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Speakers

Get a BlueSync BX portable Bluetooth NFC speaker for $29.99

This cool little cube normally runs $39.99. It has an analog volume control and a USB port for phone-free listening.

gogroove-bluesync-bx-wood.jpg
Love the wood, but it's also available in a cool gunmetal. GoGroove

It's kind of criminal that Apple's new iPhones incorporate NFC technology but don't allow it to be used for the world's second greatest convenience (after mobile payments): pairing to Bluetooth devices. I say "Boooo!" to you, Apple. Boooo!

If you're an Android user with an NFC-equipped device, today's deal may hold a little extra appeal. While supplies last, 2nd Street Electronics (via Amazon) has the GoGroove BlueSync BX portable Bluetooth speaker with NFC for $29.99 shipped free with Prime.

Let me clarify a couple things real quick. First, that product page rather confusingly lists three models: the aformentioned BlueSync BX in your choice of gunmetal or wood, and the GoGroove SonaVerse BX, which is a wired version of the speaker priced at $24.99.

For our purposes today, we're focusing on the former -- well worth an extra five bucks, IMHO.

Second, NFC is not a requirement to use the BlueSync BX. You can pair it with an iPhone or just about any other phone or tablet via traditional Bluetooth. You can also plug a device into its 3.5mm audio jack. And, the speaker has a USB port, meaning you can plug in a flash drive packed with music and skip the phone/tablet/MP3 player altogether.

That's a pretty cool option, though you should note that songs stored on a flash drive will play in the order they're listed. You can't shuffle-play them, nor can you select a specific track (unless you know the order and skip ahead to it). Bummer.

I had the chance to test-drive the BX over the weekend, and it's a very pretty cube with a few amenities I really like: an analog volume dial and play/pause and track-skip buttons, all on the front. Music pumps out of grills on either side, and there's a microphone for hands-free speakerphone calls.

Also, the battery (good for only about 6 hours, alas), is easy to remove, and extras sell for about $5 apiece. I especially appreciate the three-year warranty.

As for sound quality (arguably the most important consideration, duh), I'd give the BX a B+. I have fairly modest expectations for a speaker of this size, and overall it sounded very good: plenty loud and admirably full, but with a slightly ragged edge at certain times on certain tracks.

To my thinking, though, this is the kind of speaker you stick on your desk at work, in your bathroom for shower tunes, or in your go-bag for the beach, the hotel room and so on. And for those situations it's great.

Bonus deal: Streaming rules these days, but lots of people still prefer to go old-school when it comes to their home theaters. For those folks, Woot has the refurbished Panasonic DMP-BDT361 3D-capable Blu-ray player for $69.99, plus $5 for shipping. Best Buy charges $139.99 for the BDT360 model new. The player not only plays nice with 3D HDTVs, it can also upscale movies if you happen to have a 4K TV. Plus, it offers Wi-Fi and apps, so you can use it in lieu of a Roku box or the like.