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.
If you're a regular around these parts, you know how I feel about smartwatches. I won't pay $350 for one, I won't use one that requires charging every day or two, and I couldn't care less about step- and sleep-tracking (in part because I don't believe they're accurate).
But I now consider a smartwatch an essential wearable, and here's why: notifications. When a call, text message or reminder comes in, I can't be certain I'll be able to see, hear or feel my phone. But if there's a smartwatch strapped to my wrist, I'll never miss an important event.
That's why I'm insanely excited about today's deal: Today only, and while supplies last, Meh has the Martian Notifier smartwatch for $34, plus $5 for shipping. And unlike most previous deals, it's available not just in black, but also white and red. Original price: $129.99. Current price on Amazon: around $75.
Here's what I love about the Notifier: It actually looks like a watch, so the dork factor is very low -- no one will actually know it's a smartwatch unless you tell them. And if you grow tired of the color, you can easily swap wristbands.
Also, true to its name, the Martian is all about notifications. When something happens on your phone -- a call or text message comes in, a calendar alarm goes off -- the Notifier vibrates. At the same time, the OLED screen displays a scrolling ticker with information about the notification: who's calling, the contents of the message and so on. And thanks to Martian's Android and iOS apps, you can customize the vibration patterns for lots of different notification types.
I'll turn you over tofor a more in-depth look at the watch. It rightly points out a few imperfections, including the proprietary charging cable (#nerdrage) and splashproof -- not waterproof -- design. To that list I would add the very small display, which makes for challenging reading, especially with longer messages.
On the other hand, the Notifier cleverly relies on two batteries: one for the watch itself (which runs for two years), another for the display and notification system (good for about a week between charges). Even if the latter runs out, the watch keeps on ticking.
Recently I've seen the original Pebble selling for around $50, a deal that's really hard to pass up. But if you prefer a watch that actually looks like a watch and don't care about custom faces and all that, the Notifier is a killer deal at $34. Great, great gift item, too.
Bonus deal: If you're lucky enough to live someplace where bicycling is an all-year sport, can I live with you?! Also, Liger is offering its universal smartphone handlebar holder for $11.95 when you apply coupon code 8UUSR4PY at checkout. That's $6 off the regular price, and the code works with both the black and red versions. It can hold phones up to 3.5 inches across (meaning up to and including ), and the reviews are pretty stellar.
Bonus deal No. 2: Speaking of outdoor activities, it's one thing to get away from it all, but quite another if you get lost or injured while exploring the wilderness. For a limited time, REI has the Spot Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger for free after rebate (PDF).
With it you can send SOS messages, share GPS coordinates and check in with friends and family members. Just take note that it requires service to the tune of $150 annually.