If you’re looking into saving a fair bit of cash on the latest Apple products, then you’ve come to the right place. Best Buy is offering the Apple AirPods, Apple Watch Series 5, iPad 10.2, iPad Pro, and iMac right now on the cheap.
Apple AirPods with Charging Case — $140, was $160
Since hitting stores in December 2016, Apple’s AirPods have dominated the market for true wireless earbuds. And why wouldn’t they? They’re astonishingly easy to operate (well, for iOS users anyway) and have rock-solid connectivity, making these the must-have earbuds for diehard Apple fans. Unfortunately, if you already have the wired EarPods (you do if you havean iPhone), you probably won’t be impressed with the AirPods’ sound quality — because they sound almost exactly the same. What you’re really paying for is the complete freedom from wires. Right now, you can get the AirPods with wired charging case at Best Buy for $140 instead of $160.
The AirPods look like the EarPods with the wires cut off. This design has been polarizing, having its own fair share of both admirers and detractors. While their lack of cords and compact size is quite convenient, it’s important to understand that these aren’t sweatproof (you can take the Samsung Galaxy Buds to the gym, and they’re cheaper) and are extremely prone to falling out. And unlike most true wireless earbuds, the AirPods don’t come with differently sized silicone eartips that you can attach so they will fit your ears perfectly. And this brings us to another very important consideration: If you’re absent-minded or clumsy, you may want to steer clear of these. Lose the case and you’ll have no way to charge them. Lose one AirPod and you’ll have to purchase a new one, though you’ll still be able to take calls and listen to music or podcasts with just one AirPod.
The AirPods come with a white charging case and a standard-issue USB-to-Lightning charging cable. You won’t find a USB wall plug here, but that’s fine since you probably already have plenty of those lying around. Out of the box, the AirPods already have a fair amount of juice in them, and this is where the magic happens. If your iOS device’s Bluetooth is activated, simply opening the case and taking the AirPods out will make a pop-up appear on the screen for immediate pairing. The AirPods are also very easy to operate. Inside them are accelerometers and other sensors that determine when the buds have been inserted and removed from ears. Removing one AirPod will automatically pause music, and tapping the exterior of either AirPod will summon Siri. You can ask her to set a reminder, schedule an alarm, place a call, or adjust the volume of your music up or down. Weirdly enough, you can’t command her to skip a track on your Spotify playlist or make her do any type of song navigation. You’ll have to do that manually.
As mentioned, the AirPods aren’t the most impressive-sounding true wireless earbuds out there. These certainly won’t appear on any audiophiles’ list. The bass has adequate presence but lack punch, treble sparkles but is not particularly refined or detailed, and the mids left us wanting more presence and warmth. Still, the bottom line is, if you like the sound of EarPods, you’ll be perfectly happy with how the AirPods sound.
In terms of battery life, the AirPods are touted to deliver up to five hours of listening time and two hours of talk time on a single full charge. Of course, it all boils down to the degree of usage. With multiple charges from the AirPods case, Apple says you can expect a total of 24 hours of listening time or 11 hours of talk time. Perhaps most notably, the AirPods charge fairly quickly — just 15 minutes of charging will provide three hours of listening time or an hour of talk time.
If you’re a fan of the EarPods’ sound but hate wires, then the AirPods should be right up your alley. Get them with a wired charging case for $140 on Best Buy today.
Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case — $180, was $200
What’s the difference between the first and second generation of AirPods besides the wireless charging case upgrade? Not much, to be honest. They look exactly the same, although there are some notable improvements underneath the hood, including the H1 chipset, longer talk time, and support for voice-activated Siri. They also remain ridiculously easy to operate and set up for iOS devices, although the lack of waterproofing or workout features is baffling considering the price. Right now, you can get the AirPods 2 with wireless charging case for $180 (down from $200) at Best Buy.
