Black Friday deals: 10 tech doorbusters worth fighting the crowds

Most Black Friday 'deals' aren't really deals at all. These 10 tech deals truly are.

black friday shopping
Digging for true gold, not fool's gold

Black Friday may have a reputation for ridiculously low sale prices, but truth be told, it’s probably the worst day to be a shopper. Not only are the crowds out of control, but retailers inch their prices up before the event just to have a seemingly “crazy” sale price a few weeks later. PC makers will sometimes work with retailers on exclusive holiday models that are just a little bit different than the models you usually see—making it harder to comparison-shop.

And yet, even with all the madness and shenanigans, there are still good deals to be found on Black Friday. These ten doorbusters are truly good products at truly great prices.

asus x205ta
STAPLES: Asus X205TA laptop, $100

Specs: 11.6-inch display with 1366-by-768 resolution, 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB eMMC flash storage, 802.11a/b/g/n, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, Windows 8.1 with Bing

Description: On Black Friday you’re usually better off deal-hunting for laptops with Intel’s Core processors and avoiding Atom and Celeron systems like the plague. There are just too many good deals out there to settle on a wimpy processor. But $100? It’s hard to pass that up. Just don’t plan on doing much gaming or photo editing with this. Or adding beefier hardware later—this rig comes with RAM and storage soldered to the motherboard.

panasonic 200 dollar tv
BEST BUY: Panasonic TC-50A400U, 50-inch HDTV

Specs: 50-inch display, LED backlit, 2 x HDMI, 1 x USB, 60Hz refresh rate

Description: It’s lacking Internet connectivity and you can bet your bottom dollar that Best Buy won’t be stacking a ton of these, but a 50-inch HDTV for only $200 is hard to resist. Sure, it could do with a higher refresh rate, but again: It’s $200. To get this deal, however, you’ll have to say goodbye to your family and Thanksgiving dinner pretty early. Best Buy’s doors open at 5 p.m. on Thursday evening.

dell inspiron desktop
OFFICE DEPOT: Dell Inspiron Tower PC, $400

Specs: Quad-core 3.10 GHz Core i5-4440, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Intel integrated graphics, 802.11b/g/n, 4 x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Bluetooth, Windows 8.1

Description: This tower sounds pretty great until you get to the part about integrated graphics, but it’s a full desktop, so you can always look into a DIY graphics upgrade later on. Along with the tower, you also get a keyboard and mouse, but don’t count on those being anything fancy. The best price for similarly spec’d devices was about $550-$570, so you can save a good chunk of change on this deal.

gigabyte760
NEWEGG: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760, $170

Specs: 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 RAM, PCI Express 3.0, dual slot, 1033MHz core speed, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x DVI-I, 1 x DVI-D, HDCP ready

Description: The GTX 760 is a gaming card that does a great job at rendering 1080p graphics without a big price tag. The most common price you’ll find for this component is about $200.

Keep in mind, however, that Nvidia's next budget-friendly graphics card, the GeForce GTX 960, is rumored to be right around the corner, supposedly packing twice as much RAM and Nvidia’s new Maxwell GPU architecture.

satellite c55 b5300 600 08
STAPLES: 15.6-inch Toshiba C55-B5356, $400

Specs: 15.6-inch, 1366x768 TFT display, dual-core 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-4210U, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, DVD SuperMulti drive, Windows 8.1

Description: This laptop might break your back at nearly 5 pounds (thanks, DVD drive-HDD combo), but at $400 it won’t hit you where it hurts. The processor is decent, and you’ve got tons of RAM and storage.

chromecast
STAPLES, TARGET, AND WALMART: Google Chromecast, $25

Specs: HDMI out, 802.11b/g/n

Description: Google sells it for $35 and you can get it at Amazon for a little over $32, but on Black Friday three different stores will be selling the Chromecast for $10 off the sticker price. Not a bad buy for an already cheap device capable of transforming any dumb boob tube into a smart TV—and one that is starting to see a lot of competition. Most recently, Amazon launched the Fire TV for $39, and in 2015 we should see the $25 Firefox OS-powered Matchstick.

hp envy x360
BEST BUY: HP Envy x360 2-in-1 (15-u010dx), $600

Specs: 15.6-inch touch display with 1920x1080 resolution, dual-core 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-4210U, 8GB RAM, 750GB hard drive, 2 x USB 3.0, Windows 8.1

Description: Everything about this laptop is nice: a decent CPU, a reasonably roomy hard drive, plenty of RAM, and a great display. But beyond the specs (and the low Black Friday pricing), the Envy x360’s selling point is its all-around versatility—it’s nice for work, play, and multimedia. The 360-degree hinge allows for standard laptop, tablet, and tent configurations. Pre-Black Friday, Best Buy was selling this laptop for $800, and you can find it elsewhere for around $700. At $600 it’s a good buy.

surfacepro3
MICROSOFT STORE: Surface Pro 3, $900

Specs: 12-inch display with 2160-by-1440, 1.9GHz Intel Core i5-4300U, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage 1 x USB 3.0, microSD card reader

Description: Microsoft is offering $100-$150 off the Surface Pro 3, starting at the 128GB models. The Surface Pro 3 is still one of the more expensive items on this Black Friday list. But it’s the Surface Pro 3—the first Windows tablet truly capable of doing double duty as a tablet and a laptop. When a marquee product like this gets a $100 price cut, it’s worth thinking about. Now for the bad news: You’ll still have to buy that Type Cover at full price to make it behave like a notebook.

fitbitflex
WALMART: Fitbit Flex, $69

Specs: Five-day battery-life claim; tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and active minutes; silent wake alarm; water-resistant up to 10 meters

Description: The Fitbit Flex normally sells for around $95. Walmart’s Black Friday sale will let you grab this fitness tracker on the cheap—but be aware of Walmart’s tricky Black Friday promotional offers, which come in waves. The Fitbit Flex sale is part of Walmart’s “Event 2,” which starts at 8 P.M. on Thursday evening, while supplies last.

ipad air 2
BEST BUY: iPad Air 2, $400

Specs: 9.7-inch display with 2048x1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch, A8X chip, 8MP iSight camera, 1.2MP FaceTime camera, Touch ID, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0

Description: On Black Friday, Best Buy will sell all iPad Air 2 models for $100 off. That means you can pick-up the 16GB Wi-Fi only version for $400. Did we mention that the iPad Air 2 is the best pure tablet ever?