Hi reddit! We are the writers and editors from The Wirecutter, a site dedicated to helping people find the right equipment for their lives through many, many of hours of research and testing. There was a New York Times article written about us in 2012. Some people compare us to Consumer Reports, others compare us to America's Test Kitchen, but we’re not quite a testing organization as a place that does whatever it takes to answer the question of “what should I get?”.

We also really dislike the way online journalism has devolved into hype and pageview generating BS, so we only post new pieces a few times a month. Because we don’t distract ourselves with blog posts, our pieces are feature length and each costs several thousand dollars and about 50-150 hours of research and effort to pull off.

Because we collectively pour so much of our time into researching and testing, we've become pretty good at spotting good and bad deals--even when some other publications get fooled routinely by fake deals on horrible gear. In fact, we have an entire Deals page where we highlight deals that our experts have vetted as actual good deals.

You guys and girls are probably well aware that most deals out there are BS (there's even a recent (Wall Street Journal article about this) where the retailer claims something’s 40% off when in reality, it's the same price it's always been.

So in honor of Black Friday, we thought we'd do a deal AMA where we offer our assistance in figuring out which deals are BS and which are good. Here’s how it’ll work: You guys post deals that you're interested in, and our staff will answer within their realms of expertise about whether it's a good deal or not, and why. If we know of better deals on better gear, we’ll point you to those, instead.

We can also field questions about specs and other general questions about the products we review.

The deals team today will be led by:

  • Me, J.D. Levite, dealmaster extraordinaire who manages our deals page.
  • Jamie Wiebe, also known as JamieWirecutter, an editor who has a particular expertise in Sweethome-related items. Jamie is our Senior Researcher for both The Wirecutter and The Sweethome.
  • Tim Barribeau, a.k.a. tbarribeau, our camera expert. Tim is our go-to man for anything camera-related whose work has appeared at io9, PopPhoto, DigitalCameraInfo, the Verge, Imaging Resource.
  • Geoff Morrison, a.k.a. TechWriterGeoff, A/V expert. Geoff specializes in the entertainment side of both the tech world and the literary world; not only is he the former Editor In Chief of Home Entertainment Magazine as well as current contributor to CNET, Sound+Vision Magazine, and HDGuru.com (among others), he also has a thrilling, dystopic Sci-Fi novel out titled Undersea.
  • Brent Butterworth, a.k.a. brent-wirecutter, A/V expert. Brent Butterworth has been writing about audio and video since 1989. He served as editor-in-chief of Home Theater magazine and is currently Stereos Expert for About.com and contributing technical editor for Sound & Vision.
  • Chris Heinonen, a.k.a. ChrisHeinonen, A/V expert. After leaving the world of software development, Chris is now the Senior Editor at HomeTheaterHifi.com, Displays Editor at AnandTech.com, and contributor to HDGuru.com.
  • Nathan Edwards, a.k.a. wirecutter_nathan, computer & computer parts expert. When Nathan is not honing his skills as ginger-beer-connoisseur he is a Contributing Editor at Maximum PC as well as a writer for both us and Tested.
  • Wesley Fenlon, a.k.a. azar42, computer & computer parts expert. Gamer-extraordinaire, Wes specializes in tech writing for us, Tested, and How Stuff Works.
  • Brian Lam, also brianlam8, who founded the Wirecutter after growing tired of doing blog work with a low signal to noise ratio.
  • Michael Zhao is posting under the un-flaired name of AqueousBeef.
  • Lauren Dragan, our headphones expert, is posting under the un-flaired name VeganDragan

Some of our other staff members may make an appearance as well, but we wanted to keep the official list concise so it’s easier to follow.


That’s enough words for now. Bring on the deals!

We'll start this officially at 10, which is like a whole 5 minutes away at this point. No stress.

Edit: Just so you all know, we've had writers coming in and out of this thing all day. Sometimes we'll be slowing down on answers and sometimes we'll be picking up the speed.

Right now, we're slowing down. But we want to try and answer as many of you as possible.

Edit Again: We're going to stop answering at 2:30 EST (50 minutes from now).

Last Edit: It's 2:30 by my watch, which means we're done. If you haven't gotten your answer, some of the writers might still check in. If not... find us on Twitter! We all have active Twitter accounts (@jdlevite, @blam, @techwritergeoff, @laurendragan @seamusbellamy just to name the ones on top of my head) not to mention the official Twitter pages: @wirecutter and @homesweethome. Please come talk to us, we will talk back.

Edit: Hey I don't know if anyone is still paying attention to this thread, but we just wanted to throw out a thank you to the Reddit mods who helped us do this AMA today. And we wanted to say, if you haven't checked out their live stream on YouTube right now you should definitely do so: https://www.youtube.com/reddit

Comments: 1196 • Responses: 109  • Date: 

JD_Wirecutter895 karma

Before anyone asks... THIS is the best deal on the Internet.

splein2349 karma

I played this with my in-laws last night after Thanksgiving dinner. So much damn fun.

JD_Wirecutter80 karma

We were supposed to but someone forgot the game.

Ablevine128 karma

Best website on the internet. Drives my girlfriend crazy that I try to only buy your recommendations when possible.

Is the Asus ac66 still the best step up router? Will it ever go on sale? Should I save $50 and go with the n66?

Thanks for doing an AMA!

wirecutter_nathan104 karma

We're working on updates to our router sections. Top men are on it. That's still a great router (I own it), but Dong Ngo at CNet prefers the new RT-AC68U, and Mike Brown prefers the Netgear Nighthawk (but hasn't reviewed the AC68U yet).

I'd definitely get an AC router over an N router. It's faster, even on N-only devices, and more and more laptops and smartphones have wireless-AC.

krsw128 karma


wirecutter_nathan7 karma


brianlam814 karma

Adding to what nathan says, as i've been editing the research--the highest end nighthawk and AC68 asus have tech that 99.99% of modern gear does not even have yet, so its kind of a waste. We're probably going to end up recommending the AC66 or something of that generation, TBD, but that's not a final piece of data yet.

Unidan116 karma

Within my work, there's a lot of demand for gadgets involving optics: things like binoculars and spotting scopes, for example.

