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This article was published on November 22, 2012

Holiday gadget deals of the highest quality (and where to find them)

Holiday gadget deals of the highest quality (and where to find them)
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The Wirecutter

The Wirecutter is mostly a list of amazing gadgets. The Wirecutter is mostly a list of amazing gadgets.

This post originally appeared on The Wirecutter – A list of amazing gadgets.

Let’s be honest. Most of the gadgets people buy during these crazy holiday sales aren’t for gifts. (And you shouldn’t try to buy people who like gadgets electronics for presents anyhow.) But there’s nothing wrong with getting a great deal on something, whether it is for you or someone else. Maybe you need a massive TV set, and if you can get it for cheaper this week, and so why wouldn’t you?

There’s a ton of sites that do nothing but aggregate Black Friday deals, coupons and door crasher specials. We’ll point you in the direction of the ones that we think are worth your time. Sound good? Cool. Let’s get down to the deals and the places to find them.

(Last updated: Sunday, 22:00 November 23rd, 2012. We will update this post every day this week. Follow @wirecutter on Twitter to know when we’re updating, or just check back every day this week.)

Why You Should Trust The People Choosing These Deals.
This list is filled with gear selected as worthy of your time and money because it is worthy of our time and money.

Geoff Morrison writes for CNet and Sound and Vision and others and has focused on AV and Home Theater for about a decade. Tim Barribeau has been focusing on cameras for reviewed.com, DPReview and PopPhoto. Nathan Edwards has focused on Computers and reviews for half a decade and currently writes for Maximum PC, PC Gamer, PC World, and others. Seamus Bellamy has written for The Wirecutter since about its start, and has written for Maclife, Maximum PC and has written two tech books. Brian Lam has been writing about technology for over a decade, for Wired Magazine and after that, for half a decade he ran Gizmodo. Michael Zhao, a junior, has worked with Brian since he was a teenager first at Gizmodo and now at The Wirecutter.

What I’d Buy if I Wanted to Buy Stuff

There are obviously a lot of deals out there, but most of them stink. Here are deals on gear that is extremely good and at a good price, or gear that is good enough at an amazing price. We will list only things here that we’d recommend friends and family buy.

Sunday 11:26 AM, November 25th, 2012

  • MacRumors noted that AT&T is selling refurbished iPhone 5 handsets at $100 off of their regular price. You’ll have to sign up for a two-year contract to get hold of one, but that’s a great deal on The Best Smartphone.
  • Amazon has a pretty good deal on the Fujifilm X-Pro1, which will give you a great lens and a filter for just $1700. Someone on SlickDeals spotted this combo: grab the Fuji X-Pro1 for $1400, get $300 off the $600 35mm f/1.4 or the 18mm f/2, and get a free lens filter, which usually runs around $54.
  • Holy Crap: Sears is selling the Craftsman Nextec Rotary Tool with LED Work Light and 40 accessories normally goes for $103 but you can get it right now for $34. If you’re a DIY type or a hobbyist, having a multi-use rotary tool like this on hand to buff, cut, grind and engrave wood metal or plastic can make life a whole lot easier.
  • Target has the Pentax Optio WG-2 tough camera for $180, and they’ll give you a free $10 gift card. It usually goes for around $240, that’s a pretty decent deal on a camera that’ll handle some pretty serious abuse.
  • On Monday, Timberland’s online portal will be offering 30% off everything on their entire site. With winter coming this would be a great time to pick up some new cold weather footwear.
  • Buy.com has the Nikon Speedlight SB-910 if you’re a Nikon shooter, for just $460. It’ll usually set you back $550, which makes this a really good deal on a very good strobe.
  • If you’ve got $21, you should use it to buy one of the greatest movies ever made. Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (normally priced $50,) is great for so many reasons I don’t even know where to begin. Actually, yes I do: Toshiro Mifune. It’s worth buying for his performance alone.
  • Holy Crap: FatWallet says that on November 26th, Joseph A. Banks will be selling men’s Signature Wool Blazers for $179 (regular price $595 – $895.) Every guy should own at least one blazer: you can wear it with jeans and still be dressy! While you might not have anywhere to wear one right now, you’ll be glad you took advantage of a sale like this the next time someone expects you to clean up your act and pretend to be presentable for an evening.
  • PASS: Walmart’s selling a Black & Decker cordless 18v drill with two Ni-Cad battery packs for $49. Why a pass? because while some places are selling this thing for up to $80, a quick look at Google Shopping reveals that whole lot more are offering it and other similarly specced cordless drills for below $50 on a regular basis. It’s a cheap drill, but you can get it anytime you want for this price. No need to run out on the worst shopping week of the year and get it.
  • Wes Anderson’s Rushmore–one of my favourite movies–is being sold by Amazon for 55% off its regular price. If you don’t already own it, you can scoop it up right now on Blur Ray for $18.
  • For the next hour, you can pick up the second season of Community for $10.
  • If you own an XBOX 360 and don’t already own Dishonored or Battlefield 3 Premium Edition, you can buy them from Amazon for $30 a piece (regularly $60 per game.)

