Apple’s AirPods Pro drop back to $199, plus the rest of the week’s best tech deals
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We’ve been keeping tabs on the best TV deals ahead of this weekend’s Super Bowl, but there are plenty of noteworthy tech deals going on for those who aren’t looking to overhaul their living room. Apple’s AirPods Pro, for instance, are back down to an all-time low of $199, while Amazon is running a sweeping sale on its Kindle e-readers. Sonos is still taking up to $100 off a handful of its soundbars and smart speakers, and both Google and Amazon have discounted their best 4K streaming dongles. Gear we like from Anker, Beats, Microsoft and SanDisk is also on sale. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today.
Apple AirPods Pro
Apple’s AirPods Pro are back down to $199 at Amazon and Walmart, which matches the lowest price we’ve tracked and comes in about $30 below the noise-canceling earphones’ average street price in recent months. We gave the latest AirPods Pro a review score of 88 last September, and we currently recommend them as the “best for iOS” pick in our guide to the best wireless earbuds. Their call quality and six-hour battery life are just OK, but their sound quality, ANC and transparency mode all impress, and they continue to sport a host of features that make them easy to use with other Apple devices.
Beats Fit Pro
A sportier alternative to the AirPods Pro, the Beats Fit Pro are currently on sale for $150 at Amazon and Walmart. Outside of a brief drop to $145 at Woot last November, this matches the lowest price we’ve seen. For reference, the earphones have usually retailed closer to $175 over the last few months. The Fit Pro are the “best for workouts” pick in our best wireless earbuds guide, and we gave them a review score of 87 back in late 2021. They pack many of the features you’d get with a set of AirPods, including fast pairing, hands-free Siri and Find My device tracking, but their wing-tipped design should provide a more stable fit while you’re on the move. Their rich sound should please those who like a little more bass, too, and they play nicer with Android devices. The ANC is a step behind what you’d get with the AirPods Pro, however, and the built-in controls are more prone to accidental presses.
Sonos speaker sale
Sonos has discounted a handful of its home audio devices ahead of this weekend’s Super Bowl. The deals include the Sonos One smart speaker for $179, the compact Beam soundbar for $399, the Sub subwoofer for $649, and the top-end Arc soundbar for $799. Depending on the product, that’s anywhere from $40 to $100 off. While these are not the lowest prices we’ve seen, we don’t see discounts on Sonos gear often, so this is still a good opportunity to save if you’ve been looking to build out a whole-home audio system using the company’s gear.
We previously gave the One, Beam, and Arc review scores of 90, 88, and 85, respectively. There are plenty other smart speakers and soundbars that don’t lock you into one ecosystem, but each of the Sonos devices here deliver an impressively clean and balanced sound, and if you are willing to buy in, they all work (relatively) harmoniously with one another. Do note, though, that Sonos may roll out new smart speakers in the coming months, according to a recent report from The Verge. If you don’t need a new Sonos One right away, it may be worth waiting.
Google Chromecast with Google TV
Google’s Chromecast with Google TV is back on sale for $40. This isn’t an all-time low, and we’ve seen this deal several times since the 4K media player launched in late 2020. Still, at $10 off, it remains a good value for anyone in need of an affordable way to get all their streaming apps in one place.
The 4K Chromecast is the runner up pick in our guide to the best streaming devices, and our review gave it a score of 86 at launch. We generally think Roku’s Streaming Stick 4K — which is also available for $40, though it’s regularly at that price — is simpler for most people to navigate, but Google’s stick is a strong alternative if you’d prefer a more personalized interface that proactively recommends shows you might like, as well as more robust voice search. The device supports all the major apps and HDR formats, too, plus Dolby Atmos. It doesn’t work with Apple AirPlay, however, unlike Roku’s streamers.
If you’re buying for an older 1080p TV, note that the non-4K version of the Chromecast is also on sale for $20, which only $2 more than that device’s all-time low.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max, meanwhile, might be a better choice if you’re already committed to Alexa, Prime Video or other Amazon services. It’s down to $35 this week, which is another discount we’ve seen in the past, but here matches the lowest price we’ve tracked. This is the fastest streaming stick Amazon makes, and it supports all the same apps and HDR formats as the Google and Roku models noted above. Its voice search is more comprehensive than Roku’s as well. The big downside is that Amazon’s UI goes heavier on the ads and tends to prioritize the company’s own content and services. But if you can live with that — or if you want a streamer that lets you sideload apps — you can save a few bucks here. For 1080p TVs, the Fire TV Stick Lite is slower but more affordable at $20.
Anker 622 Magnetic Battery
We’ve previously highlighted the Anker 622 Magnetic Battery as a strong option for those who want a MagSafe-compatible wireless battery pack for iPhones. Currently, the device is on sale for $45, which is about $10 off its usual street price and only $5 more than its all-time low. To be clear, no wireless charger like this can offer the speeds or capacity of a traditional power bank, but the 622 can still fill an iPhone 14 to about 80 percent on a charge. It snaps easily onto the back of any MagSafe-compatible iPhone, so you can still use it while you’re out and about, and it has a handy kickstand built right into its back. If you don’t mind trading some thinness for a little extra juice, Anker’s 633 Magnetic Battery is a fine alternative with twice the capacity (10,000mAh), though it’s pricier at $80.
