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It's been a busy week in the Echo-verse. First Amazon took the wraps off the Echo Show, a screen-enhanced version of its smart speaker. Although that description now seems insufficient -- smart home hub, maybe?
Now comes a rare deal on the original: For a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get a refurbished Amazon Echo for $134.99 shipped. It's available in your choice of black or white. Regular price for a new one: $179.99.
Actually, the Echo is currently on sale for $149.99 as part of a Mother's Day promotion, though rumor has it that price cut will become permanent in the face of competition from Google Home and the strong likelihood of Apple entering the home-hub market.
So why go refurb if you're saving only $15? Simple: Because the refurb is literally good as new. It's certified Amazon-refurbished, so it looks and operates exactly like new. Plus, you get the same one-year warranty as a new Echo. There's no downside.
Well, there might be one: I don't know for sure about the packaging, which is probably brown-box, not retail. If you're buying this as a gift, that's something to consider.
Of course, the other option is to buy an Echo Dot for $49.99 and an Echo-comparable speaker to go with it, which you could probably do for a bit less money.
But we're here to talk about the big-kahuna Echo, which in my house has become an invaluable asset. Nearly every morning, we ask Alexa for a weather report. Almost daily, we ask her to play some music. We frequently use her to set timers and alarms, and the kids like using her as a calculator instead of pulling out their phones.
All this is to say, I'm a fan. Big fan. And I really leverage only a fraction of the Echo's potential.
My gut, however, says there's a permanent price cut coming, probably to $129 (which is the price of Google Home). Maybe Amazon will wait and see what Apple does next month. If you're not in a hurry for one of these, my advice is to wait.
But if you really want an Echo, this is one of the lowest prices to date.
Bonus deal: You know those goofy "What's in your wallet?" commercials? They might need to change them to, "What's on your playlist?" Because starting this morning, Capital One is offering "Spotify Premium customers 50% back on the cost of their subscription for an entire year when they pay with a Capital One Quicksilver or QuicksilverOne card, through April 30, 2018." In other words, your effective monthly cost for Spotify will be $4.99 instead of $9.99.
The offer also gives you 50% back when you purchase Spotify Premium for Students or Spotify Premium for Family with your Quicksilver card. Current Capital One customers will receive the reward in the form of a Capital One statement credit.
Perhaps best of all, this offer is good for new and existing Spotify customers alike!
If you haven't tried Spotify yet, you can sign up with an eligible Capital One card by June 15 and get a three-month trial.