You are about to embark in what it could be defined as the biggest shopping event of the year. You know, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Like you, I also like to find the best bargains on gadgets, and because we are a site focus on helping you to get the best experience using a PC, I will be recommending Windows related products that I think are worth your time and money. Plus various tips on how to buy your new PC as well as a check list to get the most out of your Black Friday shopping.
Now, let start by saying that Black Friday seems to come earlier each year to the point that we should call it “Black Thursday” instead. Case and point, many retailers stores like Sears, Toys “R” Us and Wal-Mart deals will kick off at 8 p.m., Target will open at 9 p.m., and BestBuy will open at midnight on November 22nd. Online shopping sites like Amazon, just to name one, are having Black Friday deals many days before the Thanksgiving.
Black Friday 2012 Top Deals
As you know the store ads has been “conveniently” leaked during the past week or so, that means you can already start doing research and know if you should spend the day with your family eating a lot of turnkey or if you have to drive early to the store and stand in line to get a voucher for that one “hot item”.
So here is the thing, if you are thinking on shopping for that new Ultrabook, portable hard drive, router, or game. You should research the web first, you’ll be surprised how many items, even the so call “doorbusters”, that you are planning to buy are already the same or very close to the Thanksgiving prices. This could save you long lines and crowds and possibly not finding what you want.
One other thing that I wanted to note is that this year there aren’t many great deals, some are OK, but it will really make you think twice before spending the night outside in the cold. Said that, here are my top picks for Black Friday 2012:
- Xbox 360 250GB Holiday bundle from BestBuy: Xbox 360 S 250GB console, wireless controller, Forza Motorsport 4, The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim download token and one-month trial subscriptions to Hulu and Epix. It is a $407 value package for only $199.99 — BestBuy Link (Don’t wait in line, shop for similar product online).
- SanDisk – Ultra 32GB Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) UHS-I Class 10 Memory Card. Price $17.99 — BestBuy Link (Don’t wait in line, shop for similar product online).
- Seagate – Backup Plus 3TB External USB 3.0 Hard Drive. Price $99.99 — BestBuy Link (Don’t wait in line, shop for similar product online).
- Cisco Linksys – Dual-Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router with 4-Port Switch. Price $89.99 — BestBuy Link (Don’t wait in line, shop for similar product online).
- Logitech – M325 Wireless Laser Mouse – Violet (different colors available). Price $9.99 — BestBuy Link (Don’t wait in line, shop for similar product online).
- HP – ENVY 14″ Laptop – 8GB Memory – 1TB Hard Drive – Silver – 3rd Gen Intel® Core™ i7-3632QM processor – 1366 x 768 resolution. Price $629.99 — BestBuy Link (Don’t wait in line, shop for similar product online).
- HP – ENVY 15.6″ Laptop – 8GB Memory – 750GB Hard Drive – Natural Silver – 3rd Gen Intel® Core™ i5-3210M processor – 1366 x 768 resolution. Price $499.99 — BestBuy Link (Don’t wait in line, shop for similar product online).
- Asus – 11.6″ Touch-Screen Laptop – 4GB Memory – 500GB Hard Drive – Steel Gray – 2nd Gen Intel® Core™ i3-2365M – 1366 x 768 resolution. Price $449.99 — BestBuy Link (Don’t wait in line, shop for similar product online).
- Toshiba – Satellite 17.3″ Laptop – 4GB Memory – 500GB Hard Drive – Satin Black – 3rd Gen Intel® Core™ i3-3110M processor – 1600 x 900 resolution. Price $? — BestBuy Link (Don’t wait in line, shop for similar product online).
How to choose a new PC
Black Friday deals can be tricky if you don’t shop carefully. For instance, you should know that many laptops and desktop computers offered in this event are not from the current CPU generation — In other words, you could be buying a product that is old –. Here is a tip: If you are buying a PC Intel chipset-based, make note of the processor model to know what you are buying, e.g., in a Core i5-3210M processor — The “M” indicates that it is a mobile processor and the number “3” next to “i5-” indicates that it is a 3rd generation (current as 2012) CPU. Older processors will have model numbers like this: i5-2xxxx.
