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November 23, 2007

Staples Cyber Monday: a laptop and more

Staples has posted their Cyber Monday flyer and here are some of the deals:

Compaq laptop – Presario C712NR Notebook PC reduced $400 (with instant coupon) to $349.98. With 1GB memory, 80GB Hard drive, DVD R/RW with Double Layer Support, 15.4″ WXGA display, and Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium, it’s a good deal.

External hard drive – Maxtor 500GB OneTouchâ„¢ 4 reduced $90 to $79.98.

LCD monitor – Hanns-G 21.6″ Widescreen HD Ready LCD Monitor with built-in speakers. Native resolution: 1680×1050. Reduced $150 to $149.99.

There’s more there and as usual with “Cyber Monday” deals, it isn’t tied to Monday and in fact started today at 6AM EST.

Posted at 7:28 pm. Filed under Bargains, Brands, Compaq, Cyber Monday, Displays, Hard Disks, Laptop, LCD, Notebook, Storage

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November 23, 2006

Holiday shopping outlook for tech gadgets

Erica Ogg reports at CNET on the holiday shopping outlook for tech gadgets and it looks bright for vendors and retailers with a 27.6%increase in spending being forecast by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Perhaps better is that aside from the next-generation gaming consoles (Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii), there aren’t expected to be crowd maddening shortages. So what’s hot?

Analysts anticipate flat-panel TVs will lead all consumer electronics sales this holiday season, aided by some bargain Black Friday prices. More high-definition content than ever is available to watch on those wider, thinner screens, and steadily declining prices have made LCD, plasma, microdisplay and direct-view HD sets increasingly affordable.

The prices of flat panels “are right in the sweet spot of what people are looking for,” said Baker. “For the first time, they’re going to be available to more than just a couple people.”

Unit sales of HDTVs are up 52 percent between January and September this year, compared with the same period in 2005, according to the NPD Group. The average price of TVs is also down 8 percent since last year, indicating that consumers and retailers both should go home happy in the coming weeks.

Several retailers are trying to move notebook computers off their shelves. Wal-Mart has been advertising a Compaq laptop for $398, and Staples is countering with a $399 Compaq laptop with a rebate for a free HP inkjet printer. But the ad that will raise the most eyebrows is undoubtedly the Compaq from Circuit City for $99 with a one-year Vonage subscription.

You can get the Circuit City Compaq for $299 if you don’t want the Vonage subscription.

Digital audio players should top the holiday wish lists of adults and teens, the CEA said at its annual conference in October. Sales of MP3 players of all the major brands should be strong, including the most high-profile newcomer, Microsoft’s Zune, according to Baker. While nobody camped out to be the first in line to buy one, he predicts sales of the Wi-Fi-enabled music player will pick up in the next month.

Speaking of which, Zune News Site is collecting Zune reviews which are admittedly less than stellar. The consensus is that it’s OK, but could be better. More:

Digital cameras will be a popular gift this year, too. Not just low-end cameras, but pricey single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras as well. Thirty-seven percent of adult respondents to the CEA’s annual holiday spending survey said they planned to give a digital camera as a gift this year.

The higher end cameras are attractive to upgraders who want newer technologies like anti-shake.

Looks like there is something to please everyone.

Posted at 8:09 pm. Filed under Bargains, Black Friday, Brands, Companies, Compaq, Cyber Monday, Digital Cameras, Laptop, LCD TV, Microsoft, MP3 Player, Notebook, Plasma TV, Portable Audio, Television, Zune

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November 6, 2006

Wal-Mart starts the holiday shopping frenzy early

Wal-Mart kicks off holiday season with $398 laptop:

Wal-Mart Stores is whacking prices on PCs and TVs in a bid to expand its electronics business.

The retailing giant has started selling a Compaq laptop for $398 a few weeks ahead of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Wal-Mart is also touting a 42-inch Panasonic plasma TV for $1,294 (down from $1,794) and a 37-inch HDTV LCD from Panasonic for $997 (down from $1,297).

Wal-Mart tried a similar electronics blitz last year without great success.

Wal-Mart’s salvo won’t be the last holiday price cut, Baker predicted.

“We’re probably going to see a $199 notebook on Black Friday,” he said. “Certainly, we are going to see aggressive prices.”

This year’s $398 Wal-Mart laptop comes with a 15.4-inch screen, a 3300+ Sempron processor from Advanced Micro Devices that churns at 2.0GHz, a 60GB hard drive and 512MB of memory. It’s beefed up from last year’s $398 notebook, which had a 15-inch screen, a 40GB drive and 256MB of memory.

Despite a statement in the article, it’s only available in stores currently and not online, but it seems to be a quite reasonable system that’s quite a bargain at the price. Of course, when one retailer starts shooting, the others will fire back so I would guess there will be similar offers elsewhere too. Unless you really relish the Black Friday mosh pit, you should check out these early bargains.

Finally, I have a caveat on buying PC’s this holiday season. The Wal-Mart machine comes with XP Media Center Edition which may well qualify you for a free upgrade to Windows Vista Home Premium, (see also [1]) but there’s no mention of such an offer in the online listing although the machine is the bare minimum “Vista Capable.” If you really plan on upgrading an XP machine bought during the next few months with a coupon, make sure you are getting what you think you are getting. And if the idea of upgrading the operating system fills you with trepidation, then you should wait until Vista actually starts getting preloaded as some commentators are recommending.

Posted at 6:28 pm. Filed under Bargains, Black Friday, Brands, Companies, Compaq, Laptop, Notebook, Operating Systems, Windows Vista

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