Best Electronics Deals Right Now
Where to find great prices on TVs, laptops, headphones, and other tech products
The holiday shopping season hasn’t kicked off just yet, so sales aren’t as impressive or plentiful as they will be in a few weeks. But if you need a new TV for football season or a laptop for schoolwork, you can still find savings on some top-rated products.
The list below features this week’s top picks.
Retailers are always promoting bargains, but the best tech deals involve more than a good price. So we look for discounts on products that also stand up to Consumer Reports’ rigorous testing.
For info on items that earn a CR Best Buy designation with high performance at a low price, check out the ratings for all the electronics products tested in our labs.
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Amazon Fire TV Cube
This is an updated version of the 4K-ready Fire TV Cube, essentially a mashup of Amazon’s popular Alexa-powered Fire TV streaming player and Echo Dot smart speaker. Like its predecessor, the model features universal remote control capability.
It also offers a more powerful processor, a faster response time, and both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ HDR. There are buttons on top of the unit to adjust the volume and mute the microphones, but the Cube is really all about voice control. What makes it stand out, though, is that it lets you control a host of other compatible audio/video gear, including TVs, sound bars, receivers, and even some cable and satellite boxes.
CR’s test results: Amazon Fire TV Cube (2nd-generation) streaming media device
Apple iPad Air
If you simply want to watch Netflix and read e-books, this high-powered tablet might be overkill, but it’s a good choice if you play demanding games and regularly edit video. The display is big and bright, and the colors are accurate. The device weighs 1 pound on the dot. The battery lasted just 7.7 hours in our web-browsing test, though. That’s not impressive for a tablet, but it’s just about the only knock here. The model we tested features WiFi and 4G connectivity; the one we list here is WiFi only. The sale price may vary by color.
CR’s test results: Apple iPad Air (4G, 64GB) 2020 tablet
Onn Tablet Pro 8
For school-age children steeped in Google Classroom, Walmart’s Onn Tablet Pro 8 is a great, low-cost option. The 8-inch Onn comes with 32 gigabytes of built-in storage, plus a microSD card slot for additional storage.
It ships with the Android 10 operating system and has access to the Google Play app store. That means you can download Google’s full suite of productivity apps (Gmail, Google Calendar, etc.), not to mention a wide range of popular games. By contrast, similarly priced Fire tablets use Amazon’s more limited app store.
CR’s test results: Onn Tablet Pro 8
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Tablet
This high-end 11-inch Android tablet has 128 gigabytes of built-in storage (and an SD card slot for adding more) for those with large photo, video, and game libraries. Our testers say the model has a vibrant display, is plenty powerful, and has a battery that lasts up to 13 hours. If you prefer to have more storage without keeping track of microSD cards, the 256GB model is on sale at Amazon for $50 more.
CR’s test results: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 tablet
Laptops and Chromebooks
Acer Chromebook Spin
This is a 2-in-1 convertible Chromebook, which means the 11.6-inch display can be bent behind the keyboard via a 360-degree hinge and used like a tablet. Why buy a dedicated tablet if a 2-in-1 has what you need? You’ll find entry-level specs here, including an Intel Celeron processor, 4 gigabytes of memory, and 32GB of storage.
CR’s test results: Acer 11 CP311-1HN-C2DV computer
Gateway Ultra Slim Notebook 15
The Gateway brand name may sound familiar to folks who were around for the mid-’90s PC boom, but this incarnation is a rebadge of Chinese technology company Bmorn. Regardless, this 15.6-inch Notebook performs reasonably well in our labs, with no major knocks against it.
The model features an Intel Core i5 processor, 16 gigabytes of memory, and 256GB of solid state storage, all of which translates to decent performance, especially for the money. You’ll also get up to 10 hours of battery life. Even the display gets good marks, with accurate colors and adequate viewing angles. This deal price is only available for the black and rose gold models.
CR’s test results: Gateway Ultra Slim Notebook 15-inch laptop
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3
This 11.6-inch 2-in-1 convertible has modest specs: a MediaTek processor, 4 gigabytes of memory, and 32GB of flash storage (similar to, but slower than, solid state). MediaTek specializes in inexpensive processors; our testers find performance here to be somewhat slow, even with relatively simple tasks, such as editing text and browsing the web. The battery life isn’t too shabby, though, at 12 hours for web browsing and 10 hours for watching high-definition video.
CR’s test results: Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 11 laptop
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
This is a Chromebook with specs you’d expect to find on a more traditional laptop: an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 gigabytes of memory, and a spacious 256GB solid state drive. That makes it fast and versatile, especially when you factor in the touch screen display. The battery life is a modest 7 hours, though, so the model may be best suited for those who are fine with being tethered to a charging cable for part of the day.
