STEREO GUIDE verdict
+ full-bodied sound given its size
+ lively, balanced reproduction
+ very good app, useful EQ
+ Water- and dustproof
- SPL is limited
- losing clarity when played close to the max
Sound: Tonal balance / Transparency6.6
Sound: Bass / Dynamics5.2
Price / Performance10
Ease-of-use / Connectivity8.8
The Tribit Stormbox Micro 2´s predecessor we already reviewed. It was a pretty strong buy among Bluetooth speakers flat enough to slip into any handbag. And it earned a reputation of basically the only flat micro speaker producing some kind of plausible bass. The up-and-coming brand launched a second generation for just a few bucks more.
Not much has changed in terms of hardware either. Given the overall convincing impression the gen 1 has made, that ain´t no mistake. They promise an increased battery life of 12 hours (instead of 8), an additional possibility to charge your smartphone, and slightly increased power from the amplifier.
What seems to be more surprising: A dedicated Tribit app for iOS and Android is available adding plenty of cool features to the Stormbox Micro 2! It is still dust-resistant and waterproof according to IP67 standard (read more about ingress protection classification), which means it is a decent choice for the beach and swimming pool. Likewise, there was simply nothing that demanded improvement in terms of handling and enclosure.
If you tend to spontaneous purchases: it is not quite easy to distinguish Gen 1 from Gen 2 just looking at a picture. The Gen2´s more contrasty, white rubber keys on the front are the clearest indication. On the predecessor Gen1, they were coloured in the same tone as the grille.
Improved battery life
The specsheet promises up to 12 hours of runtime – that would make the Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 a class leading product. Specifications are also telling about a tiny disadvantage compared to Gen 1: Gen 2 got a bit heavier, from 257 to 315 grams, and grew by a few millimetres.
Playback is exclusively wireless, accepting the latest standard Bluetooth 5.3. Once paired with your smartphone, you might also answer phone calls. Or use voice assistant technology such as Siri by Apple or the Google Assistant by holding the white circular button. The USB-C port is in addition to a charger offering some juice to your phone.
Read the manual
The white circle on the grille bears another important function, but you have to know its secrets: Double-click it and the track will skip. If you can’t get the timing right, it pauses.
From transducer perspective, the manufacturer relies on a small full-range driver under the fabric grille plus two passive compound drivers. The latter are positioned in opposite direction, one up and one down, effectively amplifying the bass without inducing unwanted resonance onto the cabinet. Thus, the quite light Tribit can also placed on a table without causing rattling. 10 Watts instead of previously 9 is not an improvement hi-fi nerds might want to boast about, but we found it to be worth mentioning.
No frills, but with app
If you want to cover a larger area or need more SPL, you can easily pair two Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 to form a stereo arrangement. However, you cannot form a mixed pair using a Gen1 and a Gen 2 model as they are incompatible with each other.
The controls are reduced, but much easier to recognize in the Gen 2. At least this is true to volume and pause/play. The on/off switch and Bluetooth pairing are hidden on the side. Besides you find the quite useful battery indicator with several LEDs.
A lot of app for tiny budget
The free app offers some features that you would rather expect from more expensive speakers. First and foremost, a full-fledged 5-band equalizer. Its bands are not equally distributed in frequency such as you might know it from graphic EQs. But they pretty much meet the bands you might want to adjust. So you can choose for the bass being either as deep as possible or offering maximum of kick. On the other side, one might find it useful to boost the brilliant frequencies in case the speaker is placed on the floor and firing upwards instead of directly facing the listeners.
This is how the Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 (Generation 2022) sounds like
Considering its compact size and reasonable price, especially the bass response of the Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 was even a touch more remarkable than the one of its predecessor. In contrast to many other tiny speakers, one might even be inclined to call it real bass. The lower end of the spectrum somehow reminded us of the Bose Soundlink Micro being twice as expensive.
A lot of super tiny mobile speaker show a tendency of replacing beats by just a serious of ´plop´ sounds. Admittedly, the Stormbox Micro 2 does not have a proper differentiation when it comes to complex grooves. But it reaches surprisingly low and offers a decent amount of punch. And that is clearly beyond the performance of Gen 1.
How-to use an EQ lesson 1
After playing around we had to admit that the Tribit app is achieving things even JBL with its standard 3-band-EQ is not managing to offer. The choice of frequency bands is too imprecise within the latter to provide a decent bass boost so it remains to be some kind of placebo. Unlike the Tribit´s 5-band EQ with its virtual sliders. The lowest band you would only notice at low volumes at best.
That’s clear when looking at what is behind any tiny speaker relying heavily on EQing. After all, a digital signal processor is needed to prevent the tiny driver from overloading. Which means some kind of dynamic high-cut filter coming into action the moment you turn the volume up.
A preset called “Music”
However, if you activate the ´Music´ preset, the bass becomes noticeably richer and more impulsive when reproducing electronic beats or acoustic drums. For those who want to see the EQ curve behind that: it is again not the 50 Hz band but an immense boost of +10 decibels at 60 Hz. And this really works. Its sounds like a much larger Bluetooth speaker. Its bass seems rich and has a juicier punch. Okay, it is not getting as loud, but it is there.
When it comes to bass reproduction, we are used to disappointments. Thus, the Tribit Stormbox Micro really passed the test, taking its price tag and size into consideration. Besides from that, we found the sonic performance to be decent keeping in mind that already the predecessor offered a solid performance.
Some might find the Stormbox Micro 2´s performance to be a bit more dynamic and transparent. We would not go so far to compare it with the more expensive new Marshall Willen which is slightly brighter. In return, it also lacks any tendency to a slightly metallic and rough treble. The Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 is by nature not a loud speaker but offers decent dynamic reserves. However, the bass gets significantly slimmer when being played loud. You might even find the overall impression to have an aggressive touch when turning up the volume too much.
Nevertheless, given the size and its price tag, we found the result to be stunning. We really enjoyed listening to pop and electronic beats.
Conclusion and alternatives
When it comes to the best value for money in class, the Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 has just one competitor: its predecessor, the Gen 1. The latter currently cheaper in stores and would not give such a significant disappointment in terms of sound quality. But for those who appreciate the app for sound-tuning or the improved battery life: Get the Gen 2, it is really worth it!
Specifications Tribit Stormbox Micro 2
- Retail Price: 60 dollars/pounds/euros
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 10 x 4.3 x 10 cm
- Weight: 315 g
- Battery life up to 12 hours
- Special features: IP67 waterproof, stereo pairing with identical models, rubber band for flexible mounting.
- More at: www.tribit.com
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