Size: 14.4 x 4.1 x 3.1 inches
Weight: 11.6 pounds
Water resistant: Yes (IPX7 rated)
Battery life: 30 hours
Bluetooth: Version 5.3 (>50 feet range)
Right in time for this summer’s 1980s nostalgia trend, the Tribit StormBox Blast is a boombox-style portable Bluetooth speaker that’s ready to brighten up your next party. While it's retro style harks back to the cassette boombox era, the StormBox Blast updates the design with flashing LEDs, support for the latest Bluetooth wireless connectivity tech, and plenty of battery life. You can rock your Top Gun aviator sunglasses and Stranger Things playlist all day and night with the StormBox Blast.
While it costs about $200, the StormBox Blast is not nearly as expensive as some extra-large portable Bluetooth speakers like UE's Hyperboom and JBL's Boombox 3, and, as our StormBox Blast review shows, it sounds nearly as good.
Tribit StormBox Blast review: Price and availability
Tribit StormBox Blast review: Design
- Fun, hefty boombox shape
- LEDs pulse with music
The StormBox Blast takes an old idea for large portable music devices and updates it for the 21st Century: put a handle on it. The 14.4 x 4.1 x 3.1-inch, 11.7-pound speaker weighs too much to be really portable, but the thick handle on top at least makes it easier to lug around. Even at that size, it’s more portable than the 14.3 x 7.5 x 7.5-inch, 13-pound UE Hyperboom.
The speaker is encased in black plastic and has metal grills on the front and back. Along the sides of the front, multicolor LED lights pulse in time to the beat, as well as white lights behind two drivers.
There are a couple of light options to choose from — rainbow or solid color — and you can turn off the lights (mostly). While the lights are a fun addition, photosensitive people should avoid this speaker — even when you turn off the light show, the LEDs still flash when you change the volume or start playing a track.
The StormBox Blast has an IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning it can be submerged in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes, so you can take it to the pool without fear of frying its electronics if it gets dunked.
Tribit StormBox Blast review: Set up and controls
- Large, responsive control buttons
- App offers additional EQ options
The StormBox Blast features large buttons across the top for controlling it, and they were responsive. In addition to the usual power and volume buttons, a multifunction button can play or pause a track, as well as skip or rewind. You can also control the lights and there is a dedicated Bluetooth pairing button.
Tribit offers a free app — though you wouldn’t know it from the user guide or website. The app lets you choose sound modes or create custom EQ settings and update the firmware. You can also boost the bass by pushing the XBass button on the speaker, and you can link two StormBox Blasts together for an even bigger sound.
Tribit StormBox Blast review: Sound quality
- Big sound that goes loud
- Impressive bass
- Treble can sound too bright on some tracks
The StormBox Blast produces a big, bassy sound that fills the space you’re in. In most cases, I didn’t even need to engage the extra bass for satisfying low end. While the sound is not as well-balanced as you get from the UE Hyperboom, the StormBox Blast is still impressive.
The bass line in Jon Batiste’s “Freedom” rumbled nicely below his vocals, which were clear and prominent in the mix. However, the horns sounded a bit bright and thin. On Harry Style’s “As It Was,” the bass thumped and his voice sounded full — but the keys weren’t as easy to make out as when played on the Hyperboom. The ultra-distorted guitars on Jack White’s “Taking Me Back” had a satisfying crunch, though they were a bit bright. The treble issue was most apparent on acoustic music — the fingerpicked guitars on Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again” were, again, too bright and lacked depth.
The StormBox Blast can get seriously loud. With 90 watts of power behind it driving the two mid/bass woofers and twin treble speakers, its output sound pressure measured 100 decibels at max volume. At that level the treble was even harsher — it sounded best around 85 decibels, which is still plenty loud enough to be heard above the splashes at the pool.
Tribit StormBox Blast review: Connectivity
- Real-world Bluetooth range reached 50 feet
- Bluetooth version 5.3
On first start-up, the StormBox Blast goes into Bluetooth pairing mode and it quickly paired with my phone. If you need to pair it with another device, you can hold down the Bluetooth button on the top of the speaker. You can connect two phones to the speaker at the same time (though, obviously, only one can play audio at a time).
The StormBox Blast supports Bluetooth version 5.3, the latest standard. That helped it maintain a strong connection to my phone, even 50 feet away indoors with walls between my phone and the speaker.
In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, there's a 3.5mm socket for wired connections. There’s no Wi-Fi support.
Tribit StormBox Blast review: Battery life
- Up to 30 hours of playback
- Can charge other portable devices
Tribit says the StormBox Blast can play for 30 hours on a full charge (though the manual says 20 hours). By comparison, the UE Hyperboom states a 24-hour battery life.
In testing, the StormBox Blast went for more than 20 hours without any indication that the battery was getting low. One issue is trying to determine how much battery the Blast has left; the power button will flash when it gets low, but until then you can’t tell how much charge is remaining.
The StormBox Blast has a handy extra feature: it can charge other portable devices through its USB-C port. If you’re playing music off your phone all day, that extra boost could help you make it into the night. Of course, any charge you send to a portable device will decrease the playtime of the speaker.
The StormBox Blast recharges through a power cord, not USB, so keep track of the power cord that comes supplied in the box.
Tribit StormBox Blast review: Verdict
If you’re looking for a big speaker that can withstand the elements, the Tribit StormBox Blast has a lot going for it. It fills whatever space you are in with bassy sound and vocals sound clear. It can play all day without needing a recharge, and it’s waterproof so you don’t have to worry about it falling into the pool or getting rained on for a while. And it puts on a light show if you want some visuals to go with your audio.
Perhaps best of all, it costs a lot less than the competition. While the sound quality isn’t as good as the UE Hyperboom, that may not matter when you are outside and enjoying the company of friends. Plus you can invest the money you saved into more food and beverages for entertaining.