for a speaker this tiny
  • Extremely portable with a convenient strap for latching anywhere
  • Highly durable with IP67 full waterproofing and dustproofing

The downers to consider:

  • There are cheaper tiny-speaker alternatives, though they don’t sound as good
  • You can get fuller sound and more potent bass if you’re willing to opt for something bigger (see the bottom of this article for both ultra-cheap or bigger alternatives)

Overall we have no qualms about recommending this clip-on wonder for losing yourself in your music or podcasts on the go.

Check price on Amazon

Update History of This Article

This article was first published on September 30, 2020.

Out of the Box, Pairing, and Features for the Tribit Stormbox Micro

This is not a complicated speaker to set up and start using; we had it running and pumping out tunes nearly instantly from opening the box.

The Tribit Stormbox Micro with its USB-A to USB-C charging cable, just out of the box

Durability and Top-Level Waterproofing / Dustproofing

The Tribit Stormbox Micro in shower surviving water spray; there’s no good reason to treat the speaker this way but it suffers no ill effects when you do

Quite a number of Bluetooth speakers on the market are now fully IPX7 waterproof, a standard meaning that the speaker can survive 30 minutes submerged under one meter of water. The Tribit Stormbox Micro takes this a step further; it is IP67 waterproof and dustproof, meaning that it can survive outdoor grime and dust.

There’s no real reason to dunk your speaker, but this is a nice stand-in for durability and also tells us that the Tribit Stormbox Micro is easy to clean under running water if it should get really filthy.

And since some of you are curious about the weirdest things, I tested. The Tribit Stormbox Micro sinks.

Bluetooth 5.0, Video Syncing, and Pairing Two Units for Stereo

As with everything else about the Tribit Stormbox Micro, it is impressively up-to-date on Bluetooth standards, using Bluetooth 5.0 (most current such speakers models are still sold with Bluetooth 4.X) . This means better, more stable connections and quality syncing with video.

The Tribit Stormbox Micro syncs well with a laptop for viewing Netflix on the go; it sounds way better than built-in laptop speakers. Pictured on the Nexstand, our choice for creating an improvised portable standing desk.

We tested with Netflix from a Chromebook and found no lag and the sound was more even and engrossing than with internal laptop speakers, plus of course it could go much louder. So the Tribit Stormbox Micro offers a nice enough on-the-go movie experience, but of course provides no where near the audio you’d want for a home system, where, if you were still going the Bluetooth speaker route, you’d want something much larger like the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom or JBL PartyBox 100 or the Bose Smart Home reviewed here.

The Stormbox Micro strapped to a bar out in the garden

We also tested the Tribit Stormbox Micro wandering around various rooms in a mid-sized house and outside as a speaker hooked to a bar while gardening while the Bluetooth source (a recent Pixel phone) was at a distance. We did not find the limit of the range (advertised at 100 feet, we never got that far); the audio and calling were both perfect in these situations. We expect, however, that most people will keep their phones on their person and the speaker relatively nearby, so this question of Bluetooth range is rather moot. But it’s nice to know that it works well over a reasonable distance if ever needed.

The Stormbox Micro can pair simultaneously to two devices and remembers up to eight devices. In my experience, it was necessary to stop one device from playing before you start the other—the switching does not happen automatically. The stable Bluetooth connection was maintained to both devices simultaneously however.

The Tribit Stormbox Micro attached to belt on Aviator travel pants

Pairing Two Stormbox Micros Simultaneously

If you buy two Tribit Stormbox Micros you can pair them for “party mode”, or doubling your sound. This is as simple as holding down the Bluetooth buttons on both units simultaneously. Press one again and you’ll get a true portable stereo mode with left and right channels. We haven’t tried doubling them up, but various other reviewers and Amazon customers mentioning this feature were extremely pleased.

To our taste, for double the price and bulk to carry, we’d instead get a single more expensive, bulkier options below for fuller bass oomph rather than go for this Tribit improvised stereo. But if stereo is important to you, there it is.

