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Gadgets

Get a refurbished Galaxy Gear smartwatch for $76.45

If you own a compatible Galaxy smartphone, this should prove a welcome addition to your wrist. Plus: tons of free apps from Amazon.

samsung-galaxy-gear-black.jpg
Samsung

About a year ago, the Samsung Galaxy Gear arrived to great fanfare -- and was quickly panned by most reviewers. A $299 price tag? Hardly any apps? And it works only with a smattering of Samsung phones?

Funny how things can change in a year. The Galaxy Gear may not have been a critical hit, but it seems to have found an audience. Perhaps that's because prices have plummeted following its lukewarm reception -- or perhaps it's because critics got it wrong.

More on that in a bit. For now, this: For a limited time, and while supplies last, A4C has the refurbished Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch for $76.45 shipped. That's after applying coupon code tech10 at checkout and choosing from six available colors.

First things first: The watch is still compatible only with Samsung Galaxy devices, such as the S3, S4, and Note II. (Here's the latest compatibility list.) Based on a smattering of user comments I've read, it works with the S5 as well. (It stands to reason it would connect with any modern Galaxy phone.)

If you own a compatible model, you really need to think seriously about one of these. Although CNET gave it a score of just 5.4 (out of 10) and sites like Engadget rated it a 65 (out of 100), the user reviews tell a different story.

At A4C, for example, the 14 reviews average out to 4.5 stars (out of 5). At Engadget, scroll down a bit and you'll see a user-review average of 8.1. Amazon: 4.1 stars from nearly 700 buyers. Samsung's own product page: 4.3 stars from 121 buyers.

I can't add my own two cents to this, because I haven't seen or tried the Gear, but it's clear enough that most people who buy the watch like the watch. And it's a good bet many of those reviewers paid a higher price, if not much higher.

When the Gear debuted a year ago, it was hard to know what to expect from a smartwatch, or what we even wanted it to do. For my money, if it tells time, alerts me to calls and text messages, and maybe gives me a choice of some cool watchfaces, it's golden.

The Gear does a lot more than that, but I suspect users are happy with it because it delivers just fine on the basics. Also, Samsung's latest update promises "richer apps notifications, greater Bluetooth range, better Wake-Up gesture detection, and more."

And for $76 out the door? Sheesh, even the entry-level Pebble costs $99, and it has a plastic grayscale non-touchscreen. Needless to say, if you already own a Galaxy Gear, hit the comments and share your opinion of it with your fellow cheeps.

Bonus deal: App time! Amazon is once again giving away a boatload of paid apps. Plants Vs. Zombies? Free. World of Goo? Free? Plex and Fruit Ninja and Zombie Gunship? Yep: also free. Don't worry if you don't own a Kindle tablet; you can easily install Amazon Appstore apps on your Android device.

Bonus deal No. 2: Free-movie time! Today only, AMC Theaters is offering a free download of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" when you preorder a ticket to "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1." (Scroll down to AMC Promotions to find the deal. When you click through, you'll have to set your theater location before you can buy your ticket.) The movie opens Thursday, Nov. 20, and it may take up to a week to receive your download code via e-mail. It's not clear what the source or format will be for that download.