Saturday 8:20 PM, November 24th, 2012

  • Holy crap: A good price on a good receiver. The Pioneer VSX-822-K was one of our alternate picks in our A Solid Receiver article. It matches our Onkyo pick with 6 HDMI inputs, and while it lacks component video switching, it has AirPlay built in. One of the main reasons we didn’t pick it was because it was $80 more than the Onkyo. Its price has fluxuated a bit in the last few months, and it’s currently matching its all time low at $250 (normally $380). This is a great deal, and cheaper than the Onkyo by $30. It’s worth checking out, unless you need to switch component video sources (like a Wii, for example).
  • Holy crap: Amazon has the Coen Brothers Collection, which includes Blood Simple, Fargo, Miller’s Crossing (one of my all time favourite films) and Raising Arizona on Blur Ray for $20. Given that this boxed set normally costs $70, that’s a steal.
  • PASS: Amazon’s also selling Walker, Texas Ranger The Complete Series for $131, which is $109 cheaper than it’s regular price. It’s not that $109 isn’t a good deal for eight seasons of television, it’s just that Walker, Texas Ranger is, well, awful. Seriously, I wouldn’t buy this for an enemy.
  • If you want to invest in a TV show that’s so bad it’s good, check out MacGyver — The Complete Series. You can get all 139 episodes of what’s arguably one of the best bad shows in television history on DVD for $35. Why not on Blu Ray, you ask? Because it’s 80s TV, and you really don’t get that much more visual fidelity out of it on Blu Ray than you would on DVD, so you might as well go cheap.
  • Lowest price ever on good sound bar. The Yamaha YAS-101 is normally $250, but is currently $199. The YAS-101 was one of our alternate picks in our Best Cheap Soundbar article, saying “If the room you’re buying a soundbar for doesn’t have a lot of extra floor space, you might consider Yamaha’s $250 YAS-101 as an alternative.” This is because the Yamaha’s subwoofer is built into the bar, instead of a separate unit, which is usually the case.
  • Half price (!) on a tiny stereo amplifier. The Dayton Audio DTA-1 is normally $60, and right now it’s $30. It’s about the size of a paperback book, and puts out about 10 watts per channel. I reviewed it for BigPictureBigSound, and found the performance to be surprisingly good for $60. It would be great for a small stereo system in a den. It doesn’t play too loud, but it’s only $30! You can even run it off batteries if you want. A cool product at a great price. I gave it 3/4 in my review, and the current Amazon average is 4.4/5 (73% 5/5).

Saturday 7:32 PM, November 24th, 2012.

