Tribit Stormbox Micro Portable Speaker Review

It can sometimes seem like portable Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen, which makes it difficult to figure out which ones are worth your investment or not. Tribit recently released the StormBox Micro, a small, portable Bluetooth speaker that not only pumps out impressive sound but boasts weather resistance too.

Tribit sent the StormBox Micro to us to do a portable bluetooth speaker review, so we put it through the paces to find out how well it performs in a variety of real-world applications. 

Appearance: Compact but Convenient 

The speaker lives up to its name. At 3.9 inches wide, 3.9 inches tall, and just under 1.4 inches thick, the speaker does not take up much space, nor does its weight get in the way of transporting it. The black exterior is nondescript, although it did make it difficult to pick out the top buttons at a glance.

The Tribit StormBox Micro has three buttons on top: a volume down and a volume up button, as well as the MultiFunctional Button. On the front of the portable bluetooth speaker is the power on and off button, the Bluetooth button, and a series of LED indicator lights that denote volume level and connectivity. 

One feature that is worth noting about the exterior of the StormBox Micro is the integrated strap. It snaps into place on the bottom of the speaker but has a secure hold, making it perfect for looping around your belt while you’re mobile. 

If you’re looking for flashing, pulsating LEDs that dance in time with your music, you’re out of luck. The StormBox Micro forgoes the bells and whistles for a plain, straightforward look, but what it lacks in style it makes up for in performance.

Sound Quality

The first thing you notice about the StormBox Micro is the sound quality. Despite its small size, this little speaker pumps up the volume. It is appreciably loud even at lower volume levels and can fill a room when maxed out. 

In addition to the volume, the StormBox Micro produces a surprising amount of bass. Speakers of this size usually fall short due to the lack of space for subwoofers, but the StormBox Micro excels even in bass-heavy electronic music. Sure, it won’t compare to a dedicated speaker with a larger woofer, but at this size the StormBox Micro is hard to beat.

Even demanding songs like Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low” sound great on the speaker. It’s easy to detect instrumental position in the playback, and the StormBox Micro maintains a good sound balance with minimal distortion. 

The primary issues that arose during playback were lower, bass-heavy moments sounding a bit washed out when higher sounds were dominant in a song. Of course, problems like this are expected when dealing with compact speakers.

Features and Functionality

The StormBox Micro has several notable features. It is designed to be used with a phone, as the Multifunctional Button, or MFB, has functionality catered toward phones. The StormBox Micro has two main playback modes: Music Mode and Conversation Mode.

In Music Mode, the MFB serves as the play and pause button when given a short press. A double press skips to the next track, while pressing it three times in a row goes back one track. If you press and hold for one second, the MFB will activate Siri on your phone. 

Conversation Mode is a bit different. A short press of the MFB will answer or end a phone call, while pressing and holding for one second will reject the call. A short press during a phone call will put the call on hold to answer an incoming call, while subsequent presses will allow you to switch between two calls simultaneously. 

Pair one StormBox Micro with another and you have access to even more features, including Party Mode and Stereo Mode. When you put the two speakers in Party Mode, you can play the same song in sync from both, spreading the sound out across a wider area.

Stereo Mode is where the power of the speaker really shines, however. The audio quality is already impressive for a device of this size, and on its own it has good spatial representation. When put in Stereo Mode, however, the speaker tells you which one is left and which is right.

Stereo Mode provides an audio experience that is on par with much higher-priced speakers. It’s impressive for such a small device, although if you have access to a set of high-end headphones, they will likely outperform the StormBox Micro. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a way to get impressive audio quality even in your shower, the StormBox Micro might be your best option. With an IP67 weather resistance rating, the StormBox Micro can handle a lot of abuse–it’s water resistant up to a meter deep for half an hour. 

Bluetooth and Battery Life

The Bluetooth functionality of the StormBox Micro is worth mentioning. It can pair with up to eight different devices total, and with up to two at the same time. That means there is no need to pass the aux cord, so to speak. If you and a friend are sharing music, all you have to do is pause your playback and your friend can start playing their music. 

