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Like headphones, speakers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are designed to sit on shelves, others are meant for mobility. A few can accompany you into the shower -- which is probably a bad idea, but I'll come back to that.
For now, this: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Patozon (via Amazon) has the Mpow Buckler portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker for $14.99 when you apply coupon code YC9L8TYQ at checkout. Shipping is free for Amazon Prime subscribers.
First things first: "Buckler" is just a terrible product name. Yes, this definition sort of applies here: "a round shield held by a grip and sometimes having straps through which the arm is passed." But the definition that leapt to my mind was, "One who buckles." Like when under pressure. And who would buy something that buckles under pressure?
Then I challenged myself to come up with something better. And I couldn't, so...check out the Buckler, everyone!
This little round speaker is shockproof, dustproof and splashproof, so you can use it just about anywhere. Of course, the same probably can't be said of the phone or tablet you'll be using to stream audio to it, but once again I digress.
Thanks to a removable rear suction-cup, the Buckler can join you in the shower for your favorite playlist, podcast or whatever. Here's why that's a bad idea: It will almost certainly result in you taking longer showers, and water doesn't grow on trees, you know? Plus, I do some of my best thinking in the shower, and listening to, oh, I don't know, an awesome Battlestar Galactica recap podcast would interfere with that flow of ideas. Podcasts are for commutes, treadmills and other long stretches of boredom.
There's also a loop up top that you can use to attach the speaker to, say, a backpack. (Carabiner not included.)
The Buckler comes in your choice of black, blue or orange. And thanks to its built-in microphone, it doubles as a speakerphone. Its rechargeable battery is good for up to 8 hours of playing time according to Mpow.
So how does it sound? Pretty decent, at least based on the 150-plus user reviews, which average out to 4.3 stars out of 5. My take: Don't expect greatness from a $15 speaker and you won't be disappointed. Instead, expect decent sound that can withstand a day at the beach or some bumping around on a hike.
Bonus deal: Humble Bundle is running a seriously good name-your-own-price deal on Capcom games. Sure, Lost Planet 3 scored some "meh" reviews when it debuted a couple years ago. But for $1? Worth a try! Of course, if you pony up $15 or more for the top tier, you get lots of top-rated action titles including Devil May Cry, a handful of Resident Evils and Remember Me. Total value of this bundle: $235. Oh, and you'll be helping charity at the same time. Win-win-win!