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How to Get the Best Tech Deals on Black Friday

11/14/2014 04:28 EST | Updated 01/14/2015 05:59 EST
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Shoppers vie for copies of video games at a Black Friday sale at a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. store in Mentor, Ohio, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. Retailers are pouring on the discounts to attract consumers grappling with 9 percent unemployment and a slower U.S. economic expansion than previously estimated. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Black Friday has nothing short of incredible deals on tons of tech like TVs, tablets, audio and more. But before you claim squatting rights in line at your favourite retailer, consider these shopping tips for buying tech during Black Friday.

Televisions

The golden child of Black Friday, the big-screen TV is one of the most coveted tech items of this shopping period, with deals to be found of up to 65 per cent off.

But simply buying a TV based on price and screen size is not enough; you also want to make sure it's future proof. Do some research and compare specs between different models. Some of the features you might want, such as Smart TV functionality, HDMI ports, multiple aspect ratio settings and more, may not be available with the model that's on sale. This could throw a wrench into your entertainment experience in the future as you expand your home theatre system and add new devices to your home. Considering the average lifespan of a TV is 10 years, it makes sense to invest a little more in a television that will grow with your lifestyle.

Complete your television experience with a great sound system or Blu-ray player, often on sale for half off.

Laptops

Black Friday is a great time to find a deal on a laptop. But before you buy, consider how you will be using it. For instance, if you play high-end games or work with a lot of big media files, you'll want to invest in a more powerful device with a quad-core processor, top-of-the-line discrete graphics, a high-res screen, a large hard drive of 700GB-1TB, at least, and strong speakers.

If Web surfing, email and social networking are your main priorities, you don't need a laptop with all the bells and whistles, but you'll still want a quad-core processor and at least 4GB of RAM, making it snappy enough for all your multitasking needs. If you don't require a lot of storage space, opt for a laptop with a Solid State Drive (SSD): they're lighter, offer better battery life and load faster than a hard drive. SSD drives can be a little more expensive, but with the right deal-hunting skills, you should still be able to get a laptop with the best combo of performance, speed and battery for a great sale price during Black Friday.

Tablets

You can find a range of great buys on mid-level to high-end tablet brands and previous gen models. Whether you choose iOS, Android or Windows, each system has its strengths and weaknesses. For instance, if you plan on doing a lot of work with your tablet, look into a model that has integrated programs for professionals and students and can be paired with an optional keyboard to instantly transform your tablet into a full-functioning laptop when you need it.

The screen size is also an important factor to consider when buying a tablet. A seven-inch screen fits more comfortably in your hand and is great for reading. On the other hand, a bigger 10- to 12-inch screen has more room for multitasking and entertainment, but you could also be looking at a price difference of close to $200 for the bigger screen real estate. Weight and thickness are also important to keep in mind if you plan on holding or carrying your tablet for long periods of time. And 16GB is more than enough for storing all your music and photos, but large applications and HD video require a lot more memory.

Don't forget the essentials! With the money you save on your sweet new tablet, you can put that towards a funky case and other accessories to personalize and get the most out of your device.

Speakers and Headphones

For music lovers, Black Friday is like a trip to the candy store, with tons of hot buys on the latest and greatest audio products. Expect to see speakers of all shapes and sizes ranging from $30 to $180 on sale. Some key things to look for are Bluetooth and/or NFC technology for wireless music streaming and portability so you can take the dance party on the road! Some other bonus features you might want to consider are durability and water-resistance. If you're going to be using your speaker camping or poolside, you'll want to make sure it's built to survive the elements.

When it comes to headphones, there are tons of styles to choose from and they can start anywhere from $8 for basic earbuds to $500 for a high-quality over-the-ear style. It all comes down to the type of personal music experience you're looking for. Earbuds, for example, are perfect for travelling with because you can easily toss them in your messenger bag or ball them up in your pocket and they're handy for working out. If you're looking for some head gear that you can hook up to your home entertainment system, wireless Hi-Fi headphones remotely sync to your television, offer long transmitting ranges of approximately 150 feet and let you enjoy late night flicks without disturbing the rest of the household.

And for the serious audiophiles, a high-quality over-the-ear set of headphones will immerse you in your music and entertainment; many offering noise-cancellation so you can enjoy your tunes free of unwanted background noise. These types of headphones are on the higher end of the cost spectrum and typically go on sale for 10 per cent to 15 per cent off. But if you're quick enough, you could snag a great brand-name pair for up to half off this Black Friday!

The key to getting any great deal on Black Friday is to shop early. Stay on top of the flyer circuit to see what's on sale, or even better, get on the email lists of your favourite retailers and be one of the first to see the top Black Friday deals before anyone else. After all, he who hesitates has to fight off the mob of hipsters for Beats headphones.

If you can't find the deals you're looking for on Black Friday, then Cyber Monday and Cyber Week are also great times to shop. You can find even more amazing buys and an extended product selection online, not to mention you can shop from the comfort of your home -- PJs, bunny slippers and all.

So before you decide to pull an all-nighter and camp outside the mall, do your homework! Scope out the deals ahead of time, figure out what you want to get out of your new device and how you will be using it, and hit the web for even more great finds during Cyber Week.

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