Well it's that time of year again to kick off the 2007 Christmas shopping season and it's the best time to find the best bargains in shopping since retailers are desperately trying to get you in to the stores. Not everything will be available since some or many of these items sell out within the first few minutes to people who waited in line for as much as 20 hours overnight in front of the store. But many things are available if you show up an hour before the door opens (typically 5AM). You just need to be careful of your surroundings and avoid being trampled.
There are also plenty of online deals to be had where you can safely (and warmly) order from the comfort of your own home at 5AM in the morning. The down side is that you will have to pay for shipping and sometimes taxes too and if there is a problem with the product, you have to ship it back and wait for a repair unit.
Note: I will round to the nearest dollar and I will never quote rebate pricing. Pricing in (parenthesis) is the current price found on the website as of 11/20/2007.
Best HDTV deals
High Definition broadcasts with all local programming has been free for sometime and now is a pretty good time to be looking at a relatively inexpensive flat panel HDTV. Just 2 years ago these things cost as much as $10,000 but now they're in the affordable $1000 range. With a $40 antenna on the roof you can get receive all the local channels and major networks for free in high definition or you can always pair it up with a computer, XBox360, Play Station 3, HD DVD, or Blu-ray player.I recommend 32" to 46" LCD HDTV models in the $400 to $1300 range with 1366x768 or 1920x1080 resolution. I'm not going to bother with Plasma displays since they're power hogs
that consume double the energy of LCD HDTVs and they're not as bright and don't look as good in a bright room. There is no way I can recommend a TV that hogs 500 watts of power. In the 32" in to 46" range, there isn't even that much of a pricing advantage. Note that all models have HDMI input which can be used with the DVI output of a PC with a simple $10 cable.
32 & 37 inch 720P LCD HDTVs (1366x768) under $630
42 and 46 inch 1080P LCD HDTVs (1920x1080) under $1300
Best laptop deals
Laptops have gotten so cheap that it's possible to get a great dual-core laptop with 15.4" display for under $500 or even $300 if you're willing to wait a long time in line. For those starving college students who have more time than money, it's time to get out that sleeping bag and wait in front of the store for 20 hours so you can be one of the first 10 to 20 people in line.Dual-core processor laptops
- Sony VAIO VGN NR110 for $399 at Best Buy
(Intel Core Duo, 802.11b/g, 1GB RAM, 120 GB HDD, DVD/CD burner, Vista home premium)
- Sony VAIO VGN NR123E/S for $499 at Best Buy
(Intel dual-core T2310, 802.11b/g, 1GB RAM, 160 GB HDD, DVD/CD burner, Vista home premium)
- Compaq C717nr laptop for $449 (plus additional $150 rebate discount) at Circuit City
(Intel Core Duo T2310, 1GB RAM, 80GB HDD, Intel X3100 graphics, 802.11b/g, DVD/CD burner, Vista home premium)
Single-core processor laptops
- Acer AS3680 14.1" Laptop - $300 at Micro Center
(Intel Celeron M, Wi-Fi, Vista Home Basic)
- Toshiba Satellite A134-S7403 for $229 at Best Buy
(Intel Celeron M, 512 MB RAM, Canon AIO printer)
You can check out a full list of deals here.
Best computer LCD display deals
Computer LCD displays have gotten so cheap in the last 3 years that they have completely displaced the CRT monitor. This year they've gotten bigger and cheaper than CRTs have ever been and 24" LCD displays have gotten affordable for the first time in history. 22" displays are selling as low as $150 and 24" displays are selling as low as $250. Note that 22" displays have 1680x1050 resolution and 24" displays have 1920x1200 and both of these are 16 by 10 aspect ratio.
For a full list of all kinds of Black Friday deals, you can check out this site which has a comprehensive list of all the stores and sales going on this Friday.