Most Bluetooth speakers are meant for listening on your own or, at most, with a few friends. What if you’re looking to throw an outdoor party, and you want to provide the soundtrack? That seems to be the exact environment that the Tribit StormBox Blast is meant for.
The StormBox Blast isn’t just a pretty face, it’s a monster of a Bluetooth speaker. From the 90 watts of power to the built-in LED light show, this portable powerhouse has all the volume and bass you need for a larger gathering. It’s even got the battery power to back it all up.
Is the StormBox Blast the perfect Bluetooth speaker for everyone, or are the lights and volume overkill?
Build and Design: Big, Bright, and Anything but Subtle
- Dimensions: 8.9 x 16 x 6.4in (226 x 406 x 162mm)
- Weight: 11.6lbs (0.45kg)
- IP rating: IPX7
The Tribit StormBox Blast is big and heavy, measuring 16 inches wide and weighing in at more than 11 pounds. Even looking at the specs before the review unit arrived, I was still surprised at how heavy the speaker felt. The built-in handle helps you carry it, but you’re not going to want to carry it everywhere with you.
There’s more than just flashy branding to the StormBox name. Tribit says the StormBox Blast is IPX7-rated water-resistant. This means you can submerge the speaker in water for up to 30 minutes, not that you should do this. It should still have you worrying less if you bring the speaker to a pool party.
As if the big, heavy speaker wasn’t already eye-catching, it also has prominent LED lighting to help it stand out even more. There are a total of 32 LEDs, with 15 on each side of the speaker and another pair lighting up the drivers in the center of the speaker.
These speakers automatically flash along with the music in two different modes. Fortunately, you can mostly turn off the lights if you’re not a fan.
Connectivity: Barebones at Best
- Bluetooth version: 5.3
- Bluetooth codec: SBC
- Bluetooth protocol: A2DP, AVRCP
While the Tribit StormBox Blast has the feel of a “more of everything” speaker, the company didn’t use this approach when it came to wireless connectivity. The speaker may have Bluetooth 5.3, but it hasn’t done much with it, using only the basic SBC codec.
Already having Bluetooth 5.3 means that it’s technically possible for Tribit to add Bluetooth LE Audio and the LC3 codec at a later date, but if the company was planning on this, it likely would have done so by now. For this price, I’d at least like to see AAC, and something like aptX or LDAC would be even better.
Fortunately, if you’re looking for a higher-fidelity connection to your playback device, you can go the wired route. On the back of the speaker, underneath the waterproof flat, there’s a 3.5mm input to let you plug in your MP3 player or another playback device.
There is no microphone, which means no speakerphone functionality, but also no smart voice assistant functionality. I’m never a big user of these features personally, but they still would have been nice to see included.
Controls and the Tribit App: Let the Light Show Begin
The controls sit right on top of the box, underneath the handle. You’ll find the power button on the far left, next to the Bluetooth pairing button. On the opposite side of the speaker, the XBass button sits on the right, with the button for switching between various lighting modes next to it.
The trio of main controls sits in the middle of the top panel. This trio consists of a multifunction button in the middle, flanked by volume buttons on either side. For anything else, you’ll need the Tribit app, which is available for iPhone as well as Android.
The app lets you update the Tribit StormBox Blast’s firmware (an update was available for the review unit I tested), factory reset the speaker, and turn the auto-hibernate feature on or off.
The real reason to use the app is for the equalizer. You get a custom EQ option, as well as some carefully chosen presets. You’ll find standard music genre presets like Jazz and Rock, but also more practical preset options like Audiobook.
Finally, whether you control the lights with the app or the onboard button, modes are limited. Mode 1 uses white lights in the center and colorful light on the sides, while mode 2 uses RGB lighting everywhere. You can also turn the auto-sync lighting off, though the sides still light up every time you adjust the volume.
Sound Quality: Volume to Keep the Party Going
- Drivers: 2x 4.2-inch woofer, 2x 1.2-inch tweeter
- Power output: 90W (2 x 30W Woofer + 2 x 15W Tweeter）
The StormBox Blast combines dual 4.2-inch woofers with a pair of 1.2-inch tweeters, using a combined 90 watts of power. If that sounds like a high wattage for a Bluetooth speaker, it’s because it is. And yes, it gets loud.
That said, this speaker has more to offer than just sheer volume. It fills a room in a way that few Bluetooth speakers do. Since this is still only 16 inches wide, it doesn’t sound especially wide, but it does sound big, with a surprising amount of bass, even before you enable the XBass feature.
To test the range of the StormBox Blast, I listened to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s “Change.” This is a song that changes quite a bit throughout its runtime, both in tempo and the overall sonic character of the music. The StormBox Blast held up admirably, shining in particular when the song kicks it up near the end.
Next up, I played the sprawling “Il Mostro Atomico” by Fu Manchu. The song starts slowly, but the StormBox Blast makes it sound colossal when the song kicks into gear. You can hear the bass player sliding a note down the neck a few times during the intro. This is rarely audible in Bluetooth speakers, even big ones, so it was nice to hear.
After a while, I switched over to Inkswel’s “House on a Hill.” The StormBox Blast handled the transition over to hip-hop beats just as well as it did the previous songs. The transients on the percussive elements popped without sounding overly loud, and the bass line has plenty of low-end depth.
I didn’t often use the XBass feature while testing, nor did I switch EQ modes. One thing I did notice is that XBass works better as a fix when you place the speaker somewhere bass response suffers. If you look at it as a tool and not a feature, it’s much more usable.
Battery and Charging: Pulling Double Duty
- Battery capacity: 3.6V*9 2200mAh
- External charging power: 5V USB-C
The Tribit StormBox offers up to 30 hours of battery life. The problem is this always varies with volume, and with just how loud the StormBox can get, it’s likely even more variable here. During my testing, I got around 25 hours, but this was after several listening sessions at a high volume.
Because the battery is so large, it takes a little longer to charge than your typical Bluetooth speaker. While many speakers charge in around two hours, the Tribit StormBox Blast takes around 4.5 hours to charge from completely empty to full. If you’re going out and about, it’d be wise to keep a portable charging option handy.
The good news is you can put that battery to work elsewhere. Pull back the waterproof flap on the back of the speaker, and you’ll find a USB-C port that you can use to charge your other devices. Obviously, this means less overall playtime, but it’s handy to have a power bank with you when you need it.
Should You Buy the Tribit StormBox Blast?
The Tribit StormBox Blast is big, loud, and surprisingly good sounding. Sure, I can complain about the lack of Bluetooth codecs, but at least with Bluetooth 5.3, this is something Tribit could theoretically address down the road, and it sounds good enough that most won’t care.
Perhaps the key decision here doesn’t have anything to do with how good the speaker is, but with whether it’s the appropriate speaker for you. For example, I tend to use Bluetooth speakers for quieter listening, often alone or with a few other people. For me, as much as I like it, the StormBox Blast would be too much.
That said, if you’re constantly wishing you had a more powerful, portable Bluetooth speaker, the StormBox Blast is absolutely among the best options you’ll find for the price.
Tribit StormBox Blaster
$200 $270 Save $70
- Incredibly loud for the size
- Powerful bass
- IPX7 water resistance is great for pool parties
- Lights add a fun element
- Handle makes carrying much easier
- Limited to the SBC Bluetooth codec
- Lights aren’t for everyone
- Not everyone needs a Bluetooth speaker with this much volume