  • The Jawbone JAMBOX is on sale at Amazon right now for $130. Given that it’s normal price typically hovers around $150, that’s not bad. But it’s not the greatest deal in the world. It is a decent speaker, though.
  • Steam’s been offering great deals on games all week, and today’s no different. Today, they’ve got a number of flash sales and huge discounts on a wide variety of recent and popular games. For example, you can pick up the insanely entertaining Borderlands 2 for $30 (50% off of its normal price,) Deus Ex Human Revolution for $8 (75% off!) or Shogun Total War 2 for $10 (a 66% savings.) My favourite of the bunch? $15 for all three Warhammer Dawn of War II games. I’ve been playing this one for close to three years and it never gets old. But if you want it, you’d better hurry. It’s only being offered as a Flash sale item for another hour.
  • You can pick up the itty-bitty teeny-weeny Pentax Q for just $300 (Costco membership required.) Usually, they go for the better part of $400. These are the smallest mirrorless cameras you have ever seen, to the point where they look like toys. And they have pretty mediocre image quality. But they’re adorable!
  • PASS: Amazon is offering 30% off all Marmot clothing and equipment, which sounds like a sweet deal, but the prices I’ve seen posted for it kind of suck. For example, the Marmot PreCip, our pick for Best Cheap Rain Jacket, is currently selling on Amazon with a base price of $70, which is more expensive than we’ve seen it on the site in the past.
  • For $50 (normally $62.60) you can grab a Drinkwell 360 Pet Fountain that’ll recirculate your pet’s water to keep it fresh throughout the day so that your dog or cat will want to drink more often and not dry up like a raisin. You’ll eventually have to replace its charcoal filter, but it’s a small price to pay to keep your filthy four legged friend from drinking out of the bathtub.
  • Another big Pentax deal is in lenses from B&H. They have the Pentax 50-135mm f/2.8 for $750 (usually $1200+) and the 16-50 f/2.8 for $750 (usually around $1000). Those are some pretty damn good deals on high-end glass, if you’re a Pentax shooter.
  • Holy Crap: Amazon has 14 different Kurt Vonnegut books for $2 a pop on Kindle. Get some literature in your life.
  • Today only at Fry’s, you can pick up a really good deal on a carbon fiber tripod from a very reputable brand. They’re selling the Vanguard Alta+ 254CB for just $170, and according to the print ad, it includes a SBH-30 ballhead. I’ve seen that same tripod with a slightly different head for prices from $224$350. So this is a very solid deal, and the cheapest you’ll see a good carbon fiber tripod. Carbon fiber is lighter than aluminium and better at absorbing vibrations, but also a bit more fragile.
  • If you want to pick up World of Warcraft — I don’t know, maybe you hate everyone outside your doors, whatever — Groupon has the game, the first two expansions, strategy guide, and a month of playtime for $5. I wouldn’t recommend this for my friends because I actually like seeing them, but I’m pretty sure it’s a good deal, as Amazon sells it for $20.
  • Sony has ongoing educational discounts available. Combine that with black friday deals and you can get our absolute favorite compact camera right now, the Sony RX100, for $585 including two years of damage protection. Only good for you teachers and students, though. This is valid for the megacamera RX1, among other things!
  • Today only, you can pick up The Forever Marilyn Monroe Blu-Ray Collection for $28 (regularly $73.) A seven film collection that spans Monroe’s career, the boxed set features a number well known flicks like Gentlemen Prefer Blonds and kind of crappy picks like River of no return. But the good outweighs the mediocre in this one, so it’s worth your attention if you’re a movie buff.

Saturday 12:21 AM, November 24th, 2012.

Friday, 12:49 PM November 23rd, 2012.

  • Arguably the best newspaper strip ever to grace the printed page, the Complete Calvin and Hobbes boxed set is just $50 on Amazon. That’s the hardcover version, which usually goes for $95-ish.
  • The Panasonic LX7 is a bit bigger than the S100, but has a faster lens, and arguably takes better photos. Gizmodo thinks it’s the better of the two cameras.
  • Our pals at Gizmodo have a deal going with SoundEarPhones.com to provide 25% off everything in their online store. Just use code GIFTCARD25.
  • Stack Social is offering a bundle of great deals for Mac owners. If you don’t already own it, you can pick up a license for Parallels 8 for $60–a savings of $20. When you buy it, you’ll also get free copies of Virusbarrier 6, Rubbernet, Mac Optimizer and SnagIt for Mac.
  • How about a $300 projector? The ViewSonic PJD5123 would be a great projector for the occasional movie night. Shine the image on a wall, or on a sheet outside. It’s not going to have the picture quality of a more expensive projector, and it only has 800 x 600 resolution, but for $300 it’s quite a deal, and this model’s lowest price ever. It has a claimed 2700 ANSI Lumens, which should be pretty bright. Though it says it’s 3D-ready, there is no HDMI input so Blu-ray 3D won’t work. There aren’t any professional reviews, but the average Amazon customer review is 4.5/5, with 70% 5/5 and 21% 4/5.
  • To go with the ViewSonic above or that portable projector you’ve got kicking around, Elite Screens has some deep discounts on their electric (as in, retractable) screens. This 100-inch 16×9 screen is only $310 ($53% off). So for $600 total you could have a 100-inch TV in your home. Want bigger or smaller? Many of Elite’s other models are on sale as well, like this $223 84-inch model, or this $480 120-inch. Any screen is going to look better than shining a projector on a wall or sheet, because the texture of the surface won’t be as visible (even the smoothest paint will have visible bumps).

Friday, 11:25 AM November 23rd, 2012.

