Bullet shaped alarm clock speaker
Since antiquity, man has looked for ingenious methods to keep and awaken from sleep at certain times. In Ancient Greece, Ctesibus invented a pebble-dropping device that dropped onto a gong to tell time (https://greekreporter.com/2021/05/11/ancient-greek-inventions-used-today/ ). Inventors continued to dabble with technology, and in 1787 an American named Levi Hutchins created a way to awaken himself daily at 4am to get to work. In 1847 a Frenchman named Antoine Redier patented an adjustable mechanical alarm clock to help with similar issues (https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/a-2000year-history-of-alarm-clocks). Industrious cities used Knocker-uppers, a subscription service that knocked on your door at certain times to awaken people. By the early 1900s, tinkerers improved the tech, eliminating the need for knocker-uppers, and it became commonplace to have home/travel alarm clocks. With the tech revolution, alarm clocks gained input/output options, source options, capacitive touch buttons/screens, and many more bells/whistles. Many of these features advanced alongside the smartphone, which took over many features of watches, clocks, and alarm clocks. Despite the decline in the need for an alarm clock, there are still many people that prefer a stand-alone alarm clock.
The Tribit Home arrived in a 12 1/4 inches long by 7 1/4 inches tall by 4 1/2 inches thick retail package. The main white cover and side panels served as a perfect backdrop for the product and contrasted nicely against the emergency cone orange-colored top panel. The cover provided an orange rectangle along the top of the panel and listed the “Tribit Unleash the true sound” title within the negative white space. Beneath the company name, you will find the main Tribit Home title displayed in a vivid black font. You will find “Wireless Home Speaker: The Sound Fills Your Room” in the same orange color along the bottom left. The bright splashes of color added to the ambiance but were not the focus of the cover. That honor went to the 3 1/4 inches wide by 5 5/8 inches tall glossy image of the bullet-shaped Tribit speaker/clock. The tweed front panel abutted a colorful rim and provided a modern yet jubilant outer speaker shell. Along the top of the speaker panel, you will find a large LED screen with surrounding touch buttons. The front panel and side panel closest to the speaker image provided a grey Tribit Home logo. In contrast, the opposite side panel provided five black icons (Alarm Clock, Music light, FM Radio, Superior Sound, Stereo/Party). The orange-colored top panel provided the company name along the top left, the BTS50 Model, SKU number, FCC ID, product manufacturing labels, SKU barcode, a thank you statement, firstname.lastname@example.org email, www.tribitaudio.com website, and three QR code’s (1. Address, 2. Facebook, 3. Tribitaudio.com).
I removed the small piece of tape along the cover panel, lifted the panel plus inner flaps, and then pulled the speaker from the box. The device was shipped within a thin plastic bag and rested within a form cut cardboard bed. Beneath the speaker, you will find the Home Speaker User manual. Adjacent to the speaker, I found a 4 1/4 inches wide by 3 5/8 inches tall by 2 1/4 inches thick accessory box. Within the box, you will find a rather bulky 1 3/8 inches wide by 3 1/4 inches tall by 2 1/8 inches thick Type-A power supply, with a 61-inch long power cable. I found it a bit odd that the device was not USB powered and instead relied upon an AC to DC adapter. The large end of the adapter will pose problems for those who have several items on their nightstand or desk. The device will need to occupy a lower port of a standard wall outlet, or you may have to rotate the device to face upward if using the upper port. Unfortunately, if you use the adapter in the upper port, it will block the lower port. Similarly, unless your power strip is oriented with the ports perpendicular to the long axis, you will need to place this device at the end of the string. If I was going to design a Tribit Home Speaker 2.0, it would need to be USB-C input and would not use this adapter.
Before you dispose of the contents, make sure that you remove the hidden bag that was nestled within the far corner of the box. The bag contained the white-colored, 59 1/2 inches long 3.5mm FM antenna. With the speaker, antenna, instruction manual, and power cable removed, I turned to the instruction manual to learn more about the device. The first panel detailed the packing list and the second detailed the 10-point clock-like button configuration. Interestingly, the manual reviewed the buttons in a counterclockwise manner starting at the 11 o’clock position through the 6 o’clock position and then from the 12 o’clock clockwise through the 6 o’clock position (Sleep music, Alarm, Backward/previous Track, Volume down button, multi-function button. Then the snooze/sleep button, source/Bluetooth button, Light, “Preward”/Next, Volume “+” button. Like the power adapter comments above, this section of the manual could use some tweaking. With the icons arranged along the face of the clock, it would have made more sense to detail the panel in a completely clockwise manner. I think the buttons would have been better oriented with the volume up/down on either side of the snooze/sleep button and with the sleep music, source Bluetooth, and multi-function buttons along the bottom.
