With Super Bowl Sunday quickly approaching, chances are you likely don’t have a ticket to see the 49ers take on the Chiefs in Miami. Like millions of people around the world, watching the action go down on TV is the next best thing.
Many are using this as an opportunity to shop for a new TV, upgrade their home theatre, all in time before kickoff at 6:30 p.m. EST.
With TVs being an infrequent investment, if you’re a sports junkie, here are some of the best models in the market right now for watching live sports.
For a 50-inch TV, not only does this come with 4K Ultra HD LED resolution, but the High Dynamic Range (HDR) means colours appear more vividly on your screen. Dark hues appear richer, while vibrant hues like grass pop out on your screen. Multiple inputs and easy configuration make it easy to switch between streaming devices with a handy voice remote, and to round out this pick, it has Amazon Fire TV built in so you can download your favourite sports apps and get even closer to the game and analysis.
This TV, currently on sale for $700 off, features OLED technology providing perfect black and infinite contrast. In sports, this brings out every shadow and every detail, especially in poorly lit areas. LG’s α7 Gen 2 Intelligent Processor means every image, action, and colour is enhanced, while built-in AirPlay means you can stream content straight from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
For those looking to splurge on an investment in a premium-brand 4KTV, Samsung’s Q60 offers a vibrancy that stands apart from competitors. They note over a billion shades powered by their Quantum Dot technology provides the most realistic picture, while Ambient Mode allows you to blend the technology to any home environment be it the colour of the wall behind, or work from your favourite artist.
Finally, I like including a budget-conscious option on the larger end of the TV spectrum. If you’re not looking for a premium brand like Samsung or LG, TCL makes a great 65-inch TV that’s fit for any sports fan’s living room. This LED set offers High Dynamic Range (HDR) which means you get better clarity and contrast, crisper colour and detail, ultimately providing a more lifelike image quality. Built in is the Roku streaming platform, which means you can download your favourite local, regional, and national sports apps and never miss a minute.
Don’t forget the sound. A sound bar can easily enhance the experience and bring you to the heart of the action. The Bose Soundbar 700 is touted one of the best performing sound bar from the company, designed to easily blend in with your TV and furniture, with unmatched sound quality. It features Amazon Alexa built in, as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity, and Apple AirPlay 2 so you can stream all of your favourite audio content.
If you’re looking to upgrade your existing TV and bring Amazon’s Fire TV capability, including its apps, Alexa voice assistant, Amazon Prime Video, and more, the Nebula Soundbar is a cost-effective solution that also amplifies your audio quality. 2.1 channel cinematic sound along with dual built-in subwoofers produce great frequencies, filling the room with every action and every call. For those with a 4KTV, 4K Ultra HD streaming is available at up to 60fps, Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+, with a built in voice remote allows you to access the Alexa voice assistant and Fire TV controls.
As more Black Friday flyers start to surface, technology is one area you can see lucrative deals from TVs to laptops, smartphone accessories smartphones and everything in between. Whether you’re hitting the lineups on Black Friday or jumping on the steals come Cyber Monday, here are some dos and don’ts on buying technology, especially when on sale.
Technology and what you’re using it for
How you plan on using a gadget will ultimately determine how much money you should spend. Whether that’s a TV, a multi-purpose Lenovo Thinkpad, or smartphone, you can go the budget route and buy something that’s low cost or heavily discounted, or you can invest with the intention of keeping it for a while. For something like a TV or a computer, most people ideally plan to keep it for several years, while smartphones can be replaced with a carrier every couple years.
How often you plan on using a piece of tech matters, too. If you watch or stream a lot of TV, you may want to spend more on a smart TV that includes internet capabilities to your favourite services or has built-in features like Chromecast so you can share content off your mobile device. If you’re watching live sports, perhaps you want something more heavy-duty like a Sony 65″ 4K UHD HDR LED that has Google Assistant and Android Smart TV built right in. The more action your content has, be it sports or gaming, the higher the hertz refresh rate you want. That will ultimately come at a cost.
Where you buy it from does matter
A great deal can lure you in, but you do want to consider where you buy a product from. Online retailers like Amazon not only have great laptop deals, but will offer an easy return or exchange process should you not be happy or something doesn’t go right. In store, Best Buy can also offer a holiday return policy that extends the amount of time you have to return a product. The retail guarantee in conjunction with the warranty from the manufacturer will ultimately determine support for your purchase—so be wary of shopping with third-party retailers that could void any limited or extended warranties that come with your investment.
