Tribit StormBox (formerly Maxboom) Review
In my experience with the TribitStormBox BTS30 Bluetooth speaker, “Outdoor” doesn’t just mean “waterproof.” So if you feel like the Tribit brand is popping up more and more in connection with Bluetooth audio technology, you’re not alone. Also, in the mini Bluetooth speaker test, the name appears several times.
The Chinese company is currently pushing with all its might into the international market and is scattering test devices like confetti. I was sent the current Tribit-Box product range; I will introduce you to a total of three devices.
This report is about the TribitStormBox Bluetooth Speakers, the trio’s most price-intensive and outdoor-friendly representative. Don’t be surprised if you see a different name. Until recently, the thing was called Maxboom. Surely Tribit noticed that the name is a bit too close to Ultimate Ears’ successful line of speakers.
Like the UE model, the outdoor speaker from Tribit also has a category-typical problem; while the functional values for outdoor use are absolutely convincing, the sound pattern is a bit asleep. Because in this case, my ears can hardly tell the difference between the StormBox and the smaller (and cheaper) TribitXSound Go determine. Also, looking closely at the data table, I’m not entirely sure where the actual boundary is between the two devices.
While the composition of the XSound Go left a well-rounded impression, this is a problem with the larger outdoor monster StormBox (for me). And that’s what this review is all about.
- Very full-fledged sound concerning the size
- Pleasant playback with good voices
- The good spatial effect, especially in stereo coupled
- Waterproof and dustproof
- Excellent price/performance ratio
- Naturally limited level
- Could play a little more lively
The TribitStormBox (formerly Maxboom) Bluetooth speaker at a glance: The wolfskin effect
With its huge function keys on the front, the Tribit speaker is suspiciously reminiscent of UE models like the ultimate Ears Wonderboom. Only then does a clear hint of JBL outdoor loudspeakers spread in the overall impression.
Aside from this obvious “quote” from two popular brands, the StormBox very clearly bemoans its outdoor suitability. I think that’s mainly due to the wavy side edges of the two laterally attached bass membranes and the overall very bulky construction.
This sets it apart from the other two Tribit models, XSound Go and MaxSound Plus. But apart from the look, there are hardly any differences between the products. You can see that especially when I enter the data for the little flatterer TribitXSoundGouse as a comparison:
- The smaller model has a longer battery life
- Both have protection class IPX7
- Both have a Bluetooth range of 20 meters outdoors
- Both have a similar frequency range
If only it were up to that, the XSoundGo, which is not designed to be so outdoorsy, would be just as much the right camping companion for you as the StormBox.
The longer battery performance of the XSound Go is mainly due to the lower performance of only two times 6 watts of power. Meanwhile, the StormBox should roar with 2 x 12 watts plus two passive bass membranes.
So, the question arises, why should I prefer the bulky StormBox speaker when the small XSound hand flatterer fits much better in my pocket and lasts longer on the go?
I think with the StormBox, Tribit is hoping for the Wolfskin effect.
Has it ever struck you that most big-city jerks on vacation beyond the city limits in their technical jackets look like they’re going to survival training? Technical jackets are expensive but suggest safety, protection, and versatility. And we all know that tourists in their destination of choice expect to be caught in the apocalypse.
The TribitStormBox (formerly Maxboom) suggests safety, protection, and versatility as obviously as the ugliest Wolfskin parka. And with that, city morons looking for a travel speaker would probably gravitate more towards the “confidence-inspiring” look of the TribitStormBox (formerly Maxboom) – although the XSound Go offers the same.
Functions and operation: Appealingly simple
At least the bulky outdoor design leaves enough room for the oversized control buttons on the front. All other functions – the power button, Bluetooth button, and the “XBass button” – have been moved to the back.
At first, I was unsure of the best way to set up the StormBox speaker. I wondered whether the touch keys should be face down – after all, almost everyone is standing Bluetooth speaker of these dimensions across.
However, the 360-degree speaker is placed upright according to Tribit specifications. This is not a stupid idea, as it makes sound propagation easier and reduces the risk of sounds from stone surfaces and being excessively swallowed.
