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Gadgets

Get a Nonda Aiko rechargeable tracker for $16.99

That's less than the cost of a Tile, and you don't have to replace it every year. Plus: a free $20 game and free two-year ShopRunner subscription!

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!


If it's not abundantly clear by now, I don't know everything about everything. Yesterday, for example, I shared a deal on a handheld game console that may contain unlicensed games. (Still investigating that.) What's more, I found similar (or better) products on Amazon for close to the same price -- and without the 2-4-week shipping wait.

Meanwhile, last month I shared a deal on a four-pack of Tile Mate trackers, not knowing that the product has a significant shortcoming: You can't recharge or replace the battery, so you literally have to buy a new one every year or so. Bleh!

Mea culpa. Sometimes, in my excitement to share something new and different, I rush to post the deal and overlook certain caveats. While I always do my best to give you all the pertinent details, I will occasionally miss something. Thankfully, I have lots of knowledgeable readers, so you should always check the comments to see if they know something I don't.

Lost and found

The Nonda Aiko Finder (right) is very close in size to the Tile Mate (front), but has a huge advantage: It's rechargeable.

Photo by Rick Broida/CNET

Speaking of Tile trackers, the aforementioned battery thing is kind of a deal-breaker, at least for me. Surely the company could make the device rechargeable -- as evidenced by today's deal.

Actually, it's an everyday deal: Amazon sells the Nonda Aiko Finder for $16.99, shipped free with Prime. Price when purchased from Nonda proper: $18.99. (You can also get two for $28.88.)

The gizmo is virtually identical to the Tile Mate, albeit a hair taller. (Think slightly elongated Triscuit cracker.) But it has one key advantage: It's rechargeable. Nonda estimates it can go about a month on a charge.

That means more work on your part than the use-it-for-a-full-year Tile, but also means you won't have to replace it in a year. You could just set a calendar reminder for, say, the first Sunday of each month, and hopefully you'll have no trouble keeping the Aiko charged.

Functionally it's quite similar as well: An app lets you locate the tracker, which plays an appreciably loud sound. That makes it a good companion for your keychain, purse or any other frequently misplaced item.

The reverse action: Double-press the tracker's button to make your phone beep (again, loudly), even if it's on mute.

The catch, of course, is that the two items need to be in Bluetooth range of each other. And you need to allow the tracker to have full-time Bluetooth access, which will undoubtedly cause a hit on battery life. (How much of a hit, I'm not sure.)

Does it work?

The Aiko earned a 4.3-star average from over 50 Amazon buyers, but those who reviewed the Android app had fewer good things to say. My advice, as with each and every item I share here: Do your homework, know your return options if the product doesn't work well, etc.

After about 24 hours testing the Aiko with an iPhone, I'll simply say I'd recommend it with reservations. The app isn't super intuitive, and the find-my-phone option won't work unless you set the location-services setting to "Always." (Pretty sure the same is true of the Tile, though.) One limitation compared to the Tile: You don't get the same option for crowd-sourced help if your tracker goes missing.

Overall, I think these gadgets can be super-useful, but there are always a few caveats: range, battery life, consistency and so on. If you've used this one or any other, please share your thoughts about it in the comments.

Nkidu Games

Bonus deal: Game time! The Red Solstice is a tactical squad-based survival game set on Mars. It features both a 30-hour single-player campaign and support for up to eight players in online co-op mode.

It normally sells for $20, but for a limited time, the Humble Store is offering The Red Solstice (Windows) for free. You'll receive it in the form of a Steam key, which, naturally, requires a Steam account.

This 2015 title scored a 7/10 rating from GameSpot and generally positive reviews from Steam customers. Grab your copy while you can!

Bonus deal 2: Free shipping is kind of the norm these days, but a lot of stores still require you to spend a minimum amount -- say, $50 or $75 -- to score that savings.

If you have a ShopRunner subscription, however, you automatically bag free shipping -- and free returns! -- at over 140 stores. Good news: PayPal users can get a two-year ShopRunner subscription for free. After that period, you'll be on the hook for the regular rate of $79 per year unless you cancel, so mark your calendar.

Incidentally, if you have an American Express card or a World/World Elite Mastercard, you can get a perpetual free membership. Just hit up the ShopRunner home page and click Complimentary Memberships to sign up.