Dealmaster: The Black Friday tech deals that might actually be worth buying

We combed through the early Black Friday ads to find the stuff you might want.

And once again, many of those “discounts” won’t be discounts at all. Year after year, the corporate holiday isn’t quite the deals bonanza it proclaims to be. Many of the devices on sale either won’t be priced significantly lower than they are at other points in the year or just won’t be worth buying to begin with.

After sorting through the early ad scans and retailer offers for this year’s Black Friday, we’re confident this trend will continue. That said, even if just a fraction of the several thousand sales on show are worth getting, that still leaves more than a few diamonds in the rough.

So to help you shop smarter, we’ve started rounding up the handful of tech deals currently advertised for next week that genuinely look promising. While most of these discounts aren’t live just yet—and while many of them will likely be available in limited quantities—feel free to bookmark this page and check back when everything hits.

Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

As for Microsoft, many of those same retailers say they’ll offer the base 500GB version of the Xbox One S for $189, about $60 off its usual going rate. There are a few bundles here worth noting: Target says it’ll throw in a $25 gift card, and Kohl’s says it’ll include $45 of limited-time store credit. Best Buy is advertising a bundle with Madden NFL 18 and an extra controller for $230, while Microsoft says it’ll include a free “select game of choice” (i.e., nothing super new).

A ton of games will be discounted across retailers to go along with this. There are simply too many to list here, but some personal highlights include Destiny 2 for $30, Call of Duty: WWII for $40, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for $49 at Walmart, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus for $25 at Best Buy, and Horizon Zero Dawn for $20. For a more complete look, Reddit user StryderOmega has compiled a handy spreadsheet listing many more game discounts.

For those interested in virtual reality, both Best Buy and Newegg say they’ll offer the Oculus Rift and Touch controller bundle for $350, a $50 price cut. Target, meanwhile, says it’ll offer Sony’s PS4-only PlayStation VR headset for $200, which is $100 off its usual price. Best Buy and Walmart say they’ll sell a bundle that includes the PS4, a PlayStation VR headset, and Gran Turismo Sport for $300, again $100 off its typical going rate.

Don’t get your hopes too high for sales on the absolute newest consoles, though. None of the major retailers is advertising noteworthy deals on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X, or PlayStation 4 Pro.

Expect to see the Echo Dot available for $30, the second-generation Echo for $80, the Fire TV Stick with Alexa remote for $25, the Kindle Paperwhite for $90, the Fire HD 8 tablet for $50, and the Fire HD 10 for $100, among other cuts. All of those deals range from $15 to $50 off. Note that they’ll be available at numerous retailers besides Amazon, too.

Besides that, the larger Google Home will be available for $80, $50 off its usual going rate. Both Walmart and Best Buy say they’ll offer the standard Google Chromecast for $20, a $15 discount, while other retailers say they’ll have it for $25. Best Buy also says it’ll have the 4K-ready Google Chromecast Ultra for $54, which is $15 off.

Black Friday should be a decent day to buy an iPad: Target, Best Buy, and Walmart say they’ll offer the 9.7-inch iPad for $250, about $80 off its normal price. Target and Best Buy also say they’ll offer the 64GB 10.5-inch iPad Pro for $530, which is a $120 price cut.

To answer the lingering question: yes, there are offers listed for the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus, but most of them are loaded with caveats. For now, we’re hesitant to outright recommend them.

Target, for instance, says it’ll give a $250 gift card with activation of an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus—with similar offers for Samsung and Google phones—but it appears to be in-store only. Best Buy says it’ll take $200 off the same devices, but only in the form of discounted monthly installments on select plans. Sprint is the only eligible carrier listed as of this writing. It, too, is offering a similar deal on high-end Samsung phones.

Walmart looks like it has the most promising iPhone deal, as it says it’ll offer a $300 gift card with activation of an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone X (or new Samsung Galaxy flagship). The company says the deal is only eligible for those who buy the device with an installment plan on AT&T or Verizon, though. It’s also worth noting that carriers have been offering $300 off deals on the iPhone X since the device launched, so there’s a little more bark than bite here.

We’ll list other highlights from the early Black Friday deals that have been advertised, including a few that are live now, below:

While there’s no shortage of offers on TVs in the early Black Friday ads, many retailers are being vague about exactly which models will be on sale. Be sure to pay attention. Two sets from the same manufacturer may look the same, but sometimes little changes in branding can mean a big difference in picture quality.

As such, we’ll hold off on recommending most TV deals until we get a little more clarity next week. For now, here are a few deals that look like they could be worthwhile based on reviews around the Web:

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)