Well, it seems that that you liked our Hardware picks for Black Friday; and as we told you, we were not finished, as we found some software and accessories that we wanted to call your attention to. Actually, some of these deals actually are in some ways better than the Hardware deals, but the best part is that they cost less. Actually, with all of the gaming consoles and Blu-ray players that have been purchased last year or are going to be purchased this year, these all require something to play on them.
Video games are naturally a big time deal this holiday season, and following a trend that started a few Black Fridays ago there are some great deals to be had on some of the latest titles. Best Buy once again is offering an Electronic Arts deal for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms that feature NHL 11, NCAA Football 11, FIFA Soccer 11, NFS Hot Pursuit, Sims 3, and EA MMA for only $34.99 each. Considering that most of these titles are still $60 new, this is one of our top deals.
Wal-Mart, not to be outdone, is offering a number of select Wii, PS2, 360 and PS3 titles for $7, $10 and $29. The selection is actually very diverse, but there are some gems: recent titles such as Madden 11, Medal of Honor, Red Dead Redemption, and WWE 2011 are being sold for $29, which is $5 less than the Best Buy price for the same EA titles. Selection is everything, but if you are looking for some stocking stuffers to build up your library, these titles in many cases offer excellent value for the money.
Blu-ray movies will be big on Black Friday again this year. As with last year, the selection includes some very recent releases on Blu-ray. Best Buy is offering an assortment of Blu-ray titles priced at $9.99 and $12.99, which isn’t bad. Wal-Mart, however, is the place to go for the lowest prices. Wal-Mart is offering their own assortment of Blu-ray titles priced at $5 and $10. In a head-to-head comparison of these assorted titles, the titles are different between the two retailers; our suggestion is to check out the offerings at the retailer where you happen to be before you leave. With prices like these and with the limited numbers of what they have on hand these titles will not last long.
If you still happen to be on DVD and have not made the jump to Blu-ray yet, Wal-Mart has an assortment of DVD movies for $9, $5 and $1.96 that include a wide array of title offerings. We do think that Wal-Mart’s offering of a number of different TV series on DVD for $12 is the bigger deal, with a number of top notch seasons from a big variety of shows that are still double or triple regular price, depending where you get them.
The prices on GPS offerings continue to fall each year, and this year provides for some of the best GPS deals yet. Our pick, if you are looking for the cheapest GPS you can get, is the Magellan Roadmate 1440 which you can find at your local PepBoys Auto store for the low price of $49.98. At that price, you get what you pay for, but after a quick look at the 1440 we can tell you that it offers a number of nice features for a very low price. For just about double the money, or $99, you can get the Garmin nuvi 1300 at OfficeMax, PepBoys or RadioShack, and it has a bigger display and a number of better features; we pick the Garmin as a better value over the long haul. Besides, it offers spoken street names, and we are always a sucker for spoken street names in a GPS. Wal-Mart is also offering the TomTom XL 335SE, which has a 4.3” display for only $79, but we still like the Garmin nuvi 1300’s features a bit better.
When it comes to netbooks this year we really only found two that are worth noting, which are the $149 Compaq CQ10-405DX at Best Buy and eMachines 15.6” offering at Wal-Mart. Between the two, the eMachines offering is much better with 2.2GHz Celeron processor, 1GB of RAM, 250GB hard drive and Windows 7 Home Premium. Neither of them is going to set the world on fire for performance, but if you need something cheap, this is as cheap as you get. Of course, you do get what you pay for.
As for computer-related accessories that would make good stocking stuffers, you have to look no further than Wal-Mart, again. It is offering the Seagate FreeAgent 1.5TB external hard drive for $70, or if you can do with a little less storage, the Western Digital 500GB My Passport Essential external hard drive for $39 is an excellent deal. Who can’t use more storage these days? And with these sizes and these prices, you are certain to bring a smile to someone’s face.
As always, you will need to check with your local store to find out when they open. As you might expect, quantities are limited, in many cases; so if you don’t get there early, it is likely there will be no soup for you, so to speak.
Our overall impression of this year’s Black Friday offerings is mixed. There are some good deals to be had with Best Buy and Wal-Mart fighting for the top spot with their offerings this year. It should be fun shopping for those who are willing to brave the elements for a crack at some of these deals.