Normally $150, this easy-to-install system could help prevent fender-benders -- or worse. Plus: the best Xbox deal since Black Friday!
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").
You know full well how I feel about phone mounts, and when I bought my midlife-crisismobile last year (2008 Mustang convertible), the first thing I did was install an aftermarket backup camera.
But there's one feature I really miss from my previous ride, and that's a backup sensor. I want visual and audio alerts when I'm parallel parking or backing down the driveway.
Every car should have this; few do, especially older models. Thankfully, there's an easy fix: FenSens. It's a totally wireless parking sensor that installs right over your license plate (front and/or rear). And I've got an exclusive deal for you.
For a limited time, you can get a FenSens for $99.99 shipped when you apply promo code CNETDEAL at checkout. It normally sells for $150.
"FenSens" is short for "fender sensor" -- get it? -- and it's designed to work on nearly any vehicle. The unit installs in minutes: Just unscrew your license plate, put the battery-powered frame over it, then screw it back in place using the supplied theft-resistant screws. (You could add a second one to your front fender as well, something to consider if you do a lot of parallel parking.)
From there it pairs via Bluetooth with your phone, where the FenSens app provides not only visual and audio cues while you're backing up, but also vibrations -- the idea being that you could leave your phone in your pocket and still know if you're about to hit something.
Meanwhile, a wireless quick-launch button also pairs with your phone; it mounts easily on your steering wheel. One press and it launches the FenSens app -- if you're an Android user. On an
, the button generates an onscreen notification you must then tap to load the app -- less than ideal, if you ask me, but that's the fault of
, not the product.
The frame's pair of AA batteries are good for up to five months, according to FenSens, and the quick-launch button should last considerably longer (it runs on a button-cell).
CNET hasn't reviewed the FenSens, but wrote a preview way back when it was just a crowdfunded dream. Meanwhile, a smattering of Amazon customers rated it 4.5 stars out of 5, and this site gave it a score of 9.1 (out of 10).
My quick take: Android users are likely to be much happier with the product because of the ease of launching the app. But regardless of what kind of phone you have, the FenSens is cheaper (and certainly easier to install) than many parking sensors -- especially at this price.
are squarely in the rear-view, so obviously you missed out on your chance to score a killer Xbox deal -- right?
Nope: The Cheapskate is vindicated yet again. For a limited time, and while supplies last, Newegg (via eBay) has the Xbox One S for $169.99 shipped (that price appears when you add it to your cart). That's on par with most BF/CM deals.
Among other things, the One S can play 4K Blu-ray media, stream 4K videos and produce HDR images in games (assuming your TV supports all that). Alas, you get the console only: no games included.
Giveaway! CNET's Winner Wonderland 2017 is upon us! You can enter every day (starting yesterday -- um, sorry); each day the prize bundle gets bigger.