Worst Black Friday Deals 2016

Worst Black Friday Deals 2016

Every family has got one. The uncle that has too much eggnog, the kid that tells all the other kids there's no such thing as Santa, or the cousin that doesn't bring a gift for the exchange even though he drew a name. They are the reindeer droppings in the punch bowl that dampen what should be a joyful and glorious event.

Even the Black Friday family has a few, and every year Bfads.net puts them on blast with our Worst Black Friday deals list. Remember, these deals aren't a scam, a ripoff, or anything nefarious, but instead represent products that are contrary to the doorbusting spirit of Black Friday. These are products that are highly sought after but absent, or some that are advertised but aren't really deals at all.


Virtual Reality Gear

Virtual Reality Gear

Virtual reality is all the rage this year, and as we detailed in our VR Smackdown, there are many different paths of entry into VR. These paths vary wildly in the level of immersion and especially in the cost of entry. With prices ranging from $15 cardboard smartphone cases that strap to your head all the way up to $800 total immersion VR with room-scale tracking, shoppers may have found themselves anxiously awaiting BFads' leaked Black Friday ads in hopes of finding a great deal on VR.

Unfortunately, that is not the case this year, even though one may have noticed a couple of VR devices advertised for very low prices while browsing through the Black Friday ads. For example, on page 10 of Best Buy's ad, there are two VR devices advertised, one of which is an Insignia Essentials Bundle for iPhone 7 for $19.99, and the other is the Homido V2 Virtual Reality Headset for $49.99. Yes, one can technically achieve some level of VR experience with these devices, and they would be a good way to test VR, but the Insignia bundle is literally something that could be bought at the Google Cardboard store for less money, and the Homido V2 is also a glorified Google Cardboard device, although it does have its own set of add-ons and marketplace.

The devices that shoppers were probably hoping to see were any of the top level VR devices, specifically the Playstation VR bundle, the Oculus Rift, or the HTC Vive. Sadly, the PSVR is a complete no shows this year. HTC Vive did make two appearances, one on page 8 of the Gamestop ad, which is only an advertisement and has no price cut or other incentives, and the other on Page 2 of the Microsoft ad, right next to the Oculus Rift's, each of which include a $100 gift code, presumably for use only with Microsoft.

With the entry cost of VR being prohibitively expensive for most, a cash discount would have helped soften the blow for Black Friday shoppers, but sadly, a VR doorbuster deal will have to wait at least for next year.


Playstation 4 Pro

Playstation 4 Pro

Sony has made our worst deals list two years running, and mostly for the same reason. Last year, their PS4 holiday bundle earned a spot here because of the lackluster nature of the deals when put head to head with the Xbox One.

This year, both Sony and Microsoft have released their first ever revisions of their Xbox One and PS4 consoles, and conventional wisdom said that these consoles would not be discounted, but rather the old models would be used as doorbuster fodder in order to clear out inventory. Much to our surprise, in the Microsoft camp, every single doorbuster includes the new Xbox One S, with the only deal on the old hardware being a used hardware discount on page 4 of the Gamestop ad. Not only are there Xbox One S discounts from nearly every retailer that sells Xbox One, there are several bundles to choose from and even a few special edition consoles in varying storage sizes.

Of course, we would be remiss if not to point out that Sony is indeed including their new PS4 Slim in all holiday bundles, a fact we are not disputing. But with all the 4K upgrades included in the Xbox One S, the fair comparison is with deals on the Playstation 4 Pro, Sony's true hardware refresh which also includes more horsepower and 4K streaming.

This is ultimately why the Playstation 4 Pro is on this list. While the latest and greatest Xbox One S is practically all you'll find on Black Friday, the Playstation 4 Pro is nowhere to be found.


OLED UHDTV

OLED UHDTV

Sometimes you don't realize what you've got until it's gone. Although it's been many years since we've seen a plasma television in a Black Friday ad, LED TVs are constantly trying to catch up with the life-like color, bottomless black levels, and buttery smooth motion that many took for granted when plasma was the norm. Plasma was so much better that even today, some manufacturers even boast "plasma-like color" in their advertisements when trying to demonstrate just how great the picture quality is on their new LED TV.

The ultimate solution to recapturing and even exceeding the picture quality we loved in plasma can be found in OLED TVs, which function in a very similar manner to plasma. OLED can produce the bright whites, the pitch blacks, the realistic color, and provide the widest viewing angles of any flat panel display.

The continuing problem with bringing OLED to the masses is that it's much more expensive to produce than regular LED sets, which is why, up until this year, there has been a drought in OLED Black Friday deals.

This year, we had our first breakthrough that will hopefully lead to a flourishing OLED population in our leaked Black Friday ads. Dell has the only OLED advertised this Black Friday from a nationwide retailer. Page 4 of Dell's ad shows a $1,999.99 deal on a beauty of an LG OLED 55" 4K Smart UHDTV, but the sad truth is $1,999.99 is the new MSRP of this set. Dell is tossing in a free Blu-ray player and $150 Dell promo e-gift card with purchase to help soften the blow, but as we all know, cash is king on Black Friday, and there is no cash discount to be found here.

So while we are officially taking baby steps en route to what will hopefully one day be A Very OLED Christmas, this year there are just no truly great deals for OLED TVs.


Apple Watch Series 2

Apple Watch Series 2

Apple's presence on our Worst Deals list is so ubiquitous that we could change the name of this annual list to "The Apple Inc. Worst Deal Awards" and there would be no room for complaint.

Not to say that there haven't been strides made over the last few years. It's become rather common, actually, for top stores such as Walmart, Target, and Best Buy to offer deals and incentives on Apple products, whereas before there would be no Apple deals at all. In fact this year we've seen actual cash discounts at a number of retailers.

Could it be that Apple's heart has finally grown three sizes? Unfortunately, no, since each and every year, the newest and most desired of Apple products always seems to be absent from our leaked ads, while last year's models and products which have long since lost their luster are always what seem to be discounted.

The Apple Watch Series 2 is this year's mysteriously absent product. Despite all the discounts and freebies tossed in at retailers across the country on iPods, iPads, and even the Series 1 Apple Watch, there is but one deal to be had on the Series 2. Thanks to Kohl's unrelenting Christmas spirit, shoppers are able to use their $15 Kohl's Cash per $50 spent promotion to get $75 Kohl's in Kohl's Cash when buying the 38mm Space Grey Series 2 watch as seen on page 3 of their ad.

This is great for Kohl's shoppers, but everyone else is left in the cold, and even those that are willing to shop at Kohl's just for this specific deal, there's a good chance that Kohl's may not have the exact style and color of Apple Watch Series 2 that is on your wishlist.

So while Kohl's does give us a chance at a deal, overall this year is a bust for anyone looking for a Series 2 Apple Watch.


Final Thoughts

Although we didn't cover it in detail, it should go without saying for anyone that has ever read a BFads.net buying guide that the ultimate bad deal on Black Friday is on HDMI cables and UHDTV/HDTV accessories in general. Cables and wall mounts are some of the most overpriced items found in the electronics section of retail stores. Smart shoppers can avoid this trap by shopping at retailers like Monoprice or Amazon for those items, where it's easy to find a great deal.

Did you find a deal that is as bad as a lump of coal in your stocking? Head down to our comments section and let us know about it. Remember, the items on our Worst Deal lists are the exception, not the rule on Black Friday! Stay tuned to BFAds.net each and every day throughout the holiday season where we will bring you the best in price breaks, ad leaks, and our signature buying guides that make your Black Friday shopping choices a snap.

November 18, 2016
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