I'm a field biologist and there's lots of reviews for birding enthusiasts and such, as well as survival experts and people like that, but I think a lot of the actual electronic tech expertise goes out the window in reviews like that.

Have you guys done reviews on binocular optics, camera lenses or scopes, or would you consider doing so? I know you've done camera reviews, but to see one that's focused on performance under duress would be great!

tbarribeau52 karma

Oh hey, it's a reddit celebrity!

We've done a bit of work on lenses, but those are mostly broad based lens recommendations for people to pick up with their new cameras. And there is a binoculars recommendation. None of those are super scientific — with lenses especially it's a category where there are a lot of people doing really excellent work already, so there's not as much of a need for us to spend all day looking at Gretag Macbeth color charts, or things like that.

But if you want to delve into the technical side of camera lenses, the best places are probably DxOMark's lens reviews, and the LensRentals Blog. The latter especially is fascinating stuff, and Roger Cicala digs up some really interesting info. His recent piece on "in spec" lenses in particular was intriguing.

whonut109 karma

How strange. I didn't really know you guys existed until I tried to find a decent ballpoint pen yesterday.

Thanks for that, coincidences eh?

brianlam873 karma

that piece is nuts. thanks for reading

whonut37 karma

I'm something of a closet stationery fan. An unfortunate thing for a left-hander to be...

JD_Wirecutter38 karma

Yah, as a left-hander myself I guess I'm more of a stationary-hater.

tbarribeau30 karma

That was one of the big reasons we went with the Jetstream — dries fast and is good for lefties.

tbarribeau27 karma

Hey, glad you liked the piece! That one was a ton of fun to put together!

ecdh81 karma

Lots of Mac users swear by OWC SSD drives, and they get fantastic reviews. But Wirecutter is always recommending the Samsung drives, which cost significantly less. Have you guys tested OWC drives and would I notice any difference with the step up to OWC?

wirecutter_nathan89 karma

OWC drives are generally solid rebadges of other peoples' controllers/NAND. The ones you linked are SandForce SF-2281-based, I think. I'd pick the Samsung drives over those; they'll be faster in day-to-day use. You probably won't notice a difference in the real world.

Azar4238 karma

These benchmarks are a bit old, but based on the tests Anandtech did on some OWC drives a year ago, there are a lot of faster SSDs out there. Including our favorite, the Samsung 840 EVO. Benchmarks on it here.

ggggbabybabybaby32 karma

If you really want to get the best SSD out there, I recommend reading the Anandtech reviews. Those guys know their shit.

brianlam844 karma

Agree. that's definitely the major place we refer to in our articles on SSD. they do the best test work in SSD.

FidlerBD79 karma

I am a tremendous fan of what you guys do. Thanks for existing.

Can we expect a review of iPad Air cases soon? I've held off of buying one in anticipation of your recommendation.


brianlam846 karma

Very soon. We had to wait for some to come out.

thucy75 karma

First love offered to take me back. Is this a good deal?

brianlam879 karma

how did it end? how long has it been? still in love? usually no, but blanket statements can be dangerous.

GinjaTurtles74 karma

Ps4 or Xbox one?

JD_Wirecutter115 karma

We've never written about either and we're not going to make a recommendation, as Brian Lam says, "just to sound smart." Plenty of gaming sites making those choices, you should check them out.

As for deals on either - good luck with that. Lots of deals on the games. Amazon has games on both consoles marked down to $49. The consoles themselves the best you can hope for is a good bundle or two. Kotaku Moneysaver is a good place to go for gaming deals, I think.

wirecutter_nathan80 karma


Varmit60 karma

Do you love or hate Black Friday? How do you feel about stores opening on Thanksgiving Day?

JD_Wirecutter173 karma

I don't understand Black Friday. In my experience, all the best deals are online anyway. We've been researching deals the last two weeks and haven't found anything in the tech world that's cheaper in-store than it is online, really. Not the good stuff. Just bad stuff.

tbarribeau59 karma

Personally, I'm not a fan. I think many of the deals are utterly crap (hence why we're doing this), and it's taken one of the holidays where you don't need to buy anything that you're not going to eat, and transformed it into another excuse for shopping.

wirecutter_nathan48 karma

If you're fortunate enough to be able to spend Thanksgiving with your loved ones, you should do that, instead of going to a store.

brianlam835 karma

I accept Black Friday. And avoid places of commerce in physical reality on black friday.

JamieWirecutter29 karma

Yeah, I think that's key. I now do all Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping from home, ideally in bed. Much more enjoyable experience.

JamieWirecutter28 karma

I like the idea (of Black Friday, not of stores opening on Thanksgiving!) but so many deals are BS and people just don't know. You can get some great stuff at good prices, but most prices just arent. More info.

I grew up with Black Friday shopping as a family tradition, though, so I'm blind to the consumerism.

IguanasRC42 karma

Woke up this morning with a strong conviction not to buy anything and save my money on Black Friday.

Saw this IAmA, $300 headphones on the way.

JD_Wirecutter64 karma

Sorry, but... you know... enjoy!

At least if you're going to make an impulse buy, make one based on hours of research by the best in the business.

throwitallaway2k41 karma

Thanks for doing this guys. I don't have any deals that I need a BS detector for at the moment, but what are a couple of the most incredible Black Friday deals you've seen today that simply can't be ignored?

JD_Wirecutter58 karma

For TVs, this one is pretty great because it was already a great TV and now it's really cheap. Plus, TVs are one of the hardest things to sift through the crap on Black Friday: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Samsung-PN51F4500-51-720p-600Hz-Class-Plasma-HDTV/23347324

For Tablets, Staples is doing great things for the Nexus 7 (down to $179 with their $50 off, plus they'll price-match Walmart's decreased price and THEN add the $50 off according to a couple of our readers).

Edit: Also HTC One and Moto X have been going for 1 cent on Amazon, great deals on great phones. I know the HTC One will last through Cyber Monday but the Moto X has been fluctuating.

alo8115 karma

I have an honest question as it's something I always wonder.

