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Black Friday 2012: the best electronics deals so far

Black Friday is the perfect time to save big on the latest and greatest electronics. Here are some of the best Black Friday deals on tablets, smart phones, cameras and MP3 players.

By Louis RamirezContributor / November 20, 2012

The iPad 2 with a Smart Cover is shown in use in the demonstration area after the iPad 2 launch during an Apple event in San Francisco, Calif., in March 2011. Walmart is offering the Apple iPad 2 16GB WiFi Tablet bundled with a $75 Gift Card for $399 for Black Friday, according to dealnews.com.

Beck Diefenbach/Reuters/File

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By now we've seen the leaks, analyzed the circulars, and highlighted the best Black Friday laptops, HDTVs, and toys. But what about the small electronics like tablets, smartphones, cameras, and MP3 players? Fear not, for below we've compiled a master list of the best deals on said items.

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iPod Deals

The iPod is the king of all MP3 players, so, not surprisingly, the most noteworthy promotions in this category involved the Apple device. Below are the best ads we've seen thus far for the ubiquitous do-it-all handheld.

  • Apple iPod touch 32GB MP3 Player (5th generation) bundled with a $50 Gift Card for $295 at Best Buy
    We always advise our readers to buy Apple products from authorized resellers, and this deal is a good example of why; this new, 5th generation iPod touch 32GB MP3 Player is listed for $295 with a $50 Gift card from Best Buy. Assuming you use the gift card, that easily trumps the 5% to 10% off discount you can expect from Apple's annual (and predictably boring) Black Friday sale.
  • Apple iPod touch 16GB MP3 Player (4th generation) bundled with a $40 Gift Card for $195 at Target
    If you take the gift card into account, this deal blows Walmart's Black Friday iPod deal out of the water by $40. Also remember that Apple is only going to discount these items by 10% at best; this deal is essentially 20% off.
  • $50 iTunes Gift Card for $35 at OfficeMax
    You can't have an iPod without some tuneage! At 30% off, this is the best iTunes gift card deal we've ever seen. (It even beats the Editors' Choice deal we saw two weeks ago, which was discounted 20% off). A close runner up is Toys "R" Us' sale which offers a $50 iTunes Gift Card bundled with a $15 iTunes Gift Card for $50 (roughly 23% off). And honorable mention goes to this $100 iTunes Gift Card Multipack for $80 at Sam's Club.
  • Apple iPod Nano 16GB MP3 Player (7th generation) bundled with a $20 Gift Card for $145 at Best Buy
    Not only is this new iPod Nano $4 under Apple's retail price, but factor in the $20 gift card and it also undercuts Apple's Black Friday sale by $10.

Tablets Deals Come Mostly Bundled

Despite the ongoing tablet wars, your chances of seeing a deep dollar-off discount on any of today's most popular tablets are slim. There are a few out there (as described below), but your best bet for purchasing a tablet is to find the biggest tablet/gift card bundle available.

  • Apple iPad 2 16GB WiFi Tablet bundled with a $75 Gift Card for $399 at Walmart
    We predicted that this Black Friday, we would see the iPad 2 drop to as low as $299. If you take into account the $75 gift card, it's close to what we expect, but not quite there. Though, for what it's worth, this is also one of the items that Walmart guarantees will be in stock for the first hour. That might push this deal into "pretty good" territory, since the availability of iPad deals on Black Friday is always risky. (A $299 iPad 2 would almost certainly sell out very quickly.)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7" 8GB Android Tablet bundled with a $20 Gift Card for $160 at MacMall
    This Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7" 8GB tablet is an all-time low at $160, and it's $40 under the cost of an Amazon Kindle Fire HD or Google Nexus 7, to boot. Alternatively, Best Buy offers this tablet bundled with a $20 Gift Card for $180, which comes to the same net price if you factor in the credit.
  • Apple iPad with Retina Display 16GB WiFi Tablet (4th generation) bundled with a $60 Gift Cardfor $500 at Target
    It may be list price, but factor in the $60 gift card and suddenly this deal beats not only our Editors' Choice mention from three weeks ago (which only included a $40 gift card), but also our Black Friday prediction for current generation iPads. If you must have the latest and greatest, this is the deal you'll want.
  • Amazon Kindle Fire 8GB Tablet bundled with a $30 Best Buy Card for $160 at Best Buy
    At $159, Amazon's Kindle Fire SD is perhaps the cheapest mainstream tablet out there. If you missAmazon's own lightning deal that cuts it to $129, this is probably your next best bet.
  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD 16GB 7" Tablet bundled with a $30 Best Buy Card for $200 at Best Buy
    As we stated in our Black Friday tablet predictions, your best strategy for slate shopping this holiday season is to seek out bundle deals, as retailers are unlikely to discount a $200 tablet. That said, this offer from Best Buy throws in a generous $30 gift card with your purchase of the Kindle Fire HD. That beats both deals from Staples and OfficeMax, which only bundle it with $20 and $25 gift cards, respectively. However, we still recommend waiting to see what kind of bundle Amazon will offer (that way you can use the Amazon credit to purchase content for your Kindle), otherwise, this deal is solid for any Kindle HD seeker.
  • Barnes & Noble NOOK Simple Touch WiFi eBook Reader for $49 at Target
    Although we predicted popular tablets wouldn't see any dollar-off discounts, in this case, we're happy to be wrong. Not only is this NOOK $50 off list, it's also the lowest price we've ever seen for this device by $21.

