Published on December 19th, 2018 | by Sunit Nandi2
Tribit XBoom Bluetooth Wireless Speaker Review: Premium 360º Speaker Without the Premium Price
Wireless speakers have changed the way we experience and enjoy music. When they were first introduced, people were amazed as to how one could deploy them across the room or stage without requiring messy wiring. But the drawback during those times were that audio transmitters and receivers were pre-paired to each other when they were sold, and were not interoperable with other units. The arrival of Bluetooth changed all that. It made wireless audio streaming a lot easier. Bluetooth speakers could be paired with any transmitter: a computer, a phone, an audio CD player, and more. Over time, advancements to Bluetooth improved audio quality with new codecs like AAC and aptX. Moreover, as electronics became cheaper, more affordable and smaller, Bluetooth speakers also saw the trend. Now portable Bluetooth speakers are a very popular product. They are mostly used for listening to music on the go, during camping or in a party. There are even waterproof versions today that let you enjoy your jam while playing watersports.
When we talk about flagship portable Bluetooth speakers, the brands that immediately come into our mind are BOSE, JBL, Sony, Boat, Pioneer and Creative. And that too for a good reason. For a long time, these brands have delivered products with predictable audio quality. But today, we will shift our focus to a newcomer in this segment: Tribit. Tribit is currently one of the fastest growing audio products brand in North America. They have recently launched their newest product named the Tribit XBoom, which is a 360º Bluetooth speaker. And right now, we have an XBoom unit with us in the house which we have been using for over 2 weeks. We will be presenting our review of it today.
About the product
- 360° Immersive Sound: Feel the music like never before with the Tribit Bluetooth Speaker. This portable speaker pumps out crisp treble, detailed mids, and resonating bass from wall to wall. It’s an auditory experience that’s truly unparalleled.
- Innovative XBass Technology: Are you a fan of booming bass? We are too. Our exclusive XBass technology generates bass that’ll fill the room and send shivers down your spine. Just press the XBass button to kick things up a notch.
- Completely Waterproof: Pool parties, a day at the beach, and even submersion – This Bluetooth Speaker can handle it all. Advanced IPX7 waterproofing keeps the music flowing rain or shine, and can withstand up to 30 minutes in water 3 feet deep.
- Incredible 20h Playtime: It keeps going, and going, and going. A top-of-the-line 5200 mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery boasts an unbeatable 20 hours of continuous playtime.
- Music on the Move: Bring your music with you wherever you go. The compact design is perfect to toss into a purse or backpack, and the convenient silicone strap allows for easy, effortless carrying.
- Wireless Daisy Chain: Enjoy the same song with Wireless Party Chain. You can wirelessly connect two Tribit 360° Sound Waterproof Bluetooth speakers together to enjoy amplified sound.
- Instant & Stable Connectivity: Advanced Bluetooth 4.2 technology provides a completely wireless connection with more than 66ft range. Connect up to smartphones or tablets to the speaker and play impressive stereo sound.
Now that we have a fair idea of the device in question, let us grab the packaging and unbox it.
The Tribit XBoom Bluetooth speaker comes in a rectangular box with classy illustrations. The top of the box has an illustration of the speaker.
One side of the box has highlights of the speaker, while the other side has support information.
The bottom of the box lists the specifications and regulatory information.
Opening the box up, we are greeted with an ad of becoming a ‘Super User’.
Opening the flap up, we see the speaker wrapped up in a polyethylene bag.
We will come back to the speaker in a moment. So we take it out and keep it aside.
Inside the box is one warranty card, one UNICEF donation information and the user manual, which we have opened up for you to see.
In the inner flap of the box there is something wrapped up in a plastic.
We take it out, and upon opening up the wrap, we get a USB-A to micro-USB cable.
Now that we have unboxed everything, let’s go back to the speaker.
The speaker has a suave grill design across its entire body. In the front side, there are three big buttons, a ‘+’, a ‘-‘ and a ‘O’. The ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons work as volume up and down buttons respectively. And the ‘O’ button works like a multi-function button. We will discuss more about the usage in the next section.
The back side of the speaker has 3 buttons: a power button, a Bluetooth pairing button and an X-BASS button. Also there is a flap with 3.5mm AUX input and a DC 5V micro-USB charging port.
The top and bottom of the speakers has two passive radiators each. The cosmetics are on point: they are covered with a fiber-glass shell and look absolutely gorgeous. The top side also has a silicone strap which you can use to hang the speaker on a hook.
The speaker is ready to use. Let’s move on to the next section.
Using the speaker is very straightforward. First, you need to press the power button on the back. The button will glow blue, which indicates that it has powered up.