  • This Canon PIXMA MG5320 Wireless Injet Photo All-In-One Printer has over 300 reviews with an average of four stars, and it’s currently being sold for $50. Hard to argue with that.
  • Holy Crap: SanDisk Extreme SSD is going for under $1 a gigabyte. You can snag 120GB for $85, 240GB for $160, and 480GB for $315. It’s easily the best deal we’ve ever seeen on a solid state drive.
  • Looking for some dirt cheap DDR3 RAM? How does 2 sticks of Kingston HyperX Blu 1600MHz 240-pin DDR3 Non-ECC CL10 Desktop Memory for $52 (78% off) sound? If I hadn’t just spent $1500 on plane tickets I’d be snatching that up. But I’m poor now, so in Amazon’s warehouse it shall remain.
  • The New York Times is offering 50% off the price of a 26 week subscription!
  • One of our favourite pairs of cans, the Audio-Technica ATHM50 Professional Monitor Headphones with Coiled Cable is on sale for $106. It’s one of the best prices we’ve seen for these.
  • Walmart’s got Creative’s D80w Portable Bluetooth Speaker on for $29. That’s a 52% savings, which makes this a cheap and portable means by which one could bring the noise.
  • CHEAP EXTERNAL BATTERY for just about any USB charged smartphone or tablet under the sun. Amazon’s selling the New Trent IMP120D iCarrier 12000mAh Heavy Duty 2A/1A Dual USB Port Battery Pack for $54. Yeah, it’s got a crappy name that’s as long as your arm, but it’s very well reviewed and you’ll be hard pressed to find a 12000mAh battery pack for less.
  • Look, I wouldn’t buy it one of these for myself, but if you have a kid in your life that won’t stop screwing with your iPad or are looking for a cheap ‘wow’ gift for your office’s secret Santa, it’s hard to argue with the 7″ Coby Kyros tablet. It’s on sale at Walmart right now for $69 (regularly $99.)
  • If you’re a movie lover, there’s no excuse not to pick up the Planet of the Apes Five Film Collection on Blu Ray for $23. That’s over half off of its regular price. When you’re in the mood for camp, there’s few things better.
  • Monoprice has two great deals on cables. The first is a 10-foot High Speed HDMI cable for $5. This connects your cable box, Blu-ray player, or media streamer to your TV. They have shorter cables for less, too, if you don’t need 10-feet. Monoprice has been our pick for cheap cables for over a year. The other deal is for specific situations. It’s a 50-foot HDMI cable with Redmere technology. This means the cable is more likely to work with different TVs and sources (an issue with some long cables). Also, the cable itself is thinner than most 50-food cables, so it’s easier to snake around your room, around corners, and so on. It’s usually $67, but right now it’s $47. Remember, there are no picture or sound quality improvement with more expensive HDMI cables, so for $5 for 10-feet or $47 for 50 with Redmere are great deal for perfect 1080p picture.
  • One deal I would NOT get is the EH6000 series from Samsung. You’ll see this advertised everywhere. At first glance, it’s a great deal: an inexpensive LED LCD from a major company. However, I found the performance to be mediocre, and there was a serious lip sync issue. David Katzmaier at CNET gave it a 3/5 and in his review said, “Lighter black levels hamper the EH6000’s picture quality compared with many TVs, including less expensive models. Its connectivity suite is anemic with just two HDMI inputs, and at this price numerous TVs offer apps and Smart TV functions that this Samsung doesn’t.” Pass on this TV, and check out something like Panasonic’s ST50 series or Samsung’s own E450 Series.
  • Holy Crap: A Wirecutter Exclusive — Sign up for a Year’s worth of access to Decide.com to help you make smart buying decisions. Regularly priced at $30, it’s a good deal that’ll help you find other good deals all year long.

Friday, 9:25 AM November 23rd, 2012. 