The third page showed the set time/clock battery backup (remove the plastic tab). The fourth page showed the clock/speaker ports present along the back and right side of the device (Micro SD, AUX-in/FM antenna port, DC 15v/25A power input port on the back, and 5V/2A USB-A output and 5v/3A USB-C output ports). The fifth and sixth pages demonstrated how to adjust the clock time. With the clock plugged into power, press the 1/4 inch diameter “Set Time” button on the bottom of the clock. You will need to set a 12/24 hour time using the arrow buttons and the multi-function button. Select the option you want, adjust it with the arrow buttons, and then confirm with the multifunction button. In this manner, I set 12/24 hour time, hour, minute, year, month, day, and the day of the week. The speaker immediately entered into FM mode and worked quite well without an antenna. The seventh page instructed the user to adjust the source by tapping the 2 o’clock Source/BT button. Tapping the button will take you through FM, SD, Bluetooth, and then Aux. When the speaker entered into the Bluetooth mode, it made a water droplet sound and then immediately entered into “pairing.” I was able to navigate to settings, to Bluetooth, then select Tribit Home Speaker from the list. The speaker made a short melody and immediately connected. These features were detailed on pages eight and nine of the instruction manual.
The tenth through thirteenth pages detailed how to navigate to FM, to tune FM (tap the left/right arrow), to scan FM (hold either button for 2s), to save a preset (hold the multifunction button for 2s), and to listen to presets (tap the multifunction button to navigate between presets 1-5). I used this process to set K-Love for my wife and a local talk radio station for myself. The fourteenth and fifteen pages showed how to turn the alarm on/off (tap the alarm button), how to set the alarm (hold the alarm button for 2s), and how to set the time (tap +/- buttons and select with the multifunction button). You will need to set the hour, minutes, and then adjust weekday, weekend, every day, or one day. You can adjust the wake-up ringtone from bird noises to white noise, classic (alarm beeps), or wind chimes. You can also adjust the light (White, Blue, Cyan, Green, Red, Orange, Yellow, Purple, Off). I set the alarm, a few presets, and found it odd that I could not wake up to the radio or to a preset Bluetooth song. When the alarm went off, I tapped the 10-second preset snooze/sleep button. Oddly, the instruction manual demonstrated to press just above the snooze/sleep button and not the actual button. It is important to note that there is no button at that location. To “Close Alarm,” the manual recommended holding the spot above the Snooze/Sleep button for two seconds. Again, following the instructions will not yield the desired effect.
The seventeenth and eighteenth pages demonstrated the sleep music (white noise, seashore, light music, rain, bird, off), light adjustment (white, music 1, music 2, light off), and brightness adjustment (tap the light button and then “-“ or “+” buttons to adjust). The nineteenth page showed how to adjust the light color (hold the light/arrow buttons simultaneously) and change the Sleep timer duration (15min, 30 min, 60 min, 90 min, 00 min). The twentieth page showed how to pair a second speaker (TWS), pages twenty-one through twenty-two detailed the FCC cautions. The final pages (23-25) detailed the product specifications in a variety of languages (BT 5.0 A2DP, AV, RCP, 3-inch subwoofer + 1-inch tweeter, Power input 15W+10W, Frequency Response 60Hz-20KHz, 18VDC 2.5A power adapter, USB output: USB-A 5V 2.1A, USB-C 5V/3A, FM freq 87.5-108MHz, dimensions H215 x W 150 x D 91mm, weight 1034g).
