The Black Friday superstorm is coming
Published: Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 5:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 5:58 p.m.
In my house, the annual smell of turkey and stuffing is a forecast that the outer bands of the superstorm known as Black Friday are bearing down. Is it better to hunker down in a tryptophan-induced coma or brave the storm in order to cash in on a few good deals?
Back in the Tickle-Me-Elmo day, the choice was easy, because I had the law of diminishing returns at my side. What good would it be for me AND my wife to brave the late-night shopfest?
Much to both my grin and chagrin, Black Friday has evolved into the greatest tech-shopping day of the year. Since I am on the throne of all device purchases, it's now me scouring the circulars and plotting my conquest while my honey sleeps away.
This year presents new challenges and even greater prizes. Stores are staggering their times at just about every hour of the night. What once started at 4 a.m. Friday now starts at 8 p.m. Thursday.
The game planning starts now as I draw up my X's and O's in hopes of scoring lots of iTouchdowns.
Televisions: You can truly measure the intensity of Black Friday shopping when you roll into a store and see basket after basket with big screen television boxes hanging out. It's hilarious to see those overloaded buggies clanging into each other down tight aisles like rams locking horns.
Still, it's a great time to get a new home theater centerpiece. My advice is to do all your reviews ahead of time and identify the set that best fits your needs.
Be wary of the cheap sets with names you have never heard before. Chances are they do not have enough ports and are lacking true HD resolution.
Look for feature-rich sets from recognizable brands like Samsung, Sony and Vizio. Best deal I have seen is at Wal-Mart, where they are advertising a Vizio 60-inch LED Smart TV for $688. Delicious!
Laptops: I will never forget spending nearly $2,000 on my first Compaq laptop 12 years ago. Seemed like such a great deal.
Now I look and there are a plethora of Black Friday laptops, including a Compaq at Best Buy for under $200.
What? Before you start drooling, you might want to assess the needs of the recipient. Most of the bottom basement devices are short on memory and light on processing speed.
This might be fine for web surfing and light duty but could very well bog down during photo or video editing.
Another item to be focused on is software. You can forget about Apple right now. Supply and demand dictates you're not going to save but a couple of pennies on these Picassos. Don't fret though; Microsoft just released its new Windows 8 operating system.
Be sure you're getting that installed and not the older Windows 7. As usual, the best value lies in the better-equipped machines like Dell's Intel Core i3-powered Inspiron 14.1-inch machine for $299.
The beauty of this one is you can get it on dell.com. Quantities will be obviously limited, as it is listed as a doorbuster.
Tablets: So you want a tablet, huh? Guess what, so does everybody else.
You're probably not going to save a ton. In fact, it's probably not worth venturing out into the shopping jungle if this is your sole object of desire. Still, there are a few deals on devices that are near the end of their life cycles.
One that caught my eyes is the Apple iPad 2 at Wal-Mart for the standard $399 but with a $75 gift card thrown in the deal. If you don't need the razzle-dazzle of the Retina display, this is a solid machine.
Wal-Mart is also guaranteeing a one-hour in-stock guarantee. If you're of the Android persuasion, h.h. gregg has a Samsung 10.1 Galaxy Tab 2 for $299.
Video games: Seems like a decade since the Black Friday slugfests over Xbox and PlayStation consoles. The only hot item on the game front this year is the curious new Nintendo Wii U and its dual screen format.
This is too hot to be a player on Black Friday. If you're one of the six people in the world without a traditional console, you can find great deals on these long-in-the-tooth machines.
Sears is advertising the classic Wii for less than $100, and most retailers have deals on Xbox and PlayStation that represent a fraction of what they were a few years ago.