CR’s test results: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
For more options: Best Deals on Laptops, Chromebooks, and Tablets Right Now
Hisense 65-Inch 4K Android Smart TV
The Hisense 65U6G hails from the company’s most affordable ULED series of TVs, which feature quantum dots for a wider range of colors. The set offers solid picture quality, though, only limited HDR (high dynamic range) effectiveness. It has a number of step-up features, including support for Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos Audio. The model uses the Android TV smart TV platform, with built-in access to Google Cast for streaming from mobile devices, plus Google Assistant. The set will also work with Amazon’s Alexa digital voice assistant.
CR’s test results: Hisense 65U6G TV
LG 77-Inch 4K OLED Smart TV
Anyone looking for a top-performing jumbo-sized TV should consider this LG OLED set, one of the best models we tested in 2020. It’s among a limited number of options that can deliver a truly compelling HDR experience, and it has great sound. It was $200 cheaper recently, but this is still a notable discount.
CR’s test results: LG OLED77CXPUA 77-inch OLED smart TV
Sony 65-Inch 4K Android Smart TV
This 2020 set from Sony’s entry-level 4K series is among the manufacturer’s most affordable options on the Android TV platform. (Sony’s smart TVs are currently shifting to Google TV.) Overall, the model is a fine performer, though its HDR performance has very limited effectiveness. The Android TV system has Chromecast and Google Assistant built in, but it’s compatible with the Amazon Alexa digital voice assistant, too.
CR’s test results: Sony KD65X750H TV
TCL 65-Inch 4K Roku Smart TV
This set—a 2020 model that’s being carried over through 2021—delivers very satisfying overall picture quality, a top-notch HDR experience, and very good sound. It also uses mini LEDs in its full-array LED backlight, which can help improve black levels and contrast. We’re seeing more TVs adopt this technology in 2021, but they’re generally a good deal more expensive. Thanks to the Roku TV smart TV platform, you’ll have access to a lot of streaming services, plus support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
CR’s test results: TCL 65R635 TV
Apple AirPods (2nd Gen.) True Wireless Earphones With Wireless Charging Case
Unlike the AirPods Pro, these second-generation AirPods don’t get high marks for sound in Consumer Reports’ testing. But there’s no denying the appeal of the true wireless earphones for many Apple fans. If you buy the earbuds with the standard charging case directly from Apple, you’ll pay $160, but a number of retailers are selling them for much less.
Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Studio Headphones
These wireless studio-style headphones are a decent choice for more critical listeners—the sale price is available only for the black version at Best Buy, but Amazon is offering the discount for the gold model, too. Features include a detachable audio cable for wired connections, a monitor mode to let in outside sound, a quick-charge function, and an option that Jabra says will automatically adjust the level of noise cancellation based on your environment.
CR’s test results: Jabra Elite 85h wireless home/studio-style headphones
JBL Live 650BTNC Noise-Canceling Headphones
These over-ear headphones originally cost around $200, then dipped to around $130, and now they’re selling for even less. They deliver impressive noise cancellation and audio quality. JBL hasn’t skimped on features, either. The Live 650BTNC comes with a detachable audio cable for use with wired devices, a quick-charge function, the ability to simultaneously pair with multiple devices, and, according to JBL, a generous 20-hour battery life. (We don’t test that feature for headphones.) A free app brings some additional functionality.
CR’s test results: JBL Live 650BTNC wireless home/studio-style headphones
Sennheiser PXC 550-II Noise-Canceling Headphones
These headphones rate with the best when it comes to sound quality and noise cancellation. They also have appealing features, such as adjustable levels of noise reduction and an ambient sound monitoring mode that lets noise from your environment back in so that you can hear what’s happening around you. The model has touch-sensitive controls and an automatic pause feature that stops your audio when you take the headphones off.
CR’s test results: Sennheiser PXC 550-II
Corsair Void RGB Elite Gaming Headset
This Bluetooth headset has a claimed battery life of up to 15 hours. It features 3D Audio Advantage technology for PlayStation consoles and Windows Sonic surround-sound tech for Xbox consoles. On-ear controls let you adjust the game and chat volume independently and apply preset settings for bass, treble, and voice chat. According to one participant in a recent CR headset study, the SuperHuman Hearing setting is helpful for detecting footsteps and other subtle sounds. You mute the microphone by flipping it upward. The headset is compatible with the Nintendo Switch; PS5, PS4, and PS4 Pro; Windows 10 PCs; and Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One, but you have to choose the correct model for your computer or console.
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Gaming Headset
This 2.47-gigahertz wireless model has DTS Headphone:X v2.0 surround-sound technology and a claimed battery life of 24 hours. On-ear controls let you adjust the volume, mute the microphone, and tweak the balance between game and chat audio. The mic retracts into an ear cup when you don’t need it. One user in our study mentioned that the headset comes with software that allows you to put more emphasis on footsteps or fire. Another admired the ski-goggle-style headband that keeps the plastic part off your head. The manufacturer also includes a 3.5-mm audio cord for wired use with mobile devices. The headset is compatible with Mac and PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation. (The PS4 does not support the surround-sound feature.)
