JLab Audio JBuds Air headphones on a colorful background
Photo: JLab Audio

You've only got a few days left to get a Mother's Day gift your mom will love. You'll be glad to know we're still seeing impressive prices on headphonesfitness trackersBluetooth speakers, and laptops, among other electronics. And Memorial Day is coming up soon, so there will be more deals to look forward to later in the month.

Retailers are always promoting bargains, but a good deal involves more than a good price. So we always look for discounts on products that have also stood up to Consumer Reports’ rigorous testing. The list below features this week’s top picks.

For info on other smart purchases, including items that earn a CR Best Buy designation for high performance at a low price, check out the ratings for all the electronics products tested in our labs.

Looking for something else? We’re also tracking spring-cleaning deals and discounts on other home and kitchen products.

Spotlight Deal

JLab Audio JBuds Air True Wireless Earphones

    At full price, these earphones deliver impressive sound quality, beating options that cost three times as much. That's why they make our list of best true wireless headphones. And when you can save 30 percent, they're an even bigger bargain.

     

    The JBuds Air have an advertised 3.5-hour battery life and come with a carrying case that will recharge the earphones for an additional two cycles. Other features include support for various digital assistants, three switchable EQ modes to change the tonal balance of the sound, and, according to JLab, water resistance. (We don’t test that feature.)

     

    CR’s test results: JLab Audio JBuds Air Headphones

    Headphones

    Bose 700 Noise Cancelling Headphones

      If you need a little extra help focusing or tuning out the world, noise-canceling headphones can do the trick. The Bose 700s model launched last summer is a great option, especially with this $50 discount. The headphones perform very similarly to the lauded Bose QuietComfort 35 II over-ear headphones in CR testing, but the 700 features touch controls and a slight improvement to call quality, helpful for your digital meetings.

       

      CR’s test results: Bose 700 headphones

      Panasonic RZ-S500W True Wireless Earphones

        These earbuds deliver outstanding sound-canceling ability, and while they don’t match the audio quality of the category-leading Sony WF-1000XM3s, their performance is well above average. And after a few weeks on sale at $150, the price just dropped an additional $50.

         

        The RZ-S500W comes with a variety of convenient features. They include an ambient sound monitoring mode that lets in outside noise on command so that you can monitor your surroundings. Additionally, you can adjust the levels of noise cancellation with the free app.

         

        The model has an advertised 6.5-hour battery life and can be recharged twice using the carrying case. A quick-charge feature gives you an additional 70 minutes of playback time after just 15 minutes.

         

        CR’s test results: Panasonic RZ-S500W 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 in noise from your environment. The model has touch-sensitive controls and an automatic pause feature that stops your audio when you take off the headphones. 

           

          CR’s test results: Sennheiser PXC 550-II headphones

           

          These are just a few options on sale right now. Check out our picks for the best headphone deals on models that excelled in CR’s tests.

          Televisions

          Hisense 85-Inch 4K 6-Series Android Smart TV

            The Hisense 85H6570G is an entry-level Android TV model. It’s also the largest set the manufacturer offered in 2020. We didn’t test it, but we did evaluate the 70-inch Hisense 70H6570G, which scored well for HD and 4K picture quality but not for its high dynamic range (HDR) experience. Models in this series support TV HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and use the Google Android TV smart TV system, which has Chromecast and Google Assistant built in. They also work with Amazon Alexa.

            Samsung 65-Inch QLED 4K Smart TV

              This LCD-based set from Samsung earns a spot as one of Consumer Reports’ picks for best TVs of 2021, thanks to top marks for HD and 4K picture quality. It offers a great HDR experience, among the best of any set we’ve tested. But while the sound is very good, it’s a level below that of other top sets. The viewing angles are wide for an LCD model, too, but not quite as good as what you get from an OLED TV. The set first went on sale two weeks ago, and just dropped an additional $50.

               

              CR’s test results: Samsung QN65Q90T 65-inch 4K smart TV

              Vizio 55-Inch 4K OLED Smart TV

                One of the least expensive 4K OLED TVs on the market, the Vizio OLED55-H1 did great overall in our labs, but it can’t quite match the HDR performance seen in similar models from LG and Sony. The set was $100 less on Black Friday, but this discount, which will be available through May 23, is still sizable.

                 

                CR’s test results: Vizio OLED55-H1 TV

                Streaming Devices

                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 a remote that can be used to control power and volume on many TVs and sound bar speakers.

                   

                  CR's test results: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

                  Roku Streaming Stick+

                    This streaming device goes on sale for this price from time to time (and rarely, if ever, gets any cheaper). The Roku platform gives you the ability to access all your streaming services in one place, offering a category-leading assortment of channels so that you don't have to switch among multiple devices.

                     

                    CR’s test results: Roku Streaming Stick+

                    Laptops, Tablets, and Computers

                    Apple iPad Air (64GB) Tablet

                      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 device weighs 1 pound on the dot, and the display is big, bright, and accurate. 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. This one is WiFi only. The sale price varies by color.

