What to buy and how to shop smart in the sales
Tech products to look out for in the Boxing Day and January sales
By Matt Clear
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We round up the tech gadgets that are rarely discounted, so if you spot one of these when doing your shopping, you know you're getting a good deal.
Not all special offers you'll see when shopping in the sales will be truly good value, as some products are often on sale throughout the year. The key to finding a genuine bargain is knowing how to separate the deals from the duds - and we can help with that.
We keep a constant eye on what's in the shops throughout the year and how much retailers charge, so we know which laptops, tablets and TVs aren't usually on sale. We've listed these lesser-spotted bargains below.
But before you part with any money, make sure the product is right for you. It's no use buying something at a discount if you could actually save even more cash by choosing something cheaper that does the job just as well.
Boxing Day and January sales tech deals to look out for
Apple MacBook 12” (2016), usual price £1,049
If you’re in the market for an Apple laptop, keep your eye on the 12-inch MacBook. Apple’s laptops are rarely discounted, so if you’re tempted by this £1049 12-inch MacBook and see it on offer for less than £950, it could be worth investing in. If you trade-in your old laptop at the same time, you may save even more money.
For more affordable alternatives, see our round up of the best cheap laptops under £500.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, usual price £750
Prices for the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 tablet vary depending on the specification. The £750 Windows 10 model is powered by an i5 processor and 4GB of RAM, which means the tablet copes well with demanding apps and videos. If you see the Surface Pro 4 on offer for less than £750, it could be worth considering.
You may spot the Surface Pro 4 appearing as part of a bundle deal, which can include extras such as a useful Type Cover keyboard, a one-year Office 365 subscription and a free or discounted sleeve for keeping the Surface Pro 4 protected.
Sonos Play:1, usual price £169 / Sonos Play: 5, usual price £400+
Music fans will have their eyes peeled for wireless and Bluetooth speaker deals in the sales. The Sonos Play: 1 and Sonos Play: 5 speakers are both worth considering if you want to make more of your music collection.
The Sonos Play: 1 is a multi-room speaker that you can control with an iPhone or Android smartphone, and it’s typically on sale at £169. If you spot the wireless speaker online for less, it might be worth digging into your pocket. Our Sonos Play: 1 review reveals whether this speaker does enough to earn itself a Best Buy title.
Meanwhile, the Sonos Play: 5 is a little pricier at around £400. Sonos says it serves up ‘the ultimate all-in-one listening experience’, but you’ll have to take a look at our Sonos Play: 5 review to see if those claims are accurate.
For buyers looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker that’s easy to carry around or take on holiday, our guide to the best speakers under £100 reveals our top picks.
Canton DM55 Sound Base, usual price £300
Canton’s DM55 is a sound bar with built-in subwoofers, and it’s well-suited to TVs sized 40-inches and less. You can usually pick up this TV sound system for around £300, and it’s £329 on the John Lewis website at the time of writing in December 2016.
If you see this sound bar on offer for less than £300, you might want to consider adding it to your living room. The DM55’s price has stayed consistent so far this year, but after Christmas we wouldn’t be surprised to see it listed for cheaper.
This sound bar features a dedicated mode for improving surround sound, and you can crank the volume up high if you’re watching a film at home. Take a look at our full Canton DM55 review to see if it’s worth picking up in the sales.
Our Best Buy sound bars page reveals which models have impressed our panel of audio experts the most.
Samsung TVs, usual prices vary
If you want to treat yourself to a new TV, there's plenty of choice. The best way to shop for a TV in the Boxing Day and January sales is to compare models based on what you want from a new set. Consider picture quality, sound quality, screen size and Smart TV apps.
If you’re looking for a premium TV, consider the Samsung UE55KS8000. It’s a 55-inch 4K TV, and its twin tuner PVR means you can watch one programme while recording another. It costs around £1,550, so take a look at our Samsung UE55KS8000 review to see if you get what you pay for.
For buyers on a tighter budget, there’s the mid-range Samsung UE40KU6400, which is currently £420 in John Lewis and Argos. It has a smaller 40-inch screen and 4K HDR. Our Samsung UE40KU6400 review has the details on whether or not this model is worth considering. Meanwhile, the 32-inch Samsung UE32K5500 is £270 across most major retailers, although it doesn’t support 4K content.
We’ve rounded up the top TVs of the year in our Best TVs of 2016 guide.
Boxing Day and January sales tech deals to be wary of
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8”, usual price £300
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 8 lands at around £300 and is incredibly slim and light. It’s more portable than Apple’s iPad Mini 4, has an 8-inch screen and arrives with 24GB of expandable storage.
Be wary of seemingly great deals on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8, as it’s almost always available on 'special offer'. There are also rumours that Samsung is working on a follow-up for a February 2017 release. Take a look at our Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8 review to see if the tablet impressed in our test lab.
If you’re after a bargain-priced tablet, see our round up of the best cheap tablets under £200.
Ultimate Ears Boom 2, usual price £170
The Boom 2 is still a popular pick for music fans that want a highly portable wireless speaker. It can survive splashes of water and comes with an accompanying iPhone and Android smartphone app, and you can link Boom 2 speakers together if you have more than one.
This mini speaker retails for £170, but you can usually find it online for closer to £120, and our research shows that the Boom 2 has been on offer for as little as £100 on several occasions in 2016. Our Ultimate Ears Boom 2 review reveals whether or not this wireless speaker can do your music collection justice.
See our Best Buy wireless and Bluetooth speakers page for our full round up of the speakers that deliver crystal clear sound.
Bose SoundSport, usual price £70 / Bose QuietComfort 25, usual price £230
The more recent SoundSport Wireless headphones could be a good pick if you’re looking for some headphones to take to the gym. They’re currently on offer at around £139 but don’t offer noise cancelling functionality. Head over to our Bose SoundSport Wireless review to see if these headphones did enough to impress our panel of audio experts.
Bose’s QuietComfort 35 headphones cost closer to £300. They’re also wireless and Bluetooth-equipped, coming with noise cancelling and a rechargeable battery. For more details on how these headphones sound, see our Bose QuietComfort 35 review.
If you want to make your favourite tracks sound as good as they can, see our guide to the best headphones of 2016.