Get an Alexa-enabled Triby smart kitchen speaker for $99.99
From the Cheapskate: It's like an Echo designed to hang on your fridge! Plus: return of the Lytro camera, this time for less!
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").
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About a year ago, a company called Invoxia rolled out an interesting product: the Triby. It's a speaker, speakerphone and message center designed to mount on a refrigerator, effectively becoming a sort of family hub.
But owing to its high price and semi-meh features, I'd sort of written it off. Then, earlier this year, Triby got smart -- like, Amazon Alexa smart. Now the speaker comes close to matching the capabilities of an Echo.
And today only, while supplies last, Woot has the Triby for $99.99, plus $5 for shipping. That's literally half off the list price, and by far the best deal I've seen for this item. It's new, not refurbished, and comes in your choice of three colors.
The device looks a bit like a Playskool toy, a nearly all-grille speaker surrounded by a plastic bezel. Strong magnets keep it firmly adhered to your fridge, but the handle allows for easy toting. It has play/pause and volume buttons up top and various shortcut buttons on the front -- the latter flanking a 2.9-inch e-ink screen.
That screen displays not only various status messages, but also custom messages -- text and/or drawings -- sent from the Triby app on your phone or tablet. Gotta say, it's pretty cool.
When a new message arrives, a little yellow flag slides out from the side, accompanied by a musical notification. The screen also flashes a few times while the e-ink updates, reminiscent of early-generation Kindle e-readers. These flashes can get annoying, as they occur every time the screen updates itself -- even for simple things like volume changes.
If you want to learn more about the Triby, check out my hands-on coverage from last year (pre-Alexa), then read Dan Ackerman's coverage of the Alexa update. Bottom line: We both liked this weird little gadget, despite its flaws, but we both found it overpriced.
Today, it's a much more compelling buy. I wouldn't spend $200 for one of these, but half that? Hmmmm.
Bonus deal: A few years back, the media went ga-ga over the Lytro Light Field Camera, which promised to revolutionize photography as we know it. Didn't happen. Although CNET had some good things to say, reviews were mixed across the board -- and potential buyers balked at the $400 price tag.
Ah, but how about $40? Yugster has the Lytro Light Field Camera (8GB) for just $39.97, plus $2 for shipping. That's $10 less than the last time I shared this deal. It's currently available in four colors, and supplies are limited.