The Wirecutter seems to always recommend 720p plasmas. I'm assuming the reason for 720p is that the distance you'll be viewing from makes the difference between 720 and 1080p negligible.

The way I use my TV though, it is generally pretty near to me. The furthest it gets in normal use it maybe 5 or 6 feet, but in general it's about 3-4 feet away.

On top of that, most of the content I consume is 1080p as in movies and TV etc etc.

Last point, I also play games fairly regularly and would likely hook the TV up to my PC for playing games though I wouldn't likely use it as a typical second screen on my PC. So connected to PC, but only used for TV, Movies, and Games.

Would you still recommend a 720p Plasma under those conditions?

The things that concern me in my use cases are that from the distance, 720p would be noticeable, because most of my content is at 1080p it would be scaled down and though it would be downsampling I think native would be preferred, and playing games I know that at least in the past Plasma TV's suffered from pretty heinous image retention.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

brianlam829 karma

It's not that it doesnt matter, it's more than contrast and brightness and color accuracy are more important all things considered equal. BUT if you're sitting that close--and that is very close for a TV over 47 inches--spend a little more for the higher res. note that our article on good TVs has a 1080p pick, too.

ChrisHeinonen12 karma

This year I asked everyone I knew, reviewers, friends, family, etc.. how far they sit from their TV. Regardless of size they almost always answered 9-10' away. Because it seems most people are that far away, generally the difference between 720p and 1080p is negligible. That's why we lean that way in recommendations. If you are sitting 3-4' away then it's a different ballgame, but we asked around before we settled on a distance.

TechWriterGeoff2 karma

As Chris said, how much resolution you really need depends on how far you're sitting from the TV, and/or how big the TV is.

So from where you're sitting, I'd definitely recommend 1080p.

123choji35 karma

I just found out about you guys and you seem cool.

Here's my question. Since I don't live in America and can't experience Black Friday, is it really that of a big deal? Thanks for doing this!

JD_Wirecutter39 karma

No, it's not. Don't know what you have available to you in your neck of the woods, but if you can buy online then you are participating in Black Friday these days. Amazon, Walmart and other online retailers are usually pretty good at price-matching any deals they see. And often are much better.

JamieWirecutter16 karma

No. It is shopping with more people than usual. You'll find good deals on stuff year-round, they're just consolidated today.

Astral_Fox26 karma

This is the first time I've even heard about Wirecutter. I appreciate your knowledge.

Just wanted to say thanks for the AMA! I will now spend the next 56 hours of my life reading every article on your site.


JD_Wirecutter12 karma

Glad we could give you something to do this weekend! ;)

fargofallout20 karma

I was really hoping the Panasonic ST60 would go on sale (especially considering they're halting production on plasma TVs), but no dice thus far. How do you guys feel about Samsung LED TVs? Specifically, something like this: http://goo.gl/MYfOpH

ChrisHeinonen20 karma

I haven't reviewed the F5500, but I did review the F7100 and the major issue I had on it was the viewing cone is very narrow. Move up or down much at all, or to the left and right, and you get big shifts in image quality. Dead on it was nice, but if you have a large group of people watching the viewing angles come in way behind a plasma.

TerranBarron18 karma

I have 2 requests. One I suspect is relatively easy and you're prolly already working on it, whereas the other may be impossible.

1) pillows

2) mattresses

Thais for the great site.

JamieWirecutter26 karma

I just finished testing pillows. Should be out soon. Spoiler alert: Our favorite is the Premier Down-like at Overstock. But there will be several other picks for special types of sleepers in the article, too.

As for mattresses... that's a beast. Probably not for a while.

Fusioning18 karma

Hey Wirecutter staff! I love your site and recommend it to pretty much everyone I know. I came for the Markus recommendation, and I stayed for four other purchases including my lovely Passport Ultra.

I was wondering if you had recommendations for two items I'm considering.

The first is a new set of headphones. I know you recommend the Bose QC20s, but I'm considering the Jaybird Bluebuds X because I do a lot of CrossFit and my current LG Tone 700s are wearing out.

The second is a new iPhone 5S case. I know you recommend the Switcheasy, but you haven't offered any comments on the Lunatik Taktik Strike, whose looks I like and which carries a 20% discount today.

Suggestions? And thanks for the AMA!

Rockroller13 karma

How does everyone feel about life proof? Mine has saved my phone a hundred times.

JD_Wirecutter21 karma

We go into a lot of detail on the Lifeproof in our article on waterproof cases. Used to be a recommendation. Isn't anymore. Don't include water damage insurance into the cost and don't seal out water as well is the basics of why we think our main rec is better.

brianlam89 karma

I got your back. I live in hawaii and test these cases while diving, snorkeling, surfing, and swimming open water. what's your use case scenario?

throwitallaway2k10 karma

Obviously not wirecutter staff and haven't reviewed the alternatives but the Jaybird Bluebud X's are probably the best tech purchase I made this past year - over Nexus 7 2013 and HTC One.

brent-wirecutter12 karma

I'll add four more thumbs up on the Bluebud X -- two from me, two from Lauren Dragan, who I know really likes them and uses them.

austinbeer16 karma

Fitness Trackers! I was thinking of the Fitbit Force (it's the flex with a screen and altimeter), but you guys haven't reviewed it yet. Also, a quick search hasn't been revealing any deals (except for bundling gift cards, which I hate). Any thoughts + leads?

JD_Wirecutter16 karma

We're messing with the Force right now. Not ready to update our article yet because we still have some concerns we want to iron out.

As for deals on it, yah I haven't seen much. I had it on the deals page recently cause LivingSocial had a Brookstone gift card on sale, and they sell the Force. So that would've brought it down to about $100. Other than that, nothing has crossed my path unfortunately.

But as the Force catches on, the Fitbit One is gonna get cheaper. So if you want a deal that might be where to look.

Edit: Someone emailed us this deal just now, you can get the Force at Walgreens for $98 but you'll have to pre-order and use a coupon code and stuff. Might be some hoops to jump through, but thought you might be interested: http://dealnews.com/Fitbit-Force-Wireless-Activity-Sleep-Band-preorders-for-97-free-shipping/917067.html

juantastic14 karma

You guys are the best.

