Happy Wednesday, cheeps! First things first: Bonus deals are back. I’ve heard loud and clear that you like a “spotlight” deal followed by one or more extras, so back to that format I go! But please note that if you’re a newsletter subscriber, you’ll typically find even more standalone deals below the top one. Be sure to check ’em out.
Speaking of regular Cheapskate readers, you know that I rank the Amazfit Bip as one of the all-time great smartwatch deals. (It’sstill on sale for $68, FYI.) But why didn’t Amazfit ever release a Bip 2? I can’t say, but the new GTR looks and feels like exactly that. At a minimum, it’s a spiritual successor.
It debuted just a couple weeks ago at $150, but for a limited time, Amazon has theAmazfit GTS smartwatch for $140. Not much of a savings, but still a very solid price on a very nice watch. (Update:I mistakenly referred to this as the GTR, which is another new watch in Amazfit’s lineup, but this is indeed the GTS.)
The GTS looks a lot like the Bip, which is to say it looks a lot like an Apple Watch. It’s incredibly lightweight, though, with an absolutely stunning 1.65-inch AMOLED display. (That’s roughly equivalent to 42mm.)
Like the Bip, the GTS offers heart-rate monitoring, activity tracking and all manner of notifications. Unlike the Bip, it’s water-resistant to 5 ATM, meaning it’s suitable for the shower and pool.
I’ve had only a couple days to test it, but so far, so good. I particularly like how quickly and consistently the watch responds to raise-to-wake and how smooth and responsive the onscreen menus are. The Amazfit app lets you choose from a few dozen watch faces (some cool, some classy, some geeky), but you can also load one that includes a custom background (like, say, a photo of the family dog).
You may well need to do some tinkering in that app to get things like notifications set up to your liking, but most settings are easy and intuitive.
I haven’t yet been able to test battery life and run tracking, but right now the formerseemsto be on par with Amazfit’s estimation. (Lots of variables can impact the battery.) Of course, even if it manages only seven to 10 days, that’s a huge improvement over the Apple Watch and many others.
That said, much as I’m impressed with the Amazfit GTS so far, I’d still encourage iPhone owners to consider theApple Watch Series 3 for $199. Although it has a smaller screen and much shorter battery life, it does a lot more and has a much more premium look and feel. (See moredeals on more Apple Watch models here.)
Get an unlocked Google Pixel 3A and 3 months of Mint Mobile for $279
First, though, the bigger model: If you’re shopping for a big-screen phone but don’t have big money to throw at one, don’t miss this. For a limited time, and while supplies last, B&H has the Google Pixel 3A XL 64GB for $359 — a price that includes three months of service from Mint Mobile, a $75 value. (You can use that service or not; the phone is unlocked and compatible with all major US carriers.) It was $479 when it debuted earlier this year; most deals I’ve seen so far have been on refurbs.
I haven’t used this phone myself, so I’ll steer you directly to Lynn La’sGoogle Pixel 3A XL review. Key takeaways: “The Pixel 3A XL packs a large screen, a fantastic camera, a long-lasting battery and a headphone jack — all at a more affordable price than the Pixel 3 and 3 XL.”
It’s not water-resistant, however, and it doesn’t support wireless charging. If those features are important to you, keep on hunting.
B&H also has the smaller Google Pixel 3A 64GB for just $279, also with three months of Mint Mobile. At this writing it’s out of stock, which is why I started with the XL. You can still place an order for one, though; more inventory is expected in one to three business days, according to B&H.
Get a Samsung Galaxy S10E for $5 per month
While we’re talking phones, here’s one of the best Galaxy deals I’ve seen in recent memory. For a limited time, Sprint is offering theSamsung Galaxy S10E 128GB for just $5 a monthas part of an 18-month Sprint Flex lease. Original price: $750.
That price nets you just the phone, of course; you’ll also need to choose a Sprint service plan. Prices for those range from $40-$80 per month. And the savings on the phone itself are applied in the form of bill credit, which kick in after you pay for two months.
What happens after 18 months? If I’m understanding Sprint’s language correctly, you can return it for an upgrade or buy it outright. The latter option isn’t entirely clear: You can pay in one lump sum or via six monthly payments, but will that be at the same $5-a-month rate? If so, your total out-of-pocket for the phone is just $120, an amazingly good deal.
If you’re not up to speed on this model, be sure to read Jessica Dolcourt’sGalaxy S10E review. Verdict: “A terrific value for a compact, powerhouse phone.” And that was based on the $750 price tag!
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