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15
Jul

Go deal-hunting in the Amazon Warehouse with an extra 20% off for a limited time


Find a discount on just about anything.

Ahead of Prime Day next week, Amazon is offering an extra 20% discount on over 200,000 products available on Amazon Warehouse exclusively for Prime members. Those who are in-the-know have been checking out Amazon Warehouse to snag deals for a while now, and today’s offer brings the already discounted items there further down to can’t-miss prices. If you’re not a Prime member yet, you can start a free 30-day trial to take advantage of this offer. The 20% discount will be added during checkout automatically.

prime-amazon-warehouse-deal-extra.jpg?itAmazon Warehouse is where many of your Amazon returns have likely ended up. The selection comprises returned, warehouse-damaged, used, and refurbished goods. Just about anything Amazon sells has a chance of having a warehouse deal, which you’d normally check by clicking on ‘Available from these sellers’ on the product page and looking for any listings which feature Amazon Warehouse as the seller. You can find everything from TVs to unlocked smartphones and deals on brands like Apple, Samsung, and Sony.

You don’t have to be worried about receiving damaged goods either. Amazon Warehouse shows condition grade levels from Like New to Good so you can get a better feel of what condition the item you’ll receive is in. At times, some ‘Like New’ items actually seem to be new and unused even, and the store does a good job of grading items fairly so you won’t be surprised. In the case an item doesn’t meet your expectations, you can always return it within 30 days just like any other Amazon.com purchase.

If you really cannot wait for Prime Day, then this Warehouse sale is a perfect one for you to look through. Along with the already discounted products, Prime members can score an extra 20% off TVs, kitchen appliances, home improvement, baby products and much more.

Past the Warehouse, there’s a selection of other early Prime Day deals that you have just a few days left to check out and redeem if you’re interested. Prime Day starts July 16 and marks the end for many of these offers.

See at Amazon

15
Jul

Beard trimmers, turntables, Bluetooth speakers, and more are all discounted today


Whether you’re looking for new tech gear or household items, we’ve got you covered.

We found plenty of great deals today that include big discounts on the UE Roll 2, an Audio-Technica turntable, Amazon Warehouse items, and more! Time’s running out to take advantage of these prices, so hurry!

View the rest of the deals

If you want to know about the deals as soon as they are happening, you’ll want to follow Thrifter on Twitter, and sign up for the newsletter, because missing out on a great deal stinks!

15
Jul

From Apple’s charging mat to Google’s modular phone, these gadgets went MIA


There have been loads of tech products announced over the years, generating various levels of excitement. A few succeed, most fail, and some never even make it across the starting line. We’ve crafted a list of exciting tech products that caught the public imagination with a flurry of press releases, prototypes, or teaser reveals — only to evaporate in the heat of their own hype.

Apple’s AirPower wireless charger

AFP Contributor/Getty Images

In September last year, Apple unveiled the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus making a big deal out of their ability to charge wirelessly. We also caught a brief glimpse of a new Apple wireless charging mat called AirPower, which was touted for an early 2018 release. The mat was shown charging an iPhone X, an Apple Watch, and a set of AirPods simultaneously, but it seems Apple may have bitten off more than it can chew.

Here we are more than halfway through 2018 and the AirPower mat is nowhere to be seen. WWDC 2018 came and went and Apple has remained silent on the subject. But we’re not ready to count this one out just yet. There’s still a chance it will reappear alongside this year’s iPhones in September, but if that event comes and goes without any AirPower news, the charging mat could slip into the realm of the quietly forgotten like the rest of our list.

Sega VR headset

Back in 1991, when Sega was on top of the world riding the wave of the Genesis’ (Mega Drive) success, it rashly announced a virtual reality headset. The product wasn’t shown off until a couple of years later when it was revealed that Sega VR would sell for $200, work with the Genesis, and come with four games on release. It was pushed back and then canceled after prototypes induced motion sickness and severe headaches in testers.

Despite Sega VR being dead and buried, Nintendo pushed forward with the Virtual Boy, which was released in 1995 and flopped spectacularly, burying the idea of virtual reality for almost 20 years until its recent resurrection. The best VR headset today (the HTC Vive) boasts twin OLED displays with a resolution of 2,160 x 1,200 pixels. Sega VR had color LCDs with a 320 x 200-pixel resolution.

