Black Friday 2015 Tablet Buying Guide

Our Black Friday Tablet Picks

Introduction

Tablets are some of the most popular and bestselling pieces of technology each and every holiday season. Their slick and futuristic appearance coupled with ease of use and relatively low cost of entry make them a favorite among tech novices and enthusiasts alike. The kind of enthusiasm that surrounds tablets make them a prime target for Black Friday discounts, and just about all major retailers are offering freebies and price cuts to lure shoppers into stores. This year, we combed through dozens of tablets found in the hundreds of pages of Black Friday ads to bring you our list of the top deals on the year’s hottest tablets, along with our budget and kids picks.



Samsung Galaxy Tablets


Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is Samsung’s latest flagship tablet and is the crown jewel of Android tablet offerings this Black Friday. The S2 is Samsung’s thinnest and lightest 9.7” tablet yet, weighing in at only 389g and only 5.6mm thick. Of course, the real star here, as in all Samsung Galaxy devices, is the stunning 2048x1536 SuperAMOLED screen.

Winner

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7” 32GB $399.99 with $20 reward points – Sears

Sears squeaks out a victory here by being the only retailer to offer any kind of incentive on top of the $100 discount already applied to the 9.7” Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. Join the Sears/Kmart free rewards program, and they’ll throw in $20 in reward points. If reward programs don’t interest you, the $399 price tag on this tablet can also be found at both Best Buy and Staples.


Samsung Galaxy Tab A

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8” Android tablet is Samsung’s answer to the iPad Mini. It’s small enough to be handled with one hand, but large enough to make it usable, fun, and much larger than the smart phone you’re accustomed to using. Speaking of small, as is the trend, the Tab A is remarkably thin and light, weighing in at only 313g and 7.4mm thick.

Winner

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 16GB 8” $179.99 – Office Depot/OfficeMax

Several retailers are offering pint sized Galaxy Tablets this Black Friday, and Staples has actually matched Office Depot’s price dollar for dollar. However, Office Depot is throwing in a free 16GB MicroSD card to sweeten the deal while also doubling the storage capacity of this mini tablet.



Apple iPad

Without a doubt, this is the best Black Friday for iPad deals since they debuted in 2010. It used to be that iPad deals were nowhere to be found on Thanksgiving, and shoppers looking for a discount were relegated to Apple’s refurbished iPad store. Then, retailers began to offer incentives such as gift cards or free accessories to entice shoppers, and while it was appreciated by many, most didn’t see it as a true discount. This year, however, things have changed, and each and every one of our iPad picks are cash discounts! A Black Friday first!


iPad Air 2

With the iPad Pro nowhere to be found this Black Friday, the most advanced and powerful Black Friday iPad is the iPad Air 2. Despite no longer being the new kid on the block, the iPad Air 2 is a very capable iOS tablet that will handle just about anything thrown at it. Of course, it wouldn’t be Apple if it didn’t do it with style, and this 6.1mm thin, 0.96 pound featherweight tablet is as elegant as it is powerful.

Winner

Apple iPad Air 2 16GB $359 – eBay

eBay comes out as a surprising winner here, stealing the prize away from Staples’ $374 offering on Apple’s former flagship tablet. However, don’t write Staples off completely! Since eBay’s deals go live on Thursday 9PM Pacific, if you miss out on the online-only sale there will still be time to get to Staples for a second chance to nab this iPad when they open their doors at 6am on Black Friday


iPad Mini 4

The iPad Mini 4 delivers where the Mini 3 failed by offering genuine upgrades and enhancements over the Mini 2. For starters, the Mini 4 is 22% thinner and 10% lighter. While this may not seem like much of a difference, for a device meant to be held in one hand, it can make the device significantly more comfortable to use. While the screen resolution wasn’t changed, the black levels and overall color has been dramatically improved thanks to a fully laminated display.

