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. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!
I learned something yesterday: You folks are really interested in Google Pixel phones! I'll definitely keep my eyes peeled for more deals on those. In the meantime, today is your last chance to enter the !
Whatever phone you own, it needs power. It's been a long while since I shared a deal on a mobile charger, so let's get to it.
Today only, and while supplies last, Amazon has the Poweradd Pilot X7 20,000mAh dual-USB power bank for $16.49, with free shipping for Prime subscribers. Update: Unsurprisingly, these are sold out.
There's not much to tell, here: It has two 2.1A outputs, a built-in LED flashlight (always a nice perk) and a 24-month warranty. It comes in your choice of black, blue or black/red. A lot of similarly equipped power banks sell in the the $30-35 range.
What I want to discuss is the rating: 4.9 stars from nearly 90 customers. Oh, and an "Amazon's Choice" badge. This must be a top-of-the-line product, right?
As you know, I always vet those customer ratings by using Fakespot and ReviewMeta. The former indicates that 100 percent (!) of those reviews are of "low quality," while the latter found around 70 percent to be "unnatural" -- but the legitimate reviews still averaged out to 4.9 stars.
That's some pretty damning evidence. But as I explained in my story on, those tools aren't infallible -- and they don't reflect anything about the product itself. They're simply evaluating the reviews of the product.
Having scanned some of those reviews myself, I agree that plenty of them seem fake. But all 89 of them? That seems doubtful. The question you really have to ask: Does it matter if some (or even all) the reviews are questionable, so long as the product works as advertised and has a decent warranty? (Two years is better than decent, if you ask me.)
As for "Amazon's Choice," I've yet to find any concrete data indicating what criteria Amazon uses to bestow that label. It's likely a mix of "particularly good price," "top seller" and "lots of favorable reviews."
That last point, though: ugh. Back in 2016, Amazon promised to, but the company hasn't said anything about it since -- and clearly it's still a problem. Based on these Fakespot and ReviewMeta results, a big one -- especially if those reviews are factoring into that sexy "Amazon's Choice" badge.
Deal or no deal?
My two cents: Deal. Definitely. On any given day, you're likely to find a power bank that's on sale for way below its regular price -- and that has some, if not many, questionable reviews.
If it's a lemon, Amazon will refund you. If it develops a problem further down the road, Poweradd will replace it for you. What more do you need to know?
Actually, I do have one more thought: Add your voice to the mix. When you buy something from Amazon, take a minute to leave your own review. The more legitimate reviews there are, the easier it'll be for others to make an informed decision.
Bonus deal: In the market for a new monitor? For a limited time, and while supplies last, Best Buy (via Ebay) has a ridiculous deal: an AOC 21.5-inch IPS LED monitor for $69.99 shipped (plus tax where applicable).
It's your basic 1080p display with HDMI and VGA inputs, a 178-degree viewing angle and a three-year warranty. No speakers, though.
Still, that's one of the best deals I've ever seen for a monitor of this size. Crazy, crazy cheap.