  • ThinkGeek’s Black Friday sale is live, and they have pretty good buy-one-get-one-half-off deals onmugst-shirts and robes. I like the 4th Doctor and the TARDIS robes, myself.
  • Holy crap: CrashPlan is currently selling one year/one computer backup plans for $2.40, and Family plans for $5.76. It’d be stupid not to take advantage of this. But you’d better do it fast because the price increases every two hours. gogogo!
  • ThinkGeek also has a Dali-esque melting clock for $7.50. That’s half off the normal price, and $13.50 less than we’ve seen it elsewhere.
  • If you’re wonky enough to both like mechanical keyboards and care which type of mechanical switches they have in them, Amazon has a great deal on a Rosewill keyboard with Cherry MX Blue switches for $60. Those are the same switches that give the Das Keyboard its clacky feel.Overclock.net has the definitive primer on the difference between each type of switch.
  • Lenovo’s Daily Doorbuster deals on top of its Black Friday sale are pretty rad, and the T430, our favorite workhorse laptop, is down to $780 with the 1600×900 screen and 9-cell battery as we recommend in our writeup of the laptop. That’s $220 off their regular price, or about 20 percent. That’s if you get it from Lenovo.com and use the code BFDEAL4 at checkout. This expires at midnight tonight.
  • Macy’s is selling a seven pieceZwilling J.A. Henckels Pro “S” Cutlery Setfor $200 (regular price $300.)
  • 6PM.com is having a huge sale on clothing, with brand name clothes from brands like Patagoniaon sale for between 30-75% off.
  • Dell is selling their Inspiron 17R Laptop for $650, which is $240 off their regular price for it, but It’s got lousy reviews from users, so I wouldn’t buy it even if it’s a good deal. That said, their award winning XPS 13″ Ultrabook is on sale today $150 less than you’d usually find it, so if you’re into skinny Windows 8 laptops, you’ll want to take a look at that.
  • Staples has the Brother HL-2240 Mono Laser Printer on for $50, which is $20 cheaper than I’ve ever seen it anywhere else. It’s a great printer that will serve you well, provided you only need to crank out text. and the occasional greyscale graphic.
  • Today’s Amazon Gold Box deal is the Canon S100 for $230 with a free 8GB memory card. This isa great compact camera, and the improvements to the current generation S110 are minimal.
  • Another very good advanced compact camera is the Panasonic LX7, which is currently hitting $300 at Amazon and B&H. It usually goes for more like $400, so it’s a pretty solid improvement.
  • DiscountMags has more than 90 magazine subscriptions marked down. Prices start at just $8 for two years. For those of you who still like bundles of dead trees being delivered to your house.
  • If you’re tired of Lego sets all coming in themed kits, Wal-mart is selling two 650 block boxes for just $30 — they usually run around $45 each. If you full your cart to $45, you get free shipping. If you’re having trouble checking out, look at this forum thread for hints.
  • Earlier this week, we pointed out that Amazon had Lightroom 4 for $100, down from $150. Newegg has beat that, selling it for just $80.
  • Amazon’s selling Livescribe pens at a discount. You can save $60 on a Livescribe 8 Echo Smartpen ($118,) or $50 on the 4GB model.

Friday, 12:15 AM November 23rd, 2012. 

*We’re not including some stinkers that you might otherwise be fooled by. Please remember to check the sources list at the bottom of this post if you want to see more deals, and also tweet anything you think is a killer deal to us at @Wirecutter on twitter.

Thursday, 7:15 pm November 22nd, 2012.

  • Toys R Us has taken the wraps off a number of their Black Friday deals including $20 off of any regularly purchase made in the store of $100 or more, a buy one/get one for 50% off deal on a number of popular children’s games, up to 50% off on selected action figures and play sets, up to 50% off on dolls and stuffed animals and 40% – 50% off of a number of toys for preschool aged kids. Why am I not naming specifics? Because I don’t have any kids, don’t spend much time with the few children that are a part of my life, and therefore, have no frigging idea of what’s popular or a good deal when it comes to toys. But maybe you can do something good with this information you know? Make a kid smile or whatnot. I hear it’s good for the soul. All the deals listed on Toys R Us’ homepage look to be in place until the 23rd.

Thursday, 3:15 pm November 22nd, 2012.

  • Between now and Monday you can get 25 percent off of replacement headphone tips from Comply Foam by using the code STUFFED at checkout. Comply has tips for pretty much any decent set of in-ear headphones. I use a pair of Comply T-200s in my Astro A*Star headphones. Before I had the Comply tips, the silicon and foam tips that Astro shipped kept falling out of my ears. The Comply tips keep them in my ear and block more ambient noise, for better sound. I’d buy Comply tips for any headset I own, and the vast majority of Comply tips have 4/5 stars on Amazon.

Thursday, 1:30 pm November 22nd, 2012.

Thursday, 11:35 am November 22nd, 2012.

  • Looking to upgrade your kitchen for the holidays? Home Depot is selling a LG Electronics 30.7 cu. ft. French Door Refrigerator in Stainless Steel for $2198–$1000 off its regular price. Amazon is selling the same fridge for $2200, but there’s only 10 left in stock, so if you want to get it from them, you’d better hustle.
  • American Eagle Outfitters is offering free shipping on everything now until November 25th. Plus, you can get 40% off the price of your entire purchase. Just enter code 35787891 when checking out (via BlackFriday.com)
  • Lands’ End has clothes on the cheap too. They’re offering 30% off and free shipping for just about everything they sell, excluding their Black Friday door crashers. Use promo code WONDERLAND and PIN number 2126 to make it happen.
  • I would have played Skyrim sooner, but I took an arrow in the knee. Fortunately, you can make up for lost time by buying the Windows version of the game from Best Buy for $25. That’s a savings of $35 off the regular price.

Thursday, 10:42 am November 22nd, 2012.

