Yes you can spend your money more ethically than with Amazon, but for as long as they continue to be the cheapest option and frequently the most convenient, it is hard to ignore. I’m posting a day early as most of these offers are live already anyway, but I’ll do a check around on Friday if there is anything worth adding or updating.
As usual, this is going to be a bit of a round up of Amazon’s stuff, but will include anything else good I spot. Also a couple of links to things not currently discounted for Black Friday, but may be a better option than things that are on sale. If you are looking to buy books and would rather support independent local bookstores, then it may be worth looking into Bookshop.org instead.
The Amazon links here, like elsewhere on my blog, are affiliate links where I get a small payment if you use them and buy something. Thanks. The rest of them are just ordinary links though so feel free to hit those without worrying about me benefiting…
Amazon’s own range of devices are frequently a solid choice for personal electronics. I use a few myself that are easy recommends.
Although these can be a bit annoying if you want to use apps that are not available in the Amazon app store, it is relatively straight forward to install the normal Google Play store onto the devices. These days you can basically convert them to just run as standard Android tablets. That said, they are excellent value for money specially if you wait for them to be on sale. As usual they are reduced for Black Friday, but always reliable for a good deal on “Amazon Prime Days” too.
I have used a couple of these, and one is still in use as my main tablet now. I don’t do any 3D gaming on it, but use it for watching all the main streaming services, reading comics & PDFs and for playing card and board games.
My preferred choices:
After last year adding the Plus model of the HD 8, this upgrade to the base HD 10 adds similar performance increases. At present I still use the older Fire HD 10 for reading digital comics, the 10″ screen means the whole page fits comfortably on screen and is as close as you can get to the experience of reading a physical comic. It’s also reliably in use every Sunday as I stream Red Zone on it while watching the Dallas Cowboys game on the big screen.
Oh and if you go for the one with Special Offers / Ads to save a few quid, you can always pay the extra later to have them removed.
Although reading comics is much more comfortable on the HD 10, if you’re going to carry the tablet around a lot the HD 8 is probably the sweet spot for display size vs portability. Again the Plus model is likely the way to go. The extra ram will keep it “zippy” for longer.
There are a number of tablets aimed at young children that are also included in the sales. Have less first hand experience of these, but they are also included in the sale for a solid choice of inexpensive child’s tablet.
Increasingly redundant as more people move to Smart TV’s or connect other set top boxes with media apps like Blu-ray Players & game consoles, the firestick is still one of the better options for accessing apps on your TV. I’ve gone for the 4k model here, as even if you don’t have a 4k display, that bit of extra performance in the device should make it a bit snappier to use. If you do have a 4K display you may want to consider the newly released more premium Fire TV Stick 4K Max. It’s that bit more powerful, and will probably last you longer.
If you’re a bit of a techie there are plenty of modding options for Firesticks too, but personally I just have one set up for the apps my bedroom TV doesn’t have access too. Mainly Disney+ and NFL GamePass.
The original Amazon device. Earlier models of these didn’t have any kind of light, with the “e-ink” displays doing their best to replicate paper. Still a solid choice for getting started with ebooks if like me you don’t enjoy reading on your phone.
This is the kindle I use myself, and they have included it in the discounts this year for Black Friday. It is the e-reader I’d recommend, though I have seen the price drop below the current £105 in previous sales. The kindle oasis is nice but I’m not convinced it’s worth the significant additional cost, even with the current offer. Unless of course you are prone to dropping your devices in the bath / pool / sea. In which case the waterproof feature may appeal to you.
Alexa and Friends
I have changed my tune a bit on the Alexa front this year, after I purchased an Echo Show to replace my old radio alarm clock. Granted I do only use it to stream Radio 1Xtra and occasionally ask it about the weather, but I am happy with the device. If you are in the market for one of these, Black Friday is a good time to get a bargain.
A decent starting point if you mostly just want it for streaming music and playing things from your phone is likely the Echo Dot.
