Must resist the urge to buy Android gear prior to the ceremonial holiday shopping season kickoff. You must do it. No matter how badly you may need a new phone or tablet, or how lucrative early deals on various retailers may look.
They’re nothing compared to what’s coming, and savings currently offered are peanuts. Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year for a reason, and Android is an integral part of that. Besides, we’re just three weeks away.
We can almost feel the rush. See it, touch it. And to further incentivize you to wait, we’ve rounded up ten uber-attractive Android devices we have every reason to believe will get slapped with phenomenal discounts for Black Friday 2014. Or Cyber Monday, same thing.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Why it’s a must-buy:
Do we need to spell it out for you? Fine. The Note 3 may be old, but it’s not decrepit. Not even close. It’s full-plastic, but it feels amazing in the hand, the Full HD display isn’t devastating for battery life, and the 3 gigs of RAM are still the highest smartphones have ever gone to.
How low could it go:
eBay has an ongoing deal that looks hard to beat for the unlocked variant, although we wouldn’t be surprised to see Amazon lower the bar to $300. Meanwhile, it’s time carriers stopped charging Note 3 buyers for the on-contract phablet. Mark my words, you will be able to pick up the 5.7 incher for no upfront fee in a matter of weeks.
Samsung Galaxy S5
- Up for grabs at $508 unlocked; $80 with Verizon, Sprint and AT&T contracts
- Younger than the Note 3, the S5 doesn’t look it, and in the absence of promotions, no one’s interested in it any longer. But at the right price, you’ll start to appreciate the quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 16 MP rear camera and water-resistant exterior.
- $400 unlocked? It’s a near-guarantee. $350? It’s possible. $300? That’s a bit of a stretch. With carrier agreements, we have no doubt the $80 charge will be scrapped ASAP.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4
- $156 for the 7 incher; $219 in 8-inch configuration; $280 with 10 inches of screen real estate
- They’re nowhere near as beefy and bright as members of the Tab S family, but they’re light, sleek and offer decent punch for what we think the costs will be come Black Friday.
- We wouldn’t stake the house on this, but it’s not impossible to see the Tab 4 7.0 go for $100. Samsung is that desperate. Meanwhile, a sub-$200 price tag for the 8 incher is probably a safe bet, and so is sub-$250 for the Tab 4 10.1.
Moto X (original)
- Starting at $280 unlocked with US warranty; $0.01 with Verizon, AT&T and Sprint contracts
- No prizes for guessing why no one even remembers the first-gen X. But second-gen comparison aside, this upper mid-ranger ain’t half bad. It’s got near-stock KitKat, Lollipop on the way, healthy battery life and 2 gigs of RAM
- Obviously, there’s no more room to discount the on-contract X. But unlocked, you could pay as little as $200 soon enough. That’s crazy cheap… if it pans out.
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
- Starting at $365 factory unlocked with no warranty
- The little flagship that could is yesterday’s news for power users, but it remains the all-around best handheld of that footprint. 4.3 inches still hits the sweet spot for some, and the 20.7 MP camera is a-mazing.
- A penny under $300 would be a dream come true. We don’t see that happening, ever, but if it does, forget about the no-warranty qualms. Go for it, no questions asked, no hesitation.
HTC One M8
- $698 factory unlocked with US warranty; $50 with AT&T and Sprint pacts; $100 on Verizon
- For an aging flagship that, as far as we’re aware, isn’t selling so hot, the M8 is sure expensive. That’s why we think it’s going to get massively discounted, and become the must-buy it never was. Power users have better options around, but very few are as robust and elegant as the all-metal One M8.
- Make it zero with carrier agreements, HTC, and $500 tops outright and you’ll get your financials in order in no time.
LG/Google Nexus 5
- $342 factory unlocked
- Google insists N6’s launch won’t impact N5’s sales, since the two phones are so different. True, but at the same time, the world has forgotten the Nexus 5. The best way to refresh our memory? Slash the price to $250, update the software to Lollipop, and further improve battery life over-the-air. Do that, Big G, and we’ll remember the 5-inch Full HD screen is a whopper, and so is the quad-core 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor.
Asus/Google Nexus 7 2013
- $176 in 16 GB Wi-Fi only config; $239 with 32 GB storage; starting at $250 with Verizon LTE
- Another Nexus that shouldn’t suffer from the recent upgrade/lineup overhaul, but that’s due for a price cut nonetheless. Temporary, permanent, we don’t care. Just make it $150 with Wi-Fi, $200 with Verizon pacts, and $300 tops in LTE-enabled form outright. Remember, this tiny thing packs quite a punch, and sports a breathtaking 1,920 x 1,200 pix res LCD screen. Oh, and it’s got Lollipop incoming.
LG G Pad 8.3
- $249 with Wi-Fi; $99 with Verizon LTE and contracts, $300 outright on Big Red
- It’s old, it’s out of fashion, it’s glossy and plasticky. But man, is that design an ageless knockout, with those deliciously slim bezels and all. The display is just as vibrant as the one on the N7 2013, plus larger, and the quad-core Snapdragon 600 SoC should decently hold its own in everything from gaming to heavy web browsing.
- Want me to venture a wild guess? Verizon will soon offer this thing for a penny on-contract. And $200 or so outright. Don’t take my word for it though, and keep your eyes peeled on Amazon.
Huawei Ascend Mate 2
- $300 factory unlocked with US warranty
- No, no, we haven’t gone mad. We’re well aware the Mate 2 isn’t going to score KitKat goodies, let alone Lollipop treats. But what’s so bad about Jelly Bean? Let me rephrase. What’s so bad about Jelly Bean on a gigantic 6.1 incher with 720p screen resolution, 4G LTE connectivity, 2 gigs of RAM, an incredible 4,050 mAh battery and selfie-friendly 5 MP front camera?
- Do we hear $250? $250 going once, going twice, sold to… every budget-conscious Android enthusiast with half a brain.
Before leaving you to it, in case you haven’t caught on, this is just the first in a long line of Black Friday-dedicated articles coming in the next few weeks. The actual deals will start leaking out soon, and as we did last year, we’ll be covering them extensively to help you decide what to shop and how to save the most dough. Keep in touch.