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The 19 best Black Friday ads so far

As we inch closer to Thanksgiving, retailers aggressively market their best Black Friday deals. Sam's Club stunned buyers with the cheapest iPhone 6 deal while Target and Walmart lead the way with astonishing, hard-to-beat TV deals. 

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    A shopper takes a selfie as crowds pour into the Macy's Herald Square flagship store on Thanksgiving in New York, 2013.
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As we inch closer to Thanksgiving, we're finally getting a clear picture of the 2014 Black Friday landscape. We've examined the advertised deals from stores like TargetBest Buy, and Walmart, and we're ready to pick some winners. Keep in mind though that new ads may continue to trickle in — and we may even see some price wars affect deal pricing — but in the meantime, here's our roundup of the top Black Friday ads so far.

The Best Black Friday Ads So Far

Buy 1 Skylanders Trap Team Figure, Get 70% Off a 2nd Figure at Toys "R" Us

Skylanders fans take note: While Walmart will (barely) beat Toys "R" Us' price for the Skylanders Trap Team starter pack, you'll want to head to Toys "R" Us if you're shopping for new figures. This BOGO sale will offer deeper discounts thanMeijer's similar sale. Target and Walmart will offer select individual figures at cheaper prices, but if you're buying in quantity, Toys "R" Us is your best bet.

10% Off Target Gift Cards at Target

Retailers rarely, if ever, discount their own gift cards. But from 6 am to 12 pm on Black Friday, you'll be able to score a Target gift card for 10% off. Although we typically see dollar-off coupons from Target, they're normally tied to select departments or require a minimum purchase. This gift card sale has no such limitations (other than time). Considering Target gift cards are among the top five most requested, this is a stellar sale. Even better, you can take advantage of this sale in-store or from the comforts of your home online.

Samsung Galaxy S5 16GB Android Phone for free at Radio Shack

We haven't seen a decent discount on a subsidized Samsung Galaxy S5 since August, and that one cost $100. Fast forward to Black Friday, when Radio Shack will offer this in-demand Android smartphone for free (with the activation of a 2-year contract). Until we start seeing for-profit deals, this is as cheap as this smartphone will get. Honorable mention goes to Targetand Sam's Club's, which will offer the phone for 1 cent and 96 cents, respectively.

Alien: Isolation Nostromo Edition for PS4 or XBox One for $30 at Best Buy

Alien: Isolation consists of being mercilessly murdered, over and over again, by a horrifying, 8-foot-tall monster from outer space, says Kotaku. But despite the simple plot, Alien: Isolation sets a new benchmark for horror games. This title hasn't seen any major discounts since a preorder deal back in August. Best Buy will knock 50% off this AAA title on Thanksgiving, a full $10 below GameStop's price and our prediction for current-gen games.

Amazon Fire HD 6 6" 8GB WiFi Tablet with a $20 Meijer Custom Coupon for $79 at Meijer

Here's an ad that blows our Black Friday tablet predictions right out of the water. Against all odds, here's the Fire HD 6 (the bottom-tier tablet in Amazon's recently refreshed lineup), marked down by $20 with an extra $20 credit tacked on for good measure. Assuming you'll use the credit, that'll be 40% off and the very first discount we've seen on this tablet. Furthermore, Meijer's leaked price beats Kmart's by $11 once all credits are taken into account.

Beats by Dr. Dre Solo HD On-Ear Headphones for $79.99 at Best Buy

Sorry, Target: Best Buy just became the place to buy a pair of Beats cans on Black Friday. Even we're floored by this $80 doorbuster; that ties the all-time best price we've seen for these headphones refurbished.

Apple iPhone 6 16GB Smartphone for $99 at Sam's Club

Although iPhone 6 deals have been mediocre since Apple's launch, this deal may be the one to open the floodgates. Outside of an early Walmart preorder, the 16GB iPhone 6 has not dropped below $179. This Sam's Club deal cuts the list price by 50% to just $99 (with a 2-year contract renewal), which is right on par with our iPhone prediction. Better yet, this price beats Target's iPhone 6 ad by $51. All of the Sam's Club Black Friday iPhone deals go live on November 15, so proceed with caution because other retailers may swoop in and undercut them.

4-Burner Gas Grill with Side Burner for $99 at Walmart

Although the summer months typically see better grill sales than Black Friday, this gas grill is a steal. At $99, it'll be tied with a May deal as the cheapest 4-burner gas grill we've seen in thepast two years. Better still, this 6 pm doorbuster beats the next cheapest Black Friday gas grillby $61.

ASUS X205TA Intel 11.6" Laptop for $100 at Staples

We admit, this laptop isn't going to break any speed records. It's housing an Atom processor, only 2GB of RAM, and a 32GB eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard), the latter of which is slower than a traditional SSD. Nevertheless, as far as budget systems are concerned, this deal is poised to blow all other deals out of the water. Not only does it beat our laptop prediction for budget machines by $78, but when this deal comes to fruition, it will set a new benchmark for cheap laptops — and become the cheapest laptop in DealNews history.

