Fitbit Charge 4 on a colorful background.
Photo: Fitbit

If you’re in the market for a TVheadphones, or a laptop, you’ll find some good deals right now. We’re seeing nice prices on a range of tech products, thanks to some Black Friday in July sales as well as early back-to-school deals and discounts.

Holiday or not, 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. The list below features this week’s top picks.

For info on 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.

Viewing on a mobile device? Click on the links below to skip to each section.

Televisions 
Headphones 
Laptops, Tablets, and Computers
Streaming Devices
Ergonomic Mice 
Wireless Routers 
Wireless Chargers

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Spotlight Deal

Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness Tracker

    Fitbit’s flagship tracker has a built-in GPS, a feature missing from earlier models, as well as a generous claimed battery life of seven days. It scores highly for step-count accuracy, but the heart-rate tracking is just okay. It’s also the first version of the Charge to work with Fitbit Pay, the company’s contactless payment app, and the first Fitbit tracker featuring controls for Spotify playlists.

     

    CR’s test results: Fitbit Charge 4 fitness tracker

    Televisions

    Insignia 50-Inch Smart 4K Fire TV

      This set from Insignia, Best Buy’s house brand, is a lower-priced model with satisfying overall picture quality but less impressive HDR (high dynamic range) performance. The model, which uses the Amazon Fire TV smart TV system, is sold only at Best Buy and Amazon. In the last week, Amazon dropped its price an extra $40.

       

      CR’s test results: Insignia NS-50DF710NA21

      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.

         

        CR’s test results: LG OLED77CXPUA

        TCL 75-Inch 4K QLED Roku TV

          If you’re in the market for an extra-large TV that performs well, this TCL model may be a good choice. It’s one of the lowest-cost options right now, largely because it’s a previous-year model. Among large-screen TVs under $2,000, the set has standout scores for overall picture quality and HDR performance.

           

          CR’s test results: TCL 75Q825

          Toshiba 32-Inch 720p Fire TV Edition

            Those looking for a smaller, value-priced smart TV should consider this 2020 set. It has fine overall picture quality, and Amazon’s Fire TV smart TV system is built in. Like many sets this size, though, it has a fairly narrow viewing angle. The model has been on sale for $160 for a few weeks now, but Amazon recently dropped its price to just $10 more than we saw for Prime Day.

             

            CR’s test results: Toshiba 32LF221U21

            Toshiba 55-Inch 4K Fire TV

              This set, which uses Amazon’s Fire TV smart TV system, is a fine overall performer, though like many lower-priced sets it can’t produce a great HDR experience. It also has better-than-average sound quality.

               

              CR’s test results: Toshiba 55LF621U21

              Headphones

              Apple AirPods (2nd Gen.) True Wireless Earphones With Wireless Charging Case

                Unlike the AirPods Pro, the second-generation AirPods don’t get high marks for sound in Consumer Reports’ testing. But there’s no denying the appeal of these true wireless earphones for many Apple fans. If you buy the AirPods with the standard charging case straight from Apple, you’ll pay $160, but a number of retailers are selling them for much less.

                 

                CR’s test results: Apple AirPods (2nd gen.) With Wireless Charging Case

                JBL 650BTNC Noise-Canceling Headphones

                  These over-ear headphones originally cost around $200 but have been reduced to around $130, and are even less right now at Amazon and Walmart. 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 a generous 20-hour battery life, according to JBL. A free app brings some additional functionality.

                   

                  CR’s test results: JBL Live 650BTNC

                  JLab Audio JBuds Air Earphones

                    Even at full price, the JLab Audio JBuds Air earphones deliver impressive sound quality, beating some competitors that cost more than three times as much and earning them a spot in CR’s picks for the best true wireless headphones of 2021. So when you can save 20 percent, it’s 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

                    Sony WH-1000XM3 Noise-Canceling Headphones

                      This studio-style wireless model from Sony delivers impressive active noise reduction and sound quality; it’s a decent choice for the more critical listener of both music and movie soundtrack playback, especially when priced roughly $70 less than usual. Additional features include the ability to optimize the level of noise cancellation, an ambient sound monitoring mode that can be activated by holding a hand to the right earcup, and a quick-charge function.