On a full charge, the StormBox Micro portable bluetooth speaker claims up to eight hours of battery life. While testing did not reveal an exact amount, the speaker played music for hours without a break and still had plenty of charge left over. Charging the speaker is easy, too–and included USB-C cable and a 5V plug is all you need.

StormBox Micro: Worth the Cost?

The Tribit StormBox Micro packs a lot of features into a small package, but it carries an equally small price tag. At just $50, it’s honestly hard to imagine a better Bluetooth speaker in this price range. There are options out there that may be louder and have more functionality, but they are more expensive too.

The StormBox Micro is loud, surprisingly effective where bass is concerned, and has enough features to make it a competitor against bigger brands., If you’re looking for a way to jam in the shower, this is your best bet. 

14 Great Gifts for the Nerd or Geek in Your Life

If you’re like most people, you want to start (and finish!) your Christmas shopping as early as possible. Shopping for the nerd or geek in your life can be a tough endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to get them. This list of gift ideas is unique and will help you find the perfect Christmas gift for the nerds you know.

1. Elago 1998 iMac Apple Watch Stand

The 1998 iMac might not be the most powerful machine on the market anymore, but come on–this Apple Watch Stand is pure nostalgia for old-school Mac users. The stand looks great but makes it easy to see your Apple Watch at a glance to change alarms and read messages.

2. Pac-Man Lamp

Everyone knows Pac-Man. This lamp is a bit of a stylish accessory that plays 12 retro Pac-Man sounds and lends a bit of ambience to a space. Best of all, it plugs straight in. N–no need for batteries. 

3. 8BitDo Retro Cube Bluetooth Speaker

The top of this speaker features a giant D-Pad reminiscent of the Nintendo Entertainment System. What better choice for someone in your life that loves retro gaming and listeningloves to listen to chiptunes while going about their day to day chores?

4. Ledger Nano S Currency Hardware Wallet

When cryptocurrency was at its peak, a lot of people dabbled in trying to generate an income. Cryptocurrency continues to fascinate people, so if you have a nerd in your life that likes to play around with Bitcoin, this hardware wallet is the perfect gift for them to keep an eye on their Bitcoin amounts. 

5. TMNT Pizza Cookbook

Cowabunga, dude! No self-respecting geek or nerd hates pizza. Throw in a healthy love for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and this pizza cookbook is a great gift to spice up your homemade pies. Just watch out for Master Shredder.

6. Hermione’s Time Turner

This is the perfect gift for that nerdy someone that loves Harry Potter. This Time Turner is licensed by Warner Brothers and is plated in 24 karat gold. Itand even includes a display for showing it off. The only thing it can’t do is actually turn back time so you can read Harry Potter again for the first time. 

7. Slothzilla Shower Curtain

There’s just something about sloths. Maybe it’s their cute little faces, or maybe it’s the fact that everyone can relate to moving that slow first thing in the morning. Either way, if you know a geek that loves sloths, this shower curtain makes a phenomenal gift. 

8. Firefly Playing Cards

If you ever find yourself in an Alliance-friendly bar on U Day, you better have a set of playing cards to swindle those Browncoat-haters out of their credits. For anyone that’s a fan of Firefly, these playing cards make a great gift for a nerd. 

9. Star Wars Silicon Ice Cube Trays

May the Force be with you…and your drink. This set of Star Wars-themed ice cube trays will let you make ice in the shape of the Millenium Falcon, the X-Wing, Boba Fett, and even Han frozen in Carbonite. It’s a fantastic option for someone that wants to bring a little bit of a galaxy far, far away to their everyday.

10. Chemistry Shot Glasses

What better way to understand the chemistry of alcohol on the body than to drink out of a beaker, an Erlenmeyer flask, and other chemistry-themed shot glasses? This is a great gift for a chemistry student (provided they’re over 21!)

11. Solar System Crystal Ball

If you know someone that loves astronomy, what better gift for thanem an engraved crystal ball with the solar system inside it? This makes an excellent decoration for a shelf or a desk, and it can start a bit of a debate since they only include eight planets. Poor Pluto. 

12. Danny DeVito Cardboard Cutout

[Danny DeVito Cutout]

Danny DeVito is beloved by nerds everywhere for his acerbic wit and twisted sense of humor. If you’d like to have him around you at all times (or you think it would be a fun way to freak out roommates), this life-size cardboard cutout is a fantastic gift option. 

