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My Black Friday Survival Guide—Tips to Picking Up the Hottest Tech

Black Friday means gifts but it also means STRESS. Reading all of the ads, standing in line, missing precious time with family (trust me, I know, I’ll be at the TODAY show bright and early on Black Friday bringing you all the info you need!).

To help take a little bit of the stress of getting everyone the best tech gifts this winter, I’ve put together a list of some of the best deals I’ve found and where you can pick them up.

Televisions

Keep these points in mind when buying a TV:

– Heaviest discounts will be on 40 inch OR larger plasma and LCD TV’s, but if you can find an LED television on discount snatch it up.

– 3D TV bundles will be out there but I still think you should hold off on 3D, to me it’s more important to buy a smart internet connected tv than 3D. Plus Toshiba is working on a glass-less 3D tv – yep no glasses soon!

– When shopping budget for the extended warranty, most extended warranties aren’t worth it but on big purchases I’d rather you budget for it and if you want to save money, look at using a site like SQUARETRADE.COM to save on extended warranties

– Don’t just buy the lowest price you see, unless it’s a tv for a kids room. Mnay of the deals will have very low Hz refresh rating like 60Hz, if you watch a lot of action movies or sports you want the highest refresh rate you can afford.

– Most importantly MAKE SURE you identify all the connecting devices you have now (blu-ray player, game consoles, DVR box etc…) you need to make sure the new tv can accommodate all your devices or if you will need additional equipment to connect them.

Without a doubt the best deal I’ve seen so far this holiday season has gotta be the 42” Sharp LCD 1080p HDTV for $199.99 at Best Buy. This set carries a regular price of $799.99, so you know this will be hot. With limited quantities (only 10 per store) you’re gonna have to get in line EARLY if you want this one. A ticket is required to purchase, so make sure you head straight to Best Buy early Thanksgiving night if this is the deal for you.

LAPTOPS

For laptops, watch out for very low prices, many of those prices will be for netbooks NOT laptops. Netbooks are much less powerful than a full-on laptop. If you need a good price drop these two HP deals below are huge BUT limited in quantity:

First up is the perfect entry level machine. This guy is an HP 15 inch laptop – but it comes with some solid specs: 320 gig hard drive, 3 gig ram, webcam, AMD processor. The Regular Price is estimated at $449, but you can walk out with this for the sale price of only $248 at Walmart on black friday. It’s a great laptop for the price—this is no netbook, this thing will store movies and play them back in High-Def! For the price, this is a STEAL for a fully-featured laptop.

Want even more POWER? Then check out this deal. Staples has a $399 HP laptop with an Intel Core i3-2330m processor in it, that’s a 2.2 Ghz beast that will let you do almost anything you want—video editing of Xmas movies? NO PROBLEM! Store entire seasons of shows? No worries with the included 640 GB hard drive. Wanna do a little gaming? Though this machine only has Intel’s integrated graphics, it should easily be able to handle a little Starcraft II, Half Life 2, or something similar—not the LATEST, mind you, but close!!!

GPS

If you still want a stand-alone GPS now is a great time to buy. Many of you probably use your phone but for long trips and those without a smartphone this is a great deal. PS–BTW–I would never pay over $100 for a GPS these days.

The TomTom is great because not only do you get a top-of-the-line GPS system with a whopping 5″ touchscreen panel, but also FREE MAP UPDATES for life.

TomTom Via 1505M GPS $89 (Reg Price $189.99) only at Target (doors open at MIDNIGHT on Thanksgiving night remember! No waiting until the morning of Black Friday this year!!!)

GAMING

It can’t be all work and no play. So look for video game console bundles to save some money. A hot bundle this year is at Toys R Us. Get a full Xbox 360 system with Kinect for only $199 plus a $10 gift card = not bad! This is the price you’d have paid for the 360 ALONE just a few days ago, and now you get the Kinect for FREE! You gotta try the Kinect out to believe what a great deal this is.

Xbox 360 System With Kinect $199 (Reg Price $299) with $10 Gift Card only at Toys R Us

Stocking Stuffers

Okay, not everyone on your gift list deserves a brand new computer, TV or an Xbox, right? What about all those friends and coworkers you just wanna drop a small tech gift on. Now that they’re selling all kinds of tech, I’m not surprised Staples has all kinds of great deals on the big stuff but also the smaller gadgets and accessories to help you upgrade your digital lifestyle.

Check these awesome stocking stuffers out:

Flash Drive

No kid, college student or mobile professional should be allowed to leave the house without all their files on a flash drive. I know, I know, cloud storage is the NEXT BIG THING, but you can’t get your files from the cloud if you don’t have Internet access! So sometimes you have to do things the old fashioned way.

Now keep this in mind: It’s true what they say, bigger is better. Sure, a 1 GB flash drive is great when all you have is boring Power Point docs, but today you want to bring your MOVIES and MUSIC around on that flash drive too, and those files are HUGE. Staples has a good deal on an 8GB for under $9, but with the size of High Def video this Xmas I’m saying nothing less than 16 GB these days is acceptable. We’re talking about TWICE the storage for a few bucks here. Also you need to go with a name brand. Don’t buy a flash stick from some company you’ve never heard of, you’re going to be storing files that you absolutely can’t lose. Reliability is key. That’s why I think this $12.99 Sandisk Cruzer 16GB USB stick from Staples is the perfect pick up for Black Friday.

Mouse

So, you’re taking my advice and buying a cheap laptop for Black Friday? Yeah, that’s the ticket. Now one thing you might not realize is that while you’re getting a great deal on some slick silicon, you’re probably not getting a world-class trackpad on a laptop under $500 (heck, there are a lot of $1000 laptops with wack trackpads!). So I’m recommending you get a MOUSE to go with that laptop, and if you’re going portable you gotta go WIRELESS for that mouse. Don’t be stuck plugging and unplugging a rodent this holiday. My pick this season is cheap but a solid performer from a company you know—Logitech. They’re selling the Logitech M525 Wireless Mouse for only $14.99 at Staples. Is that a misprint or a mistake, because this is a solid mouse that will last you years.

Alright, those are my top picks, but how about you? What line are you gonna be in this Black Friday? Ohh and if you need advice while out shopping on the morning of Black Friday call our live Black Friday Help Desk between 9a-11a edt at 866-801-8255 and we will answer the call live on our SiriusXM radio show ch. 128.