Does it matter if I’m buying older-generation or refurbished tech?
This is a popular question. Older-generation devices are a great way to save as stores and manufacturers try to sell their inventory to make room for newer tech. Cycles for each product varies, so doing your homework in that area is smart so you’re aware whether you’re about to buy something that’s about to get refreshed—if that’s something that matters.
Inspect the tech if you’re buying an open-box item to see if it’s been used, or if something’s being sold as refurbished, take the time to ask if it comes with additional support should something malfunction earlier than expected that could take away from the investment of your gadget.
Consider the compatibility of what you’re buying. There are so many services and products out there now, so make sure they’re designed to work with your tech. For example, the Ring Video Doorbell is optimized to work with Amazon Echo and Alexa, while the Nest Smart Thermostat is part of the Google Assistant and Nest family, so combining a Ring Video Doorbell with a Google Nest Hub Max might trigger some compatibility issues. In this example, a Nest Hello Doorbell might be a smarter investment, or if you have an Amazon Echo, purchase a Ring Video Doorbell. Your best bet is to pick an ecosystem and stay in it.
You credit card can have your back
Finally, purchase protection is a great blanket for your technology. Many premium credit cards like Mastercard offer purchase protection that can extend warranties, or even cover for damage or theft. Every card is different, so be sure to look into the terms of your credit card so you’re aware of coverage before you shop, remember to checkout securely using “https” webpages, and review your statements regularly.
As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, deals and steals seem to start earlier than ever before. Yes, we know you can line up for the door crashers, but what about the hidden deals and tricks to find exclusive deals? Here are six ways to make the most of Black Friday deals, including how to find the best prices on items on your holiday shopping list this season.
Timed deals and outlets
Online retailers like Amazon can retain you on their website longer if they can offer you better deals throughout the weekend. Lightning Deals are found on the Today’s Deals page and also on special days like Prime Day and Black Friday. As we get closer to the week of Black Friday and into Cyber Monday, make sure to look at Amazon.ca to see rotating timed deals and upcoming deals to visit back to unlock. It’s a way for retailers to keep you shopping longer, but also a great way to access unique deals that aren’t available elsewhere.
While you’re on Amazon, check out Amazon Outlet, too. Think of your favourite clearance section and being able to easily scour through category, size, colour, and everything in-between but online. There, you’ll be able to find some excellent last-minute deals, so long as you’re fine with combing through the Amazon Outlet to find potentially limited size options, end-of-season styles, or low quantities.
Get on the email lists now
This is the time to get yourself on email lists. A great tip is to set up a secondary email for things like newsletters and coupons for not only Black Friday, but to also find deals year-round. Many retailers will unveil early deals and previews of door crashers to newsletter subscribers, and you want to give the websites ample time to add your email to their mailing lists so you’re the first to know of the sales worth jumping on!
Price check in store
There’s an app for that! Use a tool like ShopSavvy’s barcode scanner that can scan virtually any item you see in store and compare against multiple inventories online and in nearby stores to see if you can find a better deal. As more and more retailers restrict price matching on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, comparison shopping is one of your other tools to find the best deals in the area.
Comparison shop on Flipp
Speaking of comparison shopping, use the website, Flipp.com, to target specific items on your shopping list. Flipp compiles local flyers, online deals, and even coupons that offer a unique way of approaching shopping whether that’s at brick-and-mortar shops or at home on your computer. Simply input a product type, like “4KTV,” or a specific model of a computer (i.e. “MacBook Pro 15”) and the website will comb through prices to find you relevant information. Information is displayed through flyer clippings which you can save for future reference closer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Check the price history
For people who question whether retailers hike prices on popular items before dropping them on Black Friday to call them “deals” should check out CamelCamelCamel.com. It’s a great website that’s compatible with Amazon.ca, allows you to create a Price Drop Alert on items you are watching closely, view price history charts, and sort top price drops that you can take advantage of right now.
Now is a great time to spend your loyalty points
Finally, for those who sit on your loyalty points and don’t know how to spend them, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are often when companies like Aeroplan and American Express offer increased incentive to spend points on popular household items from vacuums to kitchen appliances and everything in between. What is traditionally not a great redemption value for these giftable items can turn out to be big value which can help you spend those loyalty points while crossing off items off your holiday shopping list.