  • Lowest price ever on a great receiver. Denon’s AVR AVR1613 is normally $399, but is $269 right now on Amazon (just beating Best Buy by $5). It’s got 4 HDMI inputs, a USB input on the front for your iPod/iPhone etc, and even has AirPlay built in so you can stream music directly from iTunes.
  • Or pick in this category is the $280 Onkyo, but now that the AVR1613 is similar in price, the decision gets tougher. The Onkyo gets you two more HDMI inputs and component video switching, but lacks the Denon’s Airplay. If you like the idea of AirPlay built into the receiver, and don’t have any component video sources (or don’t mind that the receiver doesn’t switch them), get the Denon. If you have more than 4 HDMI sources, HDMI switchers aren’t expensive.
  • Awesome deal on an awesome LED LCD. The Sony KDL-55HX850 was our pick for big LCD in our Best Big TV article (the overall pick, the Panasonic ST50, also has a great discount). Normally over $2,000, the 55HX850 is $200 off on Amazon. This is the lowest price we’ve seen on this great TV.

Thursday, 9:02 am November 22nd, 2012

Thursday, 8:37 am November 22nd, 2012

Wednesday, 7:11 pm November 21st, 2012

Wednesday, 5:17 pm November 21st, 2012

Wednesday, 3:17 pm November 21st, 2012

  • If you don’t already own them, Blizzard’s selling Starcraft II and Diablo III for $20 and $40 respectively ($20 off of their regular price.) Either is a great way to ignore your Thanksgiving dinner guests away. You’ve got until the end of the week to pick them up on the cheap.
  • Looking for a powerful new desktop system? You can pick up a HP ENVY Phoenix h9-1340t Desktop with an Ivy Bridge Quad Core i7-3770K, GeForce GTX 660 1.5GB, 12GB RAM, Windows 8 for $1125–$375 off its regular price–until November 27th. Just use code DT1261 to get the discount.
  • MartinLogan made their name with massive flat speakers. They’ve recently started making several different series of smaller speakers, and the reviews have been great. The MLT-2 sub-sat system itself hasn’t been widely reviewed by the pros, but the 4.8/5 average on Amazon (29 total reviews) is a promising sign. They’re a pretty insane 66% off their list price ($413). NewEgg has them for a few dollars less, and with 87 customer reviews, they have a 4/5 average.
  • The Polk RM705s is another great sub-sat system. They’ve got a 4.5/5 average on Amazon (from 126 reviews) and are going to be tough to beat for $250 (58% off). Consumer Reports gave them a 57 (the class leader has a 63), and praised the Polk for “very good bass” though they found “Treble response is fairly even, though just a tad bright.” They found the midrange a little uneven, which isn’t uncommon with sub-sat systems.
  • If you’re keen on Polk, how about a subwoofer? The PSW505 is down to $230 (61% off list). It’s got a big 12-inch, long-throw woofer powered by a 300-watt amp (460-watt peak). From 417 customer reviews on Amazon, the average rating is an impressive 4.7/5. Over at NewEgg, from 357 reviews, 86% give it a 5/5 and 34% 4/5. I’d buy two. (No, really, multiple subs create better bass in any room, even at the same volume as one sub!)

Wednesday, 2:13 pm November 21st, 2012

  • This is a big one, literally. Amazon is selling the Panasonic Viera ST50 (our pick for best big TV) for $1500. That’s a full $100 off of its historical lowest price. If you’ve been really good this year, now’s as good a time as ever to splurge. NFL playoffs are just weeks away!
  • If you are looking for a soundbar on the cheap, the Vizio VHT215, our pick for best cheap soundbar, is on sale for just $150 on MyGofer.com. That’s $110 off street price. However, a couple things worth noting before pulling the trigger: it’s a) refurbished and b) the specific vendor selling it only has a 2.5/5 star seller rating. So it’s a great price, but not without caveats.
  • Monoprice is offering discounts on a wide variety of hardware and accessories for desktops, laptops, home theatre systems and tablets. My personal favourite? a 67% discount on a mechanical gaming keyboard. It’s not a Das Keyboard, but I can almost guarantee that it’ll feel more responsive than what most of you are banging away on right now.
  • Newegg is selling a EVGA 012-P3-2078-KR GeForce GTX 560 Ti – 448 Cores (Fermi) Classified Ultra 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card for $180 (regular $300.) If you’re building a new gaming rig, it’s a good thing to grab. Just do yourself a favor and throw away the free coupon for Duke Nukem Forever that comes with it. Trust me.
  • Olympus will give you a great discount on a refurbished OM-D E-M5. This was our pick for best mirrorless camera over $1000. The refurbished version is $880 with 14-42mm lens (usually $1100) and $1040 with 12-50mm lens in black or silver (usually $1300).

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Tuesday, 7:23 pm, November 20th, 2012

Tuesday, 2:24 pm, November 20th, 2012

Tuesday, 12:55 pm, November 20th, 2012
On the TV side of things, this year is a bit different than previous years. The deep discounts of the tier 1 brands (Panasonic, LG, Samsung, etc), isn’t happening. Most of the deep discounts are with off brands that offer dubious or unknown quality. We’ll certainly see a few great deals here and there, but the 40% across the board drops of old just isn’t happening.

