Wirecutter’s best early deals for Black Friday

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, they may earn affiliate commissions that support their work. Read their continuously updated list of deals here.

Amazon Fire HD 10

Street Price: $ 150; Deal Price: $ 100

The 10″, newer model of our budget pick in our best Android tablets guide, with a big $ 50 discount.

The 10 is quite similar to the 8, and with this price, makes it much more interesting as a media consumption tablet. We wrote, “The 2017 Fire HD 8 is slower, has a lower-resolution screen, and is more limited than the ZenPad, but it’s a great cheap tablet for media consumption, especially for Amazon content.”

Amazon Fire TV Stick

Street Price: $ 40; Deal Price: $ 25

A new low on our runner-up pick in our best media streaming devices guide.

We wrote, “If you’re a heavy Prime video user or want voice search, the Fire TV Stick offers a compelling alternative to the Roku that has really improved over the past few months.”

Bose QuietComfort 25

Street Price: $ 280; Deal Price: $ 180

Our pick for 3 years running, this the first substantial sale we’ve ever seen on the Bose QuietComfort 25, a huge $ 100 off.

The Bose QuietComfort 25 is our pick in our best noise-cancelling headphones guide. We wrote, “The amount of noise reduced is incredible: noticeably and significantly more than the vast majority of noise-cancelling headphones. In our testing, they dropped an average of 24.2 dB of noise, including over 30 dB at some frequencies, and more low-bass reduction than any headphone we’ve tested.”

UE Roll 2

Street Price: $ 75; Deal Price: $ 50

While we’ve seen this price a few times, it’s only a few dollars above the best we’ve seen.

The UE Roll 2 is our pick in our best portable bluetooth speaker guide. We wrote, “The Roll 2 sounds full, with smooth reproduction of everything from bass notes to cymbals, and it plays loud enough to fill a hotel room or a spot at the beach with sound. It’s so watertight, it will survive being dunked 1 meter underwater for 30 minutes.”

OXO On 9-Cup Coffee Maker

Street Price: $ 200; Deal Price: $ 136

Only a few dollars off from the best price we’ve seen on our pick in our best coffee maker guide.

We wrote, “Simply put, the OXO On makes it easy to brew a really good cup of coffee. If you grind your beans to the correct particle size (which is extremely important) and weigh the grounds so they extract just enough, the OXO will take the reins from there.”

GoPro Hero5 Black + $ 50 Gift Card

Street Price: $ 450; Deal Price: $ 350

Even with a new model out, drops are rare. This discount + the extra giftcard make this a great deal.

The GoPro Hero5 Black is our pick in our best action camera guide. We wrote, “The Hero5 Black builds on the success of its predecessor, the Hero4 Silver, with new features that significantly enhance its usability. The built-in waterproofing is the most important addition, since it means you can shoot anywhere, anytime, without fiddling with a case.”

Netgear Orbi RBK50

Street Price: $ 350; Deal Price: $ 280

We haven’t seen this drop below $ 320 before now, so save some money on one of the easiest ways to improve your home network.

The Netgear Orbi RBK50 is our pick in our best wi-fi mesh-networking kit guide. We wrote, “Netgear’s Orbi RBK50 is the best Wi-Fi mesh kit for most people, because it covers all the bases in the simplest way. It ranked at or near the top of the pack for throughput in every location we tested, and it required far less of our time and effort than most of the kits we tested for it to do its best.”

9.7-inch iPad (5th generation)

Street Price: $ 330; Deal Price: $ 250

While we have seen drops to around the $ 300 range, this sale drops an extra $ 30 off of previous prices and makes for a new low

The 9.7-inch iPad (5th generation) is our pick in our iPad guide. We wrote, “The things that have made all iPads great tablets—such as an unbeatable selection of outstanding apps, stellar hardware quality, long battery life, and unrivaled customer support—help them continue to best other tablets on the market.”

Oculus Rift + Touch

Street Price: $ 400; Deal Price: $ 350

The first drop below $ 400 we’ve seen, and it’s a big $ 50 savings.

The Oculus Rift + Touch is our pick in our best VR headsets for PC and PS4 guide. We wrote, “It’s clear Oculus put a lot of thought into building a headset that will appeal to gaming veterans and newcomers alike with a comfy fit, quick startup process, and wide range of content.”

Apple Watch Series 1

Street Price: $ 280; Deal Price: $ 210

Already a good sale, but if you use your Target Redcard, you can get an additional 5% off.

The Apple Watch Series 1 is our pick in our best smartwatch for iPhone users guide. We wrote, “If you want a smartwatch for managing your phone notifications, tracking activity and recreational exercise, and doing the gee-whiz things you can accomplish with apps (like texting with your voice or finger, checking sports scores, creating reminders, and adjusting your smart thermostat), the Apple Watch Series 1 is your best bet.”

Nikon D3400 (w/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens)

Street Price: $ 450; Deal Price: $ 397

While we used to see regular sales on the D3400, those have slowed down considerably. This latest deal matches the best price we’ve seen on this bundle.

The Nikon D3400 is our pick in our best DSLR for beginners guide. We wrote, “The Nikon D3400 is Nikon’s current entry-level model, and while it’s available for around $ 500, it can take better photos than cameras that sell for hundreds more.”

