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When it comes to smartwatches, two products occupy the bulk of consumer mindshare: the Apple Watch and the Pebble.
That's too bad, because there are a few other products out there that deserve consideration. Like this one: For a limited time, and while supplies last, A4C has the refurbished Samsung Gear 2 for $119.95 shipped. That's after applying coupon code CHEAP50 at checkout. It's available in your choice of black (though in the photo it sure looks like silver) or gold brown.
Why does the Gear 2 deserve consideration when most professional reviews () were lukewarm at best? For starters, the watch still sells new for $299, same as when it debuted just over a year ago. Refurbs typically run in the $150-170 range. At $120 out the door, it's much easier to forgive any minor shortcomings.
Indeed, now it seems like incredible bang for the buck, because the Gear 2 does everything plus the dishes in the kitchen sink: time and notifications, of course, but also fitness and heart-rate monitoring. It features a built-in 2-megapixel camera, an IR blaster for controlling your TV, voice controls for just about everything and even 4GB of music storage for phone-free tunes.
Ah, but what of the aforementioned reviews? As is often the case, professional critique doesn't always square with real-world appraisal. Everywhere I looked, users gushed over the Gear 2. The seven reviews at A4C: 5 stars. The 100-plus reviews on Samsung's product page: 4.4 stars. And the biggest crowd-sourced opinion bank of all: 757 Amazon customers with a collective rating of 4.4 stars. Remember, too, that most of those folks paid way more than $119.95.
If there's bad news in all this, it's compatibility: Just as the Apple Watch works only with iPhones, so does the Gear 2 require a Samsung smartphone (though check here for the short list of non-compatible models).
But if you're among the gazillions of compatible-phone owners, this might be the smartwatch deal you've been waiting for. The Gear 2 may have its quirks, but it's guaranteed to turn your wrist into something far more potent than just that thing connecting your arm to your hand.
Needless to say, if you already own a Gear 2, hit the comments and let your fellow cheeps know the score.
Bonus deal: Any self-respecting home theater is built around an AV receiver -- ideally one with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 4K/UltraHD support. Today only, and while supplies last, Meh has the Onkyo TX-NR535 5.2-channel receiver for $180, plus $5 for shipping. It's new, not refurbished, and sells elsewhere for at least $265. Specs include the aforementioned, plus Android and iOS apps that can pull receiver-remote duty. Sellout risk: considerable.
Your turn: Speaking of home theaters, what does yours look like? Just the TV? The TV and a soundbar? A full-blown rig with receiver, surround speakers, the whole enchilada? I'm in the middle (TV/soundbar), though with HDMI ports overflowing thanks to TiVo, Roku, Apple TV and PS3. Too many remotes, too many connections. At some point I need to consolidate.