Winner

Apple iPad Mini 4 $299.99 – Staples

Staples runs away with the prize here by offering the lowest cash price this Black Friday. The Staples ad claims that you have to order this item in-store and it will be delivered to you at no charge, but they’re the only retailer that is offering the 16GB Mini 4 at this price without having to settle for a gift card. If you’re after a larger capacity Mini 4, head down to Best Buy where the 32GB and 64GB will be discounted by $100.



Budget Picks

The wonderful and competitive world of tablets and high consumer demand means that just about every tablet maker is all but forced to debut a new tablet on a yearly basis. For enthusiasts and early adopters, it’s can be expensive to keep up with the latest and greatest tablet offerings. For budget minded shoppers, however, it’s a perfect scenario, since yesterday’s cutting edge technology always gets repurposed into today’s budget tablets. This year, there is a whopping 28 tablets under $100 competing for your Black Friday dollars, and here are our top picks.

Our Pick

Amazon Fire 7” $34.99 – Best Buy

It’s hard to believe that Amazon’s new budget-friendly Fire tablet could be reduced from its already low MSRP of $49.99, but Best Buy has pulled off an apparent Black Friday miracle by offering the tablet for $34.99, its lowest price ever. This deal has value in spades with a tablet that features a 1024x600 IPS display, but if there’s any place it’s lacking its storage capacity. Quintuple the 8GB capacity of this tablet by grabbing a 32GB Samsung MicroSD card while you’re at Best Buy, which is also on sale for only $9.99.

Runner Up

Apple iPad Mini 2 16GB $199 – Walmart

It wouldn’t be a low price buying guide without an appearance from Walmart. The ubiquitous retail giant takes our pick for iPad shoppers on a budget by beating out the competition by $30 on the 16GB iPad Mini 2. This 7” tablet is a great choice for those looking for a budget-friendly iPad, as its Apple A7 CPU is more than capable of delivering exceptional performance, and the 2048x1535, 326ppi retina display is the same screen featured in the Mini 4.

Honorable Mention

Toshiba Encore 2 32GB Windows Tablet $89.99 – OfficeDepot

Budget minded shoppers wanting a tablet running full-blown Windows can head down to Office Depot, where this Windows 8.1 tablet from Toshiba will be on sale for $89.99. While this is a great bargain, especially with the included Office 365 subscription, be aware that Windows itself will occupy much of the 32GB capacity, so consider also picking up the 32GB Samsung Ultra Plus MicroSD card, which will be on sale for $12.99.



Kids Picks

Kids are just as fascinated by technology as their parents. Unfortunately that can mean putting expensive smart devices into the hands of curious but unpredictable children. Aside from the dangers of unintentional damage, there’s also the worry that kids might stumble upon something that is not age appropriate. Manufacturers have responded with specialized and ruggedized tablets aimed at kids, that are both durable and offer robust parental controls. Like any high-tech, high-demand item, the popularity means they are discounted on Black Friday.

Our Winner

Nabi 2 Nick Jr Edition $79 - Walmart

Nabi kids’ tablets are favorites of parents and kids alike, a fact that helps solidify Walmart as having the best overall deal on a kids tablet this Black Friday. The nabi Nick Jr. edition tablet may be for kids, but the discount is adult-sized, with over $60 off the MSRP of this NVidia Tegra 3-based device.

Runner Up

Amazon Fire Tablet Kids Edition $84.99 – Toys R Us

The Fire Tablet Kids Edition is the perfect tablet for kids who usually end up on Santa’s naughty list for being destructive. Not only does this 7” tablet come in a blue or pink protective bumper case, but Amazon offers free replacement of the device for 2 years should it become the unfortunate victim of roughhousing.


Final Thoughts

The ad leaks may be slowing down, but we here at BFads.net are just now hitting our stride! Even after we break each and every Black Friday ad, we’ll be hard at work scouring those ads to deliver you the best deals in the form of our signature Buying Guides! This year we’re tackling HDTVs, 4K HDTVs, laptops, smart phones, digital cameras, and more!

If you’ve already got a tablet, don’t forget to download our Bfads.net Black Friday app, follow us on twitter, and like us on Facebook so you can catch each and every price break and ad leak as they happen.

November 17, 2015
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