Google’s Project Ara smartphone

The idea of a modular smartphone generated a lot of excitement when Motorola announced it back in 2013. Why upgrade your phone every year to get a better camera or a bigger battery when you can just buy an individual component upgrade and slot it into your existing phone? Google had just acquired the phonemaker back then and looked ready to throw its weight behind the project, which was first shown off at Google I/O in 2014.

Although slotting together your dream phone like a collection of Lego bricks appealed to some people, it proved difficult to realize. Different concepts and hints at the involvement of big manufacturers came to nothing and Google shelved the project in 2016. A watered-down version of the idea eventually appeared in the shape of Moto Mods. Ethical smartphone maker Fairphone has also pursued the idea with its modular Fairphone 2, and LG made an attempt with the LG G5, but we’ve yet to see a big modular smartphone success.

Phantom game console

The video game industry is good at generating enormous levels of hype and excitement and then delivering massive disappointment, but few have scaled the heights of the Phantom game console. Infinium Labs announced the Phantom in 2003, promising a console that would outperform the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The marketing babble was suspiciously devoid of details, but the central idea hinged around a good-looking console with PC innards capable of offering games on-demand, downloadable from the internet for subscribers.

It was originally supposed to be released in 2003 for $400 with a $10 per month subscription for games, but it was pushed back again and again until the company removed any mention of it from its website in 2006. Valve eventually realized something close to the idea with Steam Machines, announced in 2013 and released in 2015, but even with the might of Steam behind it the platform floundered and has now all but disappeared.

Saygus V2 smartphone

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

This Android superphone was set to deliver a laundry list of features for Android fans seeking something a bit more powerful than the average release. We actually managed to get a hands-on with the Saygus V squared back at MWC in 2015. It was set to have a 21-megapixel camera, a fingerprint sensor, two MicroSD card slots, a 5-inch display, a 3,100mAh battery, and to be IPx7 water resistant, all of which sounded more impressive a few years ago.

We were suspicious about some of the features that didn’t work in the prototype we tried, but like many people who put more than $500 down to pre-order, we believed it was a real phone close to being released. The release date was pushed back further and further, and Saygus couldn’t deliver, even though it continued to take people’s money. Somehow the company still exists, but a two-year delay for a phone makes it hopelessly out-of-date even if it does belatedly arrive. We aren’t holding our breath, and anyone who pre-ordered should ask for their money back while they still can.

Microsoft Courier tablet

With a string of prototypes and a team of more than 130 people working on it, Microsoft’s ill-fated Courier tablet could have been an iPad competitor of sorts. First reported on back in 2008, the Courier was a folio-style tablet with two 7-inch touchscreens and stylus support. It was designed to be for productivity first and foremost, it ran Windows — so it supported Microsoft’s full suite of Office software — and it was going to be capable of syncing with web services. It also had a camera built-in and support for wireless charging.

After some internal disagreement at Microsoft, the Courier was canned in 2010 and Ballmer led the company towards the touch-friendly Windows 8 platform, almost completely missing the tablet boat. Microsoft eventually tackled the tablet market directly with the Surface line in 2012. The company has continued to iterate, most recently with the $400 Surface Go.

Dishonorable mentions

There are simply too many broken tech dreams to list them all here, but here’s a quick mention of some other hotly anticipated products that never made it.

Nokia Moonraker This wonderfully-named smartwatch was going to launch alongside the Lumia 930 in 2014, but it got pushed aside in favor of the Microsoft Band when Nokia was acquired.

Microsoft Surface Mini – Gearing up to launch in 2014 alongside the Surface Pro 3, the Mini was set to have an 8-inch display, a Snapdragon 800, and 32GB of storage, but it was canceled just a few weeks before the launch event.

Mattel Aristotle – A $300 voice-controlled hub designed for babies and toddlers, the Mattel Aristotle was set to launch in 2017 but it was canned after an outcry from privacy advocates and child-development experts.

