How good are Walmart's Black Friday deals?

By Features Consumer Reports

What will it take to pry to away you from your home and out your typical holiday routine into a Walmart store on Thanksgiving day this year?

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Based on an early peak at the retailer's one-hour deals that run from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, Walmart is hoping a 65-inch 1080p name-brand smart TV for under $650, or a 50-inch LED/LCD set for just $218, will do just that. If not, other one-hour deals—all eligible for Walmart's "1-Hour Guarantee"—will include:

  • Apple iPad Mini 16GB with Wi-Fi for $199 with a $30 Walmart Gift Card.
  • Xbox One Halo “The Master Chief Collection” Bundle for $329 with a $30 Walmart Gift Card.
  • LG Blu-ray Disc Player for $35 (a claimed special buy).
  • Beats by Dr. Dre Wireless Headphones for $149.
  • 7-inch RCA Google Play Wi-Fi tablet for $29.
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Style on Straight Talk Wireless for $29.
  • HP Intel Celeron touch laptop for $249 (another claimed special buy).

Last year, one of the best Black Friday TV deals we saw was for a 60-inch Vizio E-series smart TV, which sold for $688 at Walmart and Amazon. This year the 65-inch set is priced even lower. Walmart didn't specify the model, but we think it might be the Vizio E650i B2, whichsells for about $1,100. As we reported earlier, two Vizio models—the 60-inch E600i-B3 ($798) and the 70-inch E700i-B3 ($1,498)—are part of the company's deals leading up to Black Friday. The 50-inch LED/LCD TV for $218 will be sourced from more than one brand, we were told during the conference call, but the sets will be comparable.

As part of its one-hour guarantee, Walmart promises that all customers who are in the designated areas of the store between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Nov. 27 will get the gift they want, either taking it home from the store that night if it's still available or picking it up from a store at a later date before Christmas.

Walmart will follow these store-opening sales with a big electronics event that starts at 8.p.m. Thanksgiving night, with special deals across a range of categories. The chain said the deals would include:

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  • Samsung smart HDTVs that range in price from $298 for a 32-inch set to $798 for a 60-inch model.
  • 50-inch Vizio smart Ultra HD TV for $698, a claimed $300 savings,
  • Sony Bluetooth sound bar with a wired subwoofer for $88.
  • Beats by Dr. Dre Pill portable speaker for $100, a claimed $100 savings.
  • Fitbit Flex wristband for $69.
  • Google Chromecast streaming media player for $25, $10 off its regular price.
  • Nabi 2 Nickelodeon Edition Wi-Fi tablet for $99.
  • Nikon D3200 dSLR camera and two-lens bundle for $499.
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 on Straight Talk Wireless for $249.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite 7-inch Wi-Fi tablet for $99.

Then, starting at 6 a.m. on Black Friday (Nov. 28), the chain says in-store shoppers can save 30 percent on whole categories of products, including select Samsung TVs and home audio gear.

Find the right TV for your needs and budget with our TV buying guide and Ratings. And learn best places to shop for best places to shop for electronics. Visit our Holiday Gift Ideas page for more news on deals and advice on ways to save.

Online deals start Thanksgiving morning

Walmart is kicking off its online sales early Thanksgiving morning, with some of the same deals it will offer later at stores, as well as with some online-only specials. Deals at Walmart.com will nclude:

  • 55-inch Samsung 4K Ultra HD smart TV with a curved screen for $1,298.
  • Dell 15.6-inch touchscreen laptop for $549.
  • Toshiba 2-in-1 11.6-inch touchscreen laptop for $299.
  • GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition camera for $250.
  • Canon Rebel TSi dSLR camera two-lens bundle for $699.
  • Neato XV-21 Robotic Vacuum for $269.

Online shoppers will also get hundreds of deals on both Saturday and Sunday, Walmart said, leading up to the chain's Cyber Monday sale.

In all, Walmart will have five days of special deals, including both in-store- and online-only offers. To help improve the shopping experience, Walmart has created an interactive circular for online customers, with product reviews, buyer’s guides, and how-to tutorials. It will also have online and in-store maps showing the locations of popular items. And it will once again have a wristband program for high-demand items, such as the Beats Pill and iPad Air, so you don’t stand in line for a product that isn’t available. Wristbands are be distributed while supplies last, so you can shop for other items and claim products later, as long as it's within a two-hour time limit.

The company said it has simplified the registration and pickup process this year to make it easier to get items that are out of stock but covered by the one-hour guarantee. In the conference call Walmart executives said the chain is buying both wider and deeper this year, so it will have a wider assortment of sale merchandise, plus more in-stock supplies.

Walmart's Black Friday sales tend to be a bellwether for other holiday sales, so as we get closer to the actual holiday we'll be poring over competitors' ads to compare prices and see where you'll get the best deals on TVs and other electronic items.

So keep checking back for all our Black Friday and holiday coverage, and use out Black Friday 2014 shopping tips.

—James K. Willcox

Visit our Holiday Gift Ideas page throughout the season to find the best deals, time-saving advice, and much more.

 

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