It's been a little slow in terms of PC manufacturers announcing Black Friday deals from their own online stores. While Dell's ad leaked a while ago, HP still hasn't tipped its hand. But we now know what Lenovo is planning for its site, which you can already access using the "BLACKFRIDAY" coupon code.
The company has tried to work multiple angles when it's come to tablets, releasing both Android and Windows 8 models. For Black Friday, it has a trio of 7-inch Android slates on special, as well as a pair of Windows versions. Unfortunately, its "sales" are sometimes far from compelling. For instance, the budget IdeaTab A1000 is being offered for $124.79 for the 8GB configuration, which is about $25 more than Amazon is selling it for and far more than the $69 that Office Depot will sell it for on Black Friday. You'll have better luck with the IdeaTab A3000 at $139.62 -- about $35 lower than Amazon's price -- or the IdeaTab S5000 at $178.62, a little less than what you can find it for at Amazon or Walmart.
We're seeing a few Black Friday deals on Windows 8 tablets powered by Intel's new Atom Z2760 Bay Trail processor, including Lenovo's sale on the ThinkPad Tablet 2. Its lowest price is $503.20 for a version that runs Windows 8 and not Windows 8 Pro, which appears to be about $1 less than what Amazon sells that version for. You'll probably get bigger savings for the much pricier ThinkPad Helix, which is an Ultrabook with a detachable screen for tablet use. Lenovo's Black Friday price for the base configuration -- with Intel Core i5-3337U Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB solid-state drive -- is $1,149, or nearly $300 less than at Staples and other retailers.
Lenovo is also discounting a few more convertible laptops. These include the ThinkPad Twist, with a 12.5-inch hinged touchscreen, Core i3-3217U Ivy Bridge CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 500GB hard drive for $704.65, or nearly $70 less than a version with a slightly smaller hard drive being sold on Newegg.com; and the ThinkPad X230t, also with a 12.5-inch touchscreen that swivels, along with a Core i5-3320M processor, 4GB of RAM, and 500GB hard drive for $1,151.10. As this is an older system, this particular configuration is hard to find online to compare pricing.
Newer is the IdeaPad Flex lineup, which includes 14-inch and 15-inch models (with screens that rotate 300 degrees) on sale for Black Friday. The Flex 14 looks to be available online only at Lenovo's site for the moment, though a Flex 15 laptop is one of the Black Friday deals at Staples. The 14-inch system starts at $443.82, which gets you an Intel Celeron ULT 2955U processor, 4 gigs of RAM, 500GB hard drive, and Windows 8.1. For the Flex 15, the base model, which uses the same Celeron ULT 2955U chip, appears to be currently exclusive to Lenovo.com, and is priced at $459.42. In comparison, Amazon has a version that's simiarly spec'd to one of the more expensive configurations (Core i3-4010U Haswell processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive with 8GB of solid-state storage), but its price is about $100 cheaper than Lenovo's $662.22 price. (It's unclear exactly how the two versions differ, though they have different model numbers.)
There are numerous other laptop specials, ranging from a G510 with Intel Pentium 3550M processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, DVD burner, Windows 8.1, and 15.6-inch display for $428.22 to a ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch Ultrabook with Core i5-3337U Ivy Bridge CPU, 4 gigs of RAM, 128GB SSD, and 14-inch screen for $1,086.75 -- or about a couple of hundred dollars less than elsewhere online. Other budget-friendly notebooks include the ThinkPad IdeaPad Z510, which is only being offered as a special for the "dark chocolate" color choice, but includes a $569 "doorbuster" deal that is $10 more than a similar system on Amazon, but adds two extra gigabytes of RAM. Gamers might not think of Lenovo when it comes to gaming notebooks, but might like this 15.6-inch IdeaPad Y510p doorbuster: Core i7-4700MQ Haswell CPU, 8GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive, DVD burner, and Nvidia GeForce GT 750M discrete graphics for just $769.
Lenovo also has a gaming desktop -- the Erazer X700 -- that's on sale for Black Friday, too. Unfortunately, though the price on its cheapest configuration ($1,286) for a Core i7-3820 processor, 12GB of RAM, terabyte hard drive, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 graphics card is a smidge less than a similar system sold by Amazon for $1,299.99, the Amazon version also gives you a 128GB solid-state drive, making it appear to be a better deal. Likewise, the manufacturer's lowest-price deal ($1,247.22) for its 27-inch Horizon tabletop PC may be a toss-up for value: You pay more (about $100) than at Amazon and Newegg for the same processor (Core i5-3337U), hard drive (1TB), and graphics (Nvidia GeForce GT 620M), but you get 2 extra gigs of RAM for the extra price (8GB vs 6GB). If you need a powerful processor, but don't need a discrete graphics card, the IdeaCentre K450 features a new Core i7-4770 Haswell CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 2TB hard drive for $802.62. (In comparison, Newegg has a configuration with the same processor and only 12GB of RAM for $939.99, but that particular tower includes a GeForce GTX 650 video card.)
Lenovo's Black Friday deals go through December 1. You can see the complete list here.