Palm Foleo Announced in 2007, the Foleo was designed to be a companion for smartphones offering a full keyboard and larger 10-inch screen, while connecting to the internet through your phone. It was canceled three months after being announced.

DigiScents iSmell This bizarre 2001 product answered a question no one posed: What does the internet smell like? It connected to your computer via USB and could be triggered to create different odors by files embedded in websites, emails, or programs. The inventors miraculously raised $20 million and produced a working prototype before realizing there was zero demand.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Here’s everything we know about Apple’s AirPower wireless charging mat
  • FLI Charge’s conductive wireless charging could revolutionize classroom tech
  • If you blinked, you may have missed this year’s biggest phone innovation
  • Everything we know about Microsoft’s ‘Andromeda’ Surface phone device
  • Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Self-healing tents, jellyfish lamps, solar ovens



15
Jul

Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap vs. Spot vs. Show: Which should you buy?


Which Amazon Echo is best for you? I have no idea. But here’s how I’d approach each one.

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I own too many Amazon Echo speakers. From the original Echo to the Echo Dot and the newfangled Echo Show with its screen and camera. Plus the Amazon Tap, and Echo Look, which you can’t even buy without an invitation. (And you probably shouldn’t but it, for reasons I’ll get into in a second.)

This isn’t a cookie-cutter list of all the Echo speakers and why you should buy them. Hell, a couple I think you probably should stay away from. This is a list of how I see things after having used them all for months and months. Hit the links below to jump on down to the Echo that tickles your fancy.

  • Echo Dot
  • Echo Dot Kids Edition
  • Echo
  • Echo Plus
  • Echo Spot
  • Echo Tap
  • Echo Show
  • Echo Look

Echo Dot: The best Amazon Echo for starting out

Start simple. If you’re just not sure about this whole Alexa thing and really don’t know how much you’ll get out of an Amazon Echo, it’s best to not spend a lot of money. Start with an Echo Dot.

The Echo Dot costs $49 retail, but it’s not uncommon to see it on sale for as low as $30. And at that price it’s kind of a no-brainer. Buy one and give it a go.

Another pro tip here is to buy more than one at a time. Amazon typically has deals if you buy multiple Echoes Dot at one time — $20 is the usual savings. So if you’re like me and you know you’ll want to stash a few of these around the house, save yourself a few bucks and take advantage.

See at Amazon

The redesigned Amazon Echo: A great mid-range option

Amazon has completely redesigned the basic Echo for 2017. It’s shorter than the original and more squat in stature. And you can get one clad in fabric for $99. That’s not a bad buy, and it’s what I’d recommend for someone who wants to get something better than the Dot, but still not spend more than a hundred bucks. The sound quality is decent for that price. Can you get something better? Yeah. But not for less money.

If you want to spend a little more, though, $119 will get you a new Echo with a wood veneer, or in matte plastic. I’ve found the fabric to be plenty good, though.

See at Amazon

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition: You know, for kids

Amazon has a new Echo Dot that is made especially for kids. Or, really, it’s a perfectly ordinary Echo Dot that comes with a nice little case (because kids apparently will be prone to breaking these sorts of things that aren’t really meant to be moved in the first place) — and a free year’s access to Amazon Freetime Unlimited.

That’s the part that actually justifies the $80 price tag. (That’s $30 more than the Echo Dot at retail, and $40 more when it’s on sale.) Amazon Freetime Unlimited gives you (and your kid) access to a whole bunch of kid-friendly content, including books, music, games and more. Plus parents get access to the Amazon Parent Dashboard, which lets you set how long the kid can use any of this newfangled tech. It’ll also block non-kid-friendly content, shut off the Echo Dot at bedtime, and teach your kids to remember to say please and thank-you to not-quite-sentient tech. (We have a feeling that’ll be more important than we realize at some point.)

See at Amazon

Amazon Echo Plus: The best-sounding Echo yet

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Amazon decided to keep the tried and true Echo design, but give it better internals. That gives us the $149 Echo Plus. It sounds a little better than the previous-generation Echo, and definitely better than the current 2017 model. It comes in the same matte plastic, but now you can get silver in addition to black and white.