  • A great pair of powered bookshelf speakers ($350) Audioengine’s A5 speakers are some of my favorites. They sound fantastic, with lots of room-filling bass from small(ish) speakers. They look fantastic too, as they’re actually made from bamboo. There is a newer model that offers some tweaks, but these sound so good, and are $100 cheaper. Well worth checking out while they’re still available. Plug in your computer, your iPhone, your TV, anything you want to have better sound.
  • 40% off a decent 5.1 sub/sat system ($119) Like many really inexpensive products, there aren’t a lot of professional reviews to go on. However, this $119 Yamaha has an average Amazon Customer Review rating of 4.4/5 from nearly 200 reviews (65% are 5 stars, 23% 4 stars). The 100-watt sub has an 8-inch driver, while the satellites have a 0.5-inch tweeter and 2.5-inch woofer. One Amazon reviewer liked them so much, he bought an additional set. For a little bit more, our Good Surround System pick has a better objective review track record, but the Yamaha is probably decent for the price.
  • 34% off a highly-rated high-end home theater in a box ($730) Onkyo’s HT-S9400THX isn’t cheap, but has a 4.8/5 average review rating on Amazon, was received a positive 3.5/5 by Home Theater magazine, and is THX-certified. Tons of power, plus all the HDMI inputs you’ll need. The included receiver is actually a step up from our Solid Receiver pick.
  • A decent 46-inch LCD for $700 ($800) Toshiba’s 46L5200U got 3/5 when reviewed by CNET. They said it had “good all-around performance for the price.” If you don’t want to go with plasma and our 50-inch TV pick, this is a great price on a decent 1080p TV.
  • A good 60-inch plasma for $850 (was $1050) We picked Samsung’s step-down E450 series as our 50-inch TV pick. This PN60E530 is not only much larger, but also 1080p. It has a 4/5 star average on Amazon, and a 4.6/5 (111 reviews) on Best Buy’s website. Best Buy’s price is even lower than Amazon’s.

Tuesday, 11:32 pm, November 20th, 2012

  • Save up to $3500 on a Leica M9. LensRentals are selling off some ex-rental gear for Black Friday. It’s 10% off across the board, plus 5% back as rental credit — great if you’re a photographer who wants to try some new stuff. At random times throughout the weekend, they’ll also be offering some major deals like the Canon 5D Mark III for $2200 (usually $3300) and the Leica M9 for $3,000 (usually $6500 new, $4500 used.)

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

  • Amazon has taken the wraps off of their Black Friday digital music sale, with popular albums starting at just $3.99
  • Between November 20th and November 27th, Good Old Games is selling a collection of five classic games for $10. With 20 different titles to choose from, chances are you’ll find something you like.
  • On Friday November 23rd, Apple will be holding their Black Friday sale online and in-store. As the deals are available online and in their retail stores, I say shop online. Anything you buy will be shipped for free. What deals will there be? No idea. But I can tell you that Apple was selling MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops for $100 off last year to give you some idea of what to expect.
  • Amazon’s selling Corsair Force Series GT solid state SATA drives for under $1 per gigabyte, with a 120GB drive going for $118, 240GB for $214 and 480GB for $390.
  • Photoshop CS6 for Mac and Windows are both on sale this week at Amazon for $500 and $545 respectively. Regular price is $700.

Monday, 6:47pm, November 19th, 2012

  • This coupon will net you a copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2011 for Mac for $70 at Best Buy. Considering the fact that it’s usually $120, that’s nothing but win (especially if you’re sick of dealing with Pages asking you to save to iCloud every time you open a new document.)
  • Between November 23 and November 25 GameStop is selling a 160GB PlayStation 3 for $200 along with five free games and 30 free days worth of PlayStation Plus. That’s $115 off of the console’s regular price, and the games are gravy.
  • Starting November 22 at 8pm, you’ll be able to get a Magellan RoadMate 2136T-LM GPS Receiver for $70. That’s 50% off.
  • On November 22, 23 and 24th you can save $100 on a 14′ trampoline with a flex steel safety enclosure at Toys R Us. You children and immature friends will thank you.
  • Menards is offering Stanley 10-gallon Wet Dry Vac for $40 — $25 off the regular price–until December 2.

Monday, 4:30, November 19th 2012:

Monday, 2:15pm, November 19th, 2012:

Monday, 1pm, November 19th, 2012:

Note: we’re looking for deals across categories, but many don’t arrive until later this week. We’ll do another update before today is up, too.

