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Smart Home

Put a Google Assistant on your nightstand for $25

Insignia's alarm-clock version of the Google Home makes a perfect addition to the bedroom -- especially at this price. Plus: a Cheapskate-exclusive deal on Ecovacs' new smart-vac!

insignia-voice-nightstand

It may look like a fairly standard alarm clock, but Insignia's nightstand friend is endowed with Google Home voice-controlled goodness.

Best Buy

This is a rerun of a deal from a few months back -- and if you bought it last time, maybe just skip ahead to the bonus deals. Because, wow, the price dropped significantly.

I've said it before and it bears repeating: The Amazon Echo Dot makes a great addition to your nightstand -- but it's imperfect in two ways.

First, it has no display. Any bedside accessory worth its salt should be able to show you what time it is. Second, it's a pretty weak speaker, which is why I always recommend pairing it with something bigger and better.

Or, you could just buy this: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Best Buy has the Insignia Voice Smart Bluetooth Speaker with Google Assistant for $24.99 (plus tax). Update: My profuse apologies -- shipping is not free unless you spend at least $35. Regular price: $99.99. Price last time: $69.99. (I warned you: big drop.)

Available in all black or black and gray, the Insignia Voice is basically a Google Home designed for your nightstand. It's a digital clock, an alarm and a smart speaker, one that's large enough to deliver decent, room-filling sound -- unlike the Dot or Google Mini.

Of course, if you prefer to sleep next to Alexa (so to speak), you'll need a Dot. But if you're just as happy with Google's nameless Assistant (I don't know why, but I want to call her "Barb"), the Voice gives you much of the same functionality.

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For example, you can ask it to set an alarm (natch), tell you the weather, check traffic, look up movie showtimes, play music, request an Uber, control other smart-home gadgets and so on.

Indeed, it does pretty much everything a Google Home can do. The only thing it can't do is make phone calls.

CNET hasn't reviewed the Insignia Voice, but nearly 1,200 Best Buy customers collectively rated it 4.4 stars. Many of them praised the sound quality, noting that it was better than the Google Home's. Some of the more negative reviews relate to a volume problem that appears to have been addressed with a firmware update.

I'm not sure I'd pay $100 for an alarm clock, even one with smarts. At $25, though? This almost makes me want to ditch my bedside Dot.

Your thoughts?

ecovacs-deebot-900

Smarter than the average Deebot, this one supports virtual walls.

Ecovacs

Bonus deal: At last count there were about 7,000 different Ecovacs robot-vacuum models, and I see deals on them almost daily. However, they all have one rather annoying shortcoming: You can't program them to avoid specific rooms or areas.

That changes with the Ecovacs Deebot 900, which creates a virtual map of your space and then lets you cordon off areas it shouldn't go. (Think: virtual walls without the virtual-wall sensors employed by Roombas.)

The new model just hit the streets at $399, but for a limited time, Wellbots is offering the Deebot 900 for $359 shipped when you apply promo code cnetvac at checkout. I own one of the older models, and it's pretty slick even without the virtual mapping. This one works on all floors and supports all manner of programming options -- including Alexa and Google Home.

Now, get to work on my crumb-infested floors, mechanical slave!

etekcity-wireless-remote-outlet-3-pack

Three wireless outlets for about the price of a single "smart" one.

Etekcity

Bonus deal No. 2: I'm a fan of smart outlets, though my personal jury is still out on what's better: newfangled Wi-Fi outlets you can control (and program) by phone or oldfangled plug-and-play wireless outlets you control via remote.

If there's a place in your world for the latter, here's a cool option: The Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Electrical Outlet three-pack for $13.98 with promo code DEALST30. Regular price: $18.68.

These outlets are about 30 percent smaller than Etekcity's previous iteration. You can control them individually or all at once using the included remote, which has an effective range of up to 100 feet and can work through doors and walls.

They also have a 4.3-star review average from over 200 users, and those reviews are overwhelmingly legit, according to Fakespot and ReviewMeta.


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!