Also new for the Echo Plus is the ability to serve as a smart home hub — if the devices you’re looking to support use Zigbee to connect. (You’re forgiven if you don’t know what Zigbee is — it’s not something an end user should ever have to worry about.) It likely won’t solve all your smart home problems, but it’s a nice little addition nonetheless.

See at Amazon

Amazon Echo Spot: An expensive, but cool, bedside Echo

If you take the Echo Show and shrink it down, this is what you’d get. It’s a $130 Echo clock with a decent (but not overly great) speaker and a 2.5-inch display. You’ll get the time, of course, along with weather information and the same semi-useful headlines as on the Echo Show. Plus it’ll make phone calls and video chat with other Spots or Shows. (Yes, that means there’s a camera pointed into your bedroom.)

This is a great-looking device, but it’s not inexpensive, and it’s only $10 less than the much larger Echo Show, which will be better for the video it can still display.

See at Amazon

Amazon Tap: Smaller, portable, expensive

amazon-tap-press-image.jpg?itok=nyKY9Kkl

For whatever reason, this isn’t an “Echo” device. It’s “Alexa-enabled.” OK. (Maybe it’s because the “Alexa” hotword isn’t enabled by default, and instead you’re supposed to push the microphone button.) But no matter. For all intents and purposes it’s an Echo, and it’s meant to be portable.

The Tap has a charging base that allows you to just pick up the speaker and take it wherever you want. And it sounds decent. Not great, but good. Good enough for $129 retail, though? Eh, now Amazon is starting to ask a lot — particularly when you can get a portable battery base for the original Echo for just $50 and get a much better speaker for your troubles. Or you could stick an Echo Dot in this little cordless speaker and get a decent experience — again, for just $50.

On the other hand, the Amazon Prime Day price drops to $89, which is far more palatable.

Personally, I don’t really see the necessity of a portable Alexa speaker — especially since the speaker itself is going to need to be connected to the Internet at all times for the Alexa stuff to work. And hotspotting to your phone just isn’t something I want to bother with.

Your money probably is better off with any other Echo — or just a traditional Bluetooth speaker.

See at Amazon

Echo Show: Will it ever get better?

I was an early fan of the Echo Show — the potential for an Alexa-enabled device with a large touchscreen is enormous. Unfortunately, it’s yet to pan out in the first few months. The headlines you get are pure fluff, with very little actual news, if ever — and Amazon says it’s done this on purpose.

Then Google decided to not let YouTube videos play on the Echo Show — likely because Amazon’s implementation was doing so without advertising. That killed one of the few reasons I’d actually recommend the Echo Show.

And then there’s the fact that very few Alexa Skills actually take advantage of the display in the first place. It’s a novelty at this point, not a necessity — even though making video calls on the Echo Show is still a great experience.

All that said — the Echo Show normally is $229. If you can pick it up on sale — especially at the low Amazon Prime Day price of $129, do it.

See at Amazon

Echo Look: How much do you care about what you wear?

There’s a pretty good chance you shouldn’t buy the Echo Look. Unless you really care about fashion — to the point that you want to take a picture of what you’re wearing and send it to Amazon for cataloging and analysis — then you’ll just want to ignore this. For that’s what Echo Look is good at. It’s got a camera and its own app for taking your picture from head to toe, and it does a nice job of highlighting you while downplaying everything else.

From there it lets you flip back through what you’ve worn day after day, and you can have it compare two outfits and decide which it thinks looks better on you. (To varying degrees of success, I found.)

You very much will get out of Echo Look what you put into it. I don’t care so much about what I’m wearing, so this wasn’t really $200 well spent for me. Your wardrobe mileage may vary.

And in case you missed it, the Echo Look has graduated from invite status and is now available for anyone to purchase.

See at Amazon

Updated July 2018: Updated pricing and availability.

Amazon Echo

  • Tap, Echo or Dot: The ultimate Alexa question
  • All about Alexa Skills
  • Amazon Echo review
  • Echo Dot review
  • Echo Spot review
  • Top Echo Tips & Tricks
  • Amazon Echo vs. Google Home
  • Get the latest Alexa news

See at Amazon

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