Cheap things come to those who wait. A few years back, Fabriq jumped into the Alexa-equipped speaker game with the Riff, a small, portable smart speaker that was like a cross between the Echo Dot and Amazon Tap (remember that?). Price back then: $50.
Price right now: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Cheapskate readers can get thewith promo code CNETFBQ.
Sporting a very distinct, Southwest-inspired design, the compact Riff is a refreshing change from the monochromatic looks of most smart speakers. It offers both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, the latter useful if you want to create a multiroom setup. (You can link up to 10 of these.)
Take note, however, that you'll need the Fabriq app to do that, and user ratings on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store paint a somewhat unflattering picture. Apparently, Wi-Fi setup can be tricky -- and some users have noted difficulty getting help from Fabriq.
As for its Alexa capabilities, you can't invoke them hands-free: Like the long-discontinued Amazon Tap, "waking up" the voice assistant requires a button press. That's hardly a deal-breaker, just something to note.
CNET never reviewed the speaker, but Ry Crist didback in 2016. I definitely recommend reading that to learn more about the product (keeping in mind that it was being compared with a first-generation Dot).
All that said, this is a pretty cute -- and capable -- little speaker for $10. Great stocking-stuffer, great Secret-Santa option.
Give the gift of unique music-making: Sphero Specdrums for $44
Now, more than ever, kids need creative outlets -- ways to make art and music and just have fun, am I right? That's why I'm particularly excited about this deal, also from Daily Steals: Cheapskate readers can get thewith promo code CNETSPH. Originally $99, it's currently selling for $59 at Amazon, where it has very positive user reviews.
I haven't had the chance to try these myself, but here's what Scott Stein had to say following his: "They're dead simple and strangely addictive. The ring, when tapped, flashes and senses whatever color it's pressed against. That's communicated back to the paired phone app, which converts that into a sound.
"The app lets you record new sounds to assign to colors (hello, fart noises), and there are a handful of instrument packs to download and try. Audio plays through your connected device's speakers when the drum hits anything of any color. (I tried everything from tablets, to my fingers, to bags of chips.)"
So would you say this hits all the high... notes? (I'll show myself out.) Seriously, though: Fun, check. Creative, check. And with this deal: Affordable, check.
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