I have been scouring looking for a good deal on a 60+ inch TV. Non 3D is fine, but some easy to use Smart TV features would be preferable (the TV is for my non tech savvy mom).

Any chance something comes to mind?

danudey23 karma

I'm not the Wirecutter guys but…

My experience and that of my friends: smart TVs are more confusing and harder to operate than regular TVs. Get a non-smart TV and an AppleTV and teach your mom how to change the input back if case she changes it and you're done.

I've never seen a smart TV feature set that made their interface worth using.

Source: I know people with smart TVs, they hate them. You can also build a Raspberry Pi to serve as a media centre, power it off the TV, and control it with the TV remote.

juantastic2 karma

Really helpful advice. Thank you!

brent-wirecutter13 karma

I'll agree with danudey. I have tried, and use, lots of the Smart TV interfaces and while I can handle them fine, my 80-yo parents were totally baffled by them. Most are clunky, slow and unintuitive. Better off with a Apple TV or Roku or something like that where they put more work into the interface.

DrHandBanana12 karma

I have ten dollars. Give me things to waste it on.

tbarribeau14 karma

BigDaddy910 karma

What is your guys opinion on googles Chromecast? The reviews I have seen all said positive things about it. How do they compare to a Roku or Apple TV?

ChrisHeinonen10 karma

It's pretty limited right now, but support is growing. The deal killer to me is not being able to use it without my phone or tablet, so my wife and I can't sit down to watch something on it with only a universal remote. That's making the system too complex IMO.

However, for mirroring a web browser it does that cheaper than anything else, and support is growing. I bought one just to stream HBO Go because the Roku won't allow it over Comcast. I'd still get the Roku (or Apple TV if I have iOS devices and buy from the Apple Store) but the Chromecast is steadily improving.

Azar424 karma

I think it's limited in its functionality, and the screen mirroring feature didn't work really well when I tried it at launch (updates may have improved it by now.) But for a cheap way to get streaming video on your TV, it does its thing. And you can get one for $25 right now, which is damn cheap.

Mexicantormexican10 karma

Howdy fellas, thanks for doing this. I'm looking to invest in a decent pair of speakers, nothing too nice, maybe around $200 range. Can y'all point me in the best direction?

ChrisHeinonen9 karma

If you have a receiver or amplifier already, then a pair of these:


They also have a floor-standing version with better bass response if you have the room for it. One of our editors has picked up a set for himself and is very happy with them as well.

MileyCylon10 karma

I have a question for Tim. Your recommended tripod looks good, but do you have a recommendation for a head that’s Arca-Swiss compatible?

tbarribeau8 karma

Hmmm...tripods are a surprisingly tricky thing to dig into. Turns out there aren't many tripod experts out there, and I had a devil of a time tracking down people to talk to for that piece. But I digress...

Anyway, if you want to stay first party, I believe the Vanguard BBH ball heads are Arca compatible.

Otherwise, head mounts are standardized to the best of my knowledge, so any Arca Swiss compatible head would do. I don't know any recs off the top of my head (almost no one reviews tripod heads, so not a lot of info out there), but there are some very respectable brands that offer Arca-compatible heads. Giotto's has some reasonable looking ones, and likewise Induro.

MileyCylon4 karma

Thanks a bunch!

tbarribeau4 karma

Happy to help!

SaucyFingers9 karma

Thoughts on Sonos?

ChrisHeinonen14 karma

Sonos is fantastic. If you want music all over your house it can't be beat. If you only want music in a single froom from a smartphone or tablet, then consider an Airplay or Bluetooth speaker. I love the Sonos system, though, and that article is being worked on now.

JD_Wirecutter10 karma

Also, Sonos has a promotional deal right now where you can get a free bridge if you're looking to buy a speaker anyway. The bridge is basically essential to the setup so it's a nice bargain.

txhackerz2 karma

I install a lot of Sonos. Could not recommend it enough. Within last year or more now you can play music directly from your phone plus a plethora of online sources. Wireless amps are great if you can't get wires to a centralized location (ie run wires to amp where you are able to put it not having to worry about a home run to equipment)

LosBomberos7 karma

Hey, thanks for doing this, you guys have a great site!

What do you make of the Panasonic 3D Projector for 1749$ after 550$ rebate?


ChrisHeinonen4 karma

I haven't used it so I can't comment directly on it, but it has nice reviews and that's a nice price. It is pushing 1.5-2 years old at this point and Panasonic hasn't replaced it which is probably why the price is being cut. That looks to be a pretty good deal, though.

IEatYourSouls2 karma


ChrisHeinonen3 karma

Geoff Morrison just updated the sub $500 projectors article in the past two weeks:


That's probably as exhaustive a source as their is on cheap projectors right now.

ktnlo7 karma

Thanks for all you guys do! The Sweet Home is my favorite. Can you give any recommendations on the best kind of cast iron pan?

JamieWirecutter18 karma

Lodge is cheap and good. It'll do the job but don't believe "pre-seasoned," do it yourself. Or take your grandmothers old, seasoned pan.

jomama3417 karma

Do you know of any current or forthcoming deals on the Panasonic Viera ST60 or should I just bite the bullet and buy it full-price? And thank you for the awesome site.

brent-wirecutter7 karma

I haven't seen any deals on the ST60, but don't wait too long to buy. Production stops December 31.

CaptainPsyko7 karma

Is it worth pulling the trigger on a Roku 2 from one of the places selling it for 60 bucks today? It looks like the lowest price that model has ever seen...

wirecutter_nathan9 karma

As long as it's the new Roku 2, not the old one, emphatic yes. It's basically as good as the Roku 3, minus the motion-sensor on the control (worthless) and the Ethernet port.

CaptainPsyko3 karma

Any easy way to tell them apart?

wirecutter_nathan5 karma

Here's a comparison chart, but if you paste a link to the sale we'll check it out.

The old Roku 2s had model designators after the 2, e.g. Roku 2 HD, XS, XD. This one's just Roku 2.

New one has dual-band Wi-Fi and 1080p capability, and no Ethernet.

wirecutter_nathan3 karma

Yep, that's the new one. It's a good price. Not unique to Best Buy, but that's a great product.