The keys respond well; there is no risk of missing your skin with the huge front panels. Even dead drunk in the dark park.
If you want, you can pair two StormBox speakers with one sound source and get more boom and “stereo.” I have to put that in quotation marks because both boxes get the same audio signal. So the stereo effect is more of a psychological thing.
But even when I look at the operation and the comprehensive range of functions and features, there is no reason for me to reach for the TribitStormBox. The sound would, of course, be a clear argument. But you can already hear the objection in my subjunctive.
Establishing the Bluetooth connection: That’s where the power lies
In one respect, the round’s victory goes to the TribitStormBox. Although it theoretically has the same Bluetooth module as the XSound Go, the quality of the connection is much better here.
I ran my test device through the whole apartment and a small part of the stairwell and didn’t notice any jerks or dropouts. So, at least in this respect, the TribitStormBox Bluetooth speaker is an asset for large rooms, multi-story single-family houses, angled apartments, etc.
The soundcheck: is there anything else coming up?
Already in Aukey Eclipse Test, I have pointed out that my test setting for Bluetooth speaker is adjusted to match your listening habits better. In the current Tribit round, I thought about it again. And me – analogous headphone test– decided to make things even more tangible and suitable for everyday use. So, I now leave out complicated equalizer tests.
Instead, I hook up each Bluetooth speaker to my phone, dial-up Spotify, and explore the diverse listening and sound styles that my randomly generated playlist churns out.
To get a broader impression, I do the Spotify check again on the notebook and connect the loudspeaker with a high-quality audio cable instead of Bluetooth. Because without an active wireless connection, many speakers produce a fatter sound.
I’ll also see what the special sound functions bring you. In the case of the TribitStormBox, this special function is called “XBass,” – and it does very little. At least not in a way that makes sense.
This time, my playlist’s random number generator spit out “Fascination Street” by The Cure. As an ideal-typical Cure track, it delivers a fuzzy bass, a dark wave synth carpet, the slightly circular sawn guitar, the unmistakable Cure keyboard tone, and of course, Robert Smith’s voice.
All in all, it’s a great piece with plenty of listening impressions, on which every loudspeaker could prove itself. However, the StormBox speaker is at most mid-range in every respect and every connectivity:
- The voices are excellent; the rest is a holey, hollow mush.
- The bass function makes little difference. The basic tone gets thicker, but you hear more clearly what problems the box has overall.
- As soon as you turn it up louder, the clanking starts. The sound frays very quickly
- There is no spatial impression.” Small Box” Effects are unmistakable.
I compared the whole thing again with a very quiet piece from just three listening impressions (“You,” Keaton Henderson) and came to the same conclusion.
Willingness to work on the go and at home?
If the bass and overall listening experience suck in the quiet test environment of my apartment, you can imagine what’s left of it in a busy park or campground—namely, nothing. That’s why I had to deduct points for the wide range of possible uses. The TribitStormBox is functionally suitable for outdoor use when traveling. In terms of sound, you can forget about it.
The problem is smaller in your four walls, and it can be lugged around the entire house. Maybe that makes up for the mediocre sound for some.
Conclusion on the TribitStormBox: Let’s be honest!
Does it sound like TribitStormBox (formerly Maxboom) Bluetooth Speaker on paper is a really good and outdoor-friendly Bluetooth speaker with decent sound components?
The practical implementation is all the more disappointing. The outdoor functions serve their purpose, but the sound is too thin and small for outdoor use. Incidentally, also for indoor use. This is how other models fit into our Bluetooth speaker-test effortlessly further up the ranking.
The most adventurous is the low volume, coupled with trembling, clinking, and fraying as the number of decibels increases. But, honestly now, Tribit, was that intended? Does that make sense when the box is intended to be used? You get almost the same price tag with the JBL Flip 4 a more powerful outdoor solution. Or you let yourself go to Anker SoundCore 2 to inspire.
However, Tribit cannot be written off completely. If you want to give the brand a chance yourself, I will find TribitXSoundGomiles better, precisely because it doesn’t pretend to be a sound monster that deserves a higher price.