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Is it possible to love a hockey puck?
Maybe, if it's a really smart one. Because I sure do love the twosmart assistants in my house, and they sure do look like hockey pucks.
A new Dot will run you $49.99, but for a limited time, and while supplies last, Amazon has the refurbished second-generation Echo Dot for $37.99 shipped.
I first spotted this yesterday, and have no idea how much inventory Amazon has available. At this price, it could sell out at any time.
Refurbished = used/scuffed/bad, right? Nah, not Amazon gear: It's "certified to look and work like new" and it comes with a
one-year 90-day warranty, same as new Dots. Update: Although the full-size Echo has a one-year warranty, the Dot is covered for 90 days, whether it's new or refurbished.
What can I tell you about this thing that you don't already know? It's like a way smarter Siri for your house, a voice-activated speaker that can answer questions, read the news, play a podcast, turn lights on and off, instantly stream your favorite music and much more.
Mrs. Cheapskate has one on her nightstand, where it serves as a terrific alarm clock, among other things. The other one is in the living room, where it's connected full-time to a big Bluetooth speaker.
Speaking of which, if listening to music is one of your main goals for the Dot -- and once you get accustomed to saying things like, "Alexa, play the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' soundtrack," it's hard to go back to futzing with a screen -- you should definitely pair it with a speaker. Even an inexpensive one will give you better results than you get from the Dot itself. (Give the little hockey puck a break; it's small!)
I definitely recommend reading CNET's review of the Echo Dot second gen if you want to learn more. Spoiler alert: The Dot received a 9.5 rating (aka 5 stars) and an Editors' Choice award, the only real complaint being that it can't sync with other Echo devices for music around the house.
My complaint: The second-gen model uses buttons for volume control instead of that super-cool dial found on the bigger Echo and first-gen Dot.
Meh. This is still a steal at $37.99.
Oh, by the way, sometime in the not-too-distant future, I'm going to have a deal on an Echo Dot battery base, which effectively makes the little puck portable. Stay tuned for that.
Bonus deal: Game time for Android users! The Humble Epic Platformers Bundle is too good to pass up, giving you nine top-rated games (with at least one more to come) for just $5. Highlights include three absolutely dazzling platformers: Limbo, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and Never Alone: Ki Edition. The entire bundle would cost you $36 if purchased separately, and a portion of your $5 goes to charity. No-brainer!
Bonus deal No. 2: A few weeks back I shared a deal on the, and in fact actually bought one to test. Verdict: Love it. In fact, the only reason I'm sticking with my is that the Fit doesn't let me respond to notifications (namely text messages), owing to the limitations of iOS. That's a feature I covet.
If you're an Android user, though, or an iPhone user who's more concerned about fitness and coolness, the Fit is definitely worth a look. Especially at this price: While supplies last (and I checked: they're limited), TechRabbit has the refurbished Samsung Gear Fit 2 for $69.99 shipped, the lowest price I've seen. It's available in either small or large, the only difference being the length of the wristband. I opted for a small; it fits my medium-size frame just fine.
The refurb comes with a one-year warranty (from TechRabbit, not Samsung). If you prefer new, click the New -- Hassle-Free option and apply promo code CNETFIT2. That'll bring your price down to $81.99.
The Fit 2 was $179.99 when it debuted last year. Read CNET's review to learn more, keeping in mind that it's a bit out of date. (The band now supports iPhone, for example.) At $69.99, it's quite possibly the best smartwatch/fitness-band deal I've seen yet.