The Tribit Stormbox brand has built a great reputation in a short span of time, and the lineup continues to grow yearly.
The original Tribit Stormbox is a quality bluetooth speaker that may be the best “poor man’s JBL” on the market. It also has an aux port, which isn’t true for many speakers on the market.
If you need more portability, Stormbox Micro is smaller, lighter, and can strap onto bike handles or a backpack. The sub-$50 price tag isn’t bad, either. But sound quality and battery life both leave a lot to be desired relative to the larger Stormbox and Stormbox Pro.
And if you want a device that can compete side-by-side with JBL, Bose, and Ultimate Ears, Stormbox Pro is your best bet. While it is the only Stormbox with a $100+ price tag, it also offers the most volume and the best sound quality of the bunch. And the power bank feature is a great thing to have when your cell phone starts running low on battery.
The first, most obvious difference between these devices is the size and shape.
The original Tribit Stormbox is a portable, cylindrical speaker with a design that is reminiscent of a JBL Flip or UE Boom.
The Stormbox Pro has a more squared design that feels like it should sit stationary on a desk rather than being carried by hand. The design is similar to the Bose SoundLink Revolve+. However, despite the rectangular shape, the device has a handle and is still quite portable.
The Stormbox Micro is a small, thin rectangular box that is obviously designed for on-the-go use. The shape and footprint of the device bears a strong resemblance to the Bose SoundLink Micro.
Although the devices differ in size, each is small enough to carry in a single hand, and weighs less than three pounds (the Stormbox and Micro weigh significantly less). So, it is fair to consider each iteration of the Tribit Stormbox to be a portable speaker. Additionally, each speaker has a strap to increase portability.
All 3 speakers have a built-in microphone with unspectacular quality. But, this is still better than many competitors which lack a microphone altogether.
USB-C charging is available for the Stormbox Pro and Stormbox Micro, but not the original Stormbox. This is not surprising, since the Pro and Micro are newer models. Similarly, only the original Stormbox has an aux (3.5 mm) port, while the Pro and Micro lack this input.
So, you have to decide whether you want USB-C charging (Pro & Micro) or a 3.5 mm jack (Stormbox), because you can’t have both.
One final design difference is that Stormbox Pro has a power bank feature. This means that you can charge a cell phone or other device from the Stormbox Pro’s battery, using a USB cable.
Stormbox Pro is the slight winner on sound quality, while Stormbox Micro is the clear loser.
Although total output (as measured in watts) isn’t a perfect metric for speaker power or quality, there is still some knowledge to be gained from the wattage of a particular speaker.
Stormbox Pro has a 40 watt total output, Stormbox has 24 watts, and Stormbox Micro has 9 watts. As these numbers would imply, the Stormbox Pro has better sound quality at high volumes, while the Micro distorts when the volume is anywhere close to 100%.
The original Stormbox can be used in either a vertical or horizontal orientation, and it sounds surprisingly great in either position. It is a tough product to review, since it doesn’t have obvious “competitors” in its price range. JBL Flip, UE Boom, and even Soundcore Motion+ all retail for a significantly higher price. Perhaps the closest competitor is the EarFun UBOOM [check price], which also retails in the $60-80 range.
Many users have done side-by-side testing and determined that the Stormbox outshines higher-end competitors like JBL Flip, UE Boom, and Soundcore Motion+. To my ear, this just isn’t the case.
If money isn’t a deciding factor, I would still point you toward one of the above mentioned speakers rather than a Stormbox. However, if you need to stay under $75, Tribit Stormbox is one of the best options out there. The sound quality is similar to the Flip, Boom, and Motion+, and it will be tough to find any of those devices in this price range unless you are shopping the used market.
In the sub-$50 market, portable bluetooth speakers really break down into a hodgepodge of unknown and unreliable brands. This is one reason why, even though the Stormbox Micro has the least impressive sound of the Stormbox lineup, we still generally recommend the product.
With a price tag under $50, the device doesn’t need to be perfect. But it provides more than adequate sound and comes from a brand name that ranks highly for build quality and reliability. Given the choice, I would still take a Bose SoundLink Micro over a Stormbox Micro, but a Bose will cost you at least twice as much. So, in this price range, most of the Stormbox Micro’s competitors are from questionable brands that are unlikely to last even half as long as the Stormbox Micro.
As mentioned previously, the Stormbox Pro is the clear winner for sound quality. It is the only speaker in the Stormbox lineup that truly competes with a JBL Flip or Charge. My only complaints with the audio are that it distorts more than either of the above-mentioned JBL products, and lacks the bass of the Charge and the balance of the Flip. But, it is certainly in the same ballpark as these competitors when it comes to overall sound quality.
If you want a speaker that can provide crisp and powerful sound, Stormbox Pro is the obvious choice here. If you just need a portable speaker that is an upgrade from your phone’s speakers, either the Stormbox or Micro will be great also.