                       

                      CR’s test results: Sony WH-1000XM3

                      For more discounts: Best Deals on Headphones

                      Laptops, Tablets, and Computers

                      Apple iPad Air (64GB WiFi-Only) 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. By contrast, this one is WiFi-only. The sale price may vary by color.

                         

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

                        Apple Mac Mini Computer

                          The Mini is the least expensive way to buy a Mac, 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 take your own bottle of wine. This sale price applies to the 256-gigabyte model featuring Apple’s M1 processor, and if you want more storage, the 512GB version is on sale for $800 at Amazon, down from $900.

                           

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

                          Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch Laptop (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage)

                            As the name suggests, the MacBook Pro is designed for people who need the horsepower for tougher computing tasks. Think photo editing, video editing, or game play, not writing memos or filling out spreadsheets. If that suits you, this is a very nice price for the entry-level model with Apple’s new fast and efficient M1 chip, 8 gigabytes of memory, and 256GB of solid state storage.

                             

                            CR’s test results: Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020, M1) laptop

                            LG Gram 14 Laptop

                              The LG Gram practically defines thin-and-light design. The 14-inch version weighs a feathery 2.2 pounds—you almost want to hold it down if the wind kicks up. Better yet, it logged 19.5 hours’ worth of battery life in our web-browsing tests. (For video watching, the figure is closer to 9 hours.) Inventory appears to be low at both retailers, so don’t wait if this laptop fits your needs and budget.

                               

                              CR’s test results: LG Gram 14 (2020) laptop

                              Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Laptop

                                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. The laptop has been on sale for a few weeks, but it has dropped $70 since Memorial Day, making this the best deal we’ve seen in some time.

                                 

                                CR’s test results: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 13-inch 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 someone who is fine with being tethered to a charging cable for at least part of the school day.

                                   

                                  CR’s test results: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

                                  Streaming Devices

                                  Roku Streaming Stick+

                                    This streaming device usually costs $49, so the $10 discount is a great chance to make it easier to watch your favorite shows. The Roku platform gives you the ability to access all your streaming services in one place, offering a category-leading assortment of channels, so you don’t have to switch between multiple devices.

                                     

                                    CR’s test results: Roku Streaming Stick+

                                    Roku Ultra

                                      Roku’s top 4K streaming media player was about $20 less during Prime Day, but you can still get it for a small discount. It boasts some new features, including built-in Bluetooth for streaming music from mobile devices, and support for both Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos 3D sound. It also has an improved WiFi range, so the player can be placed farther away from your router than previous models. The remote even offers voice search and programmable buttons.

                                       

                                      CR’s test results: Roku Ultra

                                      Ergonomic Mice

                                      Logitech MX Ergo Wireless Mouse

                                        This is one of six models reviewed by CR’s in-house ergonomics expert, and it has been on sale for a few weeks. The model uses a trackball to guide the cursor on a 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 Mouse

                                          This model has been on sale for a few weeks, and Amazon’s price has fallen a few bucks in that time. It looks a bit more like a traditional mouse than some 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 Velop AC600 Mesh Router System

                                            Ideal for large houses, this three-unit mesh router system is selling for $40 less than usual at Office Depot right now. It offers automatic firmware updates 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 (three-pack)

                                            Netgear Orbi Mesh Router System

                                              This three-unit system has been on sale for a few weeks but just dropped an additional $30. It 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 highly as other models when it comes to speed at midrange and far distances.

                                               

                                              But there’s a lot to like here, including the best price we’ve seen in months. 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 threats.

                                               

                                              CR’s test results: Netgear Orbi AC1200 (three-pack)

                                              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 gadgets such as a printer, a game console, or a smart home hub or bridge.

                                                 

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

                                                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 already walked away and didn’t notice. The 4-foot-long standard micro USB power cable can be replaced without much hassle if you need more length.

                                                  Samsung 15W Wireless Charging Stand

                                                    This wireless charging stand was about $20 less during Prime Day. It has the fastest charge times among the models CR tested, a built-in cooling fan, and a gridded surface that lets air flow behind it for added cooling. As a small trade-off, the charger is bulkier than many of its competitors.

                                                     

                                                    The angled stand 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.