                       

                      CR’s test results: Apple iPad Air (4G, 64GB) 2020 tablet

                      Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch Laptop (Latest Model)

                        The latest MacBook Air offers strong performance in a highly portable package. It was available for $50 less last week, but it's back to the discount we tend to see when Apple products go on sale (something of a rarity). It may drop in price again closer to Memorial Day weekend, though there's no guarantee.

                         

                        This is the base model, which has 8 gigabytes of memory and 256GB of solid-state storage. It uses Apple's new M1 processor, delivering not only fast performance but also up to 12.5 hours of battery life in a single charge. The laptop weighs less than 3 pounds.

                         

                        CR’s test results: Apple MacBook Air 13-inch laptop

                        Apple Mac Mini With M1 Chip

                          The Mini is the least expensive way to buy a Mac—the 256GB model starts at $670—but you have to supply your own mouse, keyboard, and display. So don't expect to find them in the box.

                           

                          It’s a little like going to a restaurant where you bring your own bottle of wine.

                           

                          This sale price applies to the model featuring Apple’s M1 processor and an ample 512GB of storage.

                           

                          CR's test results: Apple Mac Mini M1 Chip computer

                          Google Pixelbook Go (Core i5) Chromebook

                            This 13.3-inch notebook spent much of 2020 at the top of our Chromebook ratings. It has an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and 128GB of solid-state storage—numbers you’ll frequently find in pricier Chromebooks. Those specs are sufficient for web browsing, conducting video calls, and editing office documents. The battery life is decent, too. The model lasted nearly 9 hours in our high-res video viewing test and 17 hours in our web-browsing test.

                             

                            CR's test results: Google Pixelbook Go (Core i5)

                            Microsoft Surface Pro 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. Amazon just dropped the price another $20 compared with last week, making this the best price we've seen so far for this laptop.

                               

                              CR’s test results: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 13-inch laptop

                              Microsoft Surface Pro 7

                                With fast processing speeds and a convenient touch screen, the Surface Pro 7 laptop performs well in our tests, and it’s back to the best price we’ve seen in the past year. Keep in mind that the keyboard, which detaches so that you can use the touch screen as a tablet, costs an additional $130.

                                 

                                CR’s test results: Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (Core i5) 12-inch laptop

                                Samsung Galaxy Book S

                                  This laptop has been discounted for a few weeks now, and the sale has only gotten better. The current price is $8 higher than last week but still $132 less than we saw three weeks ago. It’s one of the lightest models we’ve tested, at 2.1 pounds, and has a touch screen that boasts bright, accurate colors, high contrast, and wide viewing angles. The battery lasts an impressive 14 hours in CR’s web-browsing tests, too. But the performance speeds show that workloads are best left to basic tasks such as email and web browsing. 

                                   

                                  CR’s test results: Samsung Galaxy Book S 13-inch laptop

                                  Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers

                                  Apple Watch Series 6

                                    All things considered, the Apple Watch Series 6, which first hit the market in fall 2020, is slightly better than the Series 5 model released a year earlier.

                                     

                                    The watch comes equipped with a blood oxygen sensor. It’s optimized for the sleep-tracking feature Apple introduced in a WatchOS software update. And when it comes to the basics—heart-rate tracking and step counting—the model proved to be just a bit more accurate than the Series 5. The watch was $50 cheaper last week, but Apple products don’t go on sale often, so this is still a good discount.

                                     

                                    CR’s test results: Apple Watch Series 6 (40-mm) Aluminum Case GPS smartwatch

                                    Fitbit Inspire 2

                                      This Fitbit is fairly accurate at counting steps and very good at measuring your heart rate. It's relatively easy to pair with any recent iPhone or Android phone. In our water immersion test, it lived up to the manufacturer’s claims, surviving a 10-minute dunk at the equivalent of 164 feet. And like many fitness trackers, it has simple notifications for text messages, calls, and calendar events.

                                       

                                      Fitbit's website says the sale ends May 8, so don't wait too long to take advantage of the offer. 

                                       

                                      CR’s test results: Fitbit Inspire 2 fitness tracker

                                      Fitbit Versa 3 Smartwatch

                                        The Versa 3 is a solid performer when it comes to counting steps and tracking heart rate. It has a built-in GPS (unlike earlier Versa models), faster charging capabilities, and a speaker, allowing you to take calls via a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone. As with the offer for the Inspire 2 above, this one will liklely be gone after May 8.

                                         

                                        CR’s test results: Fitbit Versa 3 smartwatch

                                        Samsung Galaxy Fit Fitness Tracker

                                          This fitness tracker performs well in CR’s tests for ease of use, step-count accuracy, and heart-rate monitoring. It's water-resistant and has a claimed seven-day battery life, plus a wireless magnetic charging dock that makes it easy to connect the device. The setup is a little trickier with an iPhone than an Android phone. It requires an app separate from the one you use for data monitoring.

                                           

                                          CR’s test results: Samsung Galaxy Fit fitness tracker

                                          Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 Smartwatch

                                            This model, which has been on sale for a few weeks for $200, is now $20 cheaper. It receives high scores for ease of use, readability, step counting and heart-rate tracking. It gives you access to all of Google’s watch apps. And it can track about 40 forms of exercise, seven of which trigger the watch’s automatic workout detection. If you purchase the device directly from Samsung, you may be able to save an additional $150 by trading in a phone, tablet, or smartwatch.

