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This $80 portable speaker delivers glorious sound for any style of music

The Tribit StormBox Flow offers promising audio playback at a relatively affordable price, with on-device controls that make it a must-have when on the go.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
The Tribit StormBox Flow Bluetooth speaker.
Jack Wallen/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Tribit StormBox Flow is available now on Amazon for $79.99.
  • This Bluetooth speaker can fill a room with great sound, sync with a second StormBox Flow, and last you until the final party stragglers leave.
  • The custom EQ is limited to five bands, but it's useful enough for tuning frequency levels.

I've tested and owned so many Bluetooth speakers over the years that it's hard to remember which have been my favorites. However, the measure of a good speaker for me begins and ends with sound. And I've heard some pretty good Bluetooth speakers over the years. I wouldn't label any of them as audiophile-grade, but that's not the point of a Bluetooth speaker. 

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These devices should make it possible to enjoy music, podcasts, or whatever you need to hear on the go, with ease, and at levels that can be appreciated by a single person or even a small gathering. I've used Bluetooth speakers for working in the yard, teaching classes, and on occasions when I'm away from my turntable and headphones won't cut it.

So when Tribit reached out for me to test its StormBox Flow, I was more than happy to accommodate. When I received the device, I thought it looked cute, but guessed it wouldn't be capable of producing the sound I prefer. To some degree, I was right. The StormBox Flow has a bit too much midrange for my liking. But at $79 on Amazon, you can't expect high-end sound to spill from such a small device. In fact, for its price, it's a fantastic little speaker.

View at Amazon

After giving the StormBox Flow plenty of opportunity to impress me, I came away with a different opinion. While the sound isn't rich, spatial, and smooth, it can fill a room or a yard. And thanks to the Tribit app, you can customize the sound with a 5-band EQ (although a 10-band equalizer would have been much better).

The specs

  • 30 hours of battery life (reduced to 24 with Xbass on)
  • 62 mm driver
  • 3 different EQ settings (standard, audiobook, and extended bass) can be customized via the Tribit app
  • Sync with a second Stormbox Flow for "party mode"
  • Bluetooth 5.3 with a 100ft range
  • USB Type C charge
  • IP67 waterproof rating
  • Adjustable lanyard
  • Weight - 1.47 lbs
  • Dimensions - 8.77 x 4.52 x 2.32 inches
  • Input voltage - 3.7 Volts
  • Speaker maximum output power - 25 Watts
  • Charge time - 4 hours for a full charge

My experience

I put the Tribit StormBox Flow through my usual playlist and here's my take on each song:

  • Analog Kid by Rush - It was hard to get rid of the midrange feel, but the bass kept up with the master (Geddy Lee) without getting muddy.
  • And Dream of Sheep by Kate Bush - How can you not adore this song? It felt alive and present from start to finish.
  • Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber - This heartbreaking classic did sound a bit mushed together on the StormBox Flow, but the audio was passable once I tweaked the EQ. This is my all-time favorite piece of classical music so I can be a bit judgy.
  • Halcyon And On And On by Orbital - One of my top five all-time favorite songs (thank you to the movie Hackers for introducing me to it) sounded vibrant and exciting with just the right amount of kick.
  • Kingdom by Devin Townsend - This song is hard on speakers and I've heard very few that can keep up with the punishing bass drum. Overall, the StormBox Flow did okay but struggled with so much bass. However, the speaker did handle Townsend's voice quite well.

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For a sub-$80 speaker, the StormBox Flow is more than passable in the sound department. The thing I appreciated about this speaker was the controls. From the speaker, you can pause, skip ahead, and go back one song. You can even hold the interactive button (the lighted circle, see picture below) for two seconds and then use voice commands. 

The Tribit StormBox Flow Bluetooth speaker.

The controls for the StormBox Flow live on top of the device.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

I did get into trouble when I tried to get the speaker to play a particular song via voice command. I activated voice command and instructed the StormBox to play Kashmir by Led Zeppelin. Instead of playing from Spotify, Google Assistant (also known as Gemini) searched for the song and the StormBox recited the results. However, that errant result is on Google and Android rather than Tribit.

ZDNET's buying advice

There are so many Bluetooth speakers on the market and each device offers a different take on features and sound. As for where the Tribit StormBox Flow fits, it's a welcome entry in the midrange level, with plenty of sound, a customizable (but limited) EQ, easily accessible controls, and an impressive battery life. 

If you're looking for an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker that can play your tunes longer than the battery in your phone might last, the StormBox Flow is a great option. Don't expect audiophile sound and you won't be disappointed.

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