The latest AirPods rock the same golf-tee shape of their predecessors. A lot of people seem to like this design (considering how immensely popular they are), although if you ask us they look like the old EarPods with the wires cut off. Compared to its wired counterpart, the wireless charging case now has its LED lights on the front, which allows you to see charging status when the case is placed atop a Qi charging pad. Apple claims that the case can carry the same amount of reserve charging it did three years ago, offering up to 24 hours, which still beats most competitors.
The onboard controls are the same as before — for better or worse. Each AirPod works autonomously, which means they don’t run out of juice at the same time. They auto-pause audio immediately when you take one out — but only with Apple devices. As usual, they don’t have volume and song-skipping default controls, offering only play and skip forward with a double-tap. You can assign play/pause, next track, and previous track controls in your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings on either earbud if you want to, though. To change the volume, you can simply ask Siri to turn it up or down for you. If you have an Android phone, though, you’re stuck with doing it manually.
Speaking of Siri, voice-activated control wasn’t possible with the old AirPods. You can thank Apple’s new H1 chip for this, alongside lower gaming lag, and its “50% faster” connection for phone calls — although we didn’t really notice any difference compared to other true wireless earbuds, including the original AirPods. Apple also claims that the chip can significantly reduce the distortion of your voice in windy conditions for superior call quality. We tested this in moderate wind, and it actually worked. Despite all these extremely welcome new additions, it’s hard to forgive Apple for the fact that it still hasn’t made the AirPods sweatproof. For that, you’ve got to pay a premium price for the Airpods Pro, which also boast active noise-canceling.
When it comes to sound quality, the AirPods 2 fall under the “not bad” category. The sound quality reminded us a lot of the wired EarPods. It’s far from terrible, and we do appreciate the softness and warmth it lends to certain songs, but that’s not exactly what you’re looking for when you’re listening to hip-hop, rap, and other beat-driven genres. It’s a very safe sound signature, designed not to offend anyone.
You get a modest update with the AirPods 2. If you’re an iPhone user, these are the best true wireless earbuds to get, especially if you’re after convenience. If you already have the old AirPods, you don’t need to buy these.
Apple Watch Series 5 — from $384
Visually, there’s nothing that sets the Apple Watch Series 5 apart from its predecessor the Series 4. It still sports the same square design and digital crown control system. Its case is made of 100% recycled aluminum (perfect for the environmentally conscious), although it also comes in titanium, stainless steel, and ceramic if you have the money to splurge, with a case size of either 44mm or 40mm. Curvy and ergonomic, it’s small and light enough to let you feel like you’re not wearing it, and it won’t get caught on your shirt cuff.
The biggest difference between the Series 5 and the previous Apple Watch iterations is its always-on display. It will always show the time and you no longer need to raise your wrist in order to wake the screen up. This might sound a tad silly and inconsequential, but having to raise your hands quite unsubtly isn’t appropriate at all times, so we appreciate the slight upgrade. Workout stats are also immediately shown as soon as you start exercising. For example, do some push-ups and the Watch will automatically display the corresponding metrics. There are plenty of watch faces to choose from, with designs that range from the elegant to the quirky. And if you’re thinking that the always-on display will take a serious toll on the battery life, don’t fret. It’s possible to get a full day and a half out of a single charge. Recharging takes about an hour.
The Series 5 also has an internal compass, an even more powerful S5 processor, and a much larger storage capacity. The interface is fun and simple to use. Using the digital crown to zoom in and out of the app screen is great, and the haptic feedback provides an impressively tactile experience. All your basic fitness-tracking needs are covered, plus a few more. It takes care of steps, calories, hourly movement, relaxation, VO2 Max data, hours spent standing, and workout tracking for a range of sports including swimming and biking, and it even handles more unusual activities like yoga and elliptical training.
Probably the most important health feature of the Series 5 is its electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor, which was introduced first on the Series 4. It’s not exactly a heart rate monitor — which is useful for fitness tracking as well as for medical purposes — but instead is designed for use when you feel an irregularity in your heart rate. Having it there will provide peace of mind to anyone with concerns over an irregular heartbeat, as it will send a notification if one is detected.