13. C64 Mini

Many people have fond memories of hours spent playing the Commodore 64. The C64 Mini is one of the latest miniature consoles to grace the market and makes a great gift for anyone old enough to remember the original console

14. Arduino Starter Kit

The Arduino Starter Kit is a great way for someone to begin experimenting with electronics. The kit includes numerous projects to start with, as well as many components that can be applied in a largehuge number of different ways. Best of all, Arduino projects can easily be expanded into real-world applications. 

5 Best Drones for Kids

What kid doesn’t want a drone for their birthday or Christmas? Deciding to buy a drone for your kids is easy, finding the right one at the right price point is a bit more challenging.

The drone market is filled with cheap drones that break right away or expensive drones that you are afraid to use because they cost so much. There’s nothing more disappointing to a kid to receive a gift that they can’t use. Spare yourself this frustration by choosing one from the following list of the best drones for kids. 

What to Look For in a Drone?

There are a handful of features you should consider when shopping for a drone for your child. These features can make or break your drone experience, so consider them carefully. We decided to focus on five main criteria:

1. Auto-hover

Altitude hold, sometimes referred to as auto-hover, keeps the drone at a set altitude even when you let go of the controls. This makes it easier for inexperienced operators to fly a drone and avoid crashes that damage the drone.

2. Headless Mode

Headless mode is a feature on most entry-level drones that allows a drone to orient itself according to your position and not according to the drone’s back and front. This aids in piloting as the operator doesn’t have to be concerned with the drone’s orientation.

They just move the joystick where they want the drone to go, and it will go there. For example, moving the joystick to the left will move the drone to the left, moving it forward will drive the drone forward, and so on.  

3. Propeller guards 

Propeller guards protect the drone’s propeller in case of a crash. It also prevents finger injuries during takeoff or landing, keeping you and your child’s fingers safe.

4. Camera

Cameras on a drone can capture jaw-dropping, in-flight images. Look for a drone that accepts an SD card, so you record as much footage as you want. Some advanced drone models may even connect to a smartphone, allowing you to view the drone’s footage in real-time. 

5. Battery-life

Battery life is a significant obstacle in using a drone. Most compact drones only last five to seven minutes per battery, while larger ones can fly up to 20 minutes or more. You may want to purchase extra batteries so you can fly for an extended time. 

6. Price

Most drones for kids are affordable, with prices under $100 and often under $50. The sad truth is that most drones break or get stuck in a tree, so you may want to choose a lower cost drone for your child’s first one. You can even purchase two or three of these lower-cost drones to have a backup or a source for parts. 

As your children get older and more experienced, you can pay more for a drone  –  the most expensive drone on our list costs $400. With that extra investment, you get a high-quality camera, auto-pilot that makes flying the drone incredibly easy, connection to a smartphone for complete control over the drone, and an extended flight time. 

How We Chose the Best Drones

This review was created by reviewing dozens of professional reviews by the most trusted websites. We also considered the ratings and reviews from people who actually own the devices. We also relied on our own experience with some of the drones on this list. 

We put the top drones into five categories: 

  1. Best drone for younger children
  2. Best drone for older children
  3. Best indoor drone
  4. Best outdoor drone
  5. Best educational drone

If two drones were close in our ratings, we chose the one with the lowest price tag.

The Best Drones for Kids

You can’t go wrong with any of the drones on this list. They may vary in price and performance but each one will deliver hours of enjoyment. Choose the one that meets your price point and target age of your kids. 

Force1 Scoot Hand Operated Drone

Best Drone for Younger Children

Got a younger child who wants to fly a drone but is too young for a standard flight controller? Then the Force1 Scoot Hand Operated Drone is the drone for you.

Just toss it in the air gently, and it flies automatically. It is equipped with infrared sensors that not only help the drone avoid obstacles, but the sensors also allow your little ones to control it with their hands. It can even do a 360-degree flip and glows in the dark thanks to its vibrant LEDs that give it a UFO-look. 

DJI Mavic Mini 

Best Drone for Older Children 

The DJI Mavic Mini is an excellent choice for the teen or tween who’s outgrown most of the toy drones on our list. The Mavic Air is more expensive ($400) than most drones on our list, but it’s as close to a professional drone you can get without paying professional prices. 

