Recipe for a happy life: good health, good friends, good food and drink, and a good-sounding Bluetooth speaker that can go pretty much anywhere you go.
Because, really, you can squeeze a lot more happiness from your life with a steady diet of music, podcasts, audiobooks, guided meditations, NPR, movie soundtracks, and even bigger, louder audio for the games you play.
I know, right? All that goodness from just a simple speaker. Like this one: for a limited time, and while supplies last, Tanga has the Urge Basics SoundBrick+ portable Bluetooth speaker with NFC for $36.99. That's after applying coupon code CHEAPSKATE at checkout. Shipping adds another $2.99, getting you out the door for under $40. Price on Amazon: $70.
I've featured a few Urge Basics speakers in the past, and they've proven tremendously popular. This model debuted in late July, and although it has garnered only about 10 reviews from Amazon customers, they're extremely positive overall.
True to its name, the SoundBrick resembles, well, a brick, albeit one with curved corners and a colorful plastic shell (your choice of black, blue, orange, red or yellow). It's not unlike the vast majority of other Bluetooth speakers out there, save for the wonderful addition of NFC.
If you have a phone or tablet that supports the technology, pairing it to the SoundBrick is literally a one-tap affair -- by which I mean you tap the device on the speaker. Not that traditional Bluetooth pairing is especially difficult, but this is just so much quicker and easier. Pairing stuff the old way, I'm like, "What is this, 2007?" Now we just need Apple to stop being so possessive about NFC on the iPhone 6 and open it up for stuff like this.
Of course, if your device doesn't have NFC, nor even Bluetooth, no problem: you can just jack into the back of the SoundBrick. There's also a speakerphone option for louder, clearer hands-free calling. As for the battery, it's good for about 8 hours, according to Urge Basics.
Seriously, I love speakers like this. Got one for the bathroom for when I shower, one for the garage when I do projects, and so on. And at this price, it's a pretty sweet gift. Thoughts?
Bonus deal: What better companion for a new speaker than free music? For a limited time, Google is once again demonstrating amazing largess, offering the complete Imagine Dragons album "Night Visions" absolutely free. The 11-track LP includes familiar hits like "Radioactive" and "On Top of the World." Price elsewhere: er, more.
Bonus deal No. 2: Evernote is all kinds of awesome. (Actually, I find it has a fairly user-hostile interface, but the core capabilities are awesome.) Alas, a Premium subscription will cost you $60 annually. However, for a limited time, you can get a free year of Evernote Premium when you order a 12-week Wall Street Journal subscription for $12. There's a bit of hoop-jumping involved, so be sure to read and follow the steps as outlined here on DealNews. Alas, this offer is for new WSJ customers only.