Original post (11/26/21 12:40 am EST): The turkey has been consumed and the football games are over, which means the avalanche of Black Friday deals has begun. To help you sort through the barrage of breathless retailer promotions, we’ve pored over every so-called deal we can find, checking price histories and researching whether a product is worth buying in the first place to bring you this hand-picked roundup of the deals most worth your time.
If you’ve been following the early Black Friday sales that’ve ran over the past couple of weeks, many of the offers below may look familiar. Nevertheless, plenty of gadgets and gear we like are available at good prices. We’ll update this list continuously, so feel free to bookmark this page in case something you’ve wanted sees a discount later.
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All deals in this guide were handpicked by us. Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.
The latest Google Chromecast is our favorite streaming stick for less than $50. It’s quick to load apps, supports both Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos, and has a neatly organized interface that does an excellent job at serving up genuinely useful suggestions for new things to watch. This is the lowest price we’ve seen for the 4K streamer outright. (If you’re willing to sign up for Sling TV, though, it’s possible to grab the device for $5 less through a promotion there.)
If you’ve grown accustomed to using a Roku or Amazon streamer, note that many of those devices are also on sale. The new Fire TV Stick 4K Max is down to $35, while the recently released Roku Streaming Stick 4K is available for $29. Both deals match the lowest prices we’ve tracked, but note that the latter may lose access to an official YouTube app in the coming weeks.
We gave Amazon’s newest Kindle Paperwhite a rave review last month. It updates our longtime pick for the best ebook reader for most people with a larger screen, a USB-C port, a better frontlight, and improvements to both battery life and performance. This deal is the first major discount we’ve seen for the device. It also comes with four months of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited ebook service, but be aware that this subscription will be set to auto-renew by default.
As we noted in our roundup of Black Friday’s best noise-canceling headphone deals, the AirPods Pro remain a quality choice for iPhone users looking for a pair of noise-canceling true wireless earphones. Their five-hour battery life is middling and their integrated mic isn’t ideal for calls, but they do well to block out outside noise, with a nicely balanced sound and a bunch of user-experience conveniences if you use other Apple devices. This deal price is the lowest we’ve tracked.
If you’re looking for a different set of Apple earphones, the second- and third-gen AirPods are also on sale for $100 and $150, respectively. The former is $10 off the best price we’ve tracked, while the latter is a new low.
For an over-ear pair of noise cancellers, we think Sony’s WH-1000XM4 is the best choice for most people, offering a wonderful blend of comfort, powerful ANC, useful features, and customizable sound. This deal has been live for much of the past month, but it matches the best price we’ve tracked.
Here’s a simple one: if you plan on buying something new from Apple in the future, be it a subscription or new hardware from a physical Apple store, you can get an extra $15 in store credit from either Target or Best Buy when you pick up a $100 Apple Gift Card. We’ve seen other retailers offer deals like this in the past, but getting some bonus credit never hurts with a purchase you were going to make anyway.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes Xbox Live Gold, which enables online play for many Xbox games, and access to a growing library of genuinely worthwhile games. If you like to hop from game to game, it’s a good value at its normal going rate, but this deal matches the best price we’ve seen on a three-month membership for all users. If you strictly play on PC and want to try Game Pass out for the first time, note that you can get three months of the PC version of Game Pass for $1.
Sony’s PlayStation Plus is required to play most PlayStation games online and nets subscribers a couple free PS4 and/or PS5 games each month. While this isn’t the absolute lowest price we’ve seen for a year of service, it’s still a good discount for those who need to re-up their membership.
Catan is a strategic board game that tasks up to four players with collecting and trading resources to create roads, settlements, and cities, earning points along the way. It may cause some in-fighting with your fellow players—particularly if sheep are involved—but it has long been a gateway game for those interested in taking on board games as a hobby. This deal is a dollar off the best price we’ve tracked.
As expected, Amazon has discounted its entire Fire tablet lineup for Black Friday. While the 8-inch Fire HD 8 is a good value at its current deal price of $45, the new Fire HD 10’s bigger display and slightly faster performance makes it a better option for casual web browsing and video streaming. This deal matches the lowest price we’ve tracked.
A revamped model may arrive next year, but for those who need a laptop for general use cases today, the 2020 MacBook Air remains speedy, long-lasting, and well-built. This entry-level configuration comes with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, so it’s not for professionals, but we’ve only seen it drop lower than this price a couple of times in the past.