The only day better than Thanksgiving — when you stuff your face with all the hot food and ice cold beer a man could want, while watching the game — is the day after: Black Friday. It's a day when we forget how grateful we just were and go back to consuming like the animals we truly are.
Black Friday is the unofficial American tradition where only the strongest, most hardcore shoppers survive in a rat race to the best deals of the holiday season. It’s the day when the facts that you’re broke and your woman tells you there’s no way in hell you’re getting a new big screen TV are completely irrelevant. So, before crawling on your hands and knees to get through the angry mob and hip-checking old ladies to the floor, here are a few of the best Black Friday tech deals to look for while you’re there.
In the tablet world, the Kindle Fire is the latest word around. Expected to not only outsell Apple’s new iPad mini over the holiday season, it's predicted to double in sales compared to that of the overgrown iPhone. The most popular model is the basic 16 gigabyte, 7” display with Dolby audio. But keep an eye out for the Samsung Galaxy Tablet 2, which is running one of the biggest deals so far at $199 (down from $249) on Black Friday. But if you’re still holding out for an iPad, retail stores will have anywhere from $40 to $100 off their iPad 2 model. Just don’t go directly to the source (Apple) expecting an equally good deal.
Apple just gave its music devices a nice tune-up, and this holiday season you can find discounts on the iPod Touch and iPod Nano for up to $50 at your local retailers, including Best Buy and Target. Some will feature in-store discounts, while others offer rebates. If you’re buying in-store, you’d be smart, again, to bet on nationwide retailers, rather than Apple stores.
Another holiday season where Apple runs the computer show, bringing a new line of MacBooks with improved retina screens and the ability to multitask like a raging lunatic.
The MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are currently the biggest hits with retailers, both online and in-store, offering up to $150 off the new model. It also doesn’t hurt to be a student in these computer-buying times, as additional discount are offered for those in school.
Dell Inspiron and Sony’s VAIO are also both offering to knock a couple hundred bucks off the original asking price. The Dell Inspiron 14” Ultrabook laptop is one of the best-selling computers online already, next to Apple’s MacBook Pro, so if you’re looking for a good computer but don’t want to spend an appendage, you’ve got your answer.
There’s a lot of great deals online, so put on the coffee and get into it. Chances are that a lot of electronics will get picked over quickly, and it’s much nicer when you can just sit at home in your comfy chair, eating cheesy, poofy things while you make your purchases.
Big Screen TVs
Every year, a couple hundred people huddle outside the doors of their local retailers, breathing on the glass and exchanging body heat until those doors open. A fun fact is that lately retailers are starting their Black Friday on Thursday, so you can still get great deals if you go early, especially on LED and plasma TVs.
There’s a nice-sized list of LED TVs for less than $500 and even more between $500 and $1000. For instance, a Samsung 43” plasma will be handed off to the toughest shopper for an easy $378 at Walmarts and a 50” LCD HDTV for $349, but in limited supplies, kids.
Everybody thinks they’re going to go home with the best deal on these TV sets, but the sad fact is that retailers offer very limited numbers, so it’s in your best interest to take the road less traveled in this case and try to hit up either an online deal or less likely retailer. Do the research first.
For years, every holiday season has featured one or two hot new game consoles that promise gamers the best new thing. This year, a lot of those prior best new things are available at the best prices we've ever seen (Ars Technica). Black Friday will be a great day to finally spend the cash to get the gaming system you've always wanted. Specifically, with the launch of Nintendo Wii U, regular Wiis will be available at various retailers at rock-bottom prices.
If you’ve suddenly decided to become a professional photographer like everybody else, or if you’ve been holding out for a good deal, now would be the time.
Canon fans, especially, are rolling into an exciting time with new cameras on the block while older, still-excellent models are reducing their prices. The latest model that everyone is salivating over is the Canon EOS 5D Mark III — which is up to $200 off online for Black Friday, maybe more. Although it’s an expensive investment, you can always keep in the mind that the Mark II will be getting more affordable now that his new big brother has arrived.
Canon also released its latest upgrade, the T4i, in June of 2012, which can be found online for up to $150 off. Again, if you’re looking to spend less, the T3i, which is considered new to most folks, will be getting a slight reduction, as well. In most cases, you’ll probably find the body with a stock lens for the same price you would find just the body, around $650.
More Digital Cameras
Nikon is also offering up to $250 off its Nikon 1 model, two-lens kit, which retails around $850, and up to $500 off more expensive models like the D800, which retails around $3,000. Keep in mind that Black Friday is also an excellent time for camera accessories like tripods and monopods, which can be found at prices lower than $50.
In all likelihood, your chances of getting a steal of a deal on cameras are better if you watch like a hawk online, as opposed to standing in the frigid cold at a department store, putting all your eggs in one crowded basket.
On top of the many great electronic deals, you have to keep in mind that the computers, cameras and mobile devices occasionally require future software purchases, so you might as well take care of it all now and save yourself the trouble, as well as putting off spending more than you need to.
Adobe is offering a pretty solid deal to photo and video editors alike, with its new CS 6 package around 25% off, maybe more depending on which package you buy, but the entire bundle can be purchased for around $500, down from $699. Keep an eye out, as that deal may even increase more for both Mac and PC users. Windows users can also get Windows 8 Pro for practically nothing — nearly 70% off — so be vigilant, tech geeks.
If you don’t want to spend a bundle on that bundle, you can always go for the individual programs, like Elements 11 for programs like Adobe Premiere and Photoshop, which are nearly half off. Again, keep an eye out online, as Black Friday tends to blow your mind on occasion.
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With all the offers on the table, it’ll be hard to focus, obviously. The best advice one tech guy could give another is to make a list of the things you’re interested in purchasing, do your research and stay aware of the various deals.
Some in-store purchases might outweigh others online, but there’s always the chance that some large, half-drunk woman in a motorized cart might outweigh you if you’re not fit for the race. Check with big local retailers, like Target, Walmart and Best Buy, or others like them, as they can afford to offer customers the best deals on this crazy day.
Sometimes the deals before and after Black Friday are just as good but won’t leave you stuck with a large medical bill after you knock grandma’s teeth out over a Cabbage Patch Doll, so choose how you spend your Black Friday wisely, gentlemen.