Also you should choose your next Ultrabook, laptop or desktop PC according to your needs and which applications you run everyday: The Core i3 and low-end i5 Intel family processors can be well suited for basic gaming, web browsing, basic productivity application and media sharing; while a Core i7 and high-end i5 Intel family processors will work best for heavy transcoding, complex applications and more demanding workload rendering like gaming.
If we are talking about saving money, my rule of thumb is that the discount is worth it as long as the save is about $200 or more for expensive items, and for smaller products such as, USB flash drive, keyboards, mice and other type of peripherals have to have a discount of at least %50-%60 or more to be a good deal.
Black Friday best tips
- Make sure that you check when the store you want to do your holiday shopping in will be open. If you cannot find the hours, call them up and ask.
- Stay away from purchasing computers that do not have its price reduced and come bundled with software, cases, and in-store support. Most bundled software isn’t worth the money (you can find many free alternative online that you can download and in many cases they do a better job). Besides most electronics come with at least 1 year limited warranty from the manufacture, and they are not worse than the store that you are buying your new gadget from.
- Warranty are almost worthless, 99% of time will cover only the lifespan of the device, which means that when it breaks you will not be covered. If you are afraid that the device will fail or break, you should know that most store (at least in the U.S.) offer a 14-day return policy — Although, it is a good idea to ask prior paying for the item –. You should also try an stress test, which involves, for instance, leaving the new computer turned-on playing videos or even better using the software called Prime95 for at least 48 hours. If the computer doesn’t fail within that period of time, chances are that the device will last the time that it was designed for. In a similar way you should test a new TV, Phone, etc.
- When buying Ultrabook, Laptop, or a desktop computer, in general, look for the best price that offers the highest screen resolution possible. If you are buying a new external LCD monitor only makes sense an screen resolution of 1920×1080 pixels (or 1080p) for 23” to 25” displays, anything larger will look pixelated. For a better experience in anything larger than 25”, you should shop for a screen resolution of 2560×1600.
- This is obvious but a lot of people forget, if you are thinking on buying a high value item like a new flat screen TV, laptop, desktop, etc.; show up to the store early! Because other people are thinking on getting those high value items too, and the store always carries really small quantities.
- When you are in the store making the line, ask people from the store the location for certain items, that will help you later to get there faster.
- Half hour before the store opens, start carrying all your belonging (chair, blanket, thermos, etc.) to your car and get ready without the scarf, jacket, or anything that can slow you down.
- Grab Ads magazine and when you are inside of the store, make sure that you are picking up the right item, model and that the price is correct.
- Prioritize the importance of each item and by location in the store, and go for that ONE item first.
- Ask for the return and refund policies on Black Friday deals.
- Watch out for price-match policies, they could not apply for Black Friday deals.
- DO NOT buy cables from the local store — they are over priced –, if you need a HDMI or other type of cables, they are cheaper in monoprice.com
- Remember to be safe and be respectful to others. Also plan ahead what you need or what you want to buy.
- And remember to have a great time!
Making the line check list
When you go to your favorite store, you may want to consider bringing:
- A thermos with a lot coffee, it is going to be a long night and caffeine will get you through the night.
- Food and water.
- Check the weather and depending on what part of the country you live in, it may get cold outside, so you may want to pack a blanket, scarf, wool skull, jacket, long pants, and running shoes.
- I don’t think that you want to be standing up those long hours, right? Remember to bring a chair.
- Entertainment is always good: laptop (charged), games, music, movies, magazines, Black Fridays Ads, etc.
- Bring a friend to keep you company and to help you out when the doors open, so you can rush for the stuff that you want to buy.
- Lots of money, in this case ca$h could work better than a credit card so you can put yourself a limit and do not over spend.
Wrapping up, you now have a lot of information. The only thing left to do is to get ready for that day.
Do you have a great deal that you want to share? Let us know in the comment below.