The Apple Watch Series 5 is nearly perfect and is the best smartwatch that you can buy right now. Get it at Best Buy starting at $384.
Apple Watch Series 5 (40mm) with Black Sport Band — $384, was $399:
Apple Watch Series 5 (44mm) with Black Sport Band — $414, was $429:
iPad 10.2 — $300, was $330
The standard iPad’s bezels are still obscenely large (slimming them down would have made it look a tad more contemporary), but this tablet now boasts a bigger 10.2-inch screen compared to the previous model’s 9.7-inch display. In comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S6’s trimmed bezels look fetchingly modern, and so do those of the iPad Pro. None of this means that the iPad feels cheap, though. It has a nice substantial weight to it, plus it sports a 100% recycled aluminum enclosure which is good for the environment. Instead of Face ID, which remains exclusive to the iPad Pro and the latest iPhones, you get Touch ID, although that’s not exactly a deal-breaker for most users. What sets this apart from the older iPad 9.7 is support for the Smart Connector so you can use it with Apple’s Smart Keyboard (sold separately).
As mentioned earlier, this device offers a slight increase in screen size. The LCD panel’s pixel density is the same at 264 pixels per inch, although it looks sharp, and is colorful and very bright. And thankfully the headphone jack has not been removed, unlike the iPad Pro. You don’t have to go hunting for a 3.5mm-to-Lightning jack once your Bluetooth headphones lose power.
Strangely, the iPad 10.2 didn’t get a processor upgrade, unlike the rest of the iPad lineup, which now boasts the A12 Bionic chipset. However, this tablet’s A10 Fusion processor still packs plenty of power. Multitasking with several apps open won’t be an issue, and navigating the new iPadOS is buttery smooth. The previous iPads ran with just a slightly altered version of the iOS, but the iPadOS is an entirely different beast. You have the ability to use multiple apps in the Slide Over menu, a revamped home screen layout that includes the Today View widgets, desktop-grade Safari, and multi-window apps. You can now even use Split View on the same app, like having two Google Docs open side by side.
The first-gen Apple Pencil is compatible with this iPad, and it remains an excellent and responsive tool. There’s still no way of storing it, though, unlike the second-gen Apple Pencil which magnetically attaches to the iPad Pro, and it’s still in danger of snapping in half every time you charge it through the Lightning port. Finally, the battery life was pretty good. You’ll be able to use the iPad for a maximum of three days with intermittent use, or a full workday if you’re going to use it as your primary device.
Despite its shortcomings, the iPad 10.2 is the best tablet that you can buy on a limited budget. It is powerful, has a fantastic operating system, and serves up solid battery life. You can get it with 32GB of memory at Best Buy for just $300 instead of $330, a cool $20 worth of savings.
iPad Pro — from $800
If you’re looking for something powerful to replace your laptop, take a look at the iPad Pro, our choice for the best tablet of 2020. It has a lot going for it, including a drop-dead gorgeous screen, aesthetically pleasing slim bezels, and nearly desktop-grade performance (although this model isn’t the new one).
This tablet comes in two sizes: The 11-inch model and the massive 12.9-inch model. Naturally, the larger iPad Pro costs more but it’s essentially the same as the smaller one underneath the hood (same processor, specs, battery life, etc.). Although it is unwieldy, we do love using it for drawing or watching movies. Right now, you can get the 11-inch iPad Pro at Best Buy for $800 instead of the usual $950, while the 12-inch version costs $100 more.
Appearance-wise, the iPad Pro keeps up with the current design trend seen in most electronic devices. The iPad Pro’s bezels are slim and symmetrical. Although it feels massive, it is lightweight enough to use with one hand (well, almost). Just like the iPhone X, the home button is now missing. Unlocking the screen is done through Face ID, and you have to navigate the interface through swiping and gestures. In portrait orientation, you’ll find the power button and the volume rocker on the right edge. Unfortunately, just like the latest iPhone, this one doesn’t have an audio jack.