There’s a Speakerphone Feature, for Some Reason

I got an incoming call on my phone during one of my first tests of the Tribit Stormbox Micro, and, not sure what to do (I hadn’t yet reviewed the excellent instruction booklet), I pushed the square button on the front of the speaker.

The call claim through perfectly clear, and the person on the other end could also hear me with no issues. We’ve since tested the Tribit Stormbox Micro’s speakerphone feature more intentionally, and voices come through clearly on both ends. Recording my voice through the speaker’s microphone also presented no issues, even when the speaker was in another room from the phone to which it was transmitting.

Calling, however, was not quite as clear as just using the speakerphone feature on our phones themselves. The Stormbox Micro’s speakerphone feature works fine if you want to use it, but we don’t see any reason for it. The feature is steadily being abandoned by most Bluetooth speaker manufacturers.

Speaker Controls and Other Features

The Tribit Stormbox Micro side view with power and Bluetooth buttons

The Tribit Stormbox Micro’s buttons do pretty much what you would expect if you’ve used any other Bluetooth speaker in the past ten years. There is no Tribit app—but such dedicated speaker apps rarely get used in the real world anyway.

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  • Power button: Short press for on, long press for off; hold it for eight seconds to reset the speaker
  • Bluetooth button: Hold for two seconds to enter pairing mode; hold it for ten seconds for a factory reset
  • Volume up / down buttons: Change the volume a bit with a short press, or continuously with a long press
  • Multifunction button (the square button in the middle): Short press to play or pause, or answer or end a phone call, or to switch between calls; double press to skip tracks; triple press to go back; press and hold for one second to activate Siri or Google Assistant (it works well with Android, an unadvertised feature and nice surprise) and to reject a call
  • Indicator lights: These show if the speaker is on, and when powering up show the battery level. This means that to check the battery level, you need to turn the speaker on and then off again.
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Feature spec list:

  • Bluetooth version: 5.0, advertised range 100 ft. / 30.5 m.
  • Output power: 9W
  • Frequency: 70Hz-20KHz
  • Battery: 3.7V / 2600 mAh lithium battery / 8 hours
  • Charging time: 3.5 hours
  • Included cable: USB-A to USB-C
  • Dimensions: 3.85 in. / 9.8 cm square, 1.38 in. / 3.5 cm thick
  • Weight: 291 g. / 10.3 oz.

The truly geeky will note that USB-C charging is relatively new to Bluetooth speakers and this puts the Tribit Stormbox Micro in the company of only a few other such modern wonders. In practical terms it doesn’t mean much more than the fact that you can use the same charging cable for it that you would for any phone purchased in the last few years.

The eight hour battery is more than you’d need practically for any listening session that I can think of, but it’s a bit less than some of the alternatives discussed below. If you’re going to be far away from a power source you could also carry an external backup battery like these that would recharge the speaker many, many times over.

How the Tribit Stormbox Micro Sounds

The Tribit Stormbox Micro attached to a rope in a makeshift gym with elastic resistance bands

I’ve listened to a lot of small speakers, and seriously wow, the Tribit Micro is a surprise in our tiniest speaker category. Pocket-sized speakers tend to sound fuzzy and tinny, often to the point of being fatiguing to listen to.

The Tribit Stormbox Micro, on the other hand, excels in the mid-range. The horns in Paula Lima’s “Vou Deixar” sound whole and sweet, and her voice is as lush as ever. There is quite a bit of complexity and space to follow individual instruments in a complex mix.

Likewise with Rosa Passos’ brilliant paired down bossa/samba vocal candy in “É Luxo Só”—her voice rings out and is delightful as ever.

What is of course lost when listening to such a small speaker is a full sound stage and bass power. The Stormbox Micro heroically offers nods to the the bass end and the suggestion of everything low is certainly there and even satisfying. For its tiny size, it offers the best bass you’re going to get, including, according to various other audio critics, when compared to the similarly sized options from bigger-name brands like JBL and Bose.