To pair the device, first we need to press the Bluetooth button at the back of the speaker. Then open Bluetooth settings your phone or PC and select the ‘Tribit XBoom’ and presto!, the speaker is paired to your computing device.
Now you can play any song of your choice. Pressing the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ keys increase and decrease the playback volume respectively. Pressing the ‘O’ multi-function button when an incoming call comes accepts the call. Pressing ‘O’ during a call drops the call. Pressing ‘O’ when your smartphone or tablet is idle starts the voice assistant like Siri on iOS and Google Assistant on Android.
To unpair the speaker from your device and pair with a new one, just press the Bluetooth button on the back again. Then from the other device, search for ‘Tribit XBoom’ in Bluetooth settings and then tap connect. Now your speaker is paired with the new device.
That’s pretty much it. Now let us move on to the most exciting part of this review, i.e., our experience using it.
We took out the Tribit XBoom out of the box, put it into charge for 3 hours until full and then ran tests. In this section, we will discuss our experience in detail with the Tribit XBoom.
Compatibility is one of the major issues plaguing Bluetooth speakers, headphones and most commonly in car audio systems. Many of my friends would often complain that Bluetooth devices of different manufacturers sometimes do not work.
Fortunately, the Tribit XBoom places no such restrictions. The speaker worked with all the devices I tested. Android? iOS? Windows? macOS? Works great! GNU/Linux? Works flawlessly without any change in settings. If you are a Linux user, go ahead and buy this without any hesitation.
Audio playback is stable for hours on end. There are no distortions and no stuttering in sound. The Tribit XBoom can also double up as a speakerphone for phone and Skype calls.
The Tribit XBoom manages to stay connected to the device it is paired to for up to 20m (or 66ft) as advertised. This translates to roughly about 2 rooms away from the audio source. Beyond 20 meters, the audio dies out and the speaker goes silent abruptly. Other Bluetooth speakers I have used so far would notice a gradual degradation of sound quality as it gets farther and farther away from the paired device before going quiet. The Tribit XBoom surprisingly maintains a consistent audio quality till the end of its wireless range. A big thumbs up to Tribit for achieving this feat!
Here’s a video we have shot demonstrating the wireless range of the Tribit XBoom and its audio quality throughout the range.
The battery on the Tribit XBoom is massive. And by massive, I mean it practically feels like eternity compared to other portable Bluetooth speakers. It has been playing at moderate volume for 21 hours now and there is still some juice left. So, out of the box, it has higher playback time than the rated value. Equivalent portable speakers like the JBL Flip 4 and the BOSE SoundLink Mini II have a paltry 12 hour play time compared to the Tribit XBoom. The JBL Charge 3 is the only speaker I know that can match the Tribit XBoom in playback time, but is 1.5x the price of the XBoom. The XBoom beats all in-class Bluetooth speakers by a huge margin in this segment.
We have not tried playing for a long time on maximum volume because we do not want to disturb people working nearby. If you are to go with what the reviews on the Internet say, the XBoom has a 7-8 hour continuous playback time at maximum volume.
Portable Bluetooth speakers have a decent audio quality these days, thanks to new codecs like aptX and AAC and better speaker construction. But where does it stand when compared to speakers from mainstream brands? Let’s find out.
The treble has exceptional clarity. Hisses, shrieks, whistles and bells come across to you as they would in real life. They resonate as they should and there is no added post-processing, tweaking or boosting on the treble. Overall, the treble is balanced and not overpowering.
The mids are also untouched and flat. However, there is a bias on stringed instruments over the human vocal frequency as if it was optimized for instrumentals. Other speakers I know of have a bias to vocals. I am not saying that vocals are subdued. Its just that instruments sound a tad bit stronger on this speaker. The sound also seems to have a cool and smooth undertone to it. Coming to clarity, the mids are crystal clear.
The high- and mid-bass, which includes instruments like the bass guitar and percussion instruments have a solid punch with a warm undertone. It is, however, balanced and does not get in the way of the vocals.
The behaviour of the sub-bass is interesting, however. Normally, the sub-bass is just there. Its rumbles, but doesn’t appear to be up to the mark of the rest of the audio, similar to how BOSE and Creative speakers sound. When you press the X-BASS button on the back and the button lights up, the subwoofer inside and the passive radiators at the top and bottom come to life.
Now, the sub-bass has a distinctive growl compared to the rest of the sound. This is similar to how JBL and SONY speakers sound. This experience is like having two sound signatures in one box, and gives the user the choice to listen in the manner they desire. Interestingly, the sub-bass even in boosted mode doesn’t make the audio muddy, which puts it way ahead of most bassy speakers manufactured by JBL or SONY.
