Samsung is more willing to discount its devices than Apple is, but seeing how it’s Black Friday, Amazon has discounts for both. We also included some other interesting deals we stumbled upon, including Nothing and a couple of VR headsets.
We start off with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Amazon has models with 512GB and 1TB storage, the 256GB one is not part of this week’s offers. The 2024 S-phones are a couple of months away, of course, and there will be some pre-order perks, but the S23 Ultra has one of the best cameras from 2023 and even its predecessor, the S22 Ultra, is still being sold.
The Galaxy S23+ is around at a lower price point for those who don’t need a 200MP main camera or periscope zoom. The S23+ is a solid all-rounder and is scheduled to receive 3 more OS upgrades (after it got Android 14 recently) and will be seeing security patches until 2028, so it’s not a huge issue that the phone is coming up on a year old – it has a long way to go before it reaches a retirement age.
You can also pick up a new pair of TWS buds – either the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 or the Buds2 Pro. The Pro model has dual speakers (tweeter + woofer) for better audio plus an IPX7 rating so they have significantly more protection against water.
That said, the Galaxy Buds2 are a good deal cheaper and still offer features like Active Noise Cancellation and wireless charging for the case. The buds are rated only IPX2, so they should be safe against sweat and rain, but definitely don’t drop them in the pool.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Pro was left without a sequel this year. This model has a large 590mAh battery compared to 425mAh for the Watch6 Classic, both support 10W wireless charging. The Watch5 Pro is rated IP68 (50m water resistance), has ECG and blood pressure monitoring.
Samsung’s redesigned SmartTag2 launched last month with new features like Lost Mode – it allows you to add your contact information to the tag so people who find it can scan it and call you. There’s also the new Compass View, which gives points you in the right direction towards the tag, though note that you need a UWB-enabled phone for this (the S23+ and S23 Ultra have UWB).
The Apple iPad (2022) is the latest in the vanilla series. It is similar to the Air, but with an Apple A14 instead of an M1 chipset – the latter being better for heavy multitaskers, but the former is cheaper. You still get the split-screen multitasking of iPadOS, of course, plus the A14 is still plenty fast.
If you do need extra computing power, check out the Apple MacBook Air. This is the 15.3” model with the Apple M2 chip, configured with 8GB of RAM and 512GB storage. This one is larger than the M1 Air and it has a Liquid Retina display, which in non-marketing terms translates to a slightly higher resolution and a higher brightness (500 nits vs. 400 nits). The newer model also packs a better FaceTime camera (1080p vs. 720p, though it’s in a notch) and better speakers (6 vs. 2 speakers).
The Apple Watch Ultra was designed as a companion for adventure – it can dive up to 40m and it has a depth gauge too. It has ECG and fall detection, plus a loud alarm on board, a large 1.92” OLED display with sapphire glass and UWB, which can help you track Apple AirTags (we’ll get to those).
If that’s too pricey for you, the Apple Watch SE (2022) has a smaller 1.78” display and more basic protection features – it’s rated for 50m water resistance (vs. 100m for the Ultra, note: this is different from dive depth) and has Ion-X strengthened glass. The biggest omission is the ECG feature.
As mentioned, you can track Apple AirTags with the Apple Watch Ultra as well as any recent iPhone. You can pick up a single tag or a pack of 4.
The Nothing Phone (1) stuck around and is currently priced in mid-ranger territory. It has a 6.55” 120Hz 10-bit AMOLED display and a Snapdragon 778G, plus dual 50MP cameras (main + ultra wide). The 4,500mAh battery supports 33W wired and 15W wireless charging.
You can also get the Nothing Phone (2), but it costs extra. That extra cash goes towards a larger 6.7” display – a 120Hz LTPO panel this time, though still with only FHD+ resolution. And a more powerful Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. The cameras are mostly the same, though. On the plus side, you get a slightly bigger battery (4,700mAh) to offset the power draw from the larger display and faster 45W wired charging (while keeping wireless at 15W).
And since we covered the Samsung buds, check out the Nothing Ear (2). They are stylish and match the look of the Nothing phone, however, their audio quality and ANC are not on the level, at least not at this pricing.
We will wrap things up with two VR headsets. The first is the old Meta Quest 2. This one lacks the color passthrough of the new Quest 3, but is actively supported by game developers. It’s cheaper than the new model, of course, especially since this one comes with a A$100 Amazon gift card.
The second headset is the Sony PlayStation VR2. This one only works with the PS5, so the overall cost is higher, but the Quest 2 as a standalone headset doesn’t have the processing power for current-gen graphics (you could hook it up to a PC, of course). The PSVR2 has the power and optimizations that come with the PS5.
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