Sure, this has been a strange holiday shopping season, with many deals coming earlier than ever this year. But the real Black Friday events are finally here, and companies everywhere are vying to capture a slice of your gifting budget. Here are some of the best deals we’ve found to elevate smart audio technology for those on your shopping list (or for yourself).
Apple HomePod Deal (Get a $100 Apple Gift Card at Apple Store)
While the $99 Apple HomePod Mini has been getting all of the buzz recently, the original Apple HomePod is still a formidable smart speaker. With this deal at Apple, you can get a $100 Apple gift card by mail when purchasing the much larger, original HomePod at its regular $299 price. That’s about the best deal you’ll find on the big Apple speaker.
Furthermore, Apple just released the tvOS 14.2 update for Apple TV 4K, and HomePods can finally be set as the default audio output for high-fidelity sound (when they reside in the same HomeKit room). Prior to the update, you could always use AirPlay to select a HomePod, but the setting was not sticky and would go away at the first sign of a power blip.
Best of all, now you can get Dolby Atmos surround sound on Apple TV 4K with this setup, and get more stereo effects when you add a second HomePod. We’ve been using this configuration for a few weeks and it works quite superbly.
So, at an effective cost of $198 for two HomePod Minis or $398 for two HomePods (when you consider the $200 in Apple gift cards) this can be an attractive way to get leading-edge surround sound on your big flat screen. All the better when you consider The Mandalorian saga still has several new episodes remaining in this season. Why wait?
Amazon Echo Smart Speakers (30% to 42% off at Amazon)
Speaking of the spherical-shaped Apple HomePod Mini, Amazon has also adopted a similar shape for its latest generation Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers. And at these Black Friday prices (and beyond, we hope), these globular devices are a great buy. The deals include the Echo Dot (42% off), Echo Dot with Clock (35% off), and Echo (30% off).
Of course, all these speakers run the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, and continue the legacy of the original Echo that started the voice activation generation.
Samsung HW-Q70T Soundbar with Dolby Atmos (43% off at Amazon)
This is another way to get Dolby Atmos sound in your home theater setup. With this deal you can grab the Samsung HW-Q70T Soundbar at 43% off its regular $699.99 price. Until now, Dolby Atmos has been mostly unobtainable unless you wanted to spend upwards of $600 or more. With this 3.1.2 channel setup, you get 3 audio channels, a subwoofer channel, and 2 up-firing channels for immersive sounds. Additionally, the setup delivers on the DTS:X spec for more versatility in your entertainment programming.
Also part of the package is Samsung Acoustic Beam technology for more realistic sound rendition, plus Alexa voice control.
You can also upgrade to a package with Samsung SWA-9000 rear speakers to sweeten the sound even more at similar percent-off savings.
Sonos Move Portable Speaker (25% off at Amazon)
We are huge Sonos fans, and rely on their gear every day for much of our audio needs. The Sonos Move, the only portable, battery-powered Sonos speaker, can be purchased at $100 off its regular $399 price for a limited time. The deal is also good for the new Arctic White version, or you can stick with the basic Black model.
Rarely do these excellent speakers go on sale. And with its 11-hour battery life, this speaker will become the life of the all-night, post-COVID19 party you are sure to have some day. Even better, you can power it with any USB-C charger you already have to make the party go on even longer.
Of course, it works splendidly with all of the music services available on the extensive Sonos platform, including Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and many more. It has Alexa built in, and works with Apple AirPlay 2 for flexible listening both inside and outside of your home.
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