By Taylor Martin | November 28, 2013 1:12 PM
We’re typically picky when it comes to tablets. Unlike smartphones, which most people would rather not do without, tablets aren’t a necessity for most. For the most part, they’re still luxury items, and their hefty price tags often turn potential buyers away.
Of course, there are a few exceptions to the rule, such as budget tablets. Oh, and the occasional killer deal.
Black Friday is a great time to buy new tech. Millions of shoppers across the United States will line up with the masses late Thanksgiving evening or early Friday morning to stock up on holiday gifts, new, cheap goods for themselves, and likely a handful of bargain electronics to spruce up the ol’ home entertainment system or personal swath of mobile devices.
This year, tablets are decidedly on that list for many people. But we urge buyers to be wary of “killer tablet deals” this Black Friday.
Why? There will undoubtedly be countless deals in all the electronic retailers’ sales papers this week, but just because the prices are below the typical going rate, doesn’t mean you’re actually getting a great value.
In the tablet world, only a handful of the dozens of different models are roaring successes for their makers. The iPads, Galaxy Notes, Galaxy Tabs, Nexus tablets, Kindle Fires, and a few other models move regularly. But a quick trip through the preliminary holiday sales reveals the dark side of Black Friday: the masses of tablets no one has ever heard of for unbelievable prices.
Amazon is promoting tablets which are currently 20 percent off or more right now on its Black Friday Deals Week page. The 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 is currently selling for $149.99, and the 8GB 7-inch Lenovo Ideatab can be had for just $99.99. Not bad. Venture much further than that down the page, and things get a little scary and unfamiliar.
The 7-inch SKYTEX Technology SKYPAD can be yours for just $99.99; the 9-Inch Double Power M Series tablet is only $79.99; and the 7-Inch Visual Land Prestige 7L tablet is on sale for a mind-bending $69.99.
If you are thinking about buying any of these, stop. Do yourself a favor, and close out of the tab and forget that sales page exists. At $149.99, the Galaxy Tab 3 was probably the best deal on the page. But I’d be hard pressed to recommend it to anyone, much less any of the other “deals.”
For an additional $80, one could buy Google’s Nexus 7. Currently, the Nexus 7 is one of the best tablets on the market. Period. And while you may not consider the $229 price tag to be a bargain, there are some promotions happening this week for the Nexus 7.
Google, for one, is offering free shipping and $25 in Google Play credit with the purchase of a Nexus 7. Staples, Walmart, Office Depot, and other retailers will be dropping the Nexus 7 price to $199 for the big sale day, making it one of the best tablet deals available.
If you’re looking to save a little more than $30, however, you’re not out of luck. Some of the best Black Friday deals can be had on Amazon’s little tablets that could. It’s Kindle Fire lineup may not be the most luxurious or even the most alluring, but throw in a small discount, and the appeal is increased … exponentially.
The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD isn’t normally a powerful or terribly impressive tablet, but for $139 with a $25 gift card from Staples, it’s definitely something to consider. The 8.9-inch model will also be on sale for $169, while the original Kindle Fire can be had from Staples for only $79.
If you’re able to splurge a little more, the Kindle Fire HDX is certainly worth a look. Staples may not be slashing the price of Amazon’s newest tablet lineup, but the HDX 7 will come with a $25 gift card and could make for a nice weekend project – turning it into a stock Android tablet (once development picks up, of course).
Outside these two tablets, the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX 7, which are already incredible deals before Black Friday sale prices, I’d be cautious of most Black Friday tablet deals. Any price cuts on a Nabi might make for a great gift for a toddler, but the $80 no-name tablet you found in a sales paper for Big Lots is enough to make a grown man cry out of sheer panic and fear. Don’t do it to yourself, and thank me later.
If you’re in the market for a new iPad, do keep in mind that some retailers are running some small promotions, as well. Target, for instance, is cutting the price of the iPad by $20 and offering a $100 in-store gift card. Best Buy will cut the price of the 16GB Wi-Fi model by $50. Not bad at all.
Apple is believed to be running a special one-day promotion, as well, but the details are not solid yet.
Still the two tablets at the top of my watch list for this coming Black Friday are the 2013 Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HDX – both bargain tablets to begin with, any additional money off makes them a steal.