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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are quickly approaching in Canada, with retailers taking advantage of putting out many great sales before the last big push into the holiday shopping season. The American tradition has become quite popular north of the border in recent years, and as people figure out their strategy for finding the best deals, the question remains—is there an advantage lining up in the wee hours of the morning, or are the deals online just as lucrative?
From electronics to appliances, clothing through home entertainment, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great for finding low prices, but there are some deals that are more worthy than others. This tech guide will help prepare you to look in the right places and find some unique deals that others might not have thought about.
Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday
Black Friday–an in-store event the day after U.S. Thanksgiving—has traditionally seen massive lineups in early hours of the morning. Online retailers like Amazon.ca have gotten on board with Cyber Monday, off-loading products at bargain prices the following Monday. Consumers this year can expect to see deals in the days leading up to and including Black Friday, as well as throughout the weekend and Cyber Monday.
Where to start planning?
Now is a good time to start planning what products you might be targeting and scan the flyers using a tool like Flipp. The app and website compiles flyers in your area and compares deals for specific products or categories of product across big-box retailers in-store and online.
ShopSavvy and Amazon are also great apps to save wishlist items and monitor sales across popular stores. Use ShopSavvy’s barcode scanner to scan an item to see if you can find a better deal in a nearby store or online. Amazon Prime traditionally releases deals throughout the weekend for Prime and non-Prime members alike, so you want to be sure to check frequently, refresh your wishlist to see if your items go on sale, and subscribe to Prime if you want access to faster shipping.
Historically, we’ve seen huge deals. Instant Pots have gained popularity in previous years with lucrative deals, and we can expect to see the continuation of that alongside their in-house products from Amazon Echo, Amazon Kindle, Ring doorbells, and their private-label fashion and basics lines.
If you’re looking for a TV and don’t have a specific brand in mind, Costco is traditionally a pretty great bet. They carry a large inventory with connections to popular brands like Samsung, LG, as well as off-brand manufacturers like VIZIO, Hisense, and TCL Roku.
If you’re willing to brave the crowds and lines, Black Friday at Walmart has proven to be popular on many popular toys from Barbie toLEGO and Star Wars. If you’re hunting for electronic games, Walmart has been known to offer some great deals on consoles like PlayStation and previous-generation iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Electronics, however, are often at limited quantities, so be prepared for some competition.
What should you buy?
As you start compiling your shopping list in the coming weeks, areas you’ll typically find deals in product categories like smart TVs where both high-end and off-brand 4K TVs will go on deep discount. Having said that, many big-box stores like Best Buy are limited to how many they can hold in their store inventories, so you might be better flagging a deal on an online retailer like Best Buy or Amazon. Use an app like Flipp to track similar models across all stores.
Previous-generation computers and tablets often go on sale in the fall as brands try to off-load older inventory. In the same vein, computer accessories are often heavily discounted Black Friday weekend, so keep an eye on wireless headphones, Beats speakers, and smart home products.
Finally, toys and gaming consoles typically go on sale ahead of the holiday shopping season. Barbies, LEGO, even Baby Shark have seen great deals in years past, but lovers of high-tech gaming will also benefit on Black Friday. Xbox and PlayStation both see clearances as new models get announced in the new year.
Don’t bother lining up overnight
While there are many great deals to be found on Black Friday weekend, there are a few deals that are worth skipping or waiting until Boxing Day after Christmas.
New models typically come out early fall, so manufacturers will try to get rid of older models closer to end of summer and beginning of September. Anything that’s on discount already likely won’t be discounted much further.
Furniture typically goes on clearance at the end of summer, so anything that’s left won’t be discounted more than it is already. Christmas decorations, however, are in their high season, so retailers will want the most value for their inventory and won’t put them on deep discount.
The key with tech and Black Friday is the deep discounts are traditionally on older models. Higher-end tech and current models will see minimal sales, so the best you’ll find are bundled offers that come with free accessories, gift cards, and service offers—Apple is known to do this and is a great way to find value in the latest and greatest.
Early deals and sale predictions
We’re still a few weeks off from seeing the big deals, and retailers like to be competitive and keep things under wraps until the last minute. Having said that, we’re seeing a few previews, as well as retailers that will have longer deals that could still offer value if you want to get a head start.
Many of the major carriers will likely have data bonus incentives, deals, and rate discounts on many of the latest smartphones. If you’re on the hunt for a new-model smartphone, your best bet is to check around Black Friday.