ChrisHeinonen2 karma

That looks to be the newest version of it (with the updated remote with quick keys). I usually wouldn't recommend the 2 since the price difference is only $20, but at $40 it's a good deal.

Beauz7 karma

Any relation to the stone cutters?

JD_Wirecutter13 karma

We don't like to talk about that.

AkinDC6 karma

I'm looking for the best 42" LCD TV. Don't need bells and whistles, all I care about is picture quality. Thanks folks!

brent-wirecutter9 karma

There's not a whole lot of reviews out on that niche, but Samsung's UN40F5500F gets 4.5 stars average review on several retailer sites and is available for a little under $500.

JD_Wirecutter7 karma

Are you just looking for the best TV or looking for the best deal on a 42" TV?

If you want to go up in size a notch, this is one I mentioned in another comment selling for $430, 50" Samsung, one we recommended on our site long before this deal came out, probably the best deal on a great TV this Black Friday: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Samsung-PN51F4500-51-720p-600Hz-Class-Plasma-HDTV/23347324

Svencredible6 karma

I thinking of getting my sister and brother in law a 7" tablet for Christmas. Was currently thinking of getting an Kindle Fire. 2 questions:

  1. At that price range are there any alternatives which are far superior? Or is it mainly down to personal taste?
  2. Is there a huge difference in the performance of the new and old gen Kindle Fires? Seeing as Amazon are selling their older model at a reduced price: Old vs New (Although with a £20 difference I might just go for the new model)

Azar4216 karma

  1. Your choice is really between a Kindle Fire HDX or a Nexus 7. I think the choice here comes down to knowing the person you're giving the tablet to. Is he pretty tech-savvy, or will he want to do a lot of things with his tablet? Go Nexus 7. Is he going to want a simpler UI, and mostly just read books/watch video? Does he shop a lot on Amazon? Kindle Fire's great for that.

  2. The Kindle Fire HDX is a big jump forward in a lot of ways. Higher-res screen, lighter, quad-core CPU. If you're going for a Kindle Fire, definitely get an HDX.

ChrisHeinonen6 karma

For the Fire, the price difference between the old one and the new Fire HD doesn't make it worth it to go with the old one. The new model has much improved internals and will last a good bit longer.

What she wants to do with it makes more of a difference on if the Fire is the best tablet. Does she get all of her content from Amazon? Does she have Prime? She'll be locked out of the Google Play store, so content from them won't be available. She also can't get apps that Amazon doesn't allow. So no Instagram, no Dropbox, etc...

The Nexus 7 has some good deals right now and if you're after a 7" Android tablet, that is what I would look at.

jibbigibbies5 karma

What's a good pair of noise canceling headphones that are relatively cheap (<$150)? Thanks!

TechWriterGeoff4 karma

We just updated our piece! The Bose are the best, but $300. There are two excellent options for $25 and $35: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-noise-cancelling-in-ear-headphones-so-far/

Jewbakkaa5 karma

What's the best laptop for a medium-sized gamer; I play League of Legends and a couple of other games for about 3-4 hours every day, and I'm 16. What's the best (ONLINE) priced / most effective laptop?

Azar422 karma

Sure you don't want a desktop? 3-4 hours a day. (Sorry, as a PC gamer, I have to ask. Gaming laptops makes me sad.)

Nathan's recommendations in the best gaming laptop article that EtherDais linked are going to give you the best advice. League of Legends isn't a particularly demanding game, though--you might consider getting a good all-around laptop that will be lighter and much more portable. It should still be able to run LoL on medium settings no problem.

cyclones014 karma

Where is the best deal for a GoPro 3+?

tbarribeau9 karma

I've seen a couple of GoPro deals, but nothing on the 3+ unfortunately.

Walmart has the GoPro Hero 3 White for $200, and you get a $30 Walmart card with it. Overstock has it for $180.

Best Buy has a Hero 3 Black for $250.

Cabela's (who I've never heard of before), has the Hero 3 Black "Adventure Edition" for $280. (EDIT: OK guys, Cabela's are awesome and famous and the best if you're into outdoorsy stuff! My apologies for not knowing of them.)

Amazon was having a doorbuster for the Hero 3 black, but I think it's sold out...

Sports Authority is selling the Hero 3+ for $400, which is street price, but are throwing in 25% off accessories. Which is pretty meh to me.

CaptainPsyko22 karma

Cabela's is a major player in outdoor and sportsmans gear. Hunting, camping, fishing, etc.

Definitely not a fly by night that you should look askance at.

tbarribeau6 karma

Oh hey, that's awesome. I just personally hadn't heard of/dealt with them before, because I'm not much of an outdoors guy. But good to know, and thanks for the clarification.

PDAdams1314 karma

I'm looking for good deals on Canon lenses for my new 70D, any suggestions?

tbarribeau6 karma

Hmmm, let me have a nose around. There have been some decent price drops on bundles, but that's only if you're picking up a new SLR. Glass on its own? Not a ton:

The Sigma 24-70mm is at $750. It usually floats around the $800 mark, and once briefly dropped below $700.

The Canon 10-22 is going for $530 on Amazon, which is the lowest its ever been.

Most of the deals I've seen otherwise have been around the 10% off mark, which hardly seems worth the effort.

inquizz4 karma

What are your recommendations for a projector for use in a living room? I'm caught between dropping around $600 for a Plasma or getting a projector. Is it worth getting one under $1000?

ChrisHeinonen2 karma

I'm a big fan of the BenQ W1070 that is our pick for a cheap projector. It's really bright so even if you have a little bit of light in the room you'll still be OK.


I had my whole family over to watch a movie on it and they all thought it looked fantastic. It's really nice for the money and provides a much different experience than the plasma. If you want to have light in the room, the you'll want the plasma, though.

Another option is the BenQ W1080ST. It has a short-throw lens, so you can place it right up close to the wall compared to the W1070. If you want to keep it stored away most of the time and only pull it out for watching, then it works better.

brianlam82 karma

By the way I buy almost everything we recommend on the site to do long term testing and verify the picks, and I have this projector. I love it.

paszdahl3 karma

Best tablet for $100 or less. What say you?

