Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of discounts to share—and, well, it’s the big one. While the holiday sales have been steadily trickling out over the past few weeks, it’s now Black Friday, which means the floodgates are officially open for tech deals across the Web.
Now, as is often the case with major shopping events like this, the majority of the offers retailers are pushing don’t totally hold up.
Sometimes the prices aren’t much lower than you’ll see at other points in the year, other times the products aren’t worth buying in the first place. (If there’s a product you’re interested in but don’t see below, we recommend using a price-tracking site to ensure you’re not overpaying.) But with lots of consumer tech, Black Friday and Cyber Monday often result in the lowest prices of the year. With that in mind, the Dealmaster has been burning the midnight oil to find the Black Friday tech deals that are most worth considering. You can find the fruits of his labor below.
There are simply too many notable deals going on now to give a quick recap here, but we’ve called out a few of our favorite offers based on testing the Dealmaster and the rest of the Ars team has done in the past. There’s a truckload of discounts on video games, PC gear, headphones, TVs, streaming devices, and more alongside that. We’ll do our best to update this roundup as deals expire and new ones become available, but for now, let’s try to make your holiday shopping a little less hectic.
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Top 10 deals of Black Friday 2019 (for now)
If you’re still in need of a cheap way to stream 4K video, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K is down to $25 for Black Friday. That’s a $25 discount and matches the streaming dongle’s price from Amazon Prime Day. We’ve gone over the pros and cons of the Fire TV Stick 4K a few times before: in short, it’s powerful, it supports nearly all of the major streaming services, it works with a variety of HDR formats, and its voice searching functionality is about as good it gets with these things. Its user interface can be somewhat messy, though, and it tends to push Amazon content first and foremost, which might be annoying if you don’t use Prime Video. We still like the overall package a little bit more than the Roku Streaming Stick+, but if you want a more simplistic UI above all else, we’ll mention that Roku’s alternative is going for $30 for its Black Friday sale.
While this isn’t a huge savings in a vacuum, it is the best Switch offer available if you’re planning to buy Nintendo’s game console regardless. Simply hover over the “Extra Savings” text in Amazon’s listing, click “Redeem,” and Amazon says it’ll send you $25 in site credit within seven days. According to the offer’s fine print, the credit will only be good for 60 days after it’s applied to your Amazon account and only works with products listed as being “sold by” (not “fulfilled by”) Amazon itself.
The Switch goes for $300 on its own, but the offer Nintendo is running at other retailers pairs an older model of the console paired with a digital copy of . That could be worth it if you’re itching to play , but Amazon’s deal covers the Switch model released earlier this year, which features significantly improved battery life compared to the variant that launched in 2017. As a result, we think this is the bundle worth jumping for while it’s still available.
With a $70 discount across retailers, Apple’s latest entry-level iPad is back down to its joint-lowest price to date. We’ll note that if you can afford to pay another $200 or so for an iPad Air, you’ll get a not-insignificant step up in build quality and long-term processing power. We haven’t seen any noteworthy deals on that tablet, however, and the new 10.2-inch model here remains an excellent tablet for casual media consumption and lighter work here and there.
This is the lowest we’ve seen Apple’s ultra-popular true wireless earphones at a major retailer and about $15 off where they’ve sat for the last several months on Amazon. The AirPods certainly aren’t the best-sounding headphones, and they still won’t survive a cross-country flight in one charge, but we won’t deny how intuitive they are to use if you’re already an iPhone user. Stepping up to the AirPods Pro or Beats Powerbeats Pro will grant you similar convenience with active noise cancellation and a more stable fit, respectively, but those pairs do go for quite a bit more.
It wouldn’t be a seasonally-specific shopping season without an Instant Pot deal, and this $49 price for the Instant Pot Duo 60 is one we can get behind. We usually see it sit in $60-70 range. This 7-in-1 device combines a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker, and warmer into one, with 14 smart cooking modes for completing recipes with simple button presses. It has high and low pressure settings, an important feature that makes it different from the baseline Instant Pot Lux, and it also gives you a bit more control over how your food is cooked when using the pressure cooking setting.
In general, the most popular Instant Pot models range from $69 to $129 when not on sale, but big shopping events like Black Friday here are when it drops the farthest. This deal on the Instant Pot Duo 60 is about as low as we’ve seen it to date.
