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Mobile Accessories

Get a folding portable Bluetooth keyboard for $16

It's the lowest price to date for this super-handy phone and tablet accessory. Plus: An Apple Watch that's affordable(ish) and the probably-brief return of my favorite AIO printer.

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!


Today's deal is a rerun, something I first shared nearly a year ago. Back then, it was $2 more, proving once again my favorite motto: Cheap things come to those who wait.

Before I dive in, however, let me once again prod (nag?) you to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Why? More deals, that's why! Just yesterday, for example, I blasted out this tasty item:

Good news: As of this morning, the Dell is still available for that price. (And in case you're wondering, I just ordered a full set of replacement toner cartridges for my E525w for about $36.) But it might not have been, meaning yesterday would have been your best chance to score one.

Apologies to Facebook users for not sharing the deal there as well, but I just now linked my Twitter account to Facebook, so hopefully these things will get cross-posted there. All this is still a work in progress, so bear with me.

Stow (this keyboard) and go

One of my favorite things about the Battop folding keyboard is its built-in stand.

Battop

On to business. I love simple, effective, crazy-cheap solutions to life's little problems.

In this case, the problem of needing to send a long email or edit a document when you're on the go, with only your phone or tablet at hand. You need a real keyboard, but it's not like you can just make one magically appear.

Oh, wait, yes, you can: Battop (via Amazon) has its folding portable Bluetooth keyboard for $16.89 when you apply discount code UXXE79JI at checkout. Shipping is free for Prime subscribers. It normally sells for $25.99.

When I see a keyboard like this, something in my brain goes tilt -- in a good way. It harkens back to the Stowaway for PalmPilot, if you're old or geeky enough to remember that. It's like, "What is this strange slab of plastic? Wait, what's happening, it's opening up... OH MY GOD IT'S A KEYBOARD!"

And for anyone wishing to use their phone or tablet as a surrogate laptop, a keyboard really is essential.

When folded, the Battop looks remarkably like a three-hole punch and feels very solid, like you could whack someone upside the head if necessary. Unfold it and it's a full QWERTY keyboard -- a smidgen narrower than standard, but comfortable enough for touch-typing.

What's more, it has a built-in stand to hold your phone or tablet upright. Just don't expect to use it -- or any folding keyboard, really -- in your lap.

These keys work with not only Android and iOS devices, but also Windows tablets. So if you bought, say, a Microsoft Surface and don't want to fork over another $130 for Microsoft's keyboard, this can take its place. Not saying it's as good, merely that it's compatible.

To my thinking this is a way better solution than a keyboard case or cover, which adds significant full-time bulk to any tablet. Here, you whip out the keyboard when you need it, stow it when you don't. My only complaint is there's no clasp or catch to keep it shut when folded. Rubber bands to the rescue!

Battop backs the product with a 12-month warranty -- important given that a handful of reviewers cited reliability issues. For what it's worth, I've used one on and off for the better part of year, with no issues to speak of.

Your thoughts?

apple-watch-series-1-38mm-sport-band-white

Apple Watch.

Apple

Bonus deal: You know how I feel about smartwatches, right? Every wrist needs one. And if you're an iPhone owner, the unfortunate reality is there's no better option than the Apple Watch.

I say that because although various other models are iPhone-compatible, they're all limited in certain ways (owing to limitations imposed by iOS). And the unfortunate part is that the Apple Watch is pricey -- and deals are rare.

But here's one! For a limited time, and while supplies last, Target has the Apple Watch Series 1 38mm for $179.99 shipped (plus tax). It's available in black or white and comes with the sport band. Apple's price: $249.

Yep, Target's deal matches Black Friday 2017 pricing, which proves my other favorite motto: Every day is Black Friday. I've worn a Series 1 for a while now, and although certain aspects still annoy me -- it's a little sluggish, and the UI is ridiculously bad -- it's still the best iPhone companion watch I've tried.