The Mavic mini is very stable even in windy conditions and easy to fly thanks to its user-friendly controls. It has a return to home feature if you accidentally fly it too far away or feel like you’re losing control. It’s also equipped with a camera and gimbal for outstanding photos and videos. 

We’d love to see collision avoidance as well, but that’s our only gripe about this lightweight drone.  Don’t let its small size fool you. This is a highly competent drone that’ll last for years if you take care of it. The Mavic Mini is available in a bare bones package for $300, while $100 will net you the Fly More package which includes extra batteries, extra replacement rotors, and a plastic cage to protect the rotors in-flight and more. 

Holy Stone HS210 Mini Drone RC Nano Quadcopter

Best Indoor Drone

Holy Stone has a reputation for quality, affordable drones and the quad-copter HS210 is no exception. The HS210 is a beginner drone that appeals to kids and parents alike. It’s inexpensive and comes in several different colors. 

Parents can buy a different one for each of their kids and not break the bank. Kids will love it because they can fly indoors and learn how to make it do a 360-degree flip. 

This quad-copter drone is equipped with auto-hover and headless mode to make flying it easy even for the beginner. It also ships with three batteries so you can fly for 20 minutes in total. However, you do have to swap the batteries every seven minutes or so. Changing batteries is not as easy as it could be and may require adult help.  

Snaptain SP510

Best Outdoor Drone

The Snaptain SP510 packs a ton of features into a drone that’s under $200. It has almost all the advanced features you’d find in the DJI Mavic Mini but at a fraction of the cost. The drone connects to your smartphone, allowing you to see the camera footage in real-time. It’s equipped with GPS, which lets you draw a route for the drone to follow. You also can recall the drone when the battery is low or if it loses connection with your phone. 

The Snaptain SP510 is not as durable or polished as the DJI Mavic Mini, but it’s a great introductory drone. You can test out the advanced features you typically find in a DJI drone and see if you like flying without investing a lot of money upfront. 

Ryze Tech Tello

Best Educational Drone

The Ryze Tech Tello costs a bit more than most entry-level drones with the same feature set. That’s because the drone is powered by technology from DJI, the top drone maker in the world. Not only do they get DJI’s quality experience, but the drone can be programmed with popular kids programming language, Scratch. 

Kids can use the block-coding interface of Scratch or DroneBlocks to control the movement of the drone. Kids also can participate in games and competitions to showcase their drone programming skills. More than just a toy, the Tello truly is a learning tool. 

Other Considerations

Flying a drone is fun until you break the law, annoy your neighbor or get the drone stuck in a tree. Before you fly your drone outside, familiarize yourself with the laws. The FAA requires you to register any drone over 250 grams. All the drones on this list, including the DJI Mavic Mini, fall under this weight limit and do not require registration. No matter the weight, be sure you know the regulations for drone flights in your area. National parks, some state parks, and most ski areas do not allow drones, for example.

Be respectful or your neighbors when flying outside. It’s very easy to get above the treetops with the larger drones on this list. You’ll be able to see nearby yards and not everyone is comfortable with a drone looking down in them. Don’t assume you cannot be seen. Drone’s make a characteristic noise that is very obvious and easy to hear from a surprisingly long distance. Also, watch out for obstacles like branches and power lines. 

10 Cool Tech Gifts for Movie Lovers

If you know someone that absolutely loves movies, your go-to gift for them might be a Blu-ray or a DVD. Spice things up a bit this year with some truly creative, inventive gifts for movie lovers that they’ll remember for years to come. 

QKK Portable Movie Projector

Everyone has that one friend that absolutely loves to show movies. If you know someone who would benefit, check out the QKK Portable Movie Projector. This projector is just $90 and is a highly rated option on Amazone.

The projector itself is small, but has a max screen size of 170 inches at 1080p HD. It connects with everything from Roku Sticks to game consoles (which means that you can play video games blown up to a huge size too.) With 50,000 hours of life in the bulb, this is a great gift for someone that would love to show movies on the big screen in their own home. 

