More consumers want a tablet for the holidays than want even money or world peace, according to this year's Consumer Electronics Association holiday survey. With that kind of competition, what are your chances of getting a good deal on one during the Black Friday shopping period? Not terrible, actually, if you're willing to hustle.
Several large retailers are offering major brand-name tablets, either at a discount or with a free gift card. Most are available only in store on Thursday night—Thanksgiving—November 22, in limited quantities, with no rain checks.
Apple products are rarely, if ever, discounted in non-Apple stores. But Walmart found a way around that practice. It's offering the iPad 2 (Wi-Fi, 16GB) at its regular price of $399, but it comes with a $75 Walmart gift card. And the retailer is assuring customers that they will get an iPad 2 in time for Christmas if they're at the store between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Thursday. If those iPads sell out, you can buy a "guarantee card" to ensure your iPad 2 will ship to that same store for pickup before Christmas.
Walmart is also offering the Barnes & Noble Nook Color tablet (7 inches, 8GB) for $99, a savings of $60 over the regular price. Supplies are limited, so make sure you're there far enough ahead of 10 p.m. Thursday.
If you're willing to get over to the nearest Best Buy before midnight on Thursday night, you may be able to snare a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (8 GB) for $180 while supplies last, and receive a $20 Best Buy gift card. Right now, that model sells for $200 to $250 in various online stores.
Best Buy is also offering the Amazon Kindle Fire (8 GB) for $160, as well as the Kindle Fire HD (16GB) for $200. Both are selling for their regular list prices, but you do get a $30 Best Buy Gift Card with either one.
Want to land an e-book reader that we rated a CR Best Buy at a dirt cheap price? Then show up at your local Target well before 9 p.m. Thursday. The chain is offering the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch e-book -reader for just $49. That's half the usual price.
Target will also give you a free $60 Target gift card with any iPad, except the iPad Mini. A caveat: Target's fine print says that "prices, promotions, styles, and availability may vary by store and online."
Sears, too, has joined the Black Friday competition with the Nook Simple Touch for $40, a savings of $60. The retailer says that each store will have at least four Nooks in stock at that price. Sears stores open 8 p.m. Thursday.