Apple’s 10.2-inch iPad drops back to $250, plus the rest of the week’s best tech deals

This week’s best tech deals include a couple of all-time lows on older but still worthwhile Apple gadgets, with the 9th-gen iPad on sale for $250 and the M1-powered MacBook Air available for $750. The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a solid value for those in need of a cheap media streamer at $30, while the Fitbit Inspire 3, our favorite budget fitness tracker, is back down to $80. We’re also seeing a bunch of video game deals, as Xbox, PlayStation and the Epic Games Store have all kicked off their respective summer sales. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today.

Apple iPad (9th Gen)

Apple iPad (9th Gen)

Photo by Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Apple iPad (9th Gen)

This matches the best price we’ve seen for Apple’s entry-level iPad, which remains good enough for the basics. The full discount should be visible at checkout.

The 10.2-inch Apple iPad is back down to $250 at Amazon, matching the all-time low we last saw during Prime Day. You should see the full discount at checkout. Normally, Apple sells this 9th-gen iPad for $329, though we’ve seen it retail closer to $275 on Amazon in recent months. 

The 9th-gen iPad is the budget pick in our iPad buying guide and earned a review score of 86 when it arrived in 2021. It’s showing its age these days, as it still has a Lightning port, Home button, non-laminated display and thicker bezels than Apple’s newer tablets. It doesn’t work with Apple’s latest Pencil stylus or iPad keyboards, either. That said, its aluminum frame doesn’t feel cheap, it still gets a solid 10 or so hours of battery life, and its A13 Bionic chip remains fast enough for the essentials. Most importantly, it gives access to iPadOS at a much lower price than the 10th-gen iPad or iPad Air. The biggest issue is that it only comes with 64GB of storage; if you need more, the 256GB model is available for $390.

Fitbit Inspire 3

Fitbit Inspire 3

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Fitbit Inspire 3

This deals takes $20 off the top budget pick in our guide to the best fitness trackers. 

The Fitbit Inspire 3 is available for $80 at several retailers, which is $10 more than the best deal we’ve tracked but still $20 below Fitbit’s list price. The Inspire 3 is our favorite fitness tracker for $100 or less thanks to its light and water-resistant design, color touchscreen, accurate health monitoring and up to 10 days of battery life. It lacks the integrated GPS of our top pick, the Fitbit Charge 5, but it still delivers essential features like automatic workout detection, smartphone alerts, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking and blood oxygen monitoring.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

Amazon

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max is down to $30, which is $5 more than its Prime Day price but $5 less than its typical sale price outside of events like that. This is the fastest streaming stick in the Fire TV lineup and the only one to support WiFi 6. It works with just about all of the major streaming apps and HDR standards, and its remote comes with Alexa baked in. 

Like all Fire TV Sticks, you’ll get the most out of it if you regularly use Amazon services like Alexa or Prime Video, as Fire OS tends to prioritize the company’s own apps and content. It also peppers the UI with ads. We recommend alternatives like the Roku Streaming Stick 4K and Google Chromecast in our guide to the best streaming sticks, but this is still a good value for those who just want a speedy 4K streamer on the cheap.

Apple Pencil (2nd Gen)

Apple Pencil (2nd Gen)

Photo by Valentina Palladino / Engadget

The second-gen Apple Pencil is on sale for $89. We’ve seen this deal for much of the last few months, and it’s $4 higher than the device’s all-time low, but it’s $40 cheaper than buying from Apple directly. Unsurprisingly, we consider the Pencil the best iPad stylus for digital artists and heavy note-takers, as it offers pressure sensitivity across iPadOS, consistently accurate tracking and easy magnetic charging. If you want to take the plunge, just make sure your iPad is compatible before you buy. 

Hisense U8H TV (65-inch)

Hisense U8H Mini LED TV (65-inch)

Hisense

The 65-inch Hisense U8H is available for $799, which is a new low and about $100 off the TV’s typical street price over the last few months. While we don’t review TVs at Engadget, other reviewers we trust have praised the U8H as a strong mid-range option, as its Mini LED backlight, quantum dots and full-array local dimming help it deliver impressive contrast and brightness for the money. It runs on the same Google TV platform as a Chromecast, and it has two HDMI 2.1 ports that can play 4K content at 120Hz, so it should work well with a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. 