Asus AC2900 Wireless Router
This CR Best Buy provides strong performance across the full range of distances that we test. Other handy features include app-based setup, four built-in Ethernet ports, and two built-in USB ports to plug in devices like printers and smart-home hubs for shared access.
This model is also compatible with an Asus technology called AiMesh, which lets you use additional satellite units (sold separately) to create a mesh WiFi network if you want to expand the range of your signal down the line.
CR’s test results: Asus AC2900 (RT-AC86U) Wireless Router
Netgear Orbi Wireless Mesh Router (3-Pack)
This three-pack performed well in our tests but didn’t rate quite as highly when it comes to speed at midrange and far distances. It’s also not compatible with the latest WiFi 6 standard, which might not be ideal for early adopters who routinely buy the latest smartphone and gadgets, because those are increasingly designed to reap the benefits of WiFi 6.
Given the relatively low price, however, there’s a lot to like here, including an easy app-based setup, a single built-in Ethernet port, and automatic firmware updates, which protect you from hackers, malware, and other security vulnerabilities.
CR’s test results: Netgear Orbi AC1200 wireless router
Logitech Brio Webcam
This webcam, which we recently tested, can record video at up to 4K at 30 frames per second and has a 90-degree field of view. Wider fields of view are better able to fit multiple subjects in the frame at once. The picture quality is the best we tested. The audio quality is good, with minimal distortion. Features include autofocus, auto white balance, and noise reduction. But consumers with new Macs that lack a USB Type A port will need a dongle to use the webcam because it comes with a USB Type A to USB Type C cord. The built-in privacy shutter blocks video from being recorded, but the indicator light doesn’t turn on to alert you when audio is being recorded.
Razer Kiyo Webcam
This webcam, designed for gamers and livestreamers, tops out at 1080p at 30 frames per second and has an 81.6-degree field of view, which is wider than most models we tested. The picture quality is fair, and the audio quality is good and mostly sounds clear. Features include autofocus, auto white balance, and a built-in ring light with settings to adjust the illumination level, which can help improve image quality in environments with poor lighting conditions. The model lacks a privacy shutter, and the indicator light doesn’t turn on to alert you when audio is being recorded.
More Tech Deals
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
This 4K version of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick offers a nice array of content and features, including voice control and support for Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+. Bonuses include the ability to control it from Alexa-enabled devices such as the Amazon 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
Epson EcoTank All-in-One Inkjet Printer
For consumers shopping for an inkjet printer that’s destined for heavy use—churning out memos, recipes, book reports, airline tickets, sports schedules, graphics-heavy school projects, and the like—the Epson EcoTank ET-2720 will provide significant savings in the long run.
As with other reservoir models, this printer does away with pricey replacement cartridges in favor of tanks that can be replenished from low-cost bottles of ink. The typical cost to keep this printer running is just $7 per year, a tiny fraction of the figure for conventional inkjets.
The ET-2727 lacks some useful features, including the ability to print on both sides of a page. But it earns high scores in our tests for printing photos, text, and graphics. And if you print less than a few dozen pages per month, you could go years before needing to buy replacement ink.
CR’s test results: Epson EcoTank ET-2720 printer
JBL Xtreme 2 Bluetooth Speaker
The Xtreme 2 is large and heavy for a portable speaker, but the sound quality is admirable. The model delivers strong bass—maybe a bit too strong for some—and enough volume to fill a large room. Features include an internal power bank that can charge other devices, and JBL says the Xtreme 2 is water-resistant to 3 meters, a claim CR doesn’t test.
CR’s test results: JBL Xtreme 2 wireless and Bluetooth speaker
Logitech MX Ergo Mouse
This mouse uses a trackball and a design that allows the user to adjust the orientation between 0 and 20 degrees, effectively reducing stress in the wrist and forearm, according to a recent CR test project. It also requires less movement of the hand, wrist, and shoulder, which is good. It may take a little time to adjust to using the trackball, though. The model features six programmable buttons, a rechargeable battery, a four-way scroll wheel, adjustable speed and precision settings, and a comfortable matte finish. The mouse can be connected to a computer via Bluetooth, USB dongle, or the USB-C to USB charging cable. A left-handed option isn’t available.
Microsoft Comfort Desktop 5050 Ergonomic Keyboard
The Microsoft Comfort Desktop 5050 is a Bluetooth keyboard featuring a contoured, wavelike design. The palm rest is comfortable but provides little reduction in wrist extension, says CR’s in-house ergonomics expert. The keys are laid out with a slight curve that is not effective at reducing ulnar deviation or wrist pronation. The membrane keys, which feel slightly squishy, are not as easy to activate. They include a number pad, shortcut/media control options, and programmable functions. Compatible with Android, Mac, and Windows.