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. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.
I'm a sucker for bundles, especially when they're packed with good stuff.
For a limited time, and while supplies last, B&H Photo has the following bundle for $364 shipped (with promo code zoomwatch, which should automatically be applied at checkout):
- Asus ZenFone Zoom ZX551ML 5.5-inch unlocked GSM smartphone (64GB)
- Asus ZenWatch 2 (rose gold)
- Asus ZenPower 10,500mAh mobile charger (choice of colors)
- $50 B&H Photo gift card
Let me put that in some perspective: The phone itself lists for $399, and that's still the price you'd pay at, say, Amazon. The ZenWatch 2: $179 at Amazon. The mobile charger normally runs $25. So, yeah, pretty darn good bundle at $364 out the door.
Ah, but are the pieces any good? I'll work backwards: The gift card is obviously awesome, and the charger has mostly 5-star reviews (though it offers just one USB output, a definite bummer).
As for the ZenWatch 2, by most accounts it's a winner. CNET hasn't covered it, so I'll start you with ZDNet's extremely favorable review. Amazon customers collectively rated it 4.3 stars out of 5, and most other reviews I've seen were quite positive.
But what about the phone?
Obviously the ZenFone Zoom is the centerpiece of this deal, and on paper it's a gem: unlocked for GSM networks, 5.5-inch Gorilla Glass 1080p display, 64GB of expandable storage, Android 5.0 (Marshmallow-upgradeable), and on and on.
The big attraction here is the camera and its optical zoom lens, which delivers 3x magnification but adds little protrusion to the back of the phone.
Now for the bad news: Most reviews (including CNET's) suggest the camera doesn't perform very well in low light and tends to be sluggish overall. What's more, if you're looking for a "pure Android" experience, this isn't it: Asus relies on its ZenUI interface, which includes some bloatware. On the plus side, ZenUI is extremely fast, at least according to this review.
Obviously a phone that touts photography as its killer feature should have a killer camera, and apparently the ZenFone's is merely okay. But maybe that's okay, depending on your needs.
Indeed, not every phone has a great camera, and not everyone cares. The ZenFone seems to excel in areas like performance, screen quality, battery life and versatility -- and did I mention it comes with a really nice smartwatch?
Bonus deal: Ready to raise your nightstand game? (I know: Who knew nightstands were supposed to even have game?) For a limited time, Oittm is offering a nightstand Apple Watch 3-port charging dock for $13.49 when you apply promo code 7KFL9KH2 at checkout. The code should work with both the black and white versions.
The dock has a hidden USB port on the inside for connecting your Apple Watch charger and stowing its cable. And there are three more on the front for powering your other devices. Great little accessory, especially if you scored a discounted Watch the other day. User reviews are overwhelmingly positive -- and genuine, too.
Bonus deal 2: Speaking of charging Apple products, Inateck is once again offering its 2-port USB car charger with built-in Lightning cable for $7.88 (after promo code C2IZCLMP). It's available in black or white. I've had one of these for a while, and it's chugging along just fine.