It’s still a step down from top-tier OLED TVs, to be clear, and its viewing angles are said to be on the narrower side. Hisense has also replaced this 2022 model with the newer U8K, which promises more local dimming zones and a faster 144Hz refresh rate. The 65-inch version of that TV costs $300 more, however, and reviews are relatively scarce as of this writing. 

Xbox Ultimate Game Sale

Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Xbox)

Microsoft

Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Xbox)

This matches the lowest price we’ve seen on Microsoft’s compilation of classic Halo games, and it comes as part of a wider Xbox Ultimate Game Sale that’s set to run through July 31.

We’re firmly in the middle of summer, and that means it’s once again time for a bunch of video game sales. The Steam Summer Sale has already come and gone, but this week Xbox, PlayStation and the Epic Games Store each kicked off their latest storewide promotions. Many of the discounts aren’t quite all-time lows, and several third-party games are available for the same price across each storefront, but the selections include a number of decent offers on games we like.

Starting with Xbox’s Ultimate Game Sale, the notables include Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a recommendation from our guide to the best couch co-op games, back at an all-time low of $10. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, one of the bigger releases of 2023, and Elden Ring, the consensus game of the year from 2022, are both $18 off at $52 and $42, respectively. Most of the Yakuza series is available for $6 a pop, the superb narrative RPG Pentiment is down to $13, while other recommended exclusives such as Gears 5, Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Rare Replay are each available for less than $10. Just note that many games in this sale are also available with an Xbox Game Pass subscription. 

PlayStation Summer Sale

Horizon Forbidden West (PS4/PS5)

SIE

Horizon Forbidden West (PS4/PS5)

This half-off deal on Sony’s highly-rated action-RPG is one of several deals included in the PlayStation Summer Sale, which kicked off this week.

The PlayStation Summer Sale, meanwhile, includes exclusives like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Horizon Forbidden West for $30 each (the latter applies to the PS4 copy but provides a free upgrade to the PS5 version). The PS5 remake of the original The Last of Us is on sale for $50, while the well-reviewed puzzler Humanity is available for $24. 

On the third-party side, the time-bending FPS Deathloop is down to $15, the sci-fi RPG Cyberpunk 2077 is available for $25 and the co-op platformer It Takes Two is down to $16. For some deeper cuts, Titanfall 2‘s wild campaign is well worth a look for $5, while fans of 2D platformers could do much worse than the surprisingly poignant Iconoclasts at $7.

Epic Games Store Summer Sale

Red Dead Redemption (PC)

Rockstar Games

If you play on PC, several deals from those Xbox and PlayStation sales are also available in Epic’s Summer Sale. Red Dead Redemption 2 is down to $20, for one, while the remasters Mass Effect Legendary Edition and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 are available for $15 and $16, respectively. Elsewhere, the action-game-meets-delivery-sim Death Stranding: Director’s Cut is on sale for $20, and Dead Island 2, the zombie action-RPG that was released in April, is available for $45. Epic is also giving away the base version of the popular MMO The Elder Scrolls Online for free through July 27.

Sega Genesis Mini 2

Sega Genesis Mini 2

Sega

Sega Genesis Mini 2

This deal amounts to a free shipping discount for Sega’s Genesis Mini 2 retro console, which is only available to import from Amazon Japan in the US. You’ll have to pay around $94 pre-tax, but that still represents the lowest price we’ve tracked. 

Moving over to retro games, the Sega Genesis Mini 2 is down to $72 with a $22.30 discount visible at checkout. That’s $28 off the mini console‘s MSRP, but it essentially amounts to a free shipping discount, as the device is only sold in the US through Amazon Japan and usually adds that same $22.30 in shipping fees. In total, expect to pay about $94 before taxes. 

Either way, the Genesis Mini 2 includes an impressive selection of 60 Genesis and Sega CD games, from Sonic CD and Streets of Rage 3 to Herzog Zwei and Phantasy Star II. The emulation from retro specialists M2 is generally well-done, and the device uses a replica of the old six-button Genesis controller, not the more limiting three-button pad that came with the original Genesis Mini. (It only includes one controller in the box, however.) There’s certainly no shortage of ways to play older games these days, but if you have a soft spot for the 16-bit era and want a more authentic way of reliving Sega’s heyday, this adds up to the lowest price we’ve seen for the diminutive console. 

