Illustration of a smartwatch with a price tag

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the holiday shopping season, but there are still plenty of great Black Friday deals on top-quality products. Retailers have spread their sales out throughout the month, and as we approach Black Friday the discounts are getting deeper and more plentiful.

We’ve seen some reduction in the volume of deals on items that have been in high demand since the start of the pandemic, especially for laptops and large appliances. However, CR’s experts have found ample deals on televisions of all sizes and prices, as well as other great gift options, such as headphones, fitness trackers, and speakers, and small kitchen appliances, including blenders and coffee makers. 

Not every deal we’ve found is available yet, and we are updating all our Black Friday coverage as we find new offers on top-rated products, so be sure to check back often for the latest.

Go to Consumer Reports’ Holiday Gift Guide for info on holiday deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.

Televisions

Insignia 32-Inch 720p Fire TV Edition Smart TV

    This is a nice price on a set from Best Buy’s house brand, provided you’re okay with the high-definition (not ultra-high definition) resolution. The model has very good HD picture quality, and the Amazon Fire TV system provides you with easy access to streaming services.

     

    CR’s test results: Insignia NS-32DF310NA19 smart TV

    LG 55-Inch CX-Series 4K OLED Smart TV

      Though this 4K OLED TV from LG isn’t cheap, it’s at the lowest price we’ve seen so far this year. More important, it’s among the best TVs we’ve tested in 2020, with top-notch picture quality and effective HDR performance. It also delivers great sound, with support for Dolby Atmos immersive audio. 

       

      CR’s test results: LG 55OLEDCXPUA 4K OLED smart TV

      LG 65-Inch 4K NANO81-Series Smart TV

        This entry-level model from LG’s step-up 2020 NanoCell series delivers decent but not great high-definition and ultra-high definition (4K) picture quality. It has limited HDR (high dynamic range) effectiveness.

         

        CR’s test results: LG 65NANO81ANA 4K smart TV

         

         

        For more discounts: Best Black Friday TV Deals

        Sound Bar Speakers

        Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System

          This 2.0-channel sound bar from Bose, among the more compact models we’ve tested, delivers good overall sound quality, so casual listeners are likely to find that it works well for both music and movie playback. The Solo 5 has built-in Bluetooth for wirelessly streaming audio from smartphones and tablets; it lacks an HDMI input, but connections can be made via optical digital, coaxial digital, and RCA inputs. The Solo 5 doesn’t have a separate subwoofer but does include a bass control adjustment. Bose cut the price of this model pretty much everywhere, including on the Bose website.

           

          CR’s test results: Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System sound bar

          Polk MagniFi Mini Sound Bar

            This 2.1-channel sound bar speaker system—a smaller sibling to the Polk MagniFi Max SR, also in our ratings—has good overall sound quality. It’s a decent choice for casual listeners for both movie soundtracks and music. Living up to its name, the Mini’s main enclosure is quite small—just over a foot long, and only 3 inches high. It has built-in Bluetooth for streaming from a phone or tablet, and it’s Google-friendly, with built-in Chromecast for streaming music from the cloud, and support for the voice-powered Google Assistant. 

            CR’s test results: Polk Audio MagniFi Mini sound bar

            Sonos Beam

              Despite its compact size, the Sonos Beam is among the better-sounding models in our ratings. It has a lot of features, too, including the ability to add a Sonos subwoofer and other Sonos speakers to make a full surround-sound system. Offered in  black or white, the sound bar has built-in support for Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant; it also supports Apple AirPlay 2.

               

              CR’s test results: Sonos Beam sound bar

               

               

              For more discounts: Best Black Friday Deals on Sound Bar Speakers

              Streaming Media Devices

              Amazon Fire TV Cube

                The 4K-ready Fire TV Cube is essentially a mashup of two popular Alexa-powered devices—the Fire TV streaming player and the Echo Dot smart speaker. It adds universal remote-control capability to the mix. The updated model has a more powerful processor, a faster response time, and Dolby Vision HDR. (All players support HDR10, and some additionally support Dolby Vision, HDR10+, or HLG.) Unique among streaming players is the device’s ability to control a host of other compatible audio/video gear, including TVs, sound bars, receivers, and even some cable and satellite boxes. And right now the Fire TV Cube is selling for $40 less than usual, so this might be the best deal of the bunch.