Azar426 karma

$100 is really cheap, so you'll probably have to buy an older model. Even the 2012 Kindle Fire HD is $140 on Amazon right now.

You can get the new Nexus 7 (16GB) for about $180 online. That's a good deal, if you can spend that much.

Simply_Amazing3 karma


I work from home about once every week or two (plus weekends) and could use a monitor for the laptop. Is this any good? Looking for sub 200 and 22.5" or bigger if possible

ChrisHeinonen7 karma

I haven't reviewed that before, but I've reviewed a lot of the Dell models, and I always recommend them for a couple of reasons:

  • Better on-screen interface and control
  • Much better stand (more adjustments, etc...)
  • Great image quality

I'd look at their U2312HM which is $180 and also has an integrated USB Hub which is nice.

wjbc3 karma

Okay, Best Buy is offering an Apple iPad 2 with Wi-Fi, 16 GB, for $299.99. Source. Is that a good deal?

JD_Wirecutter17 karma

It's a good price on the iPad 2. But... it's the iPad 2. It's three generations behind. If it's the best you can afford, I suppose go for it... but you can get the iPad Air at Target for $479 plus a $100 gift card (assuming they aren't sold out by now). That's $80 more for the top of the line. And if not that, get the new iPad Mini for $399 straight from Apple.

That other commenter, /u/Tuz, makes a great point. The iPad 2 is not going to support newer versions of the OS. Wish I had thought of that. Heh, but that's definitely a huge reason to not get this.

JamieWirecutter13 karma

I would definitely spring for the retina iPad Mini over the 2, unless you're dead set on the larger screen. Better form factor. Better hardware.

brianlam812 karma

screw the ipad 2

CaptainPsyko6 karma

I'd say the iPad 2 is kind of a trap in general. There's very little reason to get it instead of one of the other models, whether the non-retina mini if you're going for the cheapest thing possible, or one of the higher end retina display models if you want a device that will have some technological longevity ahead of it.

Pretty sure the main reason it's still on the market is institutional buyers like schools. It's the eMac all over again.

brianlam82 karma


yp2013 karma

Hoping to get lucky- have you seen any no-contract phone deals?

JD_Wirecutter3 karma

A great one! On Cyber Monday get the Moto X, our favorite Android phone right now, off-contract at $150 less than normal. http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-deals-we-can-find/#motoxoffcontract

wirecutter_nathan3 karma

I'm so tempted by this.

runningraleigh3 karma

I currently get Hulu Plus and Netflix via my Wii. I have a lot of problems with buffering, especially with Hulu. Can you recommend a device that streams these services better? Also my DVD player is broken, so if said device is also a DVD player then that would be optimal. Thanks! Edit: FWIW, I have a N speed wireless router.

JamieWirecutter5 karma

I updated to a Roku from my Wii and a lot of buffering problems were solved. Don't tell anyone here but I actually got the cheapest one on Amazon, the Roku HD and haven't had any problems, although obviously the 2 or 3 will be better and fancier.

ChrisHeinonen3 karma

There is currently a really nice deal on the Sony BDP-S3100 Blu-ray player from Amazon on our deals page. It won't do 3D, but will do Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services, as well as Blu-ray and DVD discs, and has integrated Wi-Fi.

seege123 karma

Contemplating a pebble smart watch to pair with my iPhone. Any opinions on it? Or is it something I should hold off on until their is more on the market?

tbarribeau3 karma

We say wait. Pebble's the best bet (and the most recent firmware update is an improvement), but they're all still mediocre.

RedKryptonite2 karma

I bought the Samsung 51" plasma earlier in the week based off your recommendation. I sit about 7' - 9' away from the TV... am I going to regret not spending the extra $100 to bump up to the PN51F5300 to get 1080p?

ChrisHeinonen10 karma

That's right in the area of where you might be able to see a difference. I wrote a calculator to do the math for 4K displays, but at the top there is a chart that includes 720p displays so you can see where the pixels will be possibly visible (if you have 20/20 vision):


That said, you'd need to have a 1080p set sitting next to it to even notice the difference. I did 720p vs 1080p testing for the Small TV guide this month and unless you have the two sets on, side-by-side, with identical content you won't really notice. Especially if you're playing anything besides a Blu-ray disc because you're being limited by the quality of the video stream, not your TV at that point.

Having an accurate image will be much more important than the extra resolution, and Geoff Morrison measured the one you bought and says it performs well. I have no idea about how the step-up F5300 performs.

beancounter28852 karma

What's your opinion of the Sony A65? Is there anything else at that price point that's a better deal?

tbarribeau3 karma

Ooh, good question. It kinda falls into a gap in what we look at, because it's more expensive than an entry-level SLR, but not at the same level as a mid-range. The same thing happens with the likes of the Nikon D5xxx and that lot.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the Sony SLT-range's electronic viewfinders. Honestly, an optical viewfinder is one of the few things that I dramatically prefer from an SLR vs mirrorless cameras, and I'm more or less of the opinion that if you're going to have an EVF anyway, you might as well get a mirrorless camera, and save yourself on the weight, too.

The A65 a pretty solid camera, though I'd slightly lean more towards a Nikon D5200, which has notably better low-light performance according to DPReview's testing. DxOMark seems to agree. But the Sony's still a respectable choice.

ecdh2 karma

Is the Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad any good as a cheaper substitute for the Apple Magic Trackpad? It's $19.99 today at B&H.

wirecutter_nathan5 karma

Are you talking about the Wireless Trackpad for Mac or the Windows-oriented T650? The Windows version gets good reviews, but the Mac version gets complaints about battery life and precision. Still, at $20 it seems like a good deal.

JezusGhoti2 karma

I've seen some really good Black Friday deals (I'm in Canada, BTW) on small SDDs. Is a 120 GB SSD big enough for my mid-2009 Macbook? I plan to keep my 500 GB HDD for my media and run my OS/apps off the SDD. Will remove the optical drive.

wirecutter_nathan2 karma

If you're keeping the 500GB HDD, then yeah, 120GB should be enough.

p5harma2 karma

May I ask, what system are you using to scan deals from various sites ?

brianlam83 karma

Manual with a few tools like camelcamelcamel to check prices. but mostly it is expertise and experience on the gadget and shopping level that sees us through.

l-mNHNw-l2 karma

Was this deal really that big a deal especially given that the TV was 60 Hz ??