Its Retina LED display has a 2,388 x 1,668-pixel resolution and is breathtaking. Images look super sharp, colors are vibrant, and it gets plenty bright even when outdoors. While the blacks aren’t as deep as the OLED display on the iPhone XS, it’s still stunningly gorgeous. It supports HDR content and has a 120hz screen refresh rate, so watching videos and working on this tablet is an absolute blast. Battery life is one of its strong suits. On a single charge, the iPad Pro can easily last the whole day with normal usage.
The iPad Pro is a workhorse of a portable device. It is powered by the powerful A12X Bionic processor. Playing graphically demanding iPad Pro games was fast and fluid, and Apple even claims the chip can process graphical input better than the Xbox One. Multitasking also wasn’t an issue, as the iPad Pro can deftly handle heavy programs like Photoshop with relative ease. While you might still want a desktop or laptop to run other programs, the iPad Pro is better for professionals compared to the iPad Mini, iPad, and iPad Air.
Probably the biggest draw to the iPad Pro is its exclusive compatibility with the second-gen Apple Pencil. The other iPads only support the first-gen Apple Pencil, which you have to plug into the Lighting port to charge and which is always in danger of snapping in half. The Apple Pencil 2, on the other hand, can be charged wirelessly and magnetically attaches onto the frame of the iPad Pro.
11-inch iPad Pro — $800, was $950:
12.9-inch iPad Pro — $900, was $1,000:
21.5-inch Apple iMac — $1,100, was $1,300
The 21.5-inch iMac may not be the most modern-looking device in Apple’s hardware arsenal (its bezels remain obscenely large as it did way back in 2015), but look past that and it leaves the rest of the competition in the dust where it matters: Speed. Its CPU performance is bonkers thanks to an eighth-gen Intel processor and AMD Radeon Pro Vega graphics chip, making this the desktop to own for professional photo and video editing. Right now, you can purchase the 21.5-inch Apple iMac at Best Buy for $200 off. Get it for $1,100 instead of $1,300.
If you can forgive its offensively massive bezels (especially the bottom one), the rest of the iMac’s silver aluminum body is beyond sleek and premium. It’s also quite thin, measuring 5mm at its edge, and rests on a solid L-shaped pedestal. Tilting the display up and down is very easy and can be done even with one hand — although it is still not height adjustable. Behind it is a healthy collection of ports. There’s a headphone jack, an SDXC card slot, four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an RJ45 Ethernet port, and a Kensington lock slot. You’ll be able to connect this system to pretty much anything.
This desktop’s 21.5-inch, 4,096 x 2,304 Retina panel is gorgeous. The picture it displays is incredibly sharp, amazingly colorful, and blindingly bright. Images look astonishingly life-like thanks to True Tone technology. Simply put, if you’re a photographer and want the largest and best screen possible for editing, this is it.
While they do get the job done, Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2 aren’t all that magical. The Magic Keyboard is just 4 to 10 millimeters off the ground, which is basically like typing on the desk itself. While it is undeniably aesthetically pleasing, it doesn’t make for the most comfortable typing experience. The same goes for the Magic Mouse 2. It looks sexy and premium, but it’s not shaped to mimic the natural contour of the palm. Using it for long periods of time might prove uncomfortable. At least they’re wireless.
As mentioned, this iMac’s eighth-gen Intel Core i3 processor is a speed demon — and it’s not even the most powerful chip. This iMac is a multitasking beast that can deftly handle numerous browser tabs and programs open. Furthermore, its Radeon Pro 555X graphics chip is powerful enough to get you through demanding games on medium settings as well as some heavy video or photo editing.
Although the 21.5-inch iMac looks outdated, it’s still worth recommending for its stunning display, sturdy construction, and terrific performance. Get this desktop computer bundled with the Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Keyboard for only $1,100 on Best Buy.
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