Element 40" 1080p LED LCD HDTV for $119 at Target

Just when we thought 40" to 42" TV deals had plateaued, Target went and slashed the price of this 40" Element to $119. Not only does that destroy our Black Friday TV prediction for this size category by $59, but it's just $9 away from tying last year's best Black Friday price for a 32" TV. Without a doubt, this is the star of Target's Black Friday ad and easily snags a spot in our Top 10.

Dyson DC33 Multi-Floor Bagless Upright Vacuum for $199 at Walmart

Somewhere, a Dyson fan just fainted (the afficiando kind, not the room-cooling kind). Wepredicted that new Dysons would start at around $250, and this 6 pm doorbuster demolishes that price by $51. Furthermore, this price is $40 below our previous all-time low for a new unit.

Panasonic 50" 1080p LED LCD HDTV for $199.99 at Best Buy

If you want to make a statement, offering a brand-name HDTV as your show-stealing doorbuster is a heck of a way to do it. This Panasonic 50" set comes in at an astonishing $99 below our Black Friday prediction for the 46" to 47" class TVs. In fact, this deal will be tied as the best price we've seen for any 50" HDTV by about $100 — including refurbs. (We've only seen a 50" TV drop this low once before, on Thanksgiving last year.) Best of all, this price outshines the leaked Black Friday prices for every other TV in this size range, including Target's incredible $235 48" set. The only drawback to this doorbuster is that you'll have to go to the store to grab it.

HP Pavilion Haswell Core i5 15" Laptop for $300 at OfficeDepot

This laptop features mainstream specs at an extraordinarily low price. In fact, it beats our Black Friday prediction for mainstream laptops by $25, which is no easy feat. Our only gripe is that this deal might be limited to just four machines per store. (Though you can also purchase this laptop online).

Xbox One Halo: The Master Chief Collection Bundle with a $30 Walmart Gift Card for $329 at Walmart

We've seen quite a few noteworthy Xbox One bundle ads, but this one is our top pick. Although Target is offering the Assassin's Creed Unity version of this bundle paired with a $50 gift card, shoppers might think twice about dropping so much cash on a game that one critic called "my least favorite major Assassin's Creed since the 2007 original." On the other hand, this 6 pm doorbuster comes with four Halo games (as opposed to the other bundle's two), access to a beta, and more. The $30 gift card can even be used to further bulk up your Xbox One collection; Walmart will also have select Xbox One titles on sale from $20 during Black Friday.

However, if you are interested in the Target bundle, know that the heftier gift card means it's effectively $70 below our Black Friday prediction for a Kinect-less Xbox One.

Apple iPad Air 2 16GB Tablet with $140 Gift Card for $499 at Target

Target is currently the king of iPad Air 2 deals bundling a very generous $140 Target gift card with the purchase of the 16GB model. That's effectively $140 off the tablet's retail price and easily trumps last Black Friday's $429 iPad Air low. If you don't want to deal with gift cards or if you just want to pay the least amount possible, Best Buy gets runner up for shaving $100 off the full cost of the iPad Air 2.

Vizio 65" 1080p Smart LED LCD HDTV for $648 at Walmart

Even if you don't consider Vizio to be a brand-name manufacturer, this 65" Smart TV doorbuster is spectacular. Starting at 6 pm local time, in-store shoppers can grab this set for $648, which is a whopping $102 less than the best price we've ever seen for any 65" HDTV, even refurbs. Better yet, this deal easily blows Best Buy's $800 LG TV out of the water.

Apple MacBook Air Haswell Core i5 11.6" Laptop for $779.99 at Best Buy

If you're shopping for a current-gen MacBook Air on Black Friday, this is definitely the deal to beat. That $780 price point not only shatters our Black Friday prediction by $19, but it blows past our previous all-time low by $70. Best of all, it knocks a delightful $120 off Apple's price.

Samsung 55" 4K 2160p Smart LED LCD Ultra HDTV for $899.99 at Best Buy

Remember when we said you shouldn't buy a name-brand smart TV on Black Friday? Here's the glaring exception to that rule. You don't even have to brave the in-store crowds to score this incredible Samsung 55" 4K Smart TV deal; according to the ad, this doorbuster will be available online. At $900, this set beats our August mention of a refurb, becoming the cheapest Samsung 55" 4K TV we've seen by $315.

Apple iMac 21.5" Core i5 All-in-One Desktop for $900 at Best Buy

Outside of refurbs, it's extremely difficult to find a sub-$1,000 iMac. In fact, the 21.5" iMac hit $980 just once this entire year. So at $900, this iMac is a stellar deal.

Every hour, more ads are trickling in, but the 2014 landscape is already packed with incredible offers. We hope we'll see more ads that are just as good as Staples' $100 laptop and Target's $119 TV in the coming days, but the deals above will certainly be hard to beat.

Excited for Black Friday deals? Consider subscribing to the DealNews Select Newsletter to get a daily recap of all our deals; you never know when a Black Friday price will be released! You can also download the DealNews apps, check out the latest Black Friday ads, or read more buying advice.

Louis Ramirez is a feature writer for DealNews.com, where this article first appeared. 

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. 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 here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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