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I'm on record as saying the Amazon Echo Dot makes -- but it's imperfect in two ways.
First, it has no display. Any bedside accessory worth its salt should be able to show you what time it is. Second, it's a pretty weak speaker, which is why I always recommend pairing it with something bigger and better.
Or, you could just buy this: Today only, and while supplies last, Best Buy has the Insignia Voice Smart Bluetooth Speaker with Google Assistant for $69.99 shipped (plus tax). Regular price: $99.99.
Available in all black or black and gray, the Insignia Voice is basically a Google Home designed for your nightstand. It's a digital clock, an alarm and a smart speaker, one that's large enough to deliver decent, room-filling sound, unlike the Dot or Google Mini.
Of course, if you prefer to sleep next to Alexa (so to speak), you'll need a Dot. But if you're just as happy with Google's nameless Assistant (I don't know why, but I want to call her "Barb"), the Voice gives you much of the same functionality.
For example, you can ask it to set an alarm (natch), tell you the weather, check traffic, look up movie showtimes, play music, request an Uber, control other smart-home gadgets and so on.
Indeed, it does pretty much. The only thing it can't do is make phone calls.
CNET hasn't reviewed the Insignia Voice, but nearly a thousand Best Buy customers collectively rated it 4.4 stars. Many of them praised the sound quality, noting that it was better than the Google Home's. Some of the more negative reviews relate to a volume problem that appears to have been addressed with a firmware update.
I'm not sure I'd pay $100 for an alarm clock, even one with smarts. At $70, though, I'd consider it -- especially given the robust speaker.
Bonus deal: While you're perusing the virtual aisles at Best Buy, check this out. Also today only, you can score a JVC 6.8-inch Android Auto and Apple CarPlay car stereo for $299.99 shipped (plus tax). Regular price: $599.99!
Prices like that, which aren't uncommon for aftermarket units, are a key reason I haven't yet grabbed one of these, despite really wanting one. I'm not sure whether this particular model is compatible with my vehicle, nor what installation would add to the cost. I do know that it's $372 at Amazon, where it has mostly positive reviews, and that it has more and even better reviews from Best Buy customers.
If you own something like this or your car came with an Android Auto or CarPlay stereo, I'd love to hear what you think of it. And so would your fellow cheapskates, I'm sure.
Bonus deal No. 2: Action cameras can be a lot of fun, but do you really need to spend more than $300? If you opt for a cheaper one, what do you give up?
The answer to the first question is simple: Definitely not. For a limited time, and while supplies last, Seeverything (via Amazon) has the Yi Discovery 4K action camera for $47.99 when you apply promo code NW2UIST9 at checkout.
OK, but how does image quality compare with, say, a GoPro? Let's be honest, It simply won't be as good. But will it be good enough? That's the question. There aren't many user reviews of this model, but they average out to 4.3 stars, and Fakespot says they're legit.
As for accessories, you get none. No microSD card, no waterproof housing, no remote, no mounts. That stuff's all pretty cheap, though, and you can pick and choose what you need. So if you're willing to take a flyer, as they say, this could be some sweet action-cam bang for your buck.