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"Alexa, set the thermostat to 72 degrees."
That's what I say upon waking up to a cold morning, which is starting to happen more often these days. Then I go back to sleep for 20 minutes until the house is nice and toasty. Oh, technology, sometimes I just want to give you a big sloppy smooch.
That bit of magic comes courtesy of my nightstand Amazon Echo Dot and a smart, Dot-compatible thermostat. Sound like a winning pair? Especially if you could, say, get one of them for free?
Today only, Amazon is bundling the Echo Dot and Ecobee3 smart thermostat for $249 shipped. That's the price you'd normally pay for the latter all by itself; the Dot would cost you $50 more.
I don't own an Ecobee3. In fact, my thermostat is several years old and not nearly as cool. It does, however, integrate with the Echo, which is awesome. And I'm a huge, huge fan of all the Echo products. (Speaking of which, if you're not interested in the thermostat, you can also get an Echo Dot and TP-Link Smart Plug for $69.99, a savings of $10.)
CNET's review will tell you everything you need to know about the Ecobee3, which, incidentally, also supports Apple HomeKit. The big complaint was with potential installation issues, so be sure to read about that and check your HVAC before pulling the trigger. Likewise, check the Amazon user reviews, which average out to 4.5 stars from over 2,000 (!) buyers.
Speaking of reviews, CNET awarded an extremely rare five stars to the Echo Dot, praising almost everything about it. (Looking for affordable Bluetooth speakers to pair with the Dot? I've got you covered. Likewise, learn how to turn the Echo Dot into the ultimate nightstand accessory.)
The only thing I don't like about this second-generation Dot is the switch to volume-control buttons. The previous model relied on a rotating top, same as the full-size Echo. Of course, given that you can verbally instruct Alexa to raise or lower the volume, that's hardly a dealbreaker.
If you've been thinking about smartening up your home, these two items will give you a big head-start. Your thoughts?
Bonus deal: Sometimes I feel a little insane for sharing iPad deals, especially in light of that $30 Amazon Fire tablet from the other day, but the truth is some folks want iPads and are willing to pay for them. So if there's a deal to be had, I gotta share.
To wit: Daily Steals has the certified-refurbished iPad Pro 12.9 (32GB) for $539.99 shipped when you apply promo code CHP10 at checkout. Apple's price for a refurb: $679. You can get it in your choice of gold, silver or space gray. Although you don't get the same one-year warranty afforded by Apple, Daily Steals is backing these with a 90-day warranty and money-back guarantee. That's courtesy of yours truly pressing them to do so, cheeps -- usually it's 30 days' warranty and a 60-day guarantee.
Plus, you can add a two-year warranty -- one that even covers drops -- for $59.99 and still come out ahead relative to Apple. You can also bump up to the 128GB model for $80 more.