That's an amazing deal, but there's one big caveat. Plus: two contests!
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").
Normally, I advise against buying refurbished TVs. If the packaging is poor, it could get damaged during shipping -- and shipping back a bum TV is not only a hassle, it can also be expensive. Meanwhile, the warranty is guaranteed to be short, usually just 90 days.
So why the heck am I promoting this deal? In part to take your temperature on refurbished TVs (have you ever purchased one? If so, how did it turn out?), and in part because it's just a ridiculously good deal. Your typical low-end 55-inch TV runs at least $500, and this one would run you anywhere from $525-600 if purchased new.
Plus, this isn't a low-end TV. It's a 120Hz LED model with three HDMI inputs, Wi-Fi and, best of all, built-in Roku goodness. Yep, forget plugging in a separate streaming box or stick -- the TCL has all that baked right in.
Is that really all it's cracked up to be? Some 500 Amazon customers gave the TV high marks (4.4 stars out of 5), and CNET scored it an 8.1 (out of 10), praising "the simplest, slickest, most comprehensive smart-TV experience on the market."
As for the warranty, yep, it's 90 days -- and that coverage comes from Woot (an Amazon subsidiary). Many credit-card companies will double the warranty on electronics, though you should absolutely call yours first to double-check that this applies to refurbished gear.
Thoughts? Is it worth rolling the dice on a refurbished TV? Or should you settle for a smaller model in exchange for a longer warranty?
Bonus deal: When you buy an unlocked smartphone, you gain the freedom to take it to whatever carrier is offering the best deal for service. Usually that means paying a premium for the phone, but here's a sweet exception: for a limited time, and while supplies last, Yapper Wireless (via eBay) has the refurbished, unlocked Motorola Moto X (second-gen) in white and bamboo for $259.99 shipped. I've tested this phone; it's gorgeous and stuffed with cool features. Plus, it's unlocked for both GSM carriers and Verizon, so take your pick. The only bummer: just 16GB of storage, and no expansion slot.
Contest No. 2: It's March Madness time, and that usually brings out some nifty contests. Like this one: the Slingbox Madness Cubed Sweepstakes (warning: turn your speakers down if you're at work) will award one grand prize winner a Slingbox 500 and an "ultimate cubicle makeover," complete with a new chair, oodles of gear and decorations for your favorite team, and an "epic party meal" for you and your coworkers. A whopping 68 runners-up will receive a Slingbox M1.