Amazon Kindle sale
Amazon has discounted a number of its Kindle e-readers this week. The entry-level Kindle, for one, is down to a new low of $75, which is a $25 discount. The upgraded Kindle Paperwhite is down to $105, which is $10 more than its all-time low but still roughly $25 off the device’s usual street price. The Kids versions of these e-readers are also on sale, bringing the Kindle Kids to $85 and the Kindle Paperwhite Kids to $110. The former matches an all-time low, while the latter is only $5 more than its best price.
Amazon refreshed the base Kindle last year, bringing it closer to parity with the Paperwhite by bumping its 6-inch display’s pixel density to the same 300ppi and adding a USB-C port. Its also starts with twice as much storage at 16GB. If you want the most affordable Kindle possible, it should be a good buy. That said, the Paperwhite remains the better device, as it has a larger 6.8-inch display that’s easier on the eyes out of the box, a waterproof design, and a more adjustable front light. We gave the Paperwhite’s “Signature Edition” a review score of 97 in late 2021 — that one is on sale for $140, though its upgrades, while nice, probably aren’t worth the extra cost for most people.
In any event, getting a Kids variant may result in the most value. While these models are marketed toward younger readers, they offer the same hardware as the standard models, only with an included cover, a longer warranty (two years instead of one) and no lock screen ads by default. They also come with a year of Amazon’s Kids+ content service, if you’re buying for an actual child.
Apple iPad deals
A handful of iPads are either at or near their all-time lows this week, including the iPad Air for $500, the 10th-gen iPad for $400 and the 10.2-inch iPad for $250. For the 10th-gen and 10.2-inch iPads, those prices match the lowest we’ve seen. The iPad Air is $20 higher than its best-ever price, but it’s still roughly $40 below its typical street price and $100 off Apple’s MSRP.
You can check out our iPad buying guide for a full breakdown, but we think the iPad Air remains the best mix of price and performance for most, as it offers an elegant and comfortable design with a powerful M1 chip and full support for Apple’s best accessories. The 10th-gen iPad is a decent middle ground, but its display is a little more compromised by comparison, and it doesn’t work with the latest Apple Pencil. The 10.2-inch iPad has a smaller display and a distinctly more dated build than those two, but at this price it’s still an excellent value for media consumption. If you want a compact iPad, meanwhile, the iPad mini is also on sale for $400, though we’ve seen it hover around that price fairly often.
Apple Pencil (2nd gen)
The latest Apple Pencil is back down to $90, which is within a dollar of the lowest price we’ve tracked and $39 below Apple’s MSRP. That’s not cheap, but for digital artists and heavy note-takers, we still think the second-gen Pencil is the best iPad stylus you can buy. It still offers system-wide pressure sensitivity across iPadOS, and unlike the original model, it can attach and charge against the edge of your tablet magnetically. If you’re interested, just make sure your iPad is compatible first.
Apple Watch SE
The 40mm Apple Watch SE is down to $220 at Target and Best Buy. We’ve seen it drop as low as $210 before, but this discount is still about $25 less than the device’s usual street price as of late. We gave the Watch SE a review score of 89 last September and consider it the best value for most first-time smartwatch buyers, as it offers most of the core features of Apple’s more expensive smartwatches at a lower price.
If you can afford a step up, the flagship Apple Watch Series 8 adds a larger, always-on display, a blood oxygen sensor, an ECG monitor and a temperature sensor. That one is down to a new low of $329.
Amazon Fire HD 8
Amazon’s Fire HD 8 is a worth considering if all you want is a competent tablet for casual streaming and web browsing for as little money as possible. It’s neither as fast nor as sharp as the bigger Fire HD 10 — and no Fire tablet comes close to the quality of an iPad — but it’s light, it lasts more than 10 hours on a charge, and it works if you stick to the basics. This week, the latest iteration of Amazon’s 8-inch tablet is back on sale for $60, which is only $5 more than the all-time low we saw around Black Friday. Just remember that, like all Fire tablets, you’ll see ads on the lock screen unless you pay extra, and you won’t get (official) access to the Google Play Store and Google apps.
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD
The 1TB version of SanDisk’s Extreme Portable SSD is on sale for $93, which is only about $10 off its typical going rate but still comes within a few dollars of the lowest price we’ve tracked. If you often need to move files between devices, this is a worthwhile choice: Its USB 3.2 Gen 2 port is fast to transfer, it comes with a five-year warranty, and its rugged design has an IP55 water-resistance rating. Like all SSDs, it has no moving parts inside, so it should last much longer than a traditional hard disk drive. Competing drives like the Samsung T7 and WD My Passport SSD perform about as well, so the best choice is usually whichever one is cheapest at the time. As of this writing, that’s the SanDisk, but note that this deal is only scheduled to run through Friday, according to Best Buy’s product listing.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2
A configuration of Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go 2 with a Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD is back down to $600, matching the lowest price we’ve seen. This is roughly $175 below the config’s usual street price and $200 off Microsoft’s MSRP. We gave the 12.4-inch notebook a review score of 86 last June, and we note it in our guide to the best cheap Windows laptops. You can get a sharper display and more performance for the money, and the lack of keyboard backlighting is annoying. But the Surface Laptop Go 2’s lightweight build has an unusually premium feel for a laptop in this price range, and the whole thing is still fast and long-lasting enough for casual work on the go.
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Published at Fri, 10 Feb 2023 16:29:46 +0000
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