I'm on a family vacation this week, enjoying a much-needed respite from the horrors (horrors, I say!) of this year's winter. Although we all packed headphones for use with our phones and tablets, I wanted a speaker so we could jam together to Pharrell Williams' can't-not-dance-to-it "Happy."
I had several portable-speaker options to choose from, but I like to travel as light as humanly possible. So I packed the impossibly compact new Matrix Audio Qube2, which sounds way louder -- and better -- than any speaker of its size has any right to.
Alas, it's pricey. But yay -- I've got a deal for you! For a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get the Matrix Audio Qube2 portable Bluetooth speaker for $55.99, plus $5 for shipping. That's after applying coupon code CNET2014 at checkout. Regular price: $79.99 plus shipping.
That may seem steep for a speaker measuring just 3.1x1.4x1.4 inches -- and it is -- but at $55.99, it's at least competitive with other, larger portable speakers. And take my word that the Qube2's size belies its power; it gets really loud and sounds really good, with a nice hint of bass courtesy of its passive vibrating bass technology.
The Qube2 comes in five colors, though at press time the silver one was sold out. All five feature a beautiful aluminum body that feels substantial, not cheap and plasticky.
Though a bit too large for a pants pocket, the speaker could easily ride along in a coat pocket or purse. It comes with a wrist strap and USB charging cable; the battery is good for up to eight hours of play time. And operation couldn't be much simpler: There's exactly one button, which is used for power on/off, play/pause, and Bluetooth pairing.
I'm not saying this is the best Bluetooth speaker I've ever used, but rather, the best of this size. If you travel a lot and like to travel light, this is definitely worth a look. Take note, however: Matrix Audio is anticipating one to two weeks for delivery.
Bonus deal: In the market for a no-contract iPhone? Virgin Mobile currently has some of the best deals going, including the iPhone 5c (32GB) for $439.99, shipped. (That link takes you to the blue model, but you can choose from four others.) Obviously that's still a little steep for any phone, but you'll still end up paying way less over time than a subsidized model. That's because Virgin's monthly plans start at just $30 per month (including unlimited texting and data). And if you use this link, you'll save an additional $25 by way of an account credit. (Full disclosure: I get the credit, too.)
Deals found on The Cheapskate are subject to availability, expiration, and other terms determined by sellers.
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