Black Friday, the oddly named super shopping day that comes the Friday after Thanksgiving, is always worth watching if you’re in the market for tech products. This year is no exception, and discounts are already appearing.
Here’s an early roundup of deals and shopping tips that will help you save money and find the gadget or gift that will gladden someone’s heart this winter. (Thanks to www.dealnews.com, a site that tracks shopping news, for supplying information used in this post.)
Laptops on the Cheap
Maybe money is really tight this year, and you can’t afford to buy an A-list laptop, or maybe you want a second machine to share around the house or leave at your weekend retreat. Here are three for under $300.
· Compaq Presario CQ58 15.6" 2GB RAM 320GB HDD Windows 7 Laptop for $179 at Walmart
· ASUS X401A 14" 4GB RAM Windows 7 Laptop for $250 at Best Buy
· Dell Inspiron 14z Intel Core i3 4GB RAM 500GB Windows 7 Laptop for $299.99 at Dell Home
Use Your Smartphones, Tablets and Social Media
Stores are now offering dedicated shopping apps, in some cases offering discounts and coupon codes. Similarly, "liking" or tweeting could get you a discount code, though that's kind of creepy since it basically makes you an advertiser.
Be the Early Bird Shopper
When you see big discounts make sure you get to the store, or the Web site, early. Dealnews.com notes that many items sell out very quickly, and last year the site awarded Best Buy a "jeer" for not having enough sale items in stock. Because retailers are so eager to lure shoppers, Black Friday sometimes starts at midnight or even on Thanksgiving Day. I think that’s a deplorable trend – it’s really hard on retail employees who might like to spend time with their families -- but it is what it is.
iPhone Accessories Fire Sale
Since the iPhone 5 has the new dock connector, old devices are obsolete without adapter. So if you have an older iPhone and need an accessory, like a charger for your car or a sound system, now is the time to shop around.
Tablets for Every Budget
Not everyone wants or can afford an iPad, Galaxy Note or Microsoft Surface. There are now a number of smaller, cheaper -- but quite capable -- tablets on the market, notably the iPad Mini, Kindle Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7. They are already affordable in the $200-$300 range, so don’t expect to see them marked down, at least not yet.
Watch Out for "Leaked" Ads
Stores will alter their sales as they learn what competitors plan on doing. Moreover, the fine print isn't always present, which is crucial information if your heart is set on a doorbuster deal that is actually only available in extremely limited quantities.