This is the Tribit XBoom’s unique selling point. The XBoom has consistent sound quality irrespective of how far or at which angle you stand from the speaker. It sounds exactly the same to everyone sitting around it. To demonstrate this, we have shot a video circling the speaker while we play music on it. I don’t remember any other speaker in the same price range that has near perfect omni-directional coverage.
Also, the soundstage is wide and open and feels like concert. The placement of voices and instruments are near accurate. It is not exactly as accurate as headphones or a home theatre, but as a portable speaker, it does justice.
Build quality and ergonomics
When you pick up the Tribit XBoom, the first thing you will feel is how premium the body is. The body is wrapped with a nylon canvas mesh which feel rich and soothing to the touch and not plasticky and cheap like other speakers. The nylon canvas also provides a lot of friction so the speaker will not slip out of your hand easily. Next, the volume keys and the multifunction button have a large tap area, which I appreciate. It is a good design choice as you will not mis-press the volume-down key for the volume-up key. Interestingly, the remaining part of the body also feels great to touch: it is silicone instead of plastic! The remaining buttons at the back under the silicone wrap are regular sized. They are firm enough to avoid accidental clicks while soft enough to not cause finger ache. Overall, the XBoom has a very unique construction you will not find in another brand.
Is it strong? Yes, it is quite strong. Someone accidentally sat on the unit while it was casually placed on the sofa and it didn’t break or crack. Does it break easily when dropped? I can’t say. The nylon canvas makes it slip-proof. Under normal circumstances, it probably won’t leave your hand.
The Tribit XBoom is also dustproof and waterproof. I can confirm its resistance to dust. I live in a place that has heavy amounts of construction material dust in the air and so far there has not been a single scratch on the speaker. Can I confirm that it is waterproof? I can’t say. It did survive a moderate downpour, so I bet it is water resistant. But I don’t have a swimming pool, so I can’t verify the waterproof claims.
The other notable feature is the daisy chain. You can pair two XBoom speakers together, so that one behaves as a left channel and the other as a right channel. You can use this setup with your laptop or PC like you would do with regular speakers to provide a 2.1 channel full stereo sound. Unfortunately, we have only one unit with me, so we cannot test and tell you how it sounds that way.
Overall, the experience with the Tribit XBoom turned out to be better than I thought it would be. It is indeed a premium speaker, with none of the major shortcomings.
Comparison with other Bluetooth portable speakers
So where does the Tribit XBoom stand? In my opinion, this speaker is miles ahead of other speakers in its class: the JBL Flip series, majority of SONY XB series, BOSE SoundLink Micro and Mini series, UE Boom, Klipsch Groove, etc. Speakers in the same price range budget brands like Anker, Creative, LG, Philips, etc. do not come anywhere near it. The only Bluetooth speakers that I know of that are better than the XBoom are Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 and Sony SRSX55. However, both the Onyx and the SRSX55 are 3x the price of the XBoom so expecting the XBoom to outperform both of them is asking for too much.
Obviously, the above comparison is subjective in nature. It is what I perceived after hearing all the speakers mentioned above. Every one of us hears differently, so you may not reach the same conclusion by comparing them yourself. But I still present my opinion to give everyone a fair idea of what the Tribit XBoom is capable of.
Also, the Tribit XBoom is a little bit less loud compared to most JBL speakers. After playing music on it for a long time, I realized it is a deliberate design choice. The is an upper limit on the volume to prevent the sound from cracking or getting muddy. So you can crank the volume up to the maximum possible (which is still very loud) and continue enjoying consistent sound quality.
Getting for yourself
The Tribit XBoom is listed on Amazon.com for $69.99. We think this is quite a low price. A Bluetooth speaker of this calibre is usually worth $150. If you are looking for a premium Bluetooth speaker but do not have the budget to go for a premium brand, the XBoom is the right choice for you.
- Easy to use
- Wide compatibility
- Consistent audio quality throughout its wireless range
- Long battery life of 20 hours
- Balanced and exceptionally clear audio
- Consistent sound quality at all angles
- Premium body and build quality
- Dustproof and water resistant
- Best Bluetooth speaker in its price range
- Less loud compared to JBL
The audio equipment market is occupied mostly by well-established companies whose business is built on brand name reputation. Once in a while, it is heartening to see newer brands bringing a refreshing change to this paradigm and leveraging the quality of a product alone to become bestsellers. The Tribit XBoom is a perfect example of such a product.
Techno FAQ’s rating: 10/10
What is your favourite portable Bluetooth speaker? Let us know in the comments below.