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If you want a great Black Friday tablet deal, don’t look for an iPad

OPINION: Black Friday may not technically be until the end of the month, but that hasn’t stopped every company, store, person and their dog from starting to push out early deals.

You may have already taken a quick look at our collection of the best Black Friday deals, which is where we’ll be putting all these aforementioned discounts as they appear (the good ones, anyway).

However, if a tablet is top of your Amazon wish list this Black Friday then I have some words of warning for you: don’t focus on Apple’s iPad range.

To be clear, this isn’t because iPads are bad. Check our best tablets guide and you’ll see that Apple’s iPads are a consistent feature, with pretty much every model scoring at least 4-stars when we get them in for testing.

The iPad Mini 6 recently scored 4/5 and is currently the tablet we recommend to people looking for something portable. The iPad Air 4 isn’t the newest iPad around, but with a perfect 5/5 score it’s the one we recommend most buyers check out first. And for the small number of power heavy users, we argue that the 2021 iPad Pro is the tablet to get, similarly carrying a 4/5 recommended score. You get the idea.

Instead, my warning stems from the fact that Apple products retain their value amazingly well. This is why in my decade covering Black Friday, I’ve never seen a “killer” iPad deal. Let’s take the 2019 iPad Mini as an example.

Look at the Keepa graph below and you’ll see iPad prices are pretty stable. The biggest fluctuation happened last year, where £40/$50 was shaved off its price. Is that a bad deal? If you are dead set on an iPad then no. It’s just not as good a discount as you’ll get on competing devices from the likes of Microsoft and Samsung.

iPad 2019 keep 09/11/21

Year-on-year the heftiest discounts I’ve covered each Black Friday come from Microsoft, with its Surface convertibles. Last year this was showcased by the previous generation Surface Pro 7, which had its price slashed by over £200/$200.

Surface Pro 7 keepa 091121

Sure, it’s not the newest slate around but if you’re a student or someone in need of a tablet for work/productivity then that’s a cracking deal and one I’d thoroughly recommend (having reviewed the device when it first came out). This is especially true now, with Windows 11 out. Though it’s not as intuitive as Apple’s iPad OS at the moment, Windows 11 is a huge update designed to make Microsoft’s OS work better on touch screens, among other things.

If that’s not enough to tempt you, I’m also expecting Samsung’s stellar Galaxy Tab S7 Plus and FE tablets to get a decent price cut this Black Friday. Over the past month we’ve seen a steady stream of leaks and rumours hit the headlines suggesting a newer Galaxy Tab S8 line will launch in the very near future, so it would make sense for Samsung and retailers to start shifting stock of the older models.

When they do (having personally used the more premium Plus for a year, I’d recommend considering the device. Not only does it have iPad-level specs, featuring a high refresh rate OLED screen, power house performance, plus keyboard and active stylus support, it’s also set to get a decent software update, with Google’s tablet focussed Android 12L OS already out in the wild for developers.

While I’d still recommend iPads as great products in their own right, it’s because of all the reasons listed here that for those on the hunt for the best bargain possible, I’d suggest looking elsewhere.

You can stay updated on the best deals we’ve spotted in our central Black Friday page. If you’d like to get hunting straight way, I’ve included a list of some of the retailers I normally check first for tablet deals each Black Friday below.

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