Apple MacBook Air M1

Apple MacBook Air M1

Photo by Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

Apple MacBook Air M1

This matches the lowest price we’ve seen for the base model of Apple’s M1 MacBook Air.

The entry-level configuration of Apple’s M1 MacBook Air is back on sale for $750, which matches its all-time low. For reference, Apple sells this model for $999, though it’s gone for $800 for most of the last few months. This is another Apple device that’s getting a bit long in the tooth, as it’s saddled with a middling 720p webcam and a more dated design than newer MacBooks. Still, the M1 chip is powerful enough for most common tasks, and the notebook’s comfortable keyboard, crisp display and excellent battery life keep it a strong value when it’s discounted to this extent. 

This config only includes 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, though, so you won’t want to push it too hard. It’s also worth mentioning that, according to a recent Bloomberg report, Apple may launch a refreshed MacBook Air as soon as this October. If you don’t need a new laptop right away, it might be worth waiting. But if you’re looking to get a competent MacBook for as little as possible, there’s still plenty to like here. We gave the M1 MacBook Air a review score of 94 in 2020.

Apple MacBook Air M2

Apple MacBook Air M2

Photo by Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

The newer, M2-based MacBook Air is also on sale, with the base 13-inch model available for $999 at B&H and Best Buy. A configuration with 16GB of RAM is down to $1,200 as well. We’ve seen these configs go for $50 less, but both deals represent a $100 drop from their respective list prices. 

We gave the M2 MacBook Air a review score of 96 last year, and it’s now the top pick in our guide to the best laptops. It remains a comprehensive upgrade over the older M1 model, with a thinner chassis, sharper 1080p webcam, MagSafe charging port, slightly larger and brighter display, more powerful speakers and that beefier M2 chip. Again, a new MacBook Air could arrive by the end of the year, and the base config with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD isn’t especially well-suited to heavy work. Nevertheless, this is an excellent notebook for most day-to-day uses. 

If you need a more powerful MacBook for serious media editing, we’ll also note that a version of the 16.2-inch MacBook Pro with an M2 Pro chip is down to $2,249. That’s certainly not cheap, but it matches the all-time low for that config and comes in $250 below Apple’s MSRP.

Audible Premium Plus (3-month)

Amazon Prime members only
Audible Premium Plus (3-month)

Amazon

Audible Premium Plus (3-month)

Prime members who are new to Audible Premium Plus can get three months of the audiobook service for free. Just note that the subscription will be set to auto-renew by default.

Amazon Prime members who are new to Audible Premium Plus can get three months of the audiobook service for free. Normally, a membership costs $14.95 a month after a 30-day free trial. This offer has been available since before Prime Day, but Amazon says it’ll end on July 31, so consider this a PSA. Premium Plus is Audible’s highest tier: On top of making a selection of audiobooks, podcasts and other audio content accessible on-demand, it includes a monthly credit that lets you buy any book in the Audible store permanently. Many people will be fine with the cheaper Audible Plus plan, but Premium Plus could be worthwhile if you tend to chew through audiobooks quickly.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Photo by Billy Steele / Engadget

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

While not an all-time low, this is a $50 discount for the “best noise cancellation” pick in our guide to the best wireless earbuds. 

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are back down to $249. While that’s $20 more than the absolute lowest price we’ve seen, it’s a $50 drop from the pair’s usual going rate. We gave the QuietComfort Earbuds II a review score of 87 last year, and it’s currently the top noise-cancelling pick in our guide to the best wireless earbuds. As that distinction would suggest, its active noise cancellation is among the strongest and most comprehensive we’ve tested on any headphone, let alone a true wireless pair. Its bass-forward sound should please hip-hop and EDM fans, too, and while the earpieces are on the bulky side, they’re generally more comfortable in the ear than their size would suggest. There’s no multipoint connectivity or wireless charging support, however, which is disappointing for the price.    

$100 Apple gift card + $10 Best Buy gift card

$100 Apple Gift Card + $10 Best Buy Gift Card

Apple

Right now, if you grab a $100 Apple gift card at Best Buy, you’ll get a $10 Best Buy gift card thrown in for no extra cost. The offer also includes a few extended trials to Apple Music, Apple TV+ and Apple News+ for new and returning subscribers. We see this promotion pop up every few months, but if you plan to shop at Best Buy and make any sort of Apple-related purchase in the near future, it’s effectively a bit of free money. Note that the deal applies to both digital and physical gift cards.

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