As Black Friday draws within three weeks, the ad leaks are starting to pick up in pace. For tech buyers, the Staples Black Friday ad leak may be the biggest so far, and it provides further evidence of an early trend: It's the latest retailer not to promote any deals on that former Black Friday stalwart -- Apple's iPad tablet.
Part of that is due to Apple's stinginess on discounts in general, and part is due to the fading appetite of consumers for new tablets. Nevertheless, Staples still has the most tablet deals we've seen from a Black Friday ad this year, including matching BJ's Wholesale with a $33.33 special on the Amazon Fire 7-inch tablet. It goes one better by also having an Amazon Fire HD 8 slate on sale, but this is a case where a little research shows it's not as good a deal as advertised.
Staples hypes the sale price of $79.99 as $50, but there are two oddities in the listing. First, Amazon itself lists the price of the Fire HD 8 as $89.99, not the $129.99 regular price Staples is claiming. Even more egregiously, the Fire model shown in the ad has only 8GB of storage, whereas the current base Amazon version comes with 16GB. In other words, Staples is trying to sell an older model with less storage for a mere $10 less than the current version, but touting massive savings. You've been warned.
Instead of iPads, the stores with Black Friday ad leaks have thus far listed Samsung Galaxy Tab discounts. Unfortunately for Staples, its specials are undercut by rivals: Its $99.99 price on the 7-inch Tab A is $10 more than in BJ's ad (and BJ's also throws in a 16GB microSD card), while its $129.99 price on the 8-inch Tab A is $10 more than in Costco's ad. Unlike its competitors, however, Staples has a sale on the budget-friendly 7-inch Galaxy Tab E Lite; at $69.99, it's actually $50 off the current price Samsung has on its site. But it's less successful with its $799 Surface Pro 4 pricing, which is $50 more for the same configuration as BJ's (though still $200 less than Microsoft's current price).
As with Costco, Staples has a large number of Windows laptop deals for Black Friday, highlighted by a $229.99 HP 15-ay061 with Intel Pentium N3710 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, and 15.6-inch display. That's $90 less than the current price, not $190 as the ad states. In fact, this is the case with many of the PC sales Staples list: The price currently on its website is already reduced, meaning the savings are less whopping than its ad suggests.
While there is no $100 laptop like Dell has for a doorbuster, there are four additional notebook specials for under $300: The Dell Inspiron I5555-0012 (AMD A8 processor, 6GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, 15.6-inch display) for $269.99; a Dell Inspiron (Pentium CPU, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, 11.6-inch display) for $299.99, the HP 15-ay065 (Core i3-5005U, 6GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive, 15.6-inch display) for $299.99, and the Lenovo IdeaPad 100 (also Core i3-5005U, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, 15.6-inch display) for $299.99. In addition to those sales, there are 11 further laptop deals that Staples is advertising:
There are also a half-dozen desktop deals split between towers and all-in-ones. The tower sales start at $279.99 ($70 less than current price) with the HP Slimline 260-p026, which comes with a Core i3-6100T processor, 8GB of RAM, and terabyte hard drive. Jumping up to $399.99 ($180 off) is the HP Pavilion 510-p026 with Core i5-6400T quad-core CPU, 12 gigs of RAM and 1TB hard drive, while the Dell Inspiron 3650 features a faster Core i5-6400 chip, 8GB of RAM, and 1TB of hard drive space for $449.99 -- though note you can get it for that price right now from Staples.
As with the towers, the three all-in-one PC specials comprise a pair of HPs and a Dell. The HP 22-b016, with Intel Pentium processor, 4GB of RAM, terabyte hard drive, and 21.5-inch full HD display, is $299.99, or $80 off the current price, while the Pavilion 24-b016 comes a Core i3-6100T, 8 gigs of memory, 1TB hard drive, and 23.8-inch full HD screen for $449.99, or $50 less than the current price. Finally, the Dell Inspiron 5459 also includes a 23.8-inch display, but adds touchscreen capabilities, along with a Core i5-6400T processor for $699.99, or $200 off the regular price.