With the release of Walmart’s Black Friday ad, the deals from the big three (Best Buy and Target as well) have been accounted for, and we can spot a couple of trends concerning PC sales for this holiday shopping season.
One trend is that the race for the bottom when it comes to laptop deals is $99 — and only Best Buy has gone that far. Walmart bottoms out with a $119 Samsung Chromebook 3 (Intel Celeron 3060 processor, 4GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 11.6-inch screen) and adds a pair of HP notebooks for under $200: an HP Chromebook with similar specs to the Samsung but with the additional of touchscreen capabilities for $179.99, and a Stream Windows 10 system with Celeron CPU, 4 gigs of RAM, 32GB of storage and a year of Microsoft Office 365 thrown in for $179. That’s $20 less than the Stream that Staples is discounting for Black Friday, but the Staples model comes with 64GB of built-in storage instead of 32GB.
Walmart has a few other laptop deals on tap for Black Friday, including an HP system with Pentium processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, and 15.6-inch touchscreen for $249. The retailing giant offers a similar model but with more power — AMD A12 processor, double the RAM and hard drive space — and a backpack and mouse thrown in for $399. If you need even more performance, the Acer Aspire E5 features a Core i7-7500u chip, 8GB of RAM, terabyte hard drive, and 15.6-inch full HD display for $449.
Another trend is that a one-time Black Friday stalwart — Apple’s iPad — has been relegated to being nearly an afterthought in 2017 ads. Walmart, like Target, doesn’t even have a discount on the iPad mini 4. Its only Apple tablet deal is the same $249 sale on the latest 9.7-inch iPad that Best Buy and Target are also offering.
Walmart has several other tablets on sale, however. There’s a 9.6-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab E for $139 — $10 cheaper than at Best Buy — along with a pair of RCA tablets with detachable keyboards (a Windows model with 10.1-inch screen, Intel Atom processor, and 32GB of storage for $99, and an Android edition with 11.5-inch and 32GB of storage for $87.99). The chain also lists a no-name 7-inch tablet for $29, but you’re probably better off with an Amazon Fire 7, which will be on sale for the same price in many spots on Black Friday (obviously including Amazon itself).
A final trend is that the attempt to bring desktop PCs below the $200 mark (or even the $150 mark) appears to have dwindled. Maybe it’s because buyers are seeking out desktops specifically for more computing power, but budget systems for $200 or less are in short supply thus far for Black Friday 2017.
Case in point: Walmart only has one desktop deal in its ad, and it’s for a (relatively) cheap gaming machine. The VR-ready HP Pavilion Power desktop comes with an Intel Core i5-7400 processor, 8 gigs of RAM, 1TB hard drive, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics for $499.