To test the power output, I plugged a Klein Tools USB-A/USB-C multimeter into the USB-C output port. I plugged a USB-C to USB-C cable from the multimeter into my iPad Pro 11,” and the multimeter read 4.32V/2.94A. My iPad Pro charged at about 1% power every minute. I removed the rubberized port from the speaker, plugged a DROK USB-A multimeter into the port, and then a USB-A to Lightning cable into my iPhone 12 Pro Max. The USB-A multimeter read 5.02V/1.21A. The USB-C multimeter dropped from 2.94A to 1.63 A and then to 0A, and my IPad Pro stopped charging. I removed the USB-C multimeter from the port, and the USB-A multimeter increased to 4.98V/1.55A. I plugged the USB-C multimeter back into the port and found the output to be 4.34V/1.63A and the USB-A multimeter 4.82/1.21A. With 100W/3A max output, USB-C can power just about any modern tech from a MacBook Pro, to a smartphone, to computer peripherals.
The speaker’s sound output was more than enough for a bedroom, dorm room, or kitchen but lacked bass support and high-end quality. To test the frequency range, I navigated to the audiocheck.net website. I used the Low-Frequency Response and Subwoofer Audio Test (10-200 Hz) to test the bass and the High-Frequency Response and Hearing Audio Test (22-8 kHz) to evaluate the higher frequencies. I heard the bass at 50Hz and heard an upper range of 16kHz, which is reasonable for my age and hearing ability (we lose higher frequencies as we age). I tested the volume from Volume 3 (minimum range that I could hear reliably) through Volume level 16 (max). Even though the level of volume needed for an alarm will need to be set to individual tastes/needs, I found a level of 6 worked best for my needs. For music, I found a level 13 worked best for my needs. I tested a variety of songs and found the speaker average at best.
I have been a fan of Tribit products for the past few years and have truly enjoyed many of their devices. Unfortunately, the Tribit Home did not fulfill my expectations. There are better, more feature-filled alarm clocks and markedly superior speakers for the same or lesser price points as a hybrid device. For example, my iPhone 12 Pro Max serves as a better alarm clock than the Tribit Home with the basic clock feature. If you use iOS or Google, you can download numerous Apps to get you out of bed. Since most people have a smartphone, the added cost for a stand-alone alarm should be justifiable. I wish that I could set this alarm clock to a Radio Wake-up. I wish that there was voice operation like that of Siri or Alexa devices. I want the option to quickly/easily set repeat alarms, label the alarms, change the sounds, and turn on/off the snooze ahead of time. I liked that I could adjust the volume, but disliked the ability only to set a single alarm. I think the most glaring omission was the lack of an internal battery to maintain all of the functions.
Personally, this device is more of a liability than a benefit without an internal battery to function when the power goes out. I set the alarm for 9PM, which took about ten seconds on the device, and instructed Siri to “Set alarm at 9PM.” When I unplugged the Tribit Home, the LCD screen turned off. The internal battery maintained the internal clock but did not power the display nor activate the alarm. My iPhone alarm did signal 9pm as instructed. Thus, the Tribit Home alarm clock will not reliably awaken you from sleep if you lose power. Even though a fully depleted phone will not signal an alarm, the internal battery will add a layer of protection that the Tribit home did not provide. If I were going to design a Tribit Home 2.0, I would include several features. First, I would include at least a 2000mAh internal battery (ideally 5000-10000mAh). Second, I would add a feature that would allow users to set the alarm to awaken by radio or a preset song choice. Third, I would allow a custom sleep sound selection. Fourth, I would include the ability to change the LCD color and brightness. Blue/White light diminishes internal melatonin and can mess with the sleep cycle. Red light promotes melatonin and improves the sleep cycle. Fifth, I would add the ability to set more than a single alarm. Lastly, I would include a master-off switch to tap to turn off the radio or the alarm. I was not too fond of the snooze/off feature and did not like that I needed to change the source button to stop the music or to set a sleep timer.
For the price, the Tribit Home failed to properly fulfill an alarm role or a speaker role. The Amazon description suggested strong kicks, supporting lows, and full treble sound. Having tested dozens of headphones/speakers, I can attest that the sound was average and not high-fidelity as advertised. I loved the shape, the inclusion of the radio, the ability to add light to the music, and the AUX antenna. Unfortunately, the alarm features were too basic and lacked many needed features. It felt that the speaker would have done well in the early 2000s but lacks the needed tech features of a modern device from the year 2021. The speaker had a good sound but lacked the features of many smart speakers. As a fan of Tribit and tech in general, I truly wanted to love this device. However, I cannot recommend this device.