Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine
Madding crowd absent
Techies might struggle to look the gift horse that is Black Friday in the mouth, writes David Behrens.
Like it or not, the American phenomenon of Black Friday – the anticlimactic day after the excess of Thanksgiving in late November – has become ingrained in our own retail calendar. It’s even more of an event than the Boxing Day sales, which were our home-grown equivalent.
The two have something else in common – they seem to start earlier with each passing year, with the result that this year’s discounting is already well under way, both in the shops and online. As always, the emphasis is on technology, and though the price cuts are sometimes questionable, with certain items available for less money at other times of the year, there are some undoubted bargains to be had.
The good news is that for obvious reasons, shops are unlikely to promote “flash sales” and other mass participation events which have in the past seen shoppers descend en masse to the malls. This year you won’t have to fight your way through the crowds to get to the best offers.
So if you’re in the market for some early Christmas presents, perhaps for yourself, here are a few you may like to consider.
The Asus VivoBook F515EA, a midrange laptop with a 15.6in screen, an 11thgeneration Core i3 processor and eight gigabytes of memory, is on offer at Currys and elsewhere for £370, a reduction of £130 on the previous price – although the higher amount was charged for only four weeks in October and may have been inflated to make the reduction seem greater. But it’s a decent price for a general purpose machine and, as with all PCs currently on sale, it comes with a free upgrade to Windows 11. At 256 gigabytes, its storage capacity is on the small side but the disk is solid state (SSD), which means it boots and retrieves data faster.
Further down the evolutionary scale, the C202 Chromebook, also by Asus, has been reduced by £60 to £139, though once again the higher price applied for only a few weeks. For light use – browsing, email and so on – Chromebooks are hard to beat. They’re much faster than Windows machines but they run fewer apps and require a continuous connection to the internet to be of practical use. This model has a low-spec MediaTek processor, 4GB of memory and 32GB of storage – which wouldn’t be enough to run Windows but is fine for Chrome.
The launch of Apple’s iPhone 13 will almost certainly mean reductions to last year’s iPhone 12 for Black Friday, but exactly how much you’ll save depends on the model you choose and the network you choose to buy it from. Smaller reductions on the iPhone 13 are also possible on certain tariffs this year.
You can also expect discounts on 4K ultra-high definition TV sets, especially on last year’s models. For the best choice of broadcast and catch-up services, look for sets that come with both Freeview Play and Roku streaming built-in, and consider one of the less familiar brands like TCL, a recent Chinese entrant to the UK market. Its 50-inch 50RP620K model is currently only £300 and while the picture quality doesn’t match sets at twice the price, it’s still not bad.
Be aware that not all of these reductions are the result of retailers clearing their shelves for the arrival of next year’s ranges, which used to be the case with the Boxing Day sales. Some are simply promotions orchestrated by manufacturers that can be withdrawn at will or re-applied randomly in a few months’ time. But as long as they’re in the mood for cutting prices, who are we to argue – even if we still don’t really know what Black Friday is?
The good news is that for obvious reasons, shops are unlikely to promote “flash sales”.