If you hadn't noticed, we're in the middle of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals frenzy. There are some genuinely great deals to be had, but there are plenty of stinkers, too. Don't fall for these classic bad deals.
1. Very cheap (and small) 4K TVs
Everyone loves a TV deal, but tread carefully because there are some absolute horrors out there. Let’s take the deal for a 39-inch 4K TV for £189 as an example. There’s so much wrong here, I don’t know where to start.
First of all, a 39-inch 4K TV is kind of pointless. You won’t enjoy the full effect extra pixels at that size. Go 50-inch or go home, preferably buy a flat one while you’re at it.
Then consider the actual quality of the TV. We haven’t reviewed that TV for a good reason – no one would ever send it to us for review.
This means you’re at the mercy of user reviews, which can always be a hit and miss affair. For all the useful, sensible contributions like this...
You get several more like this…
So while your bargain TV might have a 4 star average, consider how many ‘PAUL FROM CHELTENHAM’ reviews it received.
Instead check out the best 4K TVs out there right now.
2. Gimmicky kitchen gadgets
So there you are, browsing your favoured online retailer when you spot a genius idea. It could be anything, but the one that caught my eye was this all-in-one breakfast sandwich maker on Amazon.
The Dream: Every morning you’ll enjoy delicious, finely crafted breakfast sandwiches packed full of all the essential nutrients to get you through your day. You’ll be envy of your friends when your daily Instagram photos of your breakfast go viral and you’re invited onto Saturday Kitchen to demonstrate your skills.
The Reality: You’ll use it once, make a huge mess, burn your hand, and then leave said maker in the cupboard for years on end next to your fondue set and novelty Cliff Richards salt and pepper shakers.
3. Own brand tablets
A cheap tablet is a great idea and there are dozens of very good ones. Which means there’s absolutely no reason to buy a crap one from an ‘own brand’ you’ve never heard of.
Our enemy no.1 here is the Bush Eluma B1, a 10.1-inch Windows tablet available exclusively from Argos. Amazingly, we’ve reviewed this one, and it received a generous 4/10. Here’s a sample from our review:
“On one occasion, trying to hit the backspace button resulted in random combinations of characters appearing, usually in groups of four. On another, the Start menu launched and closed repeatedly, without me even touching the screen.”
Hilariously, it cost £139 when we reviewed it, and Argos currently has it on offer for £129 and says it’s down from £179. I call shenanigans on this one.
Read our round-up of the best cheap tablets for something less rubbish. Thank me later.
4. Digital download games
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, more a word of caution. If you’re a console gamer, the boxed price is almost always lower than the digital one no matter how good the digital discount is. That doesn’t make any sense for a huge number of reasons, but that’s the way it is.
As for PC gamers and Steam… do I even have to explain this to you? How many of you have a huge library of games you’ve never played? How many of those did you buy in a Steam sale?
Yup, thought so... that said, you probably can't resist these steam deals, right? You know you want to.
5. Out of date tech
Deals events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday always attract great sounding deals on tech that’s on the way out. That isn’t always a bad thing, but there is at least one example that you must avoid… Blu-ray players.
At some point next year, 4K Blu-ray players will finally start hitting the shelves. Notwithstanding that investing in spinning disks is a dubious choice these days, a Blu-ray player you buy today will be wasted money next year.
Case in point is this Sony Blu-ray player that was recently on offer. No amount of 4K upscaling will help this player play 4K discs when they arrived. Move on.
6. The mystery product
It’s not on the manufacturer website, no one else stocks it, no-one reputable has reviewed it and product info is threadbare and vague. There’s a reason for this. It's crap. Avoid.