JD_Wirecutter6 karma

I try to be really nice about other deals sites because I scan them frequently and often they get lucky.

But no, this wasn't a big deal. It's a bad deal. It's one of the many bad deals on TVs we've seen this year.

We like some Vizio stuff, like the smaller TV we recommend, but their TVs are overall pretty inconsistent. Geoff Morrison should be around later to talk about TVs, but when I asked him specifically about this deal that's what he told me. They're not consistant and can be really bad.

Edit: Just to clarify the difference between Brent's post and mine: the value was a good price, which is what Brent is saying. The TV itself, however, is not. Which is what I'm saying.

NinjaFishMcBeatz2 karma

I'm seeing if I can get a gopro camera for a good deal (in store), I was choosing between wal mart or target, but if there is a better deal, could you direct me? (again, in-store please)

tbarribeau2 karma

Here are the deals I've seen on the GoPro for today (copy-and-pasted from elsewhere in the discussion):

I've seen a couple of GoPro deals, but nothing on the 3+ unfortunately.

Walmart has the GoPro Hero 3 White for $200, and you get a $30 Walmart card with it. Overstock has it for $180.

Best Buy has a Hero 3 Black for $250.

Cabela's (who I've never heard of before), has the Hero 3 Black "Adventure Edition" for $280.

Amazon was having a doorbuster for the Hero 3 black, but I think it's sold out...

Sports Authority is selling the Hero 3+ for $400, which is street price, but are throwing in 25% off accessories. Which is pretty meh to me.

dsharps2 karma

Hey guys! I've been looking to buy a camera recently. Ideally it would be smallish (pocketable would be nice), high quality, and less than $700. I've had my eye on Sony RX100 for a while, since they released the mark II version it's dropped in price (though the mark II might be worth it). Do you have any recommendations? (Or have you heard of any crazy deals on the Sony?)

tbarribeau2 karma

Oh man, the RX100 and RX100 II are so damned good. If I had the spare cash, I'd pick one up in a heartbeat. Right now, the RX100 is crazy marked down to just $480 (see about 2/3 of the way down the page), which is a great deal, no matter how you cut it.

But I think the RX100 II has some major advantages for it. The sensor was notably improved, where you can squeeze an extra stop of light out of it for the same amount of noise (IIRC), so if you're doing a lot of low-light shooting, it's a pretty substantial bonus. I delve a lot more into it here.

That said, I haven't seen the RX100 II for less than $750. If you were getting the RX100 for its MSRP of $650, I'd say it's worth the extra $100 for the mark 2, but for that price of $480, the original's a stellar deal.

Alt pick: The Panasonic LX7 is down to just $280 with card and case at Samy's. Or a Sony NEX mirrorless camera, which Amazon is doing some decent deals on lenses in a bundle.

HonorableJudgeIto2 karma

I just picked up a Nikon D7100 (body only) based upon your review. Any recommendations for lenses?

tbarribeau3 karma

MivNizzet2 karma

I'm looking for a Vitamix. Ideally one of the models you recommend on The Sweethome, but I'm also open to others. Where should I buy?

tbarribeau3 karma

If you're ok with refurbs/reconditioned units (which, you know, is your call), Vitamix sells them directly at a bit of a discount. It's not a huge pricedrop, but it's worth keeping an eye on. Just the usual refurb caveats apply.

LookAtChooo2 karma

I am hoping to find the best deal on a new PC monitor - ideally 23" in size, widescreen is a must and (I think) 5ms response. Nothing too fancy and I am not up to speed on what specs really matter. Just a nice deal for a monitor. Got any steals online or in-store you know about?

PS - you guys and the website are awesome.

Azar422 karma

I'm a big fan of Dell's UltraSharp line. I think they're some of the best monitors you can get at a pretty reasonable price. The smaller 23" version of our recommended Good Monitor is the UltraSharp U2312HM, which is $200 on Amazon.

kazoodac2 karma

I was dead set on the Yamaha v375 after I read your article here, but yesterday Amazon had the v673 for $299, and I pulled the trigger, despite it having network features I'll probably never utilize. Did I make the right choice?

ChrisHeinonen3 karma

I'd say so. If there is a great deal on a prior-year model (like with the Onkyo products) then it's good to pick one up as there were no major change with HDMI or anything else to worry about. I just can't recommend it as a main pick when they might all be gone the next day but I suggest them at the end of the piece.

DJ_Flapjack1 karma

I've been thinking about getting a portable bluetooth speaker for convenience, any recommendations on that? I know Beats by Dre has the "Pill" but from what I understand a lot of those prices are nonsensical. Got anything?

JamieWirecutter2 karma

C&P'd from below... We like the UE Mini Boom. It's super portable, inexpensive ($100) and sounds really great.

anonymous1234211 karma

If I'm going to buy an Apple product, is it better to buy it now and get the $150 gift card or wait until Monday when they mark stuff down?

Azar423 karma

What are you looking for? Depending on the device, you may be able to get a slightly better deal without buying directly from Apple (or just save money instead of a gift card).

From some quick searching, Apple didn't make their own stuff cheaper on Cyber Monday in 2011 or 2012. They just sold some third-party accessories at a discount. So I'd definitely check out the Apple resellers for a deal or buy today.

