Get a Martian mVoice smartwatch with Alexa for $68
Forget Alexa, though -- she's not really the main attraction. A stylish watch and customizable notifications are. Plus: Learn how to start a side-hustle biz for $26.
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").
Like yesterday's bonus deal, today's offering comes from Meh. As fate would have it, there's another deal coming from it again tomorrow. I want to assure you this is mere coincidence, not favoritism. I make a concerted effort to spread out deals from various sellers, but this week, well, Meh's on a cool-stuff roll.
And, actually, let me note right up front that today's deal isn't perfect. The product has a few design issues and doesn't really capitalize on its most celebrated feature. But I'm going to make a case for it anyway, for reasons I'll explain below.
The mVoice would run you $295 (!) if purchased directly from Martian, and
sells it for $162. So, no question, it's a killer price.
Never miss a notification
But is it a good product? That depends on what you want from it. Like previous Martian watches, this one excels in two key areas: Looking like an actual watch and delivering notifications from your phone.
The latter arrive in the form of vibrations, the patterns for which you can customize per app. A text message, for example, could be buzz-buzz-buzzzzzzzz. A phone call: buzzzzzz-buzzzzzz. You also get a visual in the form of text that scrolls across a small OLED window embedded in the bottom of the watchface.
As regular readers know, wrist-based notifications are my main reason for wearing a smartwatch and the chief reason I recommend them. Everything else -- apps, fitness features, etc. -- is just, well, meh. (Heh.)
Leave Alexa out of it
The mWatch also lets you invoke Alexa,
from your wrist. Depending on how you typically use a voice assistant, this may prove useful -- or it may frustrate you like crazy. Alexa, for her part, isn't particularly useful on a watch. For starters, you have to long-press a button before you can issue a command. And she can't do things like read your text messages aloud.
My advice: If you're going to use a voice assistant, stick with
or Siri. By all accounts, the Alexa implementation is wonky at best.
As for the watch itself, it looks nice enough, with a leather strap and real-watch appearance. It's also on the chunky side and decidedly plastic-looking when viewed up close.
Battery life is a plus: The actual watch runs for a full year on its button-cell battery, while the smart features are good for 4-5 days between charges. But recharging the latter requires a proprietary micro-USB cable, which has long been one of the most maddening things about Martian's watches.
CNET hasn't reviewed the mVoice, and a lot of the reviews I found elsewhere weren't too favorable. But those were all based on either Martian's $295 price tag or Amazon's $160. As I've said before, some problems can be forgiven if the price is right.
Bottom line: If you want a watch that looks like a watch but can notify you of appointments, incoming calls and messages and so on, the mVoice is worth considering -- especially at this price.
Bonus deal: I'm a big believer in the "side hustle," a little business you can start on the cheap and run in your spare time.
For example, some folks have hustled their way to a nice little extra income by leveraging Amazon FBA ("Fulfilled by Amazon") or Ebay. Great, but how do you learn the ropes? I recommend an online course -- like this one: Ending soon, StackSocial is offering The Complete Side Hustle Bundle for $26.10 when you apply promo code BFDEALS10 at checkout.
This collection of 12 online courses (hosted at SkillSuccess) covers all manner of Amazon FBA and Ebay selling, marketing and product-sourcing. I'm not sure I agree with the estimated $2,388 value of these courses, because you can find similar individual ones fairly cheaply at places like Udemy.
But I'm genuinely curious about this, and willing to invest $26 myself to see what it's all about. Here's some interesting reading on the subject. If things go well, you're all invited to spend the weekend at my mansion.
Update: After completing the redemption, I find there are only 10 courses in my SkillSuccess account. I'm checking with StackSocial for help with correcting the error. Stay tuned!