Tribit Stormbox Micro 2: two-minute review
The Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 is the latest proof that 'Tribit' and 'value' are two words that skip happily hand-in-hand down this road we call life. The Chinese audio specialist doesn't yet have the big-brand clout of heavy-hitters such as JBL, Sony, Ultimate Ears and Bose in the best Bluetooth speaker realm – and we almost don't want to shout out the virtues of Tribit's latest offering for fear that it'll join them and prices will go sky high.
But we're duty bound, so know that Tribit's Stormbox Micro 2 cheap Bluetooth speaker takes everything that was good about the original and betters it – and that little speaker was a high-level contender to begin with.
With a standard price of $60 or £60 (around AU$86), but already seeing a 10% discount on Tribit's own website, you simply can't do better for design, durability, features and sound quality in a cheap Bluetooth wireless speaker at this wallet-friendly level.
As with the original 2020 Stormbox Micro, the StormBox Micro 2 is about the size of a stack of drinks coasters, and it has a handy strap on the underside so you can lash it onto a table leg, bag strap or your bike's handlebars – we even managed to strap it onto a hire car's cup holder.
Now though, the Stormbox Micro 2 is just a little bit larger and weighs 35g more (315g rather than 280g). Like its older brother, the Micro 2 is IP67 dust- and waterproof, but its battery life is now a claimed 12 hours at moderate volumes, which is up from eight hours for the original – and remember, you'll only get five from similarly-sized options such as the JBL Go 3.
The power rating is also improved, from 9W to 10W, which means that the Stormbox Micro 2's loudness is increased. You're also getting Bluetooth 5.3, (up from Bluetooth 5.0) the chief perk here being a new Bluetooth range of 120 feet, according to Tribit. Personally, I was able to stray up to 60ft (18m) from the speaker before it lost connection to my phone – which is seriously impressive when walls and doors were involved.
Perhaps the biggest improvement is that you can use the Stormbox Micro 2's two-way USB-C port to charge out (ie. to juice up your mobile device) as well as to charge the speaker itself, although it's standard 5W charging rather than fast charging. You get a USB-C to USB-C cable in the box, although no plug, and do note that if you own an iPhone you'll need a USB-C to Lightning cable to use the feature.
You can also pair two Stormbox Micro 2 speakers together to get either 'Party' (read: mono) sound or create a stereo pair. Although it's a little disappointing to see you must have two Micro 2s to pair them up at all, so you can't daisy-chain other original Stormbox Micros as you can with JBL's PartyBoost tech or the UE WonderBoom 2 and original Wonderboom, say, it's a relatively small gripe at this level.
And the sound is now beefier, crisper, more exciting and will bring even more fun to your picnic, hike or campfire. The Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 offers features you'd never expect at this price, and it's hard to imagine anyone balking at the minimalist, refined design.
All things considered, the cheap Bluetooth speaker category has a new front-runner – and because of the Micro 2, Tribit is about to get a lot more famous.
Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 review: price and release date
- $60 / £60 (around AU$86)
- Released in Spring 2022
The Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 was unveiled in April 2022 and right now it is available in black only (the first-gen model occasionally came in a fresh and limited-edition orange colorway but this was an exception rather than a rule), and although regularly priced at $60/£60, it is already discounted by 10% when buying direct from Tribit – which means it'll cost just $54/£54.
Price cuts and Tribit are fairly common too (and we're very grateful for them) across big online retailers such as Amazon – so keep your eyes open because even at the original price, this is a supremely talented Bluetooth speaker.
Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 review: design and features
- Compact, pocketable design with built-in bike-friendly strap
- Cushion-shape means a large driver
- Up to 12 hours paytime – ie. four more than the first-gen model
Every design tweak Tribit has made here for the second-generation Stormbox Micro is both welcome and adds value – irrefutable proof that a little more can always be squeezed out of even the best-value portable wireless speaker designs.
As mentioned, it now doubles as a useful power bank (although it's a 5W charger so don't expect super-fast charging of your phone) and it's just a tad bigger and more rotund. If you think of the Tribit Stormbox Micro as a stack of drinks coasters, Tribit has simply added another coaster to the pile for the Micro 2 – and it has paid dividends when the thing is playing music.
Visually, there's a little more flair too; the plus, minus and multi-function buttons are now white so as to show up better in low-light situations, and the blue Bluetooth light on the front edge is a little wider and easier to see, although the useful five-strong LED volume indicators are still there. On the underside, the excellent rubberized and slightly stretchy strap remains, but the rubber feet are slightly more substantial.
And if you thought there were no microphones for speakerphone duties here, you'd be wrong – there's an integrated mic on the front corner, next to the power button, which works just fine as long as you stay relatively close to the speaker on calls. Start strolling up and down the room dictating an email and your caller may tell you to come closer a little closer and speak up.
It's important to note that the JBL Flip 6 has none of those speakerphone/power bank features and still costs significantly more, so Tribit is performing well before it has even relayed a note. And things don't go downhill there either – but we'll get to the sound later.
Perhaps our only gripe (and emphatically the only reason we removed half a mark) is the lack of backwards compatibility. Because the first and second-gen models look so similar (and because other firms such as JBL offer it) it would be good if you could beef up the sound by pairing old and new-gen Micros in mono – but this is not possible.
