Enlarge /. Activate Siri using an Apple HomePod speaker.
Regards, Arsians! It's Independence Day in the US, so the dealmaster is back with a special edition of the usual tech deals from July 4th. While today's holiday isn't known for giving big technology discounts – the biggest price cuts will still be on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – we have a handful of real deals on video games, tablets, speakers, and devices found more. Below are the best July 4th tech deals we could find this year.
Enlarge /. The Sega Genesis Mini.
This is tantamount to the biggest discount we've seen on Sega's bite-sized retro console, which we saw positively when launched late last year. Similar to the NES Classic and the Super NES Classic before, the Genesis Mini packs a few dozen hits into a delightfully small replica of the console on which it is based.
Here you get 42 pre-installed and well emulated games – including favorites like Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage 2, Gunstar Heroes and Ecco the Dolphin – as well as two controllers. Unfortunately, these gamepads are not the six-button models that Sega launched later in the life of the original console, and there is no way to rewind your progress if you screw it up in the game. But at half the price of the original MSRP, this is a good value for nostalgics or anyone who missed the Genesis experience earlier.
/. Final Fantasy VII remake.
If you don't mind buying used games, GameStop's Independence Day sale allows you to buy three used games for the price of two. The discount is displayed at the checkout and applies to the cheapest item in your shopping cart.
We hope that some of these used car prices are lower – some games are less available than new ones. Therefore, check other retailers before buying. The deal doesn't apply to Nintendo Switch games either. However, the sale applies to several high-profile PlayStation 4 and Xbox One titles, including Final Fantasy VII remake, God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Death Stranding and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Apple Watch Series 3 (38mm) for $ 169 on Amazon (typically $ 185)
Enlarge /. The Apple Watch Series 3.
Together, this is the lowest price for the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple's entry-level smartwatch. It has a smaller display than the newer Apple Watch Series 5, can't always stay on, is a pinch slower, and doesn't have advanced features like fall detection and ECG measurements. But it offers the same core experience for a few hundred dollars less, making it ideal for iPhone users who want to upgrade to a smartwatch for the first time.
Series 3 is also scheduled to receive Apple's watchOS 7 update this fall. Just keep in mind that it's probably the next watch on Apple's chopping block. We don't know exactly when it will expire, but Apple plans to exclude Series 2 from major operating system updates this year. However, this is currently the cheapest way to the most comprehensive smartwatch platform on the market.
UE Wonderboom 2 for $ 70 at Best Buy (usually $ 85)
Enlarge /. The UE Wonderboom 2.
Best Buy has the lowest price we've seen for this recommended portable Bluetooth speaker, which we highlight in our guide to the best travel-friendly technology.
The UE Wonderboom 2 is only slightly larger than a can of soda, but plays loud and clean for its ultra-portable size. The huge control buttons make it easy to use, the battery life is about nine hours per charge and the design is robust and waterproof. Don't expect deep bass from such a small speaker, but the Wonderboom is worth a look for tight spaces or music on the go. Just note that this deal only applies to the “Concrete” model.
Apple HomePod for $ 200 at Best Buy (typically $ 300)
Enlarge /. The Apple HomePod.
While Apple's HomePod as an intelligent speaker lags far behind the Amazon Echo or Google Home, it destroys much of its competition in terms of audio quality. Considered purely as a wireless home speaker, selling at this reduced price of $ 200 is much easier – which is for the lowest price we've ever seen – especially for those who already use Apple Music and an iOS device.
However, to be clear, you need to be connected to the Apple world to get the most out of the HomePod: you can't even set it up with an Android phone, and while you can play everything from an iOS device via AirPlay , Apple Music is Always set it as the default music service (for now). However, if you can live with its limitations, the HomePod's rich and full-bodied sound is impressive.
The Steam Summer Sale continues
/. Half-life: Alyx.
Steam's summer sale is not specifically a July 4th sale, but it is the best-known sale of PC games of the year. It runs until July 9th. While those who are not tied to the PC can find many of the promotions advertised for less money. At other retailers, there are still plenty of great prices for those who only use Valve's shop front.
Some recommendations here are Ars-approved (and only VR) Half-Life: Alyx for a new low of $ 45, the “masterful” Doom Eternal for a new low of $ 30, the time loop game Outer Wilds for 17 U.S. dollar. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for $ 6, Halo: The Master Chief Collection for $ 32 and Celeste, our game of 2018, at half price.
Some other notable personalities
Enlarge /. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
Finally, here are some more noteworthy offers for July 4th that we're seeing in rapid fire this weekend:
- Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition (32 GB) tablet for $ 99.99 on Amazon (usually $ 140).
- Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition (32 GB) tablet for $ 149.99 at Amazon (typically $ 200).
- Anker PowerLine III (6ft) USB-C to USB-C 2.0 cable for $ 9.99 at Amazon (use code: AKCTCPL353 – usually $ 18).
- Anker PowerPort strips PD 2 mini USB socket strip – 2x AC, 2x USB-A, 18 W USB-C PD, 30 W USB for $ 24.89 at Amazon (Clip $ 4 coupon – usually $ 34).
- 20% discount on various laptops, desktop PCs and monitors at Acer (use code: JULY2020).
- Lenovo Yoga C940 laptop – Intel Core i7-1065G7, 14 inch 1080p, 12 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD for $ 999.99 Best Buy (typically $ 1,300).
- Various The Jackbox Party Pack games available on Amazon, Steam and PlayStation Store.
- Nintendo Switch Pro Controller for $ 59 at Walmart (usually $ 69).
- Razer Viper gaming mouse for $ 49.99 Best Buy (usually $ 65).