                 

                CR’s test results: Amazon Fire TV Cube streaming device

                Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

                  The 4K version of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick costs just $2 more than the HD version during this Black Friday sale. And it offers a nice array of content and features, including voice control and support for Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+, for the price. Bonuses include the ability to control it from Alexa-enabled devices such as the Echo or Dot and the included remote, which can be used to control power and volume on many TVs and sound bar speakers.

                   

                  CR’s test results: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K streaming device

                  Roku Streambar

                    The Roku Streambar combines built-in Roku 4K HDR streaming with a compact sound bar speaker that can be added to any TV. The sound bar has built-in Bluetooth for streaming from a mobile device, and it can be paired with optional Roku wireless speakers and a Roku wireless subwoofer to create a true surround-sound system. It comes with both an HDMI and a digital optical cable.

                     

                    CR’s test results: Roku Streambar sound bar

                     

                     

                    For more discounts: Best Black Friday Deals on Streaming Devices

                    Headphones

                    Beats Studio3 Over-Ear Headphones

                      The Beats Studio3 deliver above-average sound and superb noise cancellation. But at their usual price of $350, they typically don’t make our lists of top picks because there are cheaper models that perform just as well or better. For $175, though, the Studio3 is definitely worth the cost of entry. 

                       

                      CR’s test results: Beats Studio3 over-ear headphones

                      Sony WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Earbuds

                        The 1000XM3 headphones are a popular noise-canceling model from Sony with a true wireless design, meaning there’s no cable connecting the earpieces. They get solid marks in our ratings for audio quality and blocking out sound. They have touch controls, adjustable levels of noise cancellation, a generous battery life, and a slew of other features. They aren’t our No. 1 noise-canceling pick, but at this price they’re a great value because the headphones are worth it even at full price.

                         

                        CR’s test results: Sony WF-1000XM3 true wireless earbuds

                        Sony WH-1000XM4 Over-Ear Headphones

                          Sony’s flagship noise-canceling headphone is one of the most popular models on the market, and it does well in CR’s tests. We give it high marks for sound quality, and it performs even better at blocking out unwanted noise from your environment. It has touch controls, adjustable levels of noise cancellation, a generous battery life, and a slew of other features. Target is selling this model at a nice discount from the usual $350 sticker price. 

                           

                          CR’s test results: Sony WH-1000XM4 over-ear headphones

                          Apple AirPods Pro

                            The AirPods Pro add active noise cancellation to Apple’s ever popular line of true wireless headphones. That’s not the only upgrade, either—our testers find that they have much better sound quality than their predecessors, and they’re the first AirPods model to earn a Consumer Reports recommendation. The AirPods Pro don’t go on sale very often, making this an appealing discount.

                             

                            CR’s test results: Apple AirPods Pro true wireless earphones

                            Laptops & Tablets

                            HP 15-DY1076NR Laptop

                              This deal will be available through Nov. 30.

                               

                              We haven’t tested this exact model, but we have tested plenty of other HP 15 laptops in recent years, and they generally score well. The specs are right what you’d want to see in a midrange laptop: an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 gigabytes of memory, and 256GB of solid state storage. That’s more than enough to smoothly run everything from Adobe Photoshop to Zoom, but the lack of a dedicated video card means this is not a gaming laptop. (There are plenty of affordable gaming laptops in our ratings if you’re looking for one of those.)

                              Lenovo IdeaPad 3

                                This is a decent entry-level laptop for routine office tasks. It has an Intel Core i3 processor, 8 gigabytes of memory, and 256GB of solid state storage, all of which are good for managing spreadsheets, editing text documents, and conducting video calls. The model we tested had the same specs but a slightly older processor.

                                 

                                CR’s test results: Lenovo IdeaPad S340-15 laptop computer

                                Microsoft Surface 3

                                  This laptop has solid specs—an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 gigabytes of memory, and 256GB of solid-state storage—and according to our testers, the high-res, 4K display produces accurate colors, making it a nice choice for those who enjoy streaming movies on the go.

