Welcome to TechCrunch’s 2021 Year-End Gift Guide! Need help with gift ideas? We have a lot of them. We’re just starting to roll out this year’s gift guides, so check back by the end of December to find out more!
It is, in a way, this time again! Thanksgiving is hours away, which means it’s time to figure out what, if anything, you want to buy on Black Friday.
Should are you buying something on Black Friday? It depends. Some people are able to make a game of it and save a pile on the things they were going to buy anyway. Others end up getting robbed by sales that aren’t really sales or end-of-life televisions refurbished under new model numbers.
There certainly are deals to be found, of course – you just have to be smart about it. Some of the things we like to keep in mind:
- Buy things you already wanted at a reduced price? Good. Buying things you didn’t want just because maybe it’s cheaper? Not so good.
- Make sure the thing you are buying is currently on sale, and that they didn’t just increase the price temporarily yesterday for “cuts” today. Historical price trackers like camelcamelcamel can help you.
- Check the model number on anything you buy. If you haven’t found a trace of it for more than a few weeks, something suspicious may be going on.
That said, here are some of the great deals we’ve found on the web – solid, battle-tested stuff that we would probably recommend to full the price. We’ll add more throughout the week as we find them.
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It wasn’t that long ago that discounts on Apple gear were scarce – these days, however, it’s not too hard to save at least a few dollars.
For example: Amazon has the latest non-professional AirPods at $ 155 (usually $ 179), AirPods Pro at $ 159 (usually $ 190 +), and AirPods Max at $ 429 (from $ 549)
Amazon also got the best iPad Pro deal we’ve found so far, ranging from $ 100 to $ 150 on the 2021 12.9 “model – so $ 999 for the base 128GB model, for example, on the instead of $ 1099.
Best Buy offers the generally cheaper 40mm Apple Watch SE for $ 219, normally $ 279. If you’re looking for the latest and greatest Apple Watch, your best bet is probably Amazon again, where the Series 7 has been slashed to $ 379 instead of $ 399 – but be aware that inventory seems limited and you don’t. maybe will not get the color / band. you want.
Big discounts on M1 Macs seem rare right now – which makes sense, as they’re still relatively new. When they appear, stock appears to be limited or shipping is delayed until next year. Apple will be offering $ 100 gift cards with the purchase of qualifying Macs (which, sadly, seems to exclude the 14 “and 16” M1 MacBook Pros), but that deal apparently doesn’t start until the very morning of Black Friday.
Amazon usually gives pretty big discounts on its own gear for Black Friday, and that remains true this year.
The 4K Fire TV Stick, for example, dropped to $ 25 (normally $ 50).
Their next-gen Kindle, meanwhile, is $ 70 (normally $ 110) if you buy the version that doesn’t have ads splashed around the interface. If you don’t mind the ads, it’s $ 50 (normally $ 90).
Got a smart home full of Echo devices and want to add more? The latest model (4th generation) is $ 60 (usually $ 80 to $ 100). The Echo Show 2021, with its camera and 5.5-inch screen, is down to $ 45 (usually around $ 80), and the small chunk (if likely at the end of its lifespan) is Echo Dot Puck is down to $ 20 (usually $ 30).
Not to be outdone, Google also offers many discounts on its own devices.
Chromecast with Google TV (the Chromecast with the remote) is $ 40 (usually $ 50).
Most of the company’s Nest products have been downsized: the Nest Audio smart speaker is $ 60 (usually $ 100), their Nest WiFi Router Mesh Access Points at $ 30 each, and the latest Nest Hub smart display. has been reduced to $ 50 (usually $ 100.) Even Nest’s relatively new outdoor camera has dropped to $ 150 (normally $ 180).
Looking to stay out of the Apple / Google / Amazon ecosystems but still want a solid streaming device for your TV? Roku has a few options: the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is $ 30 (usually $ 50), while one of their soundbars – the smaller Streambar, not the Streambar Pro – is $ 80 (usually $ 130). .
Oculus Quest 2
Oculus’ Quest 2 VR headset is about as good as entry-level VR today. If you’re just looking to splash around or don’t want to spend billions of dollars on a super-powered VR rig, the Quest 2 is definitely a good place to start. I gladly recommended it to a bunch of people at full price… so at a reduced price? Absoutely.
The best deal I’ve found so far is from Target, where you’ll get a $ 50 Target gift card with the 128GB ($ 300) or 256GB ($ 400) model.
If you often use your iPhone * for things like Apple Arcade or to play remote games on an Xbox or PlayStation, the Backbone is a great, very good controller add-on. It snaps into place quickly, it’s solid as a rock, and it’s manner more comfortable than trying to type on the touchscreen.
I thought it was almost too cheap at $ 99, but now they’ve brought it down to $ 85 for Black Friday – and they’ve added three months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for good measure. It’s a good deal, honestly.
(* They recently added support for controlling other devices via wired USB, but that’s more of a nice bonus and less the main one.)
Apps and services
There are a few proven apps and services that have offerings, although often with caveats. For example:
- Hulu will give you one year of ad-supported Hulu for 99 cents per month, instead of $ 7 per month. The trap ? This is only for those who are new and “old” subscribers, the latter being defined as those who have not paid for Hulu in the past month.
- If you don’t already have Disney +, Amazon makes sort of a confusing deal as a tie-in to Amazon Music Unlimited. If you already have Amazon Music Unlimited, they’ll give you three months of Disney + for free. If you don’t already have it and are ready to sign up for the $ 8 per month service, they’ll give you six months of Disney +.
- Plex sells its lifetime pass option, typically $ 120, for $ 90.
- Adobe sells its “All Applications” package – so access to Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, Audition and everything Adobe does under the Creative Cloud umbrella – for $ 30 per month, compared to $ 52. Unfortunately, the terms only specify “new subscribers”.
- The popular password manager LastPass is offering 25% off plans this week. USE A PASSWORD MANAGER.
- The Headspace Guided Meditation app is currently 50% -60%, depending on whether you pay monthly or annually. If monthly, it’s 60% off – $ 4.99 per month, instead of $ 12.99. If annually it’s 50% off – which may seem like a smaller reduction, but at $ 35 for a year (normally $ 70), you’re paying around $ 2.91 per month (usually around $ 6). Both packages renew at their respective full price after the first year.