Archives For Deals


Skooba, venerable maker of Checkpoint-friendly laptop bags and other sturdy computer cases (and CES CtrStg sponsor), has started selling Proporta-brand cases for portable gear as of today. Normally I wouldn’t bother reporting on reseller news, even a US exclusive, but 1. I like Skooba, and 2. Proporta has some nice-looking stuff. I’ve found it oddly difficult to find nice cases for some of my gadgets, so any new supplier is welcome.

The full Proporta line-up includes everything from drawstring, to leather, to neoprene, and outfits itsy bitsy devices like the iPod Shuffle (all versions) all the way up to 10″ netbooks and full-size laptops. I had hoped the netbook cases would include include handles (I’m ready to replace my fashionable-but-rapidly-soiled Golla bag freebie), but like most on the market, they’re only netbook sleeves with no easy carrying attachment. On the other hand, the Proporta selection of iPod and other MP3 player cases is quite impressive. Fashion and function are both well represented.

No word on how wide a range of products Skooba will sell from the Proporta line (iPod cases now, but more products coming soon), but Skooba did send us a coupon for our readers if you want to do some shopping. You can get 15% off any Proporta items through the end of May. Use discount code PROPORTA.

The TiVo Schwag Giveaway

Dave Zatz —  May 16, 2009


I realize I’ve been a bit critical of TiVo lately and they’ve got a fine, new retail competitor in Moxi. But we want TiVo fans to know ZNF still has love for you. This TiVo schwag prize package I’ve collected over the last couple months consists of a window cling 3-pack for your car(s), a deck of Comcast TiVo playing cards, and a basketball with TiVo logos (bring your own pump). Entering the contest is as easy as it gets, simply leave a comment. (US residents in the lower 48 only, please.) We’ll choose the winner at random in a few days.


What we’ve got here is a new Hava Gold ($100) placeshifter up for grabs. The Slingbox-esque device broadcasts your home television content from DVR or other set-top box to just about anywhere. Unlike a Sling, Hava also enables multicasting within the home, supports remote control IR learning, and offers free mobile software clients (Windows Mobile, Symbian S60, Nokia N810). Of course, Hava provides the requisite Windows software and it looks like OS X support is under development. At CES, the Hava team announced an upcoming video sharing portal and demo-ed an iPhone client.

Entering the giveaway is as easy as it gets, simply leave a comment. (US residents in the lower 48 only, please.) We’ll choose the winner at random in a few days.

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The MagicJack Giveaway

Dave Zatz —  February 13, 2009


I take on review gear with the best of intentions, but frequently find myself short on time or just plain distracted. And for that I apologize to the magicJack folks who provided me a device at the CTIA show nearly a year ago. So, before any more time passes, I figured the best thing to do is get this unit out to someone who will appreciate it.

MagicJack is a small USB doohickey, which works with both Windows and OS X, that allows you to make unlimited calls to the US and Canada. You’ll also be issued a phone number, with an area code of your choosing, to receive calls. A typical/traditional phone can be plugged directly into the magicJack (get it? magic jack) or the software can be used Skype-like with a headset. $40 gets you magicJack and a year of service; additional years of connectivity run $20/each. (Of course, this particular unit will cost one lucky ZNF reader nothing.) The company seems to be on a tear – the PC Mag Editors’ Choice has moved over 2 million units. Although, not without experiencing some growing pains.

Entering the giveaway is as easy as it gets, simply leave a comment. (US residents in the lower 48 only, please.) We’ll choose the winner at random in a few days.

It’s not the latest. Nor is it the greatest. But if you’re on the market for a budget NAS, $40 is hard to beat. (Shipping looks to run about $8 – $15.) This refurb Buffalo LinkStation Live incorporates a single 320GB drive and is supported by a 90 day warranty. Assuming the unit is similar to an earlier version I owned back in 2005, the Linkstation is powered by Linux, great for tweakability, and supports a variety of media serving and networking options out of the box. (Though, hopefully with a quieter fan.) At the very least, you’ll be able to use this networked drive as part of a backup strategy and/or to centralize an iTunes collection. Once you’ve picked up the LinkStation Live, head on over to Buffalo Tech’s support site for the latest device firmware and desktop utilities. Thanks for the tip, Jon!

After weeks of playing with the Flip MinoHD, it’s time to give someone else a turn. The kind PR folks have agreed to let us give away our review unit to one lucky ZNF reader.

My initial take on the MinoHD was that the difficulties of dealing with huge file sizes made the upgrade from an SD camcorder not quite worthwhile. But HD is addictive. The more videos you take in HD, the harder it is to go back to looking at SD clips. I’m still not willing to give up the AA battery advantage of the Flip Ultra, but if the Ultra gets an upgrade, I may have to as well.

In the meantime, you know the drill. Leave a comment saying you’d like a shot at the MinoHD (US residents only- sorry!), and one winner will be selected at random this weekend.

Mari’s had her say (thumbs up), so the time has come to give away our Slacker G2 review unit ($200 MSRP).

We’re both big fans of the Slacker web radio service, and Mari is also a satisfied owner of the first generation Slacker player. What separates Slacker Radio from say Pandora on the iPhone is their music licensing terms… While Pandora requires a persistent Internet connection for streaming, Slacker hardware periodically downloads (over WiFi) buckets of tracks from your queue of pre-selected “stations” – meaning, you can take Slacker on a plane with pre-loaded music. Slacker offer two service tiers, free and premium. Most would probably be content with the free service, although a paid subscription enables unlimited skipping and saving song favorites. Additionally, Slacker Radio provides all sorts of artist information which has been kinda fun. However, being a minimalist in search of further convergence, I’m personally holding out for a Slacker mobile client.

If the Slacker G2 sounds like something you’d enjoy, simply leave a comment saying you want in on this giveaway. One lucky US resident will be randomly selected as the winner in the next day or so.

Cyber Monday Deals

Mari Silbey —  November 30, 2008

Too lazy to roll out of bed at 4 AM on Black Friday? Luckily Cyber Monday is upon us, and lots of sites are offering free shipping for items on your holiday gadget wish list. Many of the discounts aren’t fabulous, but at least you don’t have to pay for door-to-door delivery. You can find free shipping deals at Best Buy, Amazon and, among many others.

If you’re looking for a little more than free shipping, choose your gadget categories wisely. Big-screen TVs are still your best bet for top deals. Newegg, for example, has a 52″ Sharp Aquos set listed at $1,100 off MSRP. You can also get decent discounts on digital cameras, though the Retrevo price index shows prices generally went up in November after declines in October. Two 8-megapixel cameras under $100: the Nikon Coolpix L18 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ8K.

Of course, if you’re after coveted products, like the Apple iPod Touch, don’t expect much help from the Cyber Monday fairies. Best Buy will give you $30 bucks off a first-gen iPod Touch, or $10-$15 off second-gen versions.

CE retailers are naturally feeling skittish with the downturn in the economy. On the one hand, they don’t want to mark products down too far. On the other hand, they don’t want to end up with excess inventory. I can’t help but wonder if this year the best deals won’t be found closer to December 25th. But it’s up to you if you want to play chicken with the gadget dealers.