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I don’t regret being an iPhone early adopter

Do you remember where you were when Steve Jobs first introduced the iPhone, more than 10 years ago? It’s a pretty nerdy thing to admit, but I do. I spent the day glued to my computer, at my desk — theoretically hard at work. But I was actually devouring Engadget’s liveblog, after which I watched and rewatched video of the event so I could see the mythical device in action. And then I spent the next 12 months waiting for my Verizon contract to expire, hating my Moto RAZR the entire freaking time. (No, I wasn’t a day-one adopter, but I definitely stopped in an AT&T store to play with their demo phones.)

The first iPhone wasn’t a world-beater in terms of sales, and many have pointed out that it was the classic “first-gen” Apple product. It lacked important features like 3G connectivity and any third-party apps, you had to hook it up to iTunes to activate it, and it was wildly expensive — $ 500 for a paltry 4GB of storage (or $ 600 for 8GB), and that was with a two-year contract.

None of that mattered to me, and that’s in large part due to Jobs’ presentation, one that’s widely considered the best he ever gave. I’d agree with that assessment, because he so clearly outlined the benefits of the iPhone over the phones that most consumers (including me) were using. Some of my colleagues fondly remember the Windows Mobile devices they used before the iPhone and noted how they waited a few years for Apple to fix those first-gen issues before getting on board.

But the 2007 smartphone market was wildly different, particularly in the US. BlackBerry and Palm Treo devices dominated, but they were business-focused and didn’t resonate with the people buying iPods. Jobs’ presentation was the complete opposite. The first feature he announced and demoed was iPod functionality — before even bothering with the phone part. Nearly everything he showed off was focused on consumers, from photos and movies to looking up restaurants on Google Maps.

Of course, Jobs tied it all together at the end, showing a sequence where he listened to music, took a call, sent a photo over email and looked up a movie while still talking on the phone. He then hung up the call and the music automatically resumed. Right now, it seems laughably simple, but in the days of flip phones this seemed like magic.

Even the six-month gap between the iPhone’s announcement and its on-sale date worked in Apple’s favor. The company didn’t typically announce products that far in advance, but in this case it gave them crucial time to polish the device and make improvements (like adding YouTube support and using glass instead of plastic for the front screen cover). It also helped build up some serious hype and anticipation among the Apple faithful. Jobs’ presentation paid dividends over those months; it was something fans could rewatch and use to stoke their interest in the iPhone while they waited.

Jobs had made presentations like this before, and Apple has continued to do so long after he died, in 2011. The format has changed slightly, but Apple still focuses on selling you on the entire vision of its connected universe of products — all of its devices and services work better the more you use them together. When Apple makes a presentation like the one at this year’s WWDC, I often come away with the notion that my digital life would work better if I went “all in” on its software and hardware. It’s not just Apple, though — after Google I/O, I always consider whether things would be easier if I used Android for everything, and Microsoft has been doing a good job of selling me on the benefits of Windows everywhere lately as well.

The iPhone presentation was a bit different, because it was focused purely on one device — Apple hadn’t tied the phone so closely to the Mac just yet. But Apple did tie the iPhone to the Mac — before the cloud, it was home base for your phone and let you sync photos, movies, contacts, calendars and music, making it a mini-extension of your personal computer. And even though some aspects of the first iPhone did feel a bit beta (remember how you couldn’t send pictures via text message?), it also did exactly what Apple promised.

The relatively large screen and unique UI couldn’t have been more different from the garbage Verizon forced onto the Moto RAZR. There weren’t any third-party apps, but between Safari, YouTube, Mail and Maps, I could get to the most essential info on the internet while on the go … even if it took forever. I learned to accept that and use the phone’s more data-heavy features when on WiFi, which was fairly easy to find in 2008.

I still carried my iPod around for a while, but it wasn’t long before I started working around the iPhone’s limited storage space and leaving my iPod at home. Sure, the Windows Phone and BlackBerry crowd may have been doing many of these things for years, but for me (and millions of other iPhone owners), this was a huge step forward, even if there were caveats.

Looking back, the iPhone’s influence on the consumer electronics market is obvious. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth reflecting on. It’s also worth considering Jobs’ performance to see how it influenced Apple’s competitors. Jobs made many similar presentations over the years, but after the iPhone became a success, Microsoft, Samsung and Google (among others) really started emulating Apple’s events. It’s common now to see companies sell you on their entire vision, not just a series of products or software features.

Ultimately, Jobs’ presentation is as much a part of the iPhone’s history as the product itself. The introduction was nearly a complete disaster, with shoddy prototype phones barely able to connect to the internet, running out of memory and crashing if they weren’t used very carefully. But that craziness only adds to the legend of the iPhone’s introduction.

Fortunately, the experience of actually using the iPhone was pretty seamless when it launched six months later. The first iPhone didn’t age very well (I had mine for only 18 months before grabbing a 3GS when it launched), but it made a good enough impression that I’ve been a repeat customer for nearly a decade. If Jobs’ introduction had gone as badly as it could have, things would have worked out very, very differently for both the iPhone and Apple as a whole. Yes, the first iPhone was basically a working beta — but it worked well enough to change an entire industry.

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GOP website outed its response to the VP debate a bit early

Today the Republican National Committee showed tech companies aren’t the only ones to get a little jumpy with the publish button. Following Apple’s early Twitter leak of the iPhone 7, the GOP website pushed up blog posts declaring its VP candidate, Mike Pence, the “clear winner” of a debate against Democratic candidate Tim Kaine, before the debate actually began. The content has since been pulled but lives on in screenshots as the debate goes on live. Of course, a CMS timing error can happen to the best of us, but maybe this is one election data leak that won’t be attributed to emails or foreign hackers.


Source: CBS, Deadline, The Atlantic

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