The Tribit MaxSound Plus is a compact portable Bluetooth speaker, with an IPX7 waterproof rating and 20 hours of battery life. It has a dedicated button to boost bass, something small speakers like this struggle with. Its price seems to fluctuate but currently it’s around £40 or $55, but check down below for the latest prices.
I’ll be comparing it against two comparably sized and spec’d speakers: the JBL Flip 4 which costs a fair bit more and the similarly priced Anker SoundCore Boost. In the sound test that you can listen to in the video, I’ll even add in the smaller Anker Soundcore 2 and the larger Anker Soundcore Motion+.
Is the Tribit MaxSound Plus the best option at this price?
Inside the box you get the speaker itself, a micro-USB charging cable and a 3.5mm audio cable. There’s also a multi-lingual getting started guide. There’s no travel pouch or case.
First impressions of the speaker are good. It’s a fairly generic design, but it’s compact measuring 65mm x 198mm by 68mm. It has a matte black finish with a metal grille and the Tribit logo, over the drivers. It’s pretty dense weighing 621g but feels solid with no flexing or creaking. It sits on four small rubber feet.
Around the back there’s an already attached lanyard, venting for the passive radiator and a rubber seal for the speaker’s IPX7 waterproof rating, that reveals the 3.5mm audio in port if you prefer a wired connection, and a micro-USB charging port. It’s always disappointing not to see the more modern USB-C connection. And there’s no USB charging port like on the Soundcore Boost.
Along the top are the rubberised control buttons, with the microphone just above the play button for voice calls and activating Google or Siri from a connected device.
Charging the speaker’s 2200mAh battery from empty takes a lengthy 4 hours. It supports a maximum charging current of 1.4A at 5V, slower than the Soundcore Boost’s 2.1A input.
The power status LED lights red whilst charging and turns green when fully charged. You can use the speaker whilst it’s charging.
When you first turn it on with a single press of the power button, there’s a beep that can’t be disabled and the power status LED flashes blue indicating the speaker’s ready for pairing. Tap on Tribit MaxSound Plus in you Bluetooth settings. There’s another beep and the power LED goes a steady blue. This will turn red when battery goes below 15%.
There’s no NFC pairing like there is on the Soundcore Boost. A single press of the power button also turns the unit off.
Like with the Boost, the speaker doesn’t support multi-pairing. And it can’t be connected to another speaker in a stereo pair either. The JBL Flip 4 supports a Bluetooth connection to two devices simultaneously, and grouping with other JBL speakers.
To connect to another device press the Bluetooth button. The status LED will flash blue with an accompanying beep and the speaker is again ready for pairing.
If you have any connection issues, you can reset the speaker, by pressing the volume up and down buttons together for 5 seconds whilst the speaker’s powered on. The speaker will turn off and all Bluetooth pairing records will be deleted.
The controls are fairly intuitive, although it’d make more sense to me for the volume buttons to be used for skipping tracks, relieving the play button from some of its duties. Apart from the power button and Bluetooth button already discussed, a single press of the play button pauses or resumes playback, or manages an active phone call, a 2 second press activates your voice assistant depending on your connected device, a double press skips forward a track and a triple press skips back. Finally there’s the XBASS button which is on by default indicated by its accompanying white LED. Tap the button to turn the bass boost off.
Sound quality and performance
Two 45mm, 12W drivers and a passive radiator deliver sound that belies the size of the speaker. Across a range of music, it sounds well balanced and there’s barely any distortion even at maximum volumes. I left XBASS on most of the time, which sounded better to my ear even with more vocal tracks and podcasts. It added more richness to the sound, without affecting the mids and highs.
In the video you can listen to a comparison between the Tribit MaxSound Plus, the Anker Soundcore Boost and the Flip 4. I’ve also included the bigger, more expensive Soundcore Motion+ and the smaller very popular Anker Soundcore 2 for good measure.
In the video at the top of the page, I’ve recorded a sound test with binaural microphones that capture stereo sound, to try and provide the closest representation of what I’m hearing. Please listen with headphones for the best experience.
Its bright sound is very similar to the JBL Flip 4, but I actually slightly prefer the Tribit. The JBL can sound a bit harsh sometimes – especially the highs. It’s pretty loud too – louder than the Soundcore Boost and very close to the JBL for many tracks. The Boost is still more bassy than the Tribit, but at the slight expense of clarity in the mids. There’s no accompanying app to control EQ – you could use your device’s EQ settings but I doubt you’ll need to.
Overall for the price and size of the speaker, it’s difficult to fault the sound quality. But let me know down below which speaker you prefer.
Battery life was good. Tribit don’t specify under what conditions they achieved 20 hour of battery life, but I got at least half that with XBASS mainly on, and often playing back at or approaching maximum volume, which isn’t bad at all.
The speaker has Bluetooth 4.2, not the more recent 5.0 standard, but range was still decent reaching the next room of the house around 10 metres away and was comparable with the SoundCore Boost and just slightly less than the Flip 4. I found the connection reliable, with no dropouts in my testing.
There’s no support for the higher quality aptX or AAC codecs, but I couldn’t hear much difference even playing over a wired connection.
Audio sync with YouTube on iOS was not great as seems to be the norm, but there was only a slight delay with YouTube on Android and with Netflix on both platforms.
The microphone quality is adequate for phones calls, although there is a fair bit of background hiss. (Listen to the microphone quality in the accompanying video.)
I tested its IPX7 waterproof rating, and it held up fine.
For its size, the Tribit MaxSound Plus is one of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers I’ve tested. It even holds its own against more expensive options. Together with its IPX7 waterproof rating, size and battery life, it’d make a great travel speaker if you’re happy with the weight.
It’s not the most feature rich speaker I’ve tested. You can’t use it as a USB power bank, you can only pair to one device at a time, there’s no support for stereo pairing, charging is quite slow, there’s no NFC or aptX support, and it still has only micro-USB and Bluetooth 4.2.
But none of its shortcomings really matter if your main concern is how it sounds. Check the latest pricing down below, but if you can get it for less than £50 or $60, I’d very much doubt you’ll be disappointed!
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Tribit MaxSound Plus Bluetooth speaker: https://amzn.to/2nVFo1L
Anker Soundcore Boost: https://amzn.to/2nU4cXO
JBL Flip 4: https://amzn.to/2nU6K8j
Anker Soundcore Motion+: https://amzn.to/2ngpizc
Anker Soundcore 2: https://amzn.to/2moK13F