                                             

                                            CR’s test results: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 (40-mm) smartwatch

                                            Smart Speakers

                                            Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen.)

                                              The Dot is a great low-cost way to add a virtual assistant to any room in your home. The latest edition features new globelike styling and improved sound quality, providing more extended treble and deeper bass than its less-than-great-sounding predecessor. It's far from the best choice for sound quality compared with larger and more expensive smart speakers, but it can be paired with a better-sounding Bluetooth speaker to add Alexa functionality to the setup. 

                                               

                                              CR's test results: Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen.)

                                              Marshall Stanmore II Voice Smart Speaker

                                                This Amazon Alexa-powered smart speaker is a great choice if you want something unique to enhance your décor. It’s designed to mirror the look of Marshall’s iconic guitar amplifiers.

                                                 

                                                Our testers found the knobs to be conveniently placed, clearly labeled, and easy to use. The sound quality is less refined than that of rival speakers, with a somewhat boomy bass and a midrange that’s slightly congested, but the unit does provide enough volume to fill a large room.

                                                 

                                                The sale price was $50 cheaper a week ago, but it's hard to argue with the $100 discount here.

                                                 

                                                CR’s test results: Marshall Stanmore II Voice smart speaker

                                                Ergonomic Mice and Keyboards

                                                Logitech MX Ergo Wireless Mouse

                                                  This is one of six models recently reviewed by CR’s in-house ergonomics expert, and it has been on sale for a few weeks but just dropped another $3. The model uses a trackball to guide the cursor on your computer screen, which may take some getting used to. But the overall design does reduce stress on the hand, forearm, wrist, and shoulder. Note, though, that the mouse is for right-handed users only. It’s rechargeable and features six programmable buttons.

                                                  Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard

                                                    This is one of eight keyboards evaluated by CR’s ergonomics expert. It’s a wireless model featuring a tented, split design, effectively reducing ulnar deviation and wrist pronation. The device includes a comfortable palm rest and a detachable front riser, allowing the wrists to rest in a neutral position while typing. It comes with a separate number pad, is compatible with most Windows computers, and has limited functionality for Mac and Android devices.

                                                    Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse

                                                      This model looks a bit more like a traditional mouse than some of the other ergonomic options. The shape and exaggerated thumb rest help to reduce forearm stress but do little to relieve wrist strain. The device has five programmable buttons and a dedicated Windows Start button, making it better for PC users than Mac users. The Microsoft Sculpt is designed specifically for right-handed users.

                                                      Wireless Routers

                                                      Linksys Mesh Router (3-Pack)

                                                        Ideal for large houses, this three-unit mesh router system is deeply discounted right now at a few retailers, marking the best price we've seen this year. It offers automatic firmware updates (good for security) and easy setup via smartphone app, plus admirable WiFi signal relay at a full range of distances, according to our testers.

                                                         

                                                        CR's test results: Linksys Velop AC6600 (3-Pack) Wireless Router

                                                        Netgear Orbi Mesh Router System

                                                          This three-unit system performs well in our tests, earning a spot on our best wireless router list, despite relying on the slightly older WiFi 5 standard. It doesn’t rate quite as high as other models when it comes to speed at midrange and far distances.

                                                           

                                                          But there’s a lot to like here, including a relatively low price—it was $15 cheaper last week, but this is still a good discount. The model also features 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 (three-pack) wireless router

                                                          TP-Link Deco Mesh Router System

                                                            This three-unit system is a CR Best Buy, which means it scores well in our tests and is quite affordable compared with other options in this category. The sale price makes it an even better deal. The model offers six Ethernet ports to provide a wired internet connection for products such as a printer, game console, or smart home hub or bridge.

                                                             

                                                            CR’s test results: TP-Link Deco Whole Home (three-pack) wireless router

                                                            Wireless Chargers

                                                            Samsung 9W Wireless Charging Pad

                                                              Samsung makes two of the best wireless chargers CR has tested, and they're both on sale right now. This charging pad is relatively compact and has a built-in cooling fan for faster charging. The round status indicator changes color when the device is fully charged. But it takes up to 30 seconds to alert you if the device is positioned incorrectly on the charging pad, and that can be a nuisance if you’ve already walked away and don’t notice. The 4-foot-long standard microUSB power cable can be replaced without much hassle if you need more length.

                                                              Samsung 15W Wireless Charging Stand

                                                                This wireless charging stand has been on sale for a couple of weeks. It has the fastest charge times among the models CR tested. Like the charging pad above, it has a built-in cooling fan, but it also features a gridded surface that lets air flow behind the device for added cooling. As a small trade-off, the charger is bulkier than many of its competitors.

                                                                 

                                                                The angled stand also allows you to view a phone’s screen in portrait or landscape position as it charges. The LED status indicator tells you when power is on, the device is charging, and the charging is complete. The model features a proprietary power cable, which could be a problem if you misplace it. It’s also relatively short at 3 feet, 2 inches long.