The Echo Show 5 is what I have, it’s decent as an alarm replacement although I personally keep the camera covered as I’ve only just come to terms with it listening to me, I’m not ready for it to be watching me too.
Otherwise, there are plenty of discounts across the whole range of Alexa enabled devices here.
Not on Amazon, but if Google is more your thing, they’re currently doing their Nest Hub for £59.99.
Amazon subscription offers
Kindle Unlimited is a pretty good value proposition if you read a lot (and are not concerned about having books to keep on the shelf). Some of the included digital magazines are pretty nice too for reading on a tablet. New subscribers can currently get Three months for £7.99 the usual price of one month.
Amazon Music Unlimited
I still struggle a bit with the way the music streaming industry treats artists, although I’m not sure Kindle Unlimited is much better for authors… However, they are a good way to discover new music, and listening to other people’s playlists is fun. Just remember if you want to support the bands you love, go see them live and buy their merch from them direct.
Black Friday has a free three months trial (instead of the usual 30 days) for new subscribers.
Audible via Amazon
The subscription model for audible is very odd. Rather than it giving you access to a library of books to just listen to (as you might expect) it is pretty much a subscription to get an audiobook a month to keep. If you are into audiobooks it’s certainly worth taking a trial and using it to claim the free books before cancelling. Given the high prices of audiobooks in general, the subscription is pretty good value anyway. The current offer is three months for 99p, which translates to at least 3 free audiobooks during that period.
Currently the various add-on Prime Channels for Prime Video can be had for 99p a month for 3 months. The two I like are Shudder and Starzplay, Shudder is a dedicated horror movie and TV show channel. Starzplay (not to be confused with the content from Starz that got added to Disney+) has a lot of current tv and its own content. Currently the only place to see the excellent Power spin-offs, Ghost and Raising Kanan. BMF, all of Black Sails and the surprisingly good TV spin-off of the Step Up franchise, Step Up: Highwater.
Other Amazon links
Comfortably the best of the ‘mini’ consoles, I still love mine. Should you pick one up, I also recommend the 8bitdo additional controller rather than trying to get another wired official one. They look the part, are very comfortable to use, and best of all are wireless with no noticeable input delay (I use mine to play pinball and shmups without issue). There is a minor discount on the console, but they’re still great value so happy to keep harping on about it.
I personally moved over to Samsung for my smart watch, when I got one free with my Galaxy S10. The Galaxy Watch Active2 seems to be a good price for Black Friday. There are also discounts across the fitbit range if that’s more your scene. Including the Fitbit Versa 2 that I’ve heard good things about.
Amazon Warehouse is where they clear out items that have been returned, for whatever reason and usually for Black Friday there is an additional 30% off. This year is less generous at 20% but still worth a browse.
If you don’t mind things being “nearly new” it is certainly worth browsing. The goods are still guaranteed and the descriptions will tell you what condition to expect. I purchased my PSVR setup from the Amazon Warehouse Black Friday sale a few years ago, for about £100 less than RRP. The outer box was ripped but inside it was all mint, and the device still had all the plastic covers on.
Other sales to check out
A great resource for card and board games, and usually competitive prices anyway. Should be worth checking their Black Friday sale out, due to start at 10:00am on Friday.
Currys have come a long way in terms of competitive pricing and customer service in recent years. I’ve found myself using them quite a bit for games consoles, chromebooks and various general bits of tech. It’s still worth shopping around to compare prices, but I feel much more comfortable recommending them these days. Their Black Friday sale is worth a look.
As per previous years, Argos have a reasonable selection for Black Friday. Still best approaching for things you were going to buy anyway, but it’s Argos. You know what to expect.
Unsurprisingly, GAME have a tendency to have a more cynical approach to Black Friday, with items on sale being already available for the same price (or cheaper) elsewhere. Worth a look to compare prices if you’re after something specific, but definitely double check other places before buying there. I think this line up is even worse than last year.