But if you want truly good bass, you’ll have to get a bigger speaker. Songs that rely on pure bass power for their fun—I tried Missy Elliott’s “Work It”, for example—are just not as enjoyable as they are on the larger-but-still-portable alternatives mentioned below. (I was impressed however with the literal zoo of sounds on this listening. The full complexity of the song still shone out on the Stormbox Micro, which I did not expect from a small speaker.)

The Stormbox Micro gets plenty loud enough to fill a small or mid-sized room and sounds good at this extreme end, without losing composure or getting tiring. In testing, folks in other parts of the large house where I was staying came to complain—quite impressive for a tiny square box.

It’s plenty loud enough to be heard in the shower to, and while this is an undemanding environment, the lush mids should make it a satisfying choice for accompanying shower crooners.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Tribit Stormbox Micro

The great unwashed electro-plebeians have asked the following, so we might as well answer. If there are more things not covered here, drop a comment at the bottom and we’ll do our best.

Yes, for their size and price! In their low-price category, Tribit speakers like the one reviewed here are generally the best-sounding and full-featured portable Bluetooth speakers around. They are the most-recommended cheap speakers of the moment on our and even on lesser audio critics’ websites. But if you’re willing to pay a bit more, the next step up in speaker quality is generally the JBL range of speakers, followed by Ultimate Ears and perhaps the Bose Revolve and Revolve+.

The provided cable has one end (USB-C) that fits into the speaker, and the other end (USB-A) fits into any computer USB port, or USB-A out charging port—you surely already have one on some device or other that you own. We highly recommend a multi-USB-out charger like the universal travel chargers we review that works in any country, has an internal protective fuse, and charges multiple devices simultaneously. It’s great whether you’re travelling or staying put. Charging of the Tribit Stormbox Micro takes about 3.5 hours.

Yes, you can answer your phone and speak through the Tribit Stormbox Micro by simply pressing the square button in the center of the speaker. The sound with this speakerphone function is quite clear, but not as good as using your phone itself. To hang up, just press the square multifunction button again.

No. As Rilke put it, “For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.” While he didn’t explicitly say so, I take this to mean that a Bluetooth speaker will not do the trick.

I have, however, noticed that carrying a small Bluetooth speaker in your pack can make you, for a very brief moment, quite popular when things get going at a picnic, on the beach, etc., and dance music is desired. You will become the hero as the speaker is being set up and the music chosen, and then everyone will forget who brought the speaker and life goes on.

If you also know how to dance, well, then maybe you will be loved for a bit longer.

Alternatives to the Tribit Stormbox Micro

Tribit is far from the only game in town for Bluetooth speakers, and while the Stormbox Micro is the one we’d recommend at its size and price, there are plenty of other decent options, especially if you’re willing to pay more or carry more.

A truly cheap alternative is from OontZ, who tends to make decent speakers that we and other reviewers have enjoyed in the past. Less demanding listeners who simply want something louder than their phone’s internal speaker could try the OontZ Angle Solo. We’ll update with a review soon.

The current JBL Go and Clip small options are covered here; but at this time in terms of what you get for the price we don’t think they’re worth it. We’ll be updating that coverage soon however.

If you’re willing to carry a bigger and heavier cylinder, the next step up in terms of price and size from the Tribit Stormbox Micro that we’d recommend is the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 reviewed here. It goes a bit louder, and the bass gets deeper and more forward and tangible.

Moving up from that in terms of price and size, we love both the Ultimate Ears Boom 3 and Megaboom 3 reviewed here. At this size of speaker (and for much more money) you can get a lot more detail and pick out individual instruments and start to get a sense of soundstage.

And finally, if you were thinking about wearing the speaker while wandering about the house or the universe, but don’t like headphones, consider the more expensive but lovely Bose Soundwear Companion as well as some alternatives reviewed here.

Wrap-Up: Is This Bitsy Speaker for You?

At this particular combination of small price and size, this speaker is very easy for us to recommend.

Tribit Stormbox Micro
Round lush mids and surprising power from a tiny, strap-on speaker with full IP67 waterproofing

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