Five-deal Tuesday: Chromebooks, smart bulbs and more!
How about a $250 HD projector? A $500 4K TV? All that and one more...
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Specifically, an LED-powered lamp (look ma, no bulbs!) capable of generating a native 1,280 x 768 resolution, otherwise known as 720p. It also sports two HDMI inputs and built-in speakers, so it's a pretty plug-and-play solution.
Reviews are a bit tough to come by, and most of what you'll see on Amazon refers to the lower-end versions of this model. (Even then, the whole lineup earned a 3.9-star average.) But for $250 out the door and no-cost returns if you're not happy, this is an awfully appealing home-theater starter.
2. Crazy for Chromebooks
I wholly support moving to a post-Windows world, at least for some users, and Chromebooks are a great first step.
Haven't taken that step yet? Woot has the refurbished HP 14" Chromebook for $209.99, plus $5 for shipping. And unlike previous offerings, this is for a newer, 2014 model with a faster Nvidia Tegra K1 processor. (Not that the older ones were slow, mind you.)
It's available in your choice of three colors (not wild about the Neon Green, but love that Ocean Turquoise), and it's backed by a 90-day warranty (typical of refurbs). A few of my family members are loving their Chromebooks, though I do have one caveat: Getting set up for Google Cloud Print can be a huge hassle -- especially if your printer doesn't support the technology. Google really needs to simplify this aspect of Chrome OS.
That said, this is a killer deal on a spacious, speedy computer.
3. Boost your productivity
I'm a huge fan of Pocket (formerly Read It Later), the service that clips Web pages and delivers them to your mobile devices, all nicely formatted for smaller screens. So when the company offered up this deal, I couldn't pass it up.
For a limited time, you can get the Productivity Pack for $59.99, a bundle that includes one-year premium subscriptions to Evernote, LastPass, Pocket, and Wunderlist. You also get an 8-week digital subscription to the New York Times.
That's a combined value of more than $185, so this is well worth considering if you've ever thought about "going pro" on any of these services.
4. Might-as-well-itis for TVs
Thinking of buying a new TV? You might as well get one that supports 4K, right? Sure, there's not a lot of 4K programming now, but this time next year, we could be gearing up to watch the first 4K Super Bowl!
For a limited time, and while supplies last, TigerDirect has the Sceptre U508CV-UMK 49-inch 4K HDTV for $499.99, plus a very reasonable $20 for shipping. That's not out of line with a lot of similar-size TVs that top out at a measly 1080p.
Now for the caveat: This is a very new model, so I haven't been able to find any user reviews. And the 60Hz refresh rate may seem like a negative, though if 4K TVs are anything like current models, it's a good thing: no god-awful soap-opera effect.
5. Lights, smartphone, action!
I don't know if "smart" lightbulbs are a gimmick or the wave of the future or what, but I do know a fun gadget when I see one.
After pairing it with your phone, you can control things like brightness, color (a mere 16 million options), and timing (i.e. when it goes on, when it goes off). Fun, right? Just be warned that shipping can take 2-3 weeks, as the Revogi just made its debut at CES.