Archives For Deals

staples-connect

If you’re just easing into home control and automation like me, Staples Connect is worth a look — moreso as the Linksys hub will shortly drop to a mere $50. With apps for most platforms, the hub communicates via 802.11b/g/n, Z-Wave, and Lutron wireless protocols. Along with the price reduction, broader retail distribution has been announced along with a second $80 D-Link hub $80 that will add Zigbee and Bluetooth LE communication. It seems pretty clear Bluetooth LE, aka Bluetooth Smart, will play a prominent role in this space (along with wearables), but its limited broadcast range may inhibit hub effectiveness and the existing model seems to do a fine job bridging most home automation silos. And we’re told the team is working through the process of Nest integration – which may be requisite these days. Continue Reading…

costco-xbox-one

Should you be in the market for an Xbox One, Costco may have the deal for you… assuming that you’re a member of the warehouse shopping club. For just $50 above retail, the online Xbox One bundle includes a year of Xbox Live Gold, an additional controller, and Forza 5. Of course, the Xbox One isn’t exactly a bargain, with or without Kinect – which I’ve found to be of limited value. But if you were already in the market for Microsoft’s full monty, this is a pretty good proposition.

roku-slingbox

Roku Mania has returned to Woot with three refurb streamer models up for grabs. Of course, we’d suggest the no-comprise Roku 3 – that clocks in at a record low $62. Per Woot’s standard operating procedure, all orders ship for 5 bucks… regardless of how many Roku’s you stick in your cart. Roku remains our go-to streamer, ahead of our Fire TV, Apple TV, and Xbox One, featuring the widest array of apps along with a quick, clean user interface. (Thanks Adam!)

bestbuy-mobile-giftcard

Best Buy has launched an interesting promo to proactively reach potential customers, no matter one’s smartphone predilection. Register your intent now to pick up any new phone by the end of the year, and receive a $50 gift card upon completion of that purchase. Of course, with two huge 2014 launches expected in the Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6, Best Buy’s fuzzy calendar and agnostic OS approach is quite clever. Not to mention, there’s really no catch — register your intent, maybe you buy from them, maybe you don’t. But should you transact, you’ll be rewarded with that gift card (plus any potential trade in valuation, if you choose the easy but less lucrative way out). As you’d expect, this dealio is limited to subsidized phones on a 2-year contract (and T-Mobile customers, such as myself, need not apply).

(Thanks Donnie!)

advisor-promo

Post holiday sales, TiVo is testing the waters with some amazing offers for “Advisors” and rates that roughly line up with their existing reseller offers. I assume uptake will be strong amongst this market microcosm… and hopefully influences the broader TiVo Roamio pricing strategy. As we’re still awaiting the compelling upgrade promos previously alluded to by the company.

att-discount

The end of smartphone subsidies may be upon us, given T-Mobile’s uncarrier moves and AT&T’s new Mobile Share Value plan:

With the ‘No Annual Service Contract’ options, smartphone customers can save $15 a month on Mobile Share Value plans. Customers can receive these monthly savings when they: Get a new smartphone for no down payment with AT&T Next; bring their own smartphone; purchase a smartphone at full retail price; or when their smartphone is no longer under contract and they switch to the new plans.

Indeed, my mom received a letter from AT&T illustrating some of their new offerings. And, as CTO of the Zatz family, I reviewed her service and usage… then flipped the account to a new Mobile Share Value plan, cutting her bill nearly in half from $85 a month down to $45. The savings come via two mechanisms. First, given her limited data usage due to iPhone 4 screen size, I was able to put her on a tier that replaces 900 minutes with unlimited talk (and adds unlimited texts) but restricts data access to a mere 300mb. (I imagine many of her generation remain more interested in using phones for voice.) Oddly, the additional savings is not reflected as you’re evaluating plans, but only after you enroll – and an out-of-contract phone reduces the advertised monthly fee by $15. Continue Reading…

image

Those of you who follow me on Twitter are most likely aware of my recent move from Verizon Wireless to T-Mobile. While I’d been very satisfied with Verizon’s coverage the last couple years, their egregious recurring $2.99 fee for visual voicemail (on Android) stuck in my craw every month… and basically pushed me into the arms of T-Mobile with, what I like to call, more “humane” pricing. Having said that, I wasn’t motivated to actually pull the trigger (and incur a substantial early termination fee) until T-Mobile introduced possibly insane International perks: Unlimited and free texts and EDGE data while overseas, paired with 20 cents/minute calls. Continue Reading…