Are you ready? Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) will be here before you know it. It’s time to get prepared for the best deals for Christmas presents, and for yourself. You can save a lot of money on tech products.
I primarily focus on retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Target. They already have some ads available for Black Friday. What do those adds tell us about what we should be on the lookout for?
If you are in the market for a new TV, there are few, if any, better times to buy a TV. 4K and Smart TVs will be on sale in en masse. You might want to make note of some TVs you are interested in now so you can be ready to pounce when Black Friday comes. TVs often sell out pretty quickly.
On Prime Day, I bought the TCL 43S517 4K Roku TV to replace an aging TV in my house, and I’m quite happy with it (and I was very happy with the Prime Day price). TCL TVs are likely to go on sale again, especially since they recently announced the 6 series, which CNET rated extremely high. Best Buy has already kicked off TV deals!
Smart speakers, glasses, and rings
Smart speakers almost always go on sale for Black Friday. Often the sales are in the form of bundles which can be great if you need multiple devices. Amazon recently released a slew of new products including smart glasses (Echo Frames), smart earbuds (Echo Buds), and a smart ring (Echo Loop).
Additionally, Amazon released upgraded versions of the Echo smart speaker and displays. The Echo Dot was Amazon’s top-selling product last Black Friday, so you know there will be sales on at least some of the following products:
- Echo Show 5 & Echo Show 8
- Echo Look
- 2nd Generation Echo Show 10
- Echo Link and Echo Link Amp
- Echo Glow
- 3rd Generation Echo Dot
- Echo Dot with Clock and Echo Dot Kids Edition
- Echo Sub
- 2nd Generation Echo Plus
- Echo Studio
- Echo Input, Echo Auto, Echo Wall Clock and probably more…
As I look at the products on this list I’m amazed by the diversity of Alexa products. Some of these items are cool, even if not all that more useful than a regular Echo dot. Although I favor the Google Assistant ecosystem, Alexa wins hand down in the diversity of products.
Google recently announced a few new products at the Made by Google event. Also, earlier this year they announced the Nest Hub Max (see my review of the very similar Google Nest Hub). I would expect deals and bundles for Google products on Black Friday as well.
Streaming video players
Streaming video players are becoming ubiquitous. Luckily many are quite affordable. Black Friday is when you can stock up or upgrade on the cheap. Last year I bought the Roku Ultra on a Black Friday deal and it hasn’t been as inexpensive since. Roku has refreshed their lineup for 2019, but they are really only minimal improvements. However, there will probably be great deals on Roku streamers, FireTV devices, and other streaming devices.
Between TV and streaming player deals this is a great time to upgrade to 4K if you’ve been considering it.
The best deals on laptops come in the holiday season, especially on Cyber Monday. I’m a big fan of Chromebooks, many of which are already pretty inexpensive. Look for sales at Best Buy, Amazon and Walmart.
Smart thermostats can be great for saving money (and resources) and they can add an upscale look to your home. I decided to install the Ecobee 3 Lite in my house (here’s the detailed install writeup, including how I addressed the common problem of not having a C (common) wire), but you have many choices. You can look beyond the Ecobees and Google Nest thermostats and still find some excellent (and often less expensive) ones such as:
- Emerson Sensi Touch
- Honeywell Lyric T5 and other Honeywell Thermostats
- GLAS Smart Thermostat (this one is pretty cool looking)
- Radio Thermostat CT50 (this was my first smart thermostat. Great value)
Just remember to make sure and pick a thermostat that is compatible with your HVAC system.
Raspberry Pis make great presents for the DIY tinkerer in your life (or yourself). There are so many cool things you can make. Mine is currently a retro gaming console. It’s also a great platform for getting into automation software like Home Assistant. Raspberry Pis are already extremely affordable, but you are likely to find deals on Raspberry Pi bundles. If you already have one, this is also a good time to upgrade to the Raspberry Pi 4.
Smart doorbells are quite popular these days. They improve home security and provide peace of mind for the increasing number of people buying online and having packages. But they are quite expensive. The two most popular lines are the Ring and Nest lines. The Ring lines include:
- Ring Video Doorbell (regularly $100)
- Ring Video Doorbell 2 (regularly $199)
- The Ring Video Doorbell Pro (regularly $249)
While Amazon has multiple models, Google has the Nest Hello Video Doorbell, which regularly retails for $229. There are other video doorbells that you also may want to consider. Many of these will be on sale during Black Friday.
Game consoles don’t usually go on sale for Black Friday, but often there are bundles with peripherals and games that are great deals. You might get a good deal on a bundle with the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite, Xbox, and PS4. If you are into Playstations, you may want to just wait until the PS5 comes out next holiday season.
Routers, access points, and other home networking gear
Routers are a critical part of the security of your home network, and, along with access points and switches, are the backbone of all the phoning, streaming, and gaming you do in your home. Really good routers can cost a few hundred dollars and this is a good time to look for a deal. If you are into or willing to try pfSense (which I highly recommend) this would also be a good time to buy hardware for a pfSense install. Here is my advice on how to choose a router.
I hope this helps know what to look for on Black Friday. There will be tons of deals, but be sure the get the best deals for you. A little research in advance can help you maximize savings. I’ve also got a list of Christmas tech gift ideas under $50 if that you can affordably by even when it’s not Black Friday.
What are you planning on buying during Black Friday/CyberMonday? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.
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