Inflatable Movie Screen

For the ultimate at-home viewing experience, a backyard party is best–and for that, you need an inflatable movie screen. The Khomo Gear 20-foot inflatable screen is designed with the outdoors in mind, but you can use it indoors too. The set comes with an electric blower, 12 feet of rope, plastic stakes to tie it down, and a carrying bag.

The result is a screen that is 13 feet by 8 feet at a 16:9 aspect ratio. It takes less than five minutes to inflate, so you can have a movie night in no time at all. Just be aware that this is not designed for prolonged exposure to moisture, so bring it inside at night when you have finished watching movies.

Ultimate Movie Night Care Package

It’s not a night at the movies without delicious, overpriced snacks–but you can recreate that experience without the “overpriced” part. The Ultimate Movie Night Care Package from Redbox includes a huge variety of different snacks, as well as a Redbox Rental Code. This package is everything a movie lover needs to enjoy a night at home.

Best of all, the gift is only $26. That includes ten different kinds of snacks, a Redbox rental code, and popcorn. 

Roku Premiere

Streaming is the new way to watch all your favorite movies and shows. While Blu-ray can still provide a superior experience, sometimes you don’t have to go to all the effort to find the disc and get it started. The Roku Premiere provides a 4K streaming experience from all your favorite services, including Prime Video, Hulu, Netflix, and more. 

You can even search for paid movies on Roku across a variety of sources and easily see what the most affordable options for watching a movie are. The easy and attractive Roku interface is an ideal gift for movie lovers that will appeal to almost any user, and especially those want to forgo the difficulties that come with smart TVs.

MUBI Gift Subscription

Mubi is a niche movie streaming service with a focus on art films. Every day the service introduces a new “Film of the Day,” a particular movie from a particular genre that highlights what makes that genre fantastic. Movies rotate periodically through Mubi, but viewers will never lack for something to watch.

Mubi has films from all over the world. It also shows foreign language films, filmmaker retrospectives, and much more. It is the ultimate service for a movie buff. 

Vizio SB2920 Soundbar

Half the experience of a film on a home theatre is the sound, but sub-par speakers in a TV aren’t good enough. On the other hand, no one needs to spend hundreds of dollars on a surround sound system. Soundbars can provide an equal experience without breaking the bank.

The Vizio SB2920 is an affordable, gift-friendly soundbar that will enhance anyone’s viewing experience whether they are watching a movie, streaming their favorite show on Netflix, or trying to get a leg up on the competition in Call of Duty. 

Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films

A standard Blu-ray or DVD is kind of a boring gift, but a collector’s edition of a classic film is a great gift for movie lovers. This Godzilla collection shows the Showa-Era films, or those from 1954 to 1975. It comes in a special case with a deluxe hardcover book with 15 films. 

In addition to the movies, viewers can watch interviewers with the writers and directors, listen with an English-language dub track, watch new English subtitle translations, and even see the Japanese-only version of King Kong vs Godzilla. This collection will be at home on the shelf of any Kaiju movie fan. 

West Bend Theater-Style Popcorn Machine

The look of a classic movie theater popcorn machine creates a lot of nostalgia in people. Why not recreate that feeling with one at home? The West Bend Theater-Style Popcorn Machine looks just like the one you might have seen behind the ticket counter at an older theater.

It makes between five and six servings of popcorn in just minutes–perfect for those movie viewing parties with friends. It’s also easy to clean up and just looks cool. 

Smart Lights

Smart lights can tap into the colors of your TV and display ambient lighting behind it, capturing the moments on screen and making them seem like they are escaping the confines of your TV. A good smart light strip can increase immersion and make a viewing experience better than before.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

It’s a well-known fact that the best way to pass time on a long trip is by watching a movie, but nothing ruins the experience faster than someone talking loudly beside you. If you know a movie buff that travels a lot, they will appreciate a set of noise cancelling headphones that will let them watch their favorite films in peace.

This set of headphones from Sony is normally $200, but during the holiday season they are marked down–perfect for a gift that will see a lot of use throughout the year ahead. 

EZVIZ C3X Outdoor Security Camera Review

Ensuring your home’s outdoor security is more important than ever before. A recent survey found that as many as one in three people had experienced package theft. And with more people at home due to quarantine (and the increased holiday shopping as Christmas approaches), that number is likely to rise.

