by Rick Broida January 6, 2017 7:34 AM PST @cheapskateblog
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Hi, everyone! I know I promised you a "best cheap tech of CES" roundup today, but as of this morning I've barely scratched the surface of the show. Thus, I'm going to wait till Monday so I can include more cool stuff!
In the meantime, it's another Bluetooth speaker! But hear me out. One thing I've noticed at CES is that many of the bigger names in audio are starting to court the lower end of the market. So in the not-too-distant future, you may be able to buy a cute, compact portable speaker for, say, $40, and get it from a well-known company, not a foreign unknown.
Does that matter? I don't know -- topic for another day. For now, speakers don't get much cheaper than this: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Yugster has the refurbished Ecoxgear Ecopebble rugged portable Bluetooth speaker for $8.97 when you apply promo code CNETECOX at checkout.
Note that you do need to be a Yugster member (it's free to sign up) in order to use that code, and shipping will bring your total cost to $13.97. But that's still a pretty amazing price for this little guy.
The Ecopebble is a compact, outdoor-friendly speaker designed to, say, clip to your backpack while you hike the Adirondacks. It floats, it's waterproof and shock-resistant, it has a threaded screw post in case you want to put it on a camera mount for some reason, and there's even a line-in jack for connecting non-Bluetooth sources. It's also a speakerphone!
Because it's a refurb, it's backed by a 90-day warranty.
If you want some hands-on (and ears-on) info, I'll refer you to PC Mag's review. It calls the audio quality decent, not great, and gives it a 3.5 rating (out of 5). But keep in mind that was based on a $60 retail price. This $9, people. "Decent" bumps out to "sweet" at that price, don't you think?
Bonus deal: Game time! Origin continues to offer some great titles as part of its On the House promotion. How great? Well, let's see: For a limited time, you can get Mass Effect 2 (PC) for free. This was one of 2010's most celebrated games, a widely revered action-RPG that scored a 9 from Gamespot. As always, you'll need an Origin account and the Origin desktop client. Incidentally, the game would cost you $19.99 if purchased from Steam. But grab from Origin and it's free free free!