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What to Expect in Black Friday Electronics Deals
Here we go again, it’s time to start drawing up your battle plans for the upcoming Black Friday skirmish. It looks like there might be a few killer deals in the electronics departments like 40-inch HDTV sets for under $200, connected, Blu-ray players for under $50, $199 game console bundles and more. We’ve looked over the “leaked” ads from the usual players and are happy to share what we think about this year’s offerings. From a gadget perspective, it looks like Best Buy might be the place to camp out but there are plenty of other deals at other retailers too and be sure to consider Amazon who, will again, duke it out with Walmart in the battle of the retail titans. Happy gadget shopping!
Game Console Bundles for $199For $199 at Target and Best Buy you can save $100 on an Xbox 360 bundle that includes a month of Xbox Live. Microsoft’s “ecosystem” became more attractive with the introduction of SmartGlass which is like Apple’s Airplay for the Xbox and other mobile devices. Despite the rumors of an Xbox 360 successor, referred to as the “Xbox 720” coming in 2013, if you’re looking for a game console that serves as a set-top box this could be a good deal for you. If you want a game console, set-top box and a Blu-ray player bundle, you can get a PS3 bundle for the same price as the Xbox $199 deal. Don’t forget, game consoles like the Xbox and PS3 are some of the only ways to get true 1080p video on your HDTV set since most programming that comes in over cable or satellite is 720p or 1080i video.
All Sizes of HDTV Sets Are On SaleIn previous years’ Black Friday deals, Westinghouse figured in many doorbusters. This year you can get a 50-inch 1080p Westinghouse LCD TV (not LED backlit) for $349 at Target. We expect you’ll have to be one of the first ones in line to get one. Target is also offering a smaller, 32-inch set from Samsung that does have an LED backlight that only does 720p for $247. Walmart is also offering the same Samsung 32-inch LED backlit TV for $248. Although we prefer 1080p sets, we don’t think you’ll notice the difference on smaller screen TVs like these. Best Buy is offering a 40-inch 1080p Toshiba for $179. The 40E220 gets good reviews and normally sells for over $300. It only has two HDMI ports but it’s hard to argue at that price. Sears might be a good place to camp out at for big screen TVs. They have two “6000” series big screen, 120 Hz LED-LCD TVs similar to this one. Although the discounts aren’t huge, they’re not bad deals. The better big screen deal might be Walmart’s $688 Vizio with built-in Wi-Fi similar to this one.
Black Friday Blu-ray SpecialsAs expected, this will be another good year for Blu-Ray player deals like the $69 Samsung BD-E5400 similar to this one with built-in Wi-Fi at Target. For $30 more you can get the Samsung E5900 player that has a newer Profile and can play 3D movies on your 3DTV. Walmart’s deal is a little better, offering an LG 3D Blu-ray player with built-in Wi-Fi. Best Buy is practically giving away a Toshiba Blu-ray player at $39. You’ll need to buy an adaptor to connect to your home network and it doesn’t get high marks for reliability but you could easily pay more for a dinner for two.
Will There Be Any Deals on Apple Products?Apple typically does not offer much in way of deals and that looks like the case this Black Friday. We have seen “virtual” discounts like a $60 Target gift card when you buy a $499 iPad (we assume it’s the older 3 and not the latest iPad 4). Target is also offering a $40 gift card on a $195, 16GB iPod Touch (4th Gen). We’ve seen other gift card “deals” on Apple products at other stores which could end up saving you over 10% on some products. We should note that Best Buy is offering a $165 saving with their $1199 MacBook Pro.
Loads of Cheap LaptopsEven though tablets are the hot item this year, there’s nothing like a laptop with a “real” keyboard for actually getting work done. Whether it’s for a student or professional, you can get a lot of laptop for under $400 and in some cases even under $200. Walmart has a Compaq Presario for $179 and an HP for $349 both appear to be running Windows 8. With any laptop deal, to make sure you are not getting last year’s processor pay close attention to the model number especially on Intel Core processors since they’ve all used the same name (Core i3, i5, i7).
Hottest Tablets May Be Too Hot for Good DealsYou probably won’t see the most popular tablets like the iPad Mini, Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD heavily discounted but we have seen ads for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 for a pretty good price of $179 at Best Buy. Best Buy is offering a gift card deal on Kindle Fire tablets which is something to consider.
There Are Still Reasons to Own a Real CameraThis year, it looks like Canon and Nikon are offering merchants good discounts on their cameras. We’ve seen a few Nikon Coolpix and Canon PowerShot cameras in Black Friday ads. Best Buy has the Coolpix S9050 listed for $129. We had to go all the way to the Amazon UK site to get information on this camera but the two user reviews gave it high marks and it does have some impressive specs including 15x optical zoom and a big 3-inch display. Meanwhile, Best Buy has the Canon PowerShot Elph 110 which has similar specs as the Coolpix and is also on sale for $129. Office Depot also has some good deals on cameras including the Elph 110 for the same $129 along with a few other good deals like a $99 Canon PowerShot A4000.
More Living Room Tech on SaleAs nice as the Apple TV is you’re never going to see it for $79 like the price listed on the Best Buy Black Friday ad for the top of the line Roku box. Meanwhile Best Buy is also listing the Harmony 650 remote for $39. Harmony is the biggest name in remotes and the 650 is a very capable device that you can program with your computer although we've heard it goes through batteries pretty quickly. If you’re looking for more sound for your flat panel TV, a soundbar is a practical way to get it. Walmart has a $98 deal on a Samsung HW-E350 that they normally sell for $199. It delivers 120 watts and includes a woofer. Only drawback is it only has an HDMI input, no optical in.
Multifunction PrintersMultifunction, all-in-one; printer, scanner copiers (and sometimes fax machine) are incredibly handy and amazingly cheap that is, at least the initial cost – inkjet cartridges are another matter. You can usually find great deals on these devices all year around but there are some extra special deals this time of the year. Best Buy has an HP Deskjet 3050A for $39 and the 3520 for $49. Both have built-in Wi-Fi neither have fax capabilities.
Watch Out for These Black Friday GotchasCheck out our list of gotchas to avoid this year in this companion article

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