To ensure the outdoor spaces of your home are safe, you need an outdoor security camera that gives not only a clear picture, but  can withstand any weather conditions. The EZVIZ C3X Outdoor Security Camera is a potential option. 

EZVIZ sent a C3X for review and gave us a chance to evaluate it for ourselves. 

Installation

The EZVIZ C3X has one of the easiest set-up processes of any outdoor security camera on the market. The first step is to download the app to your mobile device. Once you’ve done this, create an account and then tap the plus sign in the top-right corner of the screen to add a new camera.

The Quick Start Guide included in the box has a QR code on the front. When you start to add a camera, you can simply scan the code for the app to find the device. From here, just follow the on-screen instructions to get started. 

As for installation, the EZVIZ C3X comes with three mounting screws, as well as hollow drywall anchors if you cannot find a stud in the wall. The base of the camera can be unscrewed and slid away from the body of the camera, which makes it significantly easier to attach it to the wall. Just re-attach the base and the camera body once you’ve mounted it. 

The box includes a drill template that you can tape to the wall to help line up the necessary screws. 

Interface

The basic interface for the C3X is intuitive and easy to understand. At the top of the screen are two modes: At-Home and Leaving-Home. The At-Home mode disables notifications and sets the camera into a privacy-focused mode. The Leaving-Home mode enables notifications.

Below these two options is a quick display of any cameras you have connected. In the example photo above, it shows only one camera because we only tested one. It shows the name of the camera and two icons: a man and a gear icon.

The man-shaped icon allows you to change your alarm notifications. You can choose to enable detection marking, set up a specific notification schedule, and even draw exactly what areas you want to receive notifications for. You can also adjust the motion detection sensitivity.

The gear icon opens the settings menu. This menu allows you to enable or disable audio for both live streams and recorded footage, turn the status light on or off, set up automatic brightness detection, and much more. 

However, all of these are for adjusting options. If you want to control the camera, you will need to tap the display. This will open another screen that will show you a real-time display of the camera feed, as well as allow access to several options:

  • Video History
  • Snapshot
  • Record
  • Speak
  • Active Defense
  • Definition

Video History is self explanatory. It shows all of the previously recorded video clips that the camera has gathered. Snapshot takes a screenshot of whatever is on-screen at the time.

Record allows you to save a video clip from the real-time feed. Speak activates the speaker on the camera, allowing you to speak to anyone on the other side—particularly useful for warning away would-be thieves. 

Active Defense activates a loud siren and strobe light to draw attention to your home and startle anyone that may be nearby. Definition allows you to swap between Hi-Def video and Ultra-HD. 

Features

The EZVIZ C3X outdoor security camera has a lot going for it, but its strongest feature is the dual-lens color night vision. 

The above photo was taken in complete darkness aside from a distant street light. In testing, the EZVIZ C3X displayed high-quality night vision in almost every instance, although if a light is too near the camera it will cause it to switch to a standard black-and-white mode. 

The camera can also detect between human movement and vehicles, and the customizable activity zones mean you can aim it at the road and see a wide area of your yard, but select only the areas near your front door to set off motion alerts.  

Tech Specs

The EZVIZ C3X is a powerful camera. It boasts 1920×1080 resolution and infrared night vision up to 25 feet away. It is also IP67 rated, which means that it can withstand almost anything nature can throw its way (although a tidal wave might do it in. Don’t submerge it.) 

The C3X connects over a 2.4GHz connection and integrates with Alexa. It also comes with a 256GB SD card for onboard storage, although it also offers a month-long free trial of EZVIZ Cloud storage services. 

The camera’s construction is worth noting from a purely objective standpoint. It has a metal shell that feels sturdy and durable. The adjustable antennae on the sides are made of tough plastic, but can easily be adjusted. 

For a price of just $150 on Amazon, the EZVIZ C3X is an affordable, powerful camera that boasts many of the same features as much more expensive models. If you are looking for a mid-range camera that will fit neatly into your budget, it is worth checking out. The onboard storage eliminates many privacy concerns, while the outdoor security camera itself will help keep an eye on your home while you’re away.