Black Friday best bargains 2018

The Friday after Thanksgiving is the annual shopping bonanza known as Black Friday. Tens of millions of Americans are expected to head out to the malls and on to the World Wide Web to kick-off their holiday shopping in earnest.

Retailers have been rolling out their sales and doorbuster deals for weeks and Consumer Reports senior tech reporter Nicholas Deleon says these are some of the best Black Friday 2018 bargains:

4K UHD TVs:

Small-screen TV:
32-inch Samsung UNM4500, $178 at Walmart
Consumer Reports: Compared to other sub-$200 TVs, this set is a step up in quality, and it’s a smart TV with access to streaming services

Big-screen TV:
50-inch 4K Sharp Q7030, $249 at Walmart.
Consumer Reports: It has very good HD and UHD picture quality, and it even has good sound quality. Very solid pick for under $300.

Laptops:

Acer 13-Inch Chromebook, $289
Consumer Reports: This deal will be available at Costco.com beginning on Black Friday itself. This laptop is closer to $400 at other times. It’s a solid performer, too. Testers recently evaluated a similar model and noted its long battery life (more than 13 hours in CR testing), a comfortable keyboard, and a display with a wide viewing angle. That means the screen won’t wash out when viewed off-center. This isn’t the fastest laptop you can buy, but it’s one of the best for under 300 bucks. And it’s speedy enough for classic Chromebook tasks such as browsing the web or creating Google Docs and Sheets.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2, save $300
Consumer Reports: Microsoft will itself have select configurations of the brand-new Surface Laptop 2 for as much as $300 off during the week of Thanksgiving (Nov. 18-24). The sale price is for the black model, but we don’t know exactly which configuration. (Those computers start at $1,300 for a version with an Intel Core i5, 8GB memory, and a 256GB SSD.) One thing we do know is that brand-new laptops like this rarely go on sale, so saving even a small amount is noteworthy. We expect to have our final test results within the next week or so, but given how similar it is to the Surface Laptop 1 (the Surface Laptop 2 is essentially the same except for updated internal components) it could turn out to be a top performer.

Smartphones:

Best Buy, Target, and Walmart all have deals for both iPhones and Android devices. Some are discounts, while others require you to buy the phones at full price, but throw in a store gift card.

Walmart is offering a $400 gift card if you head to one of its stores and pick up any of last year’s iPhones – the iPhone X, iPhone 8 or 8 Plus.

Headphones:

Beats by Dre Solo3 Wireless, $240, Kohl’s
Consumer Reports: These popular headphones often sell for as much as $300. They come recommended by our testers, who say the signature bass is deep with good impact. They’ll be available for this price at Kohl’s, and you also get $60 in Kohl’s Cash.

If Black Friday is not for you, retailers will still offer plenty of deals over next couple weeks. Sometimes retailers don’t meet their sales goals over Black Friday weekend, so they aggressively cut prices even lower afterwards. So there’s really no harm if you’d rather skip Black Friday shopping and spend more time with your family.

Reporter:Allison Gormly
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