That said, for newcomers to Tribit, at this money it is well-worth buying two Micro 2s to create an affordable wireless desktop speaker setup – we watch Carrie Underwood's Ghost Story on Apple Music Sessions on our MacBook Pro and found pleasing levels of separation and minimal lag between the music video and its sonic accompaniment.
- Design and features score: 4.5/5
Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 review: sound quality
- Meaty, zealous, remarkably talented sound
- Impressive bass performance given its size
- Only starts to distort at 80% volume
Tribit has remained tight-lipped about the driver under the grille here, but whatever is going on inside the Stormbox Micro 2, we like – and it'll certainly go loud enough to fuel your picnic, barbecue, campfire or beach day with tunes, even at 60% volume.
Listening to You Should See Me in a Crown by Billie Eilish is among the toughest test for a bijou speaker's bass chops we can think of, and the Tribit doesn't disappoint. Treble elements (what sounds like the dragging of a knife over a jar) and a synth scream ahead of the low-level beat are impactful, but when the bass drops it really sinks low in the best possible way, delivering a gifted, snappy, agile performance.
Provided you don't go too loud (anything beyond 80% starts to upset the mix and bloat the bass – but that's hardly surprising given this speaker fits comfortably in your palm) you'll find yourself digging out different tracks to see what the Tribit makes of your more niche music.
We stream The Waterboys' The Whole of the Moon and cymbal crashes, backing vocals, violins and even the cannon are given ample space to shine in a cohesive and well-handled mix that has us tapping our feet happily. For this money, it's head-scratchingly good.
The Chemical Brothers' In Dust We Trust is a similar story: sounds fly in with ease and energy, but smaller musical articles which we might have expected would be lost in the mix given this speaker's dimensions are still layered here within its commendable tuning.
And seeing as it's a five-star review, of course we have to put it to the ultimate classical test, don't we? Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries features all of the three-dimensional strings and soaring trumpets we could possibly hope for at this level, all held firmly in check and with a perceptible, rumbling and exciting dynamic build.
- Sound quality score: 5/5
Tribit Strombox Micro 2 review: value
- Incredibly competitive pricing
- A recommended alternative to bigger brands
We hope we're not over-egging the pudding by saying the Stormbox Micro 2 is incredibly good for its nominal pricing – and as such is incredibly good value.
It's important to balance this glowing praise by saying it is not the best Bluetooth speaker ever – this tiny design cannot compete with the bigger JBL Charge 5 and its brethren, because aside from their relative size, these designs feature more power, a dual-driver design and a more significant asking fee.
What you need to know is that for this size and price, nothing on the market comes close, across the board – and by that we mean in terms of design, durability, feature-set and sound quality. Tribit's Stormbox Micro 2 has set a new benchmark.
It is worth noting that although Tribit does have an app (which works for the splendid Stormbox Blast and two of Tribit's earbud options), the Micro 2 doesn't get app support, so there's no scope for EQ alterations or a numerical volume indicator – but at this level, we think it would be churlish to expect such a thing.
- Value score: 5/5
Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 review: should you buy it?
|Design and features||Slightly larger than the original with a beefed up spec sheet||4.5/5|
|Sound quality||Energetic, detailed and surprisingly bass-conscious sound||5/5|
|Value||An excellent buy for this nominal outlay – nothing in this price bracket comes close for sound, design flair or feature set||5/5|
Buy it if…
You want a supremely portable speaker
Chuck it in the tiny top bit of your bag, on your belt, around your bike or even in your pocket (if you have a larger jacket or army pants) and let the music play!
You're considering buying two
This is a good idea – a talented stereo set of portable or wireless desktop stereo speakers can be yours for just $108.
You need good battery life
Unlike other bijou designs at this price-point, Tribit has somehow taken the original model's eight-hour battery and made it 12 – so it'll last a full day hiking, at the beach or by the campfire.
Don't buy it if…
You want to pair it with a first-gen. Stormbox Micro
No dice, sadly. If you want multi-room audio, you're limited to 'like' speakers, in this case, only another Stormbox Micro 2 will do – shame.
You need good app support
Tribit's app only supports certain product models – and this ain't one of 'em. While we don't miss it, if you're used to seeing all of your Bluetooth speakers on your phone, you won't get that here.
You want an aux-in for wired listening
The only port you'll get here is a USB-C two-way charger – although it does charge your phone.
Think the Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 might not be the Bluetooth speaker for you? That's cool, here are three alternatives that could offer just the design, feature-set and sound quality you're looking for.
JBL Charge 5
Still small (but more the a bottle of wine, rather than the coasters the glasses sit on) but another throw-and-go option that boasts a talented sound and power bank capabilities to charge you're phone – although you'll need to spend a little more to get it.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
It's a lovely mug-sized design, boasts an enviable sound for its proportions and you get an outdoor mode plus the option of pairing older Wonderbooms in mono, or two second-gen. models in stereo. The downside? It's a 2019 release and it sports an older micro-USB charger.
Earfun UBoom L
Another Spring 2022 launch from a little-known brand with a littler asking fee than the two options above. With a standard price of $99/£99 (which is around AU$173), we've already seen the EarFun UBoom L Speaker available for $79.99/£79.99… it's a fair bit bigger than the Tribit and we prefer the design of the Stormbox Micro 2, but of course, it's up to you…
- First reviewed: July 2022
- How we test: explore TechRadar's review guarantee