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Smart Speakers & Displays

Sony's voice-enabled HomePod speaker rival drops to just $50 (Update: Expired)

Originally $200, the LF-S50G offers 360-degree sound and comes with Google Assistant baked in. Plus: A huge price cut on a high-tech hiking backpack.

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Sony

Let's do some smart-speaker math, shall we? Ahead of Mother's Day, the Google Home Mini is on sale at various stores for $29 -- normally $49.

Or, for just $21 more, you could take a huge leap up in sound quality. For a limited time, and while supplies last, Best Buy has the Sony LF-S50G Smart Bluetooth Speaker with Google Assistant for $49.99 -- with free 2-day shipping, meaning you can still get it in time for Mother's Day.

I'll be honest, I hadn't heard of this one until I spotted the sale. Turns out the LG-S50G debuted in summer, 2017, as a potential rival to Apple's HomePod. Indeed, it looks quite similar, though I'd say it's definitely the prettier of the two.

Instead of Siri, of course, it has Google Assistant baked in. It also has an LCD clock -- a small touch, but a nice one, I think. It helps to break up the all-grill design.

Speaking of which, like the HomePod, the Sony delivers 360-degree sound. It connects to your network via Wi-Fi, but also supports Bluetooth should you want to pair a phone or tablet directly. Particularly cool, it responds to hand gestures: You can play/pause music or adjust volume with a simple wave.

CNET never did a full review of the speaker, only a first-look preview. Conclusions: Loud for its size, with better sound than the Google Home (currently $99).

And, remember, this was originally priced at $200, so it was intended as the affordable alternative to the HomePod (currently $299). For $50, I think this is a pretty stellar deal.

Your thoughts?

Read more: Google slashes prices on its Home Max, Nest Hub and Google Home

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Bonus deal: A $200 solar-charging hiking backpack for $80

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Although it's not shown here, the NRGcamper includes a solar charging panel and big rechargeable battery.

Ghostek

I'm about to make you a happy camper. Today only, and while supplies last, Meh has the Ghostek NRGcamper solar-powered backpack for $79.99, plus $5 for shipping. Price at Amazon: $200.

There's an interesting bit of backstory here: The NRGcamper was a successful 2017 Kickstarter project with a $160 early-bird price and $250 expected retail price. The former: "This is the lowest price point we will EVER offer."

So much for that. The backpack is also notable for integrating a 16,000-mAh rechargeable battery and including a clip-on solar panel for keeping it charged and recharged. It has a total of 5 USB ports for powering all your camping gear.

Beyond that, it's just a nice-looking, water-resistant 60L camping backpack. Could you buy a low-tech one for less? Yep -- but then you wouldn't have the satisfaction of getting a $200 item for $80.


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