Here’s a good opportunity to add a bunch of microSD storage space to your smartphone, Switch, GoPro, or whatever other device for not much money. The EVO Select isn’t as fast as something like the also-discounted SanDisk Extreme Plus—particularly if you wanted to, say, run a Raspberry Pi’s OS off of it—but it’s not not dramatically far off for storing and recording video. It becomes much better value when you can get 256GB for $28, which is the lowest price we’ve seen on this variant of to date.
Now’s a great time to buy the new version of our favorite Qi wireless charger, the RavPower RP-PC058, at a new low price of $16.99. This wireless charging pad supports fast-charging for most smartphones—10W for Samsung and other Android devices, 7.5W for iPhones—and 5W power for non-fast charging devices.
RavPower’s charger was consistently the fastest wireless charging pad in our testing, powering up smartphones from 0 to 100 percent in 4.5 hours or less. Most handsets will also get between 30 and 37 percent battery after sitting on the wireless charger for just one hour. You can even leave your smartphone case on while charging as the device can transfer power through cases that are up to 3mm thick.
Quick and efficient charging is important for any wireless charger, but just as important is the design and any extra perks it has. RavPower’s wireless charger has a non-slip coating on the top and bottom, keeping it in place on your bedside table or desk while also preventing your smartphone from sliding off. We also appreciate that RavPower’s wireless charger comes with an AC adapter in the box. It’s rare to see a wireless charger with an included AC adapter below $30, so grab this one while you can.
If you’re willing to pay for a premium pair of noise-cancelling headphones, this $70 discount on Sony’s WH-1000XM3 should lighten the load on your wallet. As we noted in our recent travel tech gift guide, these are a superb blend of comfort, fun (and customizable) sound quality, and the strongest active noise-cancellation we’ve tested on a pair of headphones so far. They’ll get you more than 20 hours of battery life, too. We’ll note that Bose’s QuietComfort 35 II is going for the same price for Black Friday—that pair has physical buttons and a slightly lighter design, so if you can’t stand touch controls, you’ll still be getting a good pair. But we think the XM3s are still the more complete product.
SanDisk’s Extreme Portable SSD has always been a great investment, but this Black Friday sale price of $139.99 for the 1TB model makes it even better. It’s a surprisingly small SSD, measuring 3.8 x 1.9 x 0.3 inches, but it’s also more rugged than most external drives. It’s IP55 water- and dust-resistant, and it can withstand shocks (up to 1500G), vibrations (5g RMS, 10-2000HZ), and drops from up to two meters.
It’s also one of the fastest portable SSDs we tested when we picked our favorite USB-C accessories (our general favorite, the Samsung T5, is also on sale for $13 more). Built for PC and Mac users, it’s great for storing high-res images, videos, and other documents that you want to keep in place that’s both digitally and physically safe. It also comes with a USB-C to C cable and a USB-C to A cable, allowing you to connect it to nearly any computer without needing an adapter. SanDisk’s Extreme Portable SSD usually stays at $165.99, only dropping close to $139 on rare occasions, so now’s the time to snag it if you’re looking for an all-purpose, high-performing, and ultra-portable SSD.
It may not be a flagship, but HP’s Envy 13t laptop is a solid laptop made even better by its Black Friday price of $649. The Envy line doesn’t have as much flare as the Spectre line, but over the past few years HP has added more to it to make it a bit more luxurious. The 13t laptop has a metal design with a silver satin finish along with angled edges that give it a more lux feel. It’s not the thinnest or the lightest laptop, but that actually helps it in some ways—in particular HP kept it thinner than most laptops in its price range but managed to include two USB-A ports with draw-jaw designs on its sides.
It also has a few key features that have become standard in flagship devices, namely a fingerprint sensor and a webcam kill switch. The former lets you log in using your fingerprint and Windows Hello, while the latter cuts off the electricity to the webcam so you can increase the level of privacy you have while using the notebook. This particular model that’s on sale is pretty powerful as well, featuring a 10th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD plus 16GB of Intel Optane memory. It’s arguably just as powerful and efficient as an HP Spectre machine, just with a more subdued design and a few fewer, high-end features. Our biggest complaints with this machine are its lack of Thunderbolt 3 port (but it does have one USB-C port) and its barrel charging port, but those are small prices to pay for a laptop that’s well worth its Black Friday price of $649.