Oscalito1 karma

Hey guys, love the site. Been looking for a decent sound bar for a while. I've had my eyes on the Sonos Plyabar, but the cost has always been a little steep. Looks like Amazon has a good deal on it (Buy a Sonos Playbar and get a $100 Amazon gift card and a Sonos Bridge - http://www.amazon.com/PLAYBAR-Soundbar-Wireless-Speaker-Streaming/dp/B00AEMGGU2/). However, I've heard good things on the Sony HTC260 (http://www.amazon.com/Sony-HTCT260-Sound-Theater-System/dp/B00945RAQY), which is not on sale, but it's much cheaper than Sonos. What would you guys recommend? (Also got $300 amazon credit to play with, which could tip the scales in Sonos' end... Thanks!

brianlam83 karma

I recommend you look at this article on budget soundbars. http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-budget-soundbar/

ChrisHeinonen3 karma

They're really different products. The Sony is very nice for the price, but it doesn't sound as good as the Sonos does, or do everything the Sonos can. The Sonos will let you stream all your content from your PCs, Spofity, Amazon Cloud Player, etc... without needing you to use your phone or tablet all the time, and you can expand it with surrounds or a subwoofer if you like. It also will do a very good job of integrating with other Sonos products if you want to have your music available everywhere.

The Sony is very nice for getting better sound from your TV and streaming it from your phone with Bluetooth. I've used both extensively and the Sonos is much nicer, but at 3x the cost it should be. If you are only talking about a single room, don't want to expand it past that, and are fine with streaming all your music off a phone or tablet, then the Sony should work fine. If you want better sound or to expand, then I'd really consider the Sonos.

tplants1 karma

I have a high end stereo audio setup for my TV, inherited from my audiophile father in law: Two Sonus Faber Grand Piano speakers connected to a Rotel RSX-1065 receiver.

The Rotel died recently. It powers on, but no sound comes out. Multimeter shows nothing being output.

Should I repair the Rotel (~$300)? Is the Sony receiver in the deal guide a good fit here? I'm comfortable going higher end if that's advised but obviously don't need to blow extra bucks.

My apartment is fairly small so adding surround speakers doesn't seem like that big a deal. Your thoughts?

brent-wirecutter4 karma

I wouldn't use a cheap receiver with those Sonus speakers. Many of the bargain receivers have very stripped-down power supplies so they deliver their rated power only into 1 channel, only at 1 kHz, at 6 ohms, etc., etc. It's really gotten bad. With Rotel you have some promise of decent quality.

PTCommanderakaDad1 karma

First off i would like to thank you all for doing an AMA!

I am looking to buy a tv online and I was wondering what would be the best option for someone who doesn't want to spend over 300 dollars? Do you know of any decent deals coming up?

ChrisHeinonen2 karma

What size TV? I'll point you to our Small TV guide, where the winner is under $300 right now:


Or if you want a larger TV, I'd suggest the Samsung plasma that is our pick for Budget TV right now.


sschmuhl1 karma

I'm looking for a point and shoot digital camera for my mom for less than $150. Any suggestions?

tbarribeau2 karma

We're in the middle of overhauling our low-end camera piece, and really the section is a bit of a hot mess. We've been recommending the Canon 320 HS, but its price has started hyper-fluctuating. For some reason it's up to $200, which it isn't worth. There's the Canon 330HS, which has a lens that lets in less light (boo!), but a longer zoom (yay!)

The Sony WX70 looks like a really good bet, but it's since been replaced by the Sony WX80, which looks remarkably inferior.

My suggestion would be the Sony WX70 while you can still get one, or else the Canon 330HS.

GlassHalFullKindaGuy1 karma

Hey guys I was just wondering if you had seen this smartwatch on kickstarter:


And if you think it looked like something to buy? Thanks!

tbarribeau2 karma

Color me super skeptical. For one, it's a Kickstarter, which means it'll all but invariably ship late and potentially partly functional. It also looks massively bulky.

Smartwatches are such a nascent category, and I really don't think anyone's hit the right stuff on it yet. They're all plagued by lack of features, or battery life problems, or compatibility issues, or insane prices. If you're really interested in the Pine, I'd wait for it to come out, and then dig into the reviews. Let other people be the guinea pigs.

TheFreshOne1 karma

Hi guys, thank you for taking the time out to do this. I jut wanted to know if I should get a tablet with Android or Windows? I will mostly be using it for streaming videos to my TV and music to BT player, playing relatively low hardware requirements like D3. Also, is either one of them compatible with Steam? Another high priority thing would be word processing on it, I write a lot of essays/presentations for work and school. Thanks for your help, I am looking to spend ~$400.00, but of course any money I can save would be a good thing. :)

ChrisHeinonen2 karma

The only thing that might work with steam in that price range in the Asus T100. It's more of a hybrid Netbook/Tablet where you can remove the display if you want to use it as a tablet, but the gaming performance probably will leave you really wanting. For basic word processing and presentations it should work OK, but it's more of a Netbook than a tablet really but worth looking into.

wirecutter_nathan2 karma

Well, you won't be able to play D3 on an Android or Windows RT tablet, because it's not compatible with either of those operating systems. Neither is Steam. The closest thing to that price that meets all yoru requirements would be the Asus T100 Transformer. It's a tablet with an attachable keyboard that's about $350 on Amazon. Gaming performance won't be great; here's how D3 runs on it. But it does come with Office and it can technically run games like Diablo 3.

Here's Anand's review.

Tuz1 karma

Does NuVo ever discount their gear? If not, are there any good alternatives to NuVo for WIRED systems? I know Sonos is a big competitor to theirs but my wife and I just moved into our new house, which we built, and I've pre-wired for audio in 3 zones. I was thinking of using the NuVo P3100 3-zone amp to power the speakers, but the box is $1500 which seems a little steep for me. Since they're professionally installed through a dealer network, I've only been able to find it for sale online from 2 websites and there are never discounts on them. My entire house is wired with Cat 6 (20 drops) and 3 zones are pre-wired for audio all running to where my home theater is. All I need is the box to power the speakers/manage the zones.

In short:

Are there good alternatives to NuVo?

Thanks for all you do. The Wirecutter (and Sweethome) are on my top 5 of favorite sites these days. Both have been incredibly useful for our move. I wish you much success.

brent-wirecutter3 karma

Products like the NuVo gear that are sold almost exclusively through dealers are difficult to find at discount. You might find some cheap wired multiroom systems at Parts Express or somewhere like that, but just because those wires are there doesn't mean you have to use them! Also, you can always get a multichannel amp and several Apple TVs or something, put that all in the closet where the wires terminate, and make your own system.