Software on all Tribit Stormbox models is limited but user-friendly. For example, none of the Stormbox speakers are app-compatible, and there are no announced plans to create an app. But, the speakers are plug-and-play, and function smoother than many portable bluetooth speakers.
There is no equalizer available, so you need to use a third-party EQ.
Additionally, there is no cross-compatibility for pairing speakers. Although you can pair two identical devices (for example, pairing a Micro with another Micro), you can’t pair a Stormbox to a Stormbox Micro or Stormbox Pro.
The Tribit Stormbox, with a 2018 release date, is the oldest of these speakers. As such, it is the least impressive in terms of software and features.
It has the older Bluetooth 4.2, but the connection is still simple and reliable. However, it is not capable of true wireless stereo (TWS). Although you can pair two Stormboxes, there will be no right and left channel. In other words, you have two speakers playing the same audio. This makes for a louder and better experience, due to the separation of audio, but isn’t actually stereo sound.
Stormbox Micro was released in 2020 and features the newer Bluetooth 5.0. It is possible to buy a second speaker and connect the two for true wireless stereo sound. For audiophiles, the device is compatible with SBC but not aptX codec.
Stormbox Pro, released in 2021, is the newest of the Stormbox lineup. It also has Bluetooth 5.0. Audiophiles will appreciate that the device supports aptX decoding.
All three Stormbox speakers fall short of their advertised battery life.
Tribit Stormbox claims a battery life of “up to 20 hours.” In testing, this number is between 4 and 6 hours at maximum volume. At lower, indoor volumes, it is possible to get 10+ hours from a single charge.
Although battery capacity (size) isn’t a perfect way to gauge battery life, it is worth mentioning here. The Stormbox has a 2,600 mAh battery. Compare this to competitors like JBL Flip 5 (4,800 mAh), Soundcore Motion+ (6,700 mAh), and JBL Charge 5 (7,500 mAh), and it is easy to see why battery life falls short of the 20 hours that Tribit advertises.
Stormbox Micro also has a 2,600 mAh battery, with an advertised 8 hour playtime. In testing, this falls short.
At volumes near the maximum, the runtime falls just shy of 4 hours. This is noteworthy because the speaker is lower-powered than the Stormbox and Stormbox Pro, so it is likely that you will operate the speaker at volumes near the max. Also keep in mind that the speaker is marketed for portable and outdoor use, such as bike riding, so playing at low volumes isn’t realistic.
Stormbox Pro has the highest battery capacity. The device features dual 5,000 mAh batteries, with an advertised runtime of 24 hours. In testing, the device lasts 6-8 hours at maximum volume. At lower volumes, it is possible to get 15+ hours of use from a charge.
Because the speaker is higher-powered than the Stormbox and Micro, and because it is more frequently used indoors (due to the less portable design), it is possible to play the speaker at lower volumes, thus extending the battery life.
Importantly, the Stormbox Pro is also the only Stormbox model that features power bank capability. With this feature, you can plug in a phone or other device and charge it from the speaker’s battery. This makes the Stormbox Pro a competitor to speakers like the JBL Charge 5 and Soundcore Motion Boom, which also have a power bank.
All of the devices are comparable from a durability standpoint.
The original Stormbox has an IPX7 rating, while the newer iterations both have an IP67 rating. This means that all three devices are fairly waterproof, but only the Stormbox Pro and Stormbox Micro are rated as dust-proof. In reality, the difference between the IPX7 Stormbox and the IP67 Pro and Micro is largely irrelevant. All three versions hold up well when used around dust, dirt, or sand.
The original Stormbox has occasional reports of battery failure and an inability to turn on the device. However, this is not unusual for a bluetooth speaker with a sub-$100 price tag.
The Stormbox Pro is significantly larger and heavier, and has prominent corners. So, you can expect the Pro to be the most vulnerable to drops.
The Stormbox Micro is small and lightweight, but also seemingly has the poorest build quality. And some users dislike the strap, which isn’t perfect for every function. In our testing, the strap was surprisingly effective.
In the sub-$150 portable speaker category, Tribit seemingly has a product for every user.
The Stormbox Micro can compete with higher-end products like Bose SoundLink Micro, with a price tag that is less than half of the Bose.
The original Stormbox is a great middle-of-the-road option for someone that needs a reliable speaker from a known brand, yet doesn’t want to spend $130+ on a JBL or UE.
And the Stormbox Pro provides enough sound quality, volume, and features to rival more premium competitors like the above-mentioned JBL and UE, as well as other upstarts like the Soundcore Motion+.
Ultimately, the decision shouldn’t be too challenging. For the budget-conscious user that also needs maximum portability, choose the Stormbox Micro. For the audiophile that wants the best sound quality available from the lineup, choose the Stormbox Pro. And for anyone that wants a portable, versatile, and quality bluetooth speaker with a smaller price tag than JBL or Bose, stick with the original Stormbox.