                                   

                                  CR’s test results: Microsoft Surface 3 laptop computer

                                   

                                   

                                  For more discounts: Best Black Friday Deals on Laptops

                                  Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition

                                    This deal will be available the week of Nov. 22 to Nov. 27.

                                     

                                    This model comes with a thick and chunky rubber case that protects it from falls, along with a “two-year, worry-free guarantee,” which means Amazon will replace your tablet if it breaks. The deal also includes a one-year free subscription to Amazon Kids+, which gives you and your family access to thousands of kid-friendly movies, TV shows, books, and apps.

                                     

                                    Amazon’s robust parental controls allow you to create different profiles for different kids, setting hard limits on what each can look at, and when and how long the tablet can be used.

                                     

                                    CR's test results: Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet

                                    Bluetooth and Smart Speakers

                                    JBL Flip 5

                                      Our testers find the Flip 5 to be a solid performer, with slightly bass-heavy sound that should please less-than-critical listeners and enough volume for a midsized room. Bluetooth pairing is easy, although the low-contrast external controls could be a bit easier to see and use. JBL claims that the IPX7 rating makes the speaker waterproof. 

                                       

                                      CR’s test results: JBL Flip 5 wireless and Bluetooth speaker

                                      Sonos Move

                                        The Move is Sonos’ most versatile smart speaker. It’s portable, has a rechargeable battery, and is modestly water-resistant. As a smart speaker, it works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Unlike other Sonos models, the Move features Bluetooth pairing in addition to the WiFi multiroom capabilities that are the company’s hallmark. And the Move sounds really good, with deep, impactful bass and a clean midrange. Because Sonos products are rarely discounted, this $100 discount represents a very solid deal.

                                         

                                        CR’s test results: Sonos Move smart speaker

                                        Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen.)

                                          The latest version of the Echo Dot features new styling, a spherical look that’s a shrunken version of the larger and more expensive Echo, which is also new. In terms of smart speaker performance, the Dot hasn’t changed much from its hockey-puck-like predecessor, and still works about as well as the company’s more expensive models. That’s because most of Alexa’s heavy duty artificial intelligence work is done on Amazon’s cloud servers. Which makes the Dot a good value in that regard. Music is another story. Our testers find the newest Dot to sound somewhat better than its predecessors, with slightly clearer highs and a bit more bass. However, the Dot is still best for listening close-by to a podcast rather than for filling a room with music.

                                           

                                          CR’s test results: Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation) smart speaker

                                           

                                           

                                          For more discounts: Best Black Friday Deals on Bluetooth and Smart Speakers

                                          Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers

                                          Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness Tracker

                                            If you’re shopping for something that’s a little simpler than a smartwatch but will still track your steps and heart rate, consider the Fitbit Charge 4, the company’s latest fitness tracker. It features built-in GPS for tracking distance and a claimed battery life of seven days. In Consumer Reports testing, it receives a Very Good rating for step counting but just a Good score for heart rate tracking.

                                             

                                            CR’s test results: Fitbit Charge 4 fitness tracker

                                            Fitbit Sense Smartwatch

                                              Prices on Fitbit’s latest smartwatch will drop by $50 starting Nov. 27.

                                               

                                              Our testers give the Fitbit Sense high marks for counting steps, though they don’t find it as good as other watches when it comes to tracking your heart rate. The Sense also received top marks for durability and has a claimed battery life of six days. What makes this device unique? Fitbit says it’ll use its collection of sensors and software to give you a better idea about how your body responds to stress.

                                               

                                              CR’s test results: Fitbit Sense smartwatch

                                              More Electronics Deals

                                              Canon Pixma All-in-One Color Printer

                                                If you’re looking for a printer with a small price tag, this is a solid option. It doesn’t deliver crisp prints—particularly when it comes to text—so you may want to pass if you’re churning out resumes and business proposals, but it’s fine for receipts, driving directions, recipes, and so on. It also has copy and scan functions, making it a great value for lots of households. Better yet, the estimated yearly ink cost is $108, according to our testers, which means you don’t have to worry about outrageous cartridge fees just over the horizon, as you so often do with cheap models.

                                                 

                                                CR’s test results: Canon Pixma MG3620 all-in-one inkjet printer