CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!
Cheeps! Remarkable fact of the day: In about two months, I'll be celebrating my 10-year anniversary as The Cheapskate! To celebrate, I'm putting together the mother of all giveaways. In fact, if there's a particular tech item you've always hoped you could win, let me know and I'll see about getting one into the prize mix!
I also wanted to apologize for the rapid sellout of. Who knew a doorbell would be so popular? To further confuse the matter, once the self-powered version sold out, the same link went to the virtually identical battery-powered version. Not that there's anything wrong with that one; it just wasn't what I wrote about.
That's the challenge sometimes with Amazon-based deals; when inventory runs out, sometimes you're shown the same product from a different seller (and the promo code doesn't work) or a slightly different product from the same seller (and, again, promo code doesn't work).
All the more reason to follow me on one of the aforementioned social networks; it's much easier to get deal updates. (And late-breaking bonus deals as well. Just saying.)
As household chores go, sweeping and vacuuming are pretty rotten. You gotta deal with brooms, dustpans and that noisy, heavy, clunky vacuum cleaner. And, what, you're supposed to give up an hour of your Saturday to get all that done?
Uh, no, thank you. Let the robots do it.
Like this one: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Ecovacs Robotics (via Amazon) has the Deebot N79 robot vacuum cleaner for $159.98 shipped when you apply promo code MDUDN46X at checkout. (Tested and verified at 6:30 a.m. PT.)
If you've ever seen a Roomba in action, it's pretty clear the Deebot is quite similar. It's a circular sweeper that rolls around the floor, terrorizing (and/or amusing) your pets while simultaneously sucking up dust, Cheerios and the like.
This one, being thoroughly modern, is "smart," meaning you can program it via your phone or tablet. (iRobot's app-enabled Roomba, if you're curious, runs $375.) The Ecovacs app lets you set up cleaning schedules, check the N79's progress and even drive the thing around.
I got the chance to test-drive the little guy; here are my impressions:
- It's amazingly quiet. I used to own a Roomba; it was much noisier.
- I'm not sure why the app has such terrible reviews; I had no trouble getting the N79 connected to Wi-Fi, and from there I could steer it around manually (fun!), start any of the cleaning modes, send it home to the charger and so on.
- Don't like apps? The included remote works well, too, Press a button and, bam, off it goes.
- After it did a run around my living room, I checked the dust bin. Holy mackerel, I've been living in squalor! It picked up a surprising amount of dust and debris.
This particular model is intended for hard floors and low-pile carpet; my living room has shag, and it seemed to do just fine on that. But I must admit I'm basing this on maybe 30 minutes of testing. Long-term, I have no idea how it'll fare.
The N79 earned a 4.4-star average from well over 600 buyers (along with passing grades from Fakespot and ReviewMeta for those reviews).
Obviously there are other Roomba-like robot cleaners out there (including Roombas) -- some costing more, some costing less. Here you're getting a pretty decent price break on an already-affordable model. If you're ready to cross one big chore off your household to-do list, this is definitely worth a look.
Bonus deal: Free game! Ending tomorrow, the Humble Store is offering Psychonauts (Win/Mac/Linux) for $0. Normally $10, this classic platformer "delivers an experience that feels wholly original in every aspect of its execution," according to GameSpot.
You can get it as a DRM-free executable or, if you prefer to keep all your games under one roof, a Steam key. (If you go the latter route, you must redeem it no later than Sept. 30.) There are literally no strings attached, though I suppose needing to create a Humble account (free) might strike some as a "string."
Bonus deal No. 2: In the market for a new/big/second monitor? Hard to beat this: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Woot has the refurbished Samsung S24D300HL 23.6-inch LED desktop monitor for $79.99, plus $5 for shipping. (Sales tax may also apply.)
This same model sells new for at least $135, and most places sell it for around $160. But user reviews seem rather mixed; some folks complained of washed-out colors and a non-adjustable stand (even though it's listed as "tilt" in the specs), others gushed over the beautiful image.
Of course, because you've done your homework, you know that Woot accepts returns only if a product is damaged or defective, so if you merely don't like the monitor, you're stuck with it.
That said, $80 for a 24-inch screen is mighty tempting. The warranty is just 90 days, but at least it's a Samsung warranty. Thoughts?
Bonus deal No. 3: Calling all parents! I agree wholeheartedly that there are potential pitfalls of too much screen time, but I also think an iPad can be an amazing learning/creativity/diversion tool.
Especially with apps like this: For a limited time, Fingerprint's Scribble Press - Creative Book Maker for Kids (iPad) is free. Kids can start with a blank book or book templates, then add drawings, photos, backgrounds, stickers, music and even voice-overs. Cool stuff; just wish I could go back in time and let my kids have fun with this.