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Black Friday Deals: Should you save or splurge?

With many stores already announcing thousands of deals, how do you know you're getting a deal? We took the question to the experts.

Many stores have already announced their 2019 Black Friday catalogs, but the thousands of deals can be overwhelming. 

You may be wondering, is it worth splurging for a popular brand, or should you save and get a lesser known brand? 

We decided to take a look at one of Black Friday's most popular categories: Electronics and ask the experts to guide us.  

Thomas Germain is a tech editor at Consumer Reports. He broke it down to three main categories: TVs, laptops and cell phones. 


Germain compared the Samsung 55 inch RU 7100 4K Smart TV, which you can get at Best Buy for about $450. 

Germain said this TV is a great deal for this size. 

"We tested this set and it has top-notch HD picture quality and satisfying 4K, but its HDR performance, which can produce enhanced contrast and brighter specular highlights when done well, is ineffective. Also limited viewing angle. It’s a CR Best Buy, but probably best for maybe the basement or a spare bedroom," said Germain. 

He compared it to the 55 inch LG 4K C9 Series OLED Smart TV. You can get it for about $1,400 at most retailers. 

"This is one of the best TVs we’ve tested this year. You get excellent HD and UHD picture quality, and very effective HDR performance, which can produce enhanced contrast and brighter specular highlights when done well. Plus, it’s OLED set. That means you get excellent deep black levels, giving dark scenes great depth and contrast, and unlimited viewing angles," said Germain. 

The verdict? 

"We say splurge if you can. A TV isn’t something you buy very often. So you want something that’s going to keep you very satisfied and perform well for the long haul. Especially if it’s your main TV. Get the LG OLED. You won’t regret it," he said. 


Germain compared the iPhone 11 to the older, iPhone 8. 

As far as the iPhone 11 goes, he said Walmart is offering the most generous deal they've spotted so far. If you buy the new iPhone from them you get a $300 e-gift card. 

Meanwhile, you can get a deal if you finance the iPhone 8 at Best Buy for $10 a month. 

"If you’re on a budget and okay with an older model, check out this deal for the home button-sporting iPhone 8 and its slightly larger sibling, the iPhone 8 Plus. Note, however, that the retailer has yet to provide key details, such as the specs and whether the payments stretch for 24 or 30 months. Activation on AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon is required," Germain said. 

The verdict? Save.

"We don’t deny that the latest iPhones - especially the 11 Pro Max - are amazing devices that do just about everything great. However, they aren’t cheap. And we hardly think you’ll be disappointed with an older iPhone 8," he said. 


Germain compared the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch, which you can get for $900 at Best Buy. 

"This is a solid choice for almost any user. It’s plenty fast for office work and basic tasks; the display is excellent, it comes with Solid State Drive, so it’s very thin and lightweight, and its got about 10 hours of battery life in our tests. And according to our members, Apple makes the most reliable laptops of any brand. And, of course, they get top scores for owner satisfaction. Plus - Apple products don’t get discounted very often - you’d be saving $200 with this Black Friday deal," said Germain. 

He compared it to the HP Pavillion 15 T, which you can get at HP.com for $500. 

"This HP 15 T model is ordinarily available for more than $1,300, making this one of the most deeply discounted laptops we’ve seen so far this holiday season. It has an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, and 256GB of solid-state storage, more than enough for even tougher tasks. We tested a model with 12GB of memory and it scored 'Very Good' for performance, logging 7 to 8 hours in battery life. This isn’t a good deal, it’s a great deal for a machine that would definitely please most people," he said. 

The verdict? Don't splurge. 

"Everybody loves Apple, and they make outstanding laptops. But you can get satisfactory performance for much, much cheaper - especially if you have somewhat moderate computing needs. Save your money," said Germain. 

Also keep in mind there are many apps out there that can help you compare prices. 

The Consumer Reports website lists current prices from multiple retailers for products in our ratings. You can also try Google Shopping, plus services such as PriceGrabber, Pricewatch, and Shopzilla. When you’re in a store, smartphone apps such as BuyVia, Shopkick, ShopSavvy, and Shopular let you scan bar codes or QR codes to compare prices, get discounts, and score coupons.