Greetings, Arsians! It’s Memorial Day weekend, so the Dealmaster is back with a special holiday edition of their usual tech deals roundup.
To be candid, Memorial Day sales aren’t typically known for providing big tech discounts, and that’s generally the case again this year. Most of the significant offers you’ll see out there apply to mattresses, home goods, and appliances instead of electronics. Per usual, those who can hold out until the holiday season will still see better prices on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
With that caveat said, we have seen a few good deals on noteworthy smartphones, headphones, video games, and other gadgets. Below are the best Memorial Day sales on electronics we could find.
Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.
Google Pixel 3a (64GB) unlocked smartphone for $279 at B&H (normally $350)
For now, Google’s Pixel 3a is arguably the best value among Android phones. It’s plastic, and it lacks the wireless charging, waterproofing, and top-tier processor (it has a Snapdragon 670) of higher-end flagships. But for a fraction of the cost, it’s quick enough, it runs a clean version of Android, and it’s still guaranteed a couple years of fast software updates. Most notably, its camera is superb at any price, not just for a phone that costs less than $400. It also has a headphone jack!
This is the lowest price we’ve seen for the Pixel 3a to date, $120 off its MSRP and about $70 off its usual going rate online. The big caveat is that the Pixel 4a is coming soon and is expected to feature a more modern design, more internal storage, and the expected spec bumps. Recent reports suggest it’ll start at $349, but that it won’t arrive until July at the earliest. It’s probably best to wait if you don’t need a new phone right away. If you do, though, or you just don’t want to spend more than $300, the Pixel 3a should remain a good value at this price. Note that this deal is available at multiple retailers—it’s been in and out of stock at Amazon—and that the larger Pixel 3a XL is also at a new low.
Buy 2, get 1 free sale on various new and pre-owned games at GameStop
GameStop’s big Memorial Day sale for the year lets you buy three new and/or pre-owned games for the price of two. The sale doesn’t include a number of major sellers—most notably new Nintendo-made Switch games—and many of the eligible games are individually available for less elsewhere. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, for instance, is currently $40 cheaper on Amazon, so cross-check before you buy. Digital copies aren’t eligible for the discount, either.
Still, being able to mix and match new copies with pre-owned ones is nice, and the sale does cover a number of well-regarded titles, including Red Dead Redemption 2, Persona 5 Royal, Resident Evil 2, The Outer Worlds, Control, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Hitman 2, among many others. If you need new games to play, it’s worth a look. The discount will appear at checkout and cut the price of the least expensive game you select.
Nest Thermostat E smart thermostat for $139 at BuyDig (normally $169)
Though Google has muddied Nest devices’ compatibility with third-party smart home devices, the Thermostat E remains a solid choice for those interested in a smart Wi-Fi thermostat. Like the pricier devices in the Nest portfolio, it’s relatively easy to operate, and it can learn your home temperature preferences and adjust itself automatically. The big difference is that it’s made from a simpler plastic, but even then it doesn’t look overly cheap.
While this is $10 higher than the lowest price we’ve seen, it’s still a good drop from its typical $170-ish street price. Google has a number of Nest products on sale beyond the Thermostat E, including the Nest Cam Outdoor for $149 and a two-pack of Nest WiFi routers for $239.
Beats Powerbeats Pro true wireless earphones for $200 at Amazon (normally $250)
We recommend the Beats Powerbeats Pro in our guide to the best iOS accessories. These are true wireless earphones that work similarly to Apple’s AirPods, as both utilize the company’s H1 wireless chip to connect easily and consistently with other Apple devices.
The Powerbeats Pro come with several advantages, though. Their battery life is significantly better, typically lasting around 10-11 hours per charge. Their “hook” design is more secure around the ear and IPX4 sweat-resistant, making them a great choice for the gym. They have physical volume and playback controls that are mirrored on each earbud. And while their sound isn’t spectacular for a $250 headphone, it’s fun for those who prefer an emphasized (but not overcooked) bass. The main trade-off is their enormous charging case; you’ll need ample pockets or a handbag to carry them around. There’s also no active noise cancellation, a la the AirPods Pro.
We’ve seen the Powerbeats Pro fall to this price on a number of occasions over the past year, but the $50 discount is still tied for the largest we’ve seen to date. If you’d prefer an on-ear pair of noise-cancelling Apple-friendly headphones, the solid Beats Solo Pro is also $50 off. A pair of Apple AirPods with a Qi wireless charging case, meanwhile, is down to a joint-low of $150.
Apple Watch Series 5 (40mm) smartwatch for $300 at Amazon (normally $400)
The latest Apple smartwatch earned our “Ars Approved” badge for providing an always-on display that doesn’t significantly compromise its 18-hour battery life, continued refinements to Apple’s watchOS software, and the same quality hardware as previous models. It’s still the best smartwatch for iPhone owners.
There’s less of an impetus to upgrade if you own an Apple Watch Series 3 or Series 4, and we expect a Series 6 to arrive during Apple’s usual fall release window. If you want to step up from an older model, though, this is tied for the lowest price we’ve seen to date. This deal is also available at Best Buy.
Razer Viper Ultimate wireless gaming mouse for $113 at Amazon (normally $122)
While not a massive discount, this is a new low for the Razer Viper Ultimate, our pick for the best wireless gaming mouse. It originally retailed for $130 but has gone for a few dollars lower on Amazon over the past month.
We recommend the Viper Ultimate for offering supreme accuracy and minimal latency in an extremely lightweight design. It works wirelessly over a USB receiver and gets around 70 hours of battery life per charge, but it can also connect via a highly flexible microUSB cable that comes included in the box. It has a relatively flat shape, but it’s sized and curved well enough to fit most hands comfortably. The design is completely ambidextrous, too, so lefties aren’t left out in the cold. It’s still an expensive device even with this discount, but if you spend a fair chunk of time playing competitive PC games, it should serve you well.
And the rest…
Finally, here are some more noteworthy deals we’re seeing on good tech this weekend, in rapid-fire format: