While Amazon Prime Day spiced up the summer doldrums — and popped up again during Techtober because Amazon just can't resist piling on — when it comes to deals, nothing will ever beat Black Friday. No longer is Black Friday a single day or even a single weekend. Oh, no, Black Friday is an entire freaking season that starts in October and runs clear into December. Yes, the biggest and best-est doorbusters and one-day deals are reserved for November 24-27, but we're already seeing "Early Black Friday" sales and "early holiday deals." Who waits for Halloween when
Anything and everything you can buy on the internet seems to have some kind of sale during Black Friday, from the latest and greatest Android phones to the smallest earbuds to the biggest tablets. We'll be covering them all over the next three months, but before the sales start springing up, you need to know what products and prices will be deals and which will be duds.
We've got the history and insight you need to know what deals are worth pouncing on and which you can sleep through after your Turkey Day feast.
When is Black Friday? When will deals start?
Black Friday itself this year falls on November 24, with Cyber Monday following it on November 27, but retailers like Walmart and Target held their "Holiday Kickoff Sales" on October 10-11, when Amazon Prime Big Deal Days — better known as Prime Day Part 2 or Amazon's Fall/October Prime Days. This initial outburst has died down, and most retailers have retreated back into more thematically acceptable "fall deals," but early Black Friday sales will start creeping up through the rest of the month before things really kick off the first week of November.
Then, on the second week of November, the fire hose of deals will turn on full-blast and not let up until the weekend after Cyber Monday, which this year will be the weekend of December 1-3.
While you'll never know if a deal will "get better" between October and Black Friday, 2022 showed us that deals will absolutely sell out ahead of Black Friday if you wait too long to pull the trigger. This was especially true of smart home (the Google Nest Audio) and Chromebook deals last year. But on the flip side, some products actually kept dropping in price clear into December's final holiday shopping days: The Galaxy Watch 4 dropped to $150 and then $140, where it stayed for weeks, while half a dozen of the best wireless earbuds dropped $50 in the early weeks and then switched to a $100 price cut for Black Friday itself.
Android phone deals: What we're expecting
If you're interested in the freshly-released Google Pixel 8 or 8 Pro, kick back and wait for Black Friday, as it will undoubtedly be discounted, and friends don't let friends pay the Launch Day tax. The Pixel 6a's $250 deal from the July Prime Day is dead forever — sorry, guys, the phone has totally sold out at Amazon — but the Pixel 7a hit $400, and hopefully, on Black Friday, we'll see $400 or $350.
Amazon and Best Buy have been very, very generous with their deals on the best Samsung Galaxy phones in 2023. The Galaxy S23 series gets $100/$150/$250 discounts at least twice a month, and last spring's Galaxy S22 Ultra pops up with a $650-$800 deal once every few weeks. On the foldable front, Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 were $400 and $200 off during the October Prime Days, respectively. Discounts on the Galaxy A-series have been fewer and further between this year, but expect the Galaxy A54 at $330 or less.
Motorola's Razr+ hit the $200 off we were expecting during Prime Day Part 2, and the Edge+ has seen some $100-$200 off deals at times. Meanwhile, OnePlus always has "mystery box" early Black Friday promotions running, and now that the OnePlus 10T is starting to sell out a bit more — we've even seen below $400 on occasion — we're confident it'll focus on the OnePlus 11, regardless the OnePlus foldable debuting on October 19.
Android tablet deals: What we're expecting
While deals on iPads are pretty much a given every Black Friday, deals on Android tablets are much more varied. This year, we got a new generation of Galaxy Tab S9 tablets, which means this year's Samsung tablet sales are poised to be quite diverse. We've only seen free storage upgrades on the Tab S9 series so far — Black Friday is primed to be the first significant discount on them — but the Galaxy Tab S8 series has been regularly $100-$300 off, and I hope to see the Tab S9+ $300 off again, the way it was on both of this year's Prime Days.
We're getting closer to the announcement of the Galaxy Tab A9, but even if we weren't, the Tab A8 has consistently been $100 off or more during each of the last four deal events (three Prime Day events and Black Friday 2022). The Tab S7 FE and Tab S6 Lite will likely see some deals, too, but the S7 FE is getting harder and harder to find these days.
Lenovo's tablets are a bit of a mixed bag: the budget-minded models are already seeing their average discounts, but if you want a P12 Pro, you'll likely have to wait until Black Friday itself — and even then, Samsung's deals will likely undercut it. Similarly, the expected deals for the Google Pixel Tablet aren't likely to get it below $370, making it a bit of a non-starter unless you're a Pixel Superfan. I have a little more faith that the OnePlus Pad will make it down into the $300s — it hit $400 for Prime Big Deal Days — but OnePlus may go the bundle deal route instead.
And rounding out the bottom of the budget barrel, we have the Amazon Fire tablet series: Amazon always discounts its entire tablet lineup, and Black Friday will not be an exception, especially since the new Fire 11 Max debuted back in April. Amazon seems to have cleaned out its remaining stock of the previous generations of the Fire 7, HD 8, and HD 10, but we'll likely see discounts in the 30-55% range for those, while the 11 Max is more likely to only see a 15-30% cut.
Chromebook deals: What we're expecting
Chromebooks are a category that gets a little weird around Black Friday. See, Prime Day falls smack dab in the middle of the back-to-school shopping season, and it's around the time most kickass Chromebooks announced in January and launched in May get their first discounts. Black Friday is outside that calendar, and November is when the older models that were discontinued that summer tend to sell out forever, which we saw last October with a number of models. This will also be the first Prime Day for the new Chromebook Plus models, but it's unclear what if any discounts we'll be seeing from them given they literally went on sale the second week of October.
For Lenovo, models to watch for will be the Lenovo Flex 3i (Gen 8) with its 12.2-inch 1080p touchscreen in a compact chassis, the Lenovo Flex 5i in both 13.3 and 14-inch varieties — just please opt for Intel Core processors over Pentium or Celeron — and its Duet series, the most prevalent and popular Chromebook tablets around. Best Buy has been heavily discounting Lenovo and Acer Chromebooks, and I recommend watching the entire Acer Chromebook Spin series. From the student-friendly Spin 311 to the beefy Spin 714 to the Goldilocks "just right" Spin 513 and Spin 514, Acer's got a Chromebook for you, you just might have to wait a week or two for the sale to cycle back around.
Speaking of Best Buy, Chromebook deals tend to be more reliable and prevalent on Best Buy than Amazon, but every now and again, Amazon will slip Chromebook deals into larger PC promotions. Especially if you're looking for budget-minded Chromebooks for school-age kids, you'll need to be extra-vigilant about checking model numbers and AUE dates when shopping Amazon's vast ocean of duplicated Chromebook listings.
Earbud and headphone deals: What we're expecting
Super smart wireless earbuds get sweet deals all year long, so it's not really a question of if but rather when the deals will arrive. This year, Samsung and Google haven't released any new buds, which is great news for hopeful buyers. We've already seen the Pixel Buds Pro down to $120 during the October Prime Days (even the brand-spanking new Bay and Porcelain colors), but for the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, they've yet to drop below $180. Jabra had almost its entire lineup half-off last year, but things might not be quite as generous this year. Similarly, Sennheiser and Bose seem to be keeping to their "standard" $50 off so far this fall for earbuds and $80-100 for headphones, though Bose might go a little father at Black Friday seeing as it debuted two new premium headphones this fall (and they're utterly glorious to wear).
The audio deal we're eagerly awaiting this Black Friday is for the new Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds. Launching at the end of July, we've yet to see a single discount on them so far. Amazon's October Prime event might have technically broken that streak, but a $22 discount on $300 earbuds isn't a "deal"; it's giving you back the sales tax. The previous XM4 buds seem to be getting into shorter supply already, but if there are enough in stock, maybe we'll see them hit $150 after last year's $180 Black Friday deal. Sony has been cycling regular discounts for the WH-1000XM5 and XM4 regularly all summer — $350 for the XM5 and $280 for the XM4 — but hopefully, they'll both get an extra $50 off for the holiday shopping season after seeing the WH-1000XM4 at $228 for Prime Day Part 2.
Smartwatch and wearable deals: What we're expecting
The Galaxy Watch series will likely clean up again this Black Friday. I say "again" because last year's $140 Galaxy Watch 4 deal was one of the best deals of 2022, and if there are any left, they will return. The watches you'll really want to watch, though, are the Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 5. Amazon and Samsung have basically stopped selling the Galaxy Watch 5, but everyone else still has it and should drop it down into the $150-$200 range, which will be a price performer unless we see the Watch 6 hit $230. Samsung will have enhanced trade-in deals for the Galaxy Watch 6 — a guaranteed minimum $50 trade-in is available right now — and hopefully throwing in a free fabric strap as they did during the launch window. (I've been in love with mine.)
Black Friday will also (hopefully) be the first time the new Google Pixel Watch 2 gets discounted, so you'll want to hold out until Turkey Day for that. The original Pixel Watch might drop into the sub-$200 ballpark — it was $210 for October Prime Day — although you're probably better off with the Pixel Watch 2 (for the battery) or a Galaxy Watch 6 (for everything). Kicking over from Google to Fitbit, we expect these deals to match last year — the Charge 6 has just arrived, so it'll be the first event for that — but given the way fitness deals have shaken out over 2023, I'm not holding my breath to see any new lowest prices ever for any other Fitbits.
Garmin and Mobvoi have some more recent watches that we're hoping to see discounted, but things are still a bit murky on that front for now.
Smart home deals: What we're expecting
From Arlo's excellent security cams to Philips Hue light bulbs to Kasa's sleek smart plugs and beyond, just about every smart home device you can imagine is already seeing some kind of discount, even if it doesn't get deals throughout the regular year. Case in point, while the Google Nest Audio might be three years old, it's still the best Google Assistant smart speaker, bar none, and it's been discounted less than five times all year. But, last Black Friday, you could buy two for $90, and for a wonderfully brief window, single speakers were discounted down to $45. I took advantage of both deals and bought three Nest Audios for my own apartment last year, and this deal sold out multiple times over the course of October and November.
Amazon and Google always heavily discount their security cameras, doorbells, smart displays, and streaming sticks for Black Friday, and even third-party ecosystems from TP-Link, Arlo, Wyze, and Eufy seem to put everything and the kitchen sink on sale. Products you'll want to watch for this go around are the Ring Video Doorbell Plus, Amazon Echo Pop, Google Nest Doorbell — I want to see this finally dip to $130 or less — Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED series, and Synology NAS systems. (Okay, I admit, beefy NAS devices might not be smart in the normal smart home sense, but they will make your smart streaming setup awesome.)
For smaller smart home devices like smart lights from Philips Hue, Govee, and more, as well as smart plugs, robot vacuums, and connected devices like smart air purifiers and smart coffee makers, deals are always popping up, but we recommend waiting until at least the end of this month before pulling the trigger.