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Get a MusicAir Mini Bluetooth receiver for $6.99

Forget that insanely expensive Google Chromecast Audio. This gadget adds wireless smarts to any speakers or headphones. Plus: three bonus deals!

CNET's Cheapskate scours the Web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.


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BYO phone and speakers. PricePlunge

Boy, you'd think Google just about reinvented the wheel with all the fuss over Chromecast Audio, a little gadget that plugs into traditional speakers to allow wireless music streaming from your phone or tablet.

This capability has been around a long time, albeit in a slightly different flavor. While Chromecast Audio relies on Wi-Fi, dozens of similar products accomplish the same thing through Bluetooth.

Like this one: While supplies last (and this being a smaller outfit, they may not last long), PricePlunge has the MusicAir Mini Bluetooth Receiver for $6.99 shipped. That's the lowest price I've seen for any such gizmo.

Update: D'oh! Those sold out fast. But fear not, I found something that's arguably even better: the Aukey Bluetooth receiver for $9.99 (shipped free for Amazon Prime subscribers). It's rechargeable and also supports hands-free calling, and it uses Bluetooth 3.0 instead of 2.1. Plus, some 150 customers rated it 4.5 stars, so you know it's a solid product.

The MusicAir Mini is a rechargeable Bluetooth receiver that plugs into just about anything that has an audio-in jack: computer speakers, home stereo, car stereo and so on. You can also plug in your favorite pair of wired headphones and instantly make them wireless (after a fashion). In fact, the kit includes a pair of earphones, though I expect they're probably Z-grade quality.

The Mini provides over five hours of play time on a charge, or over six hours if you use it for hands-free phone conversations (it has a built-in microphone).

I haven't found any reviews of the product, but there are dozens of similar ones out there that work exactly as advertised -- which is to say, great. No reason to think this is any different.

Of course, Bluetooth has an effective range of about 30 feet, so you need to keep your phone or tablet in fairly close proximity to the Mini. That's not true of the Chromecast Audio, which employs Wi-Fi instead -- meaning you can move all around the house with no loss of signal. Of course, your speaker will still be in the same room, so I don't consider that a huge advantage. I certainly wouldn't pay five times the price for it.

Granted, there are a couple unknowns here, but for seven bucks out the door, are you willing to take the risk?

Bonus deal: Holy low-cost lasers, Batman! For a limited time, and while supplies last, Newegg has the Pantum P2502W laser printer for $24.99 shipped. It supports both USB and Wi-Fi and it churns out up to 23 pages per minute. Replacement toner cartridges cost about $40, though you can occasionally find them on sale for a bit less. There are also cartridge-refill kits available.

Bonus deal 2: Glary Utilities is widely regarded as one of the top PC-optimization and -maintenance tools. It normally costs $39.95, but for a limited time, SharewareOnSale has Glary Utilities Pro for free. The software roots out junk files, cleans up the Windows Registry, finds duplicate files, optimizes performance and much more.

Bonus deal 3: Calling all authors! Your average word processor isn't designed for long-form projects like novels, screenplays, dissertations and memoirs. But Literature & Latte's Scrivener is. This top-rated writing tool normally sells for $40, but StackSocial has Scrivener 2 (Mac) for $19.50 and Scrivener 1.8..6 (Win) for $19.50. Check out CNET's review of the Mac version, and especially the accompanying user reviews: all are glowing.