CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.
Thanks for all the get-well wishes yesterday! Happy to report I’m feeling a bit better — at least well enough to sit at the keyboard.
Now that the new year is fully underway, I want you to know I’m searching high and low for new and exciting products and deals. Believe me, I’m sick to death of mobile chargers and Bluetooth speakers, and will do my best to avoid going to those wells so often.
Indeed, the product categories I’m excited about right now include 3D printers, pocket drones, unlocked phones, VR gear (see today’s bonus deal!) and of course all things gadget. I’m also paying close attention to productivity tools, including mail clients, project managers and so on — anything and everything that can help you work smarter, faster, better.
Of course, I want to share the kinds of deals you want, so let me know what interests you! In the meantime, I’ve rounded up the very best deals of all: freebies! Check out these five cool things that don’t cost a dime:
A free logo design
Starting a new business or looking to refresh an old one? An eye-catching logo is a great place to start. For a limited time, the folks at PM Logos are offering a free custom logo design when you share the offer on Facebook or Twitter. (You can also share it via email if social media isn’t your thing.)
Once redeemed, you’re entitled to one custom-made logo concept, complete with print- and web-ready files. What you don’t get — and keep in mind this is free — is the option to make changes. Basically, you roll the dice and see what PM Logos comes up with. If you want multiple design concepts and revisions, you can purchase a Micro Pack for $25. (Normally any kind of paid option would run you at least $50.)
A free password manager
In case you missed it last month, Lastpass is my new favorite password manager, for one simple reason: It now offers password syncing as part of its free version.
There must be a catch, right? Surely you’re giving up the kinds of advanced features offered by pricier products like, say, Dashlane? Nope: Lastpass does it all, including automatic form-filling, password-strength reporting, automated password changing and even emergency access for family members in case something happens to you.
A free bestselling audiobook
The universe is weird sometimes, because someone just mentioned this book to me. For a limited time, Audible is offering “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo for free when you apply promo code TIDYUP1 at checkout. Regular price: $25.19.
This best-selling title — which has stellar reviews on both Amazon and Audible — aims to help you declutter and organize your home. Which is something this guy right here desperately needs.
You’ll need an Audible/Amazon account to get the freebie, but other than that, it’s miraculously no-strings-attached.
A free audio editor
A phone or tablet can serve as a very capable mobile production studio, provided you stock it with the right apps. Like this one: For a limited time, iTunes has Twistedwave Audio Editor (iOS) for free. Regular price: $9.99.
Described as being like a mobile version of desktop treasure Audacity, Twistedwave lets you record and edit audio, apply special effects, import and export files and much more.
3 free self-help ebooks
I’m already pretty awesome (modest, too!), but I could be better. Indeed, self-improvement is a personal goal, and I always like reading others’ perspectives on how to accomplish that.
I especially like doing that when the reading is free. For a limited time, Amazon has the following self-help ebooks for $0:
“Bad Habits No More: 25 Steps to Break Any Bad Habit”
“Confidence: How to Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs and Achieve Your Goals”
“The Motivation Switch: 77 Ways to Get Motivated, Avoid Procrastination, and Achieve Success”
These titles normally sell for anywhere from $2.99 to $7.99, and all have ratings in the 4.3-4.5-star range. They’re for Kindle, of course, meaning you can read them on just about any device known to man.
Bonus deal: The problem with high-end VR (namely the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift) is that you need a high-end PC to run it. The combined price tag can easily hit $1,800 or more. That’s why I’m excited about this deal: Best Buy has the Cyberpower PC Gamer Ultra and Oculus Rift bundled together for $1,099.98 (plus tax). That’s still crazy-expensive, of course, but it’s a big step in the right direction. Normally the PC runs $650 — itself a solid deal — but you’re saving $150 by getting it bundled with the Rift.
Bonus deal No. 2: I didn’t take my Apple Watch to CES because reasons. And you know what? I really missed it. Taking your phone out of your pocket every time you want to read a text message or, you know, find out the time really bites.
If you’re an iPhone owner, an Apple Watch is by far the best option — flawed though it may be. At least the price is easier to swallow, especially today: Groupon has the refurbished 1st-gen Apple Watch (38mm) for $179.99 shipped (plus tax) when you apply coupon code SALE3 at checkout. (Want the 42mm model? It’s $20 more). Sadly, you’re probably on the hook for sales tax as well.
But, wait! Ebates is currently offering an unprecedented 9-percent cashback rate for Groupon purchases, meaning your final (post-rebate) price works out to $163.79. (Again, that’s not including sales tax.) The only question-mark here is the warranty, which isn’t listed. I’m assuming 90 days, but you should check with Groupon to be absolutely sure.