Sunday, November 18th 2012:

  • Bed Bath & Beyond is Selling Dyson vacuums, fans and heaters for between $50 and $100 off of their regular price between November 23 and November 26. You can pick up our pricey runner up for Best Portable Heater the Dyson Hot for $300–$100 below its listed price on Amazon. That said, don’t count Amazon out just yet. The price for Dyson gear could drop before Black Friday rolls around. It could pay to check back frequently.
  • Have a reader in your life you don’t like enough to buy a Kindle Paperwhite? Target’s selling the Nook Simple Touch E-Reader for $49 (regular $99.) While the Nook doesn’t have access to Amazon’s massive library of books right out of the box, you can fix that with a reasonably simple hack.
  • My living room’s not big enough for a 50″ TV, but maybe yours is. FatWallet says that Sears is selling a 50″ Toshiba LED 1080p television for $300. That’s $500 off the LCD’s regular price. Crazy, right?

Find Your Own Deals

There’s hundreds of credible deal, coupon and clearance sites out there. Here’s a few that I like.

  • The New York Times’ Claire Cain Miller offers some online shopping tips for the holidays.
  • Gizmodo: All the black friday deals in one place. The list is unfiltered, so it includes good and bad, but you won’t miss a thing.
  • GottaDeal.com: GottaDeal is easily my favourite bargain site. While it features a similar selection to the other bargain and deal aggregation sites, a series of drop down menus at the top of the page lets you filter the site’s data by store, the kind of merchandise you’re hunting for, shipping price, how long ago the deal was posted and how popular a deal it is. What’s more, GottaDeal offers one of the most comprehensive collections of deals, flyers and coupons that I’ve been able to find online.
  • FatWallet.com: FatWallet’s a site that you’ll find offering great deals, sales and the occasional print-worth coupon year round. While there’s not a lot of rhyme or reason to how the site’s organized, it’s hard to argue with the low prices the site provides. But the best part about FatWallet isn’t the featured deals, it’s the site’s user forum, where you’ll find a ton of useful information on what’s cheap and how to get it that often gets overlooked by other deal aggregation sites.
  • BlackFriday.com: Offering at-a-glance updates of deals from a wide number of major chain stores and online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Burlington Coat Factory, BlackFriday.com is a great jumping off point for anyone that wants to get a good deal on something, but aren’t quite sure what that something is just yet. The site also offers a selection of printable coupons, a wish list to keep track of your pursuits in avarice, and a email newsletter to let you know when new deals come to light.
  • TheBlackFriday.com: While not as fast to register their website as BlackFriday.com, TheBlackFriday is almost just as useful as BlackFriday.com, but a bit more cluttered. Once you get past it’s eye-burning design, you’ll find that it offers a deep dive into the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals that have gone untouched by a lot of other deal aggregation sites. At the time I wrote this guide up, the site was featuring scanned Black Friday ads from stores like Cabela’s, TigerDirect.com, Craft Warehouse and Pep Boys. Chances are, if you’ve got a hobby or passion, you’ll find something cheap to sate it here.
  • Dealzmodo: Our friends at Gizmodo do an admirable job of pointing out some of the best online shopping deals around. It’s updated on a regular basis and, unlike many of the sites we’re talking about here, easy to read.
  • Amazon Gold Box: Amazon’s typically cheaper to buy from than your average brick-and-mortar store, so when they put something on sale, it’s gonna be cheap. Updated daily, Gold Box is a treasure trove of low prices on the stuff you’ve been longing for and good deals on crap you never knew you wanted until you saw it for cheap. That said, there’s no real pattern to what they’ll have up for grabs from day-to-day, so you have to check back with it on a regular basis to really use the site effectively. That’s kind of a drag.
  • Deal News: DealNews.com isn’t a traditional cheap shopping aggregation site but it definitely gets the job done. In addition to providing links to deals on hardware, electronics, clothing and anything else you can fit in a shopping cart, it also points out the occasional travel deal, will point you in the direction of cheap places to shop locally in a large number of different North American cities and even tip you off on what not to buy during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • Ben’s Bargains: Ben’s Bargains has been around for a few years now, and typically features one or two things that I have to show some willpower to keep from buying every time I pay the site a visit. I find there’s a lot more deals on computer hardware, home theatre gear and general geek swag here than you’ll get from other sites, so for me anyway, it’s worth frequent visits if you’re in the market for something that plugs into the wall
  • Decide.com: The price tracking site found out that waiting in line for things on black friday is a terrible idea, and that some things are cheaper before and after thanksgiving or Chrismas. You have to read this piece if you’re shopping this month.
  • MaximumPC has a big list of PC related deals

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Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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