Point-and-Shoot Digital Camera Deals

The rise of the smartphone has relegated the once-popular point-and-shoot digital camera to the back shelves, but that's not to say that several merchant won't try to get you interested in spending some cash on them during Black Friday. Below we've gathered the few noteworthy deals, though keep in mind prices will drop further once the new 2013 models are announced at PMA/CES in January.

  • Canon PowerShot A3400 IS 16-Megapixel Digital Camera bundled with an SD Card and Case for $90 at Target
    At $90, this camera bundle is $29 under the lowest price we've seen this year. Even better, it includes both an SD card (capacity not described) and a camera case.
  • Canon PowerShot A2300 16-Megapixel Digital Camera bundled with a 8GB SD Card for $80 at Sears
    This deal at Sears replaces our last "best of" mention of this camera because, though it's the same price, it's bundled with a memory card. At this price, it's $14 under our last mention and a current low by $19.
  • Better still, BJ's Wholesale Club also offers it, bundled with 2 4GB SD Cards and a camera case for the same price. However, you have to be a BJ's member to get this deal and membership costs $50.
  • Sony DSC-W620 14-Megapixel 5x Zoom Digital Camera for $80 at Kmart
    The current lowest price we could find for this camera is at TigerDirect for $98 with free shipping, so this Black Friday price will be the lowest we've seen by $18. That's a respectable deal, but probably not one worth going to Kmart for unless you have planned on buying other things there, that day.

A Note About DSLR Cameras

Even this close to Black Friday, we're not seeing any killer deals — or even rumors of good deals — on DSLR cameras. Everything we've see stores offering have been ho-hum when compared to historic deals that we've seen on similar cameras. Plus, as mentioned above, new models of all of these cameras are going to be announced at PMA/CES in January, so if you buy a so-so deal during Black Friday, you'll really regret it come the new year. That said, one DSLR-like camera deal does stand out:

  • Nikon J1 10-Megapixel Mirrorless Digital Camera for $400 at Walmart
    This is a super buy for this Micro 4/3 camera. We've seen several refurbished units of this camera for $270 last month, but the best we've seen for a new unit is $447, currently available at Amazon.

    Of note, Dell is rumored to have the same camera available to purchase online for a buck more, which is worth paying if you can save yourself an early-morning trip to Walmart on Black Friday, right?

Camcorder Deals

Another division of electronics that has been all but marginalized by smartphones that can also take video, we used to see dozens of hot deals on camcorders around Black Friday. This year, we've only found one that is even worth mentioning, for those of you who still like your unitasker devices.

  • JVC Everio 40x Zoom HD Camcorder for $119 at Walmart
    Even though Walmart isn't specific with the details of this camera, we can still tell you that it's the lowest total price we've seen for any JVC Everio HD camcorder by $10. It's also a current price low for the same by $80.

Free Smartphones After Contract

Although you may not be inclined to associate smartphones with Black Friday doorbusters, the truth is that last year Amazon caught everyone by surprise with its Penny Pincher Sale, which dropped current Android smartphones to just 1 cent (with the purchase of a new contract). In general, we saw three times as many smartphones deals in 2011 than we did in 2010, so we expect it to be a big category this year as well.

  • Samsung Galaxy S III 4G Android Smartphone for 96 cents at Sam's Club
    Not only is this an all-time low for the Galaxy S III, but it's quite possibly one of the best Android smartphone deals we've seen to date. It even beats Best Buy's deal on the S III by $47. Keep in mind that we predict many popular — and current — Android smartphones will hit a penny this Black Friday as they did last year during Amazon's unprecedented Penny Pincher Sale. Our advice: check sites like Amazon and Wirefly before you pay for any Android smartphone.
  • Motorola Atrix 4G, Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, or Samsung Stratosphere 4G for 1 cent at Staples
    Although we've seen the Atrix and Stratosphere hit 1 cent before, it was a one-time deal back at the start of the year. And if you're shopping for a new Android smartphone, this is as low as you can go. However, it's possible to get a newer Android phone (like the one above) for a buck or less as well, so make sure to take that into consideration.

Blu-ray Player Deals

Despite the preponderance of digital ways to stream movies and TV shows, Blu-ray players have stuck around. Perhapse it's because you never see digital HD movies on sale for $4 at Black Friday? Or people just like owning something tangible? Either way, there are several Blu-ray players that will be available this year.

  • LG Blu-ray Player for $38 at Walmart
    This is another of the deals that Walmart is guaranteeing will be availabile on Thanksgiving between 10 pm and 11 pm. Outside of refurbished units, we've only ever seen a Blu-ray player this low once before: a Toshiba for $35 total. This deal also solidifies our Black Friday prediction of seeing a Blu-ray player for $39.
  • Digix BD-500 Blu-ray Player for $30 at hhgregg
    Though it shatters our Blu-ray player price prediction, it's hard to get excited over a no-name device that will probably sell out before you even set foot in the store when there is a name-brand sure thing available at Walmart (see above). That said, this is an amazing price on a player that is currently sold at Fry's Electronics for $59.99 with $10.54 for shipping.

There are still more ads trickling in as we speak, so be sure to keep an eye on our Black Friday hub for the last deals on cell phonesiPods, and other electronics.

Louis Ramirez is the senior feature writer at dealnews.coma website devoted to finding the best deals on consumer goods. The site pledges to list the best deal, whether or not it's from an advertiser, although it does work with advertisers to craft deals for readers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click hereThis feature first appeared in dealnews.com. 

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