Best Deals of the New Year [Tech Deals]

Kannon Yamada 02-01-2014

2014 marks the beginning of a new fiscal year – and many retailers are dropping prices to clear out product unsold from last year. For those seeking low prices on 2013’s leftovers, it’s a great time for deals!


Smartphone Users

Motorola recently announced a major price drop for the Moto X and the Moto G will go on sale soon.

Verizon Motorola Moto G (sale starting Jan 9, 2014)

moto g

  • Price: $99, compared to $189 from Motorola
  • Retailer: Best Buy and Home Shopping Network

While not the fastest phone on the market, the Moto G takes the top spot as the best phone for your money. We consider it an even better deal than the superlative LG Nexus 5 (our review of the Nexus 5 Google Nexus 5 Review and Giveaway Approximately a year after Google released the Nexus 4, the company behind Android has come out with its successor -- the Nexus 5. Read More ). It features excellent battery life, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (using the A7 energy efficient architecture), the latest version of Android and all the trimmings of a modern smartphone.

Home Shopping Network is also offering a $99 prepaid (locked) Moto G from BoostMobile. However, this deal comes with a $30 rebate.

The Moto G doesn’t excel in any particular category other than value and battery life. The key selling point is that it comes unlocked. Unlocked phones dramatically lower the total cost of smartphone ownership by offering compatibility with an MVNO (what’s an MVNO? What Is an MVNO and How Does It Save Money on Your Cellular Bill? [MakeUseOf Explains] In the US and Canada, we're taught that we need to sign contracts because cell phones and cellular service are so pricey. That's a bald-faced lie. Read More ). MVNOs offer lower monthly rates for service. We’ve written about the requirements of MVNOs Save Money By Switching To An MVNO: 4 Requirements You Must Know In the United States and Canada, getting ripped off doesn't take any effort, just a signature. When you sign a contract for cellular service, you also sign away your freedom. Read More . Read up before making the change. Also, keep in mind that this deal is for a Verizon-network phone, meaning it may only be available initially for Verizon’s Prepaid service.


It’s important to note that at the moment, Verizon doesn’t allow prepaid phones to use their LTE network.

Motorola Moto X

moto x

  • Price: $399; compared to $699.99 from Best Buy.
  • Retailer: Motorola

Normally I wouldn’t include a change in retail pricing, except that retailers haven’t yet changed their device pricing to match Motorola’s price drop. That means you can go to Best Buy (or any retailer offering price-matching) and get a price-match to avoid shipping charges and rack up loyalty points.

While its hardware is a half-step behind the competition, the Moto’s “passive listening” feature makes it one of the best Android device on the market. Its recent price drop makes it comparable to the Nexus 5 in terms of value. However, keep in mind that Motorola’s Moto Maker allows you to custom build your own Moto X, with options for wood/bamboo backs (among other materials), custom colors and more. Be sure to check the “unlocked” feature on checkout or otherwise it comes with a 2-year contract (which you don’t want).


Laptop Users

Apple fans this week may have cause to celebrate, particularly if they can get access to an open-box MacBook Air.

Apple MacBook Air 2013 (Refurbished)


  • Price: $849; compared to $999 brand new
  • Alternative price: $799 from Best Buy (see below)
  • Retailer: The Apple Store

Apple refurbished MacBooks carry the same 1-year warranty as the brand new items. The 2013 MacBook Air comes with an Intel Core i5 low voltage CPU, 9-hour battery life and an Ultrabook form factor.

Alternatively, you can get it even cheaper. Keep in mind that Best Buy is currently having a 10% off special on open-box items. If you’re lucky, you can get up to 20% off an open-box item. That would bring the total down to $799, which ranks among the best deals I’ve seen on a 2013 MacBook Air. However, your mileage may vary greatly.


System Builders

This week, we’ve found deals on DDR3-1600 RAM and an Intel LGA1155 motherboard.

Patriot Viper Xtreme 8GB (2 x 4GB)

Patriot Viper Xtreme 8GB

  • Price: $49.97; compared to $74.69 from eBay
  • Retailer: Tiger Direct

$50 for 8GB is about as cheap as you can find for CL10 latency RAM nowadays. This deal comes with a coupon (HYK112513) and a rebate. Remember to take the necessary precautions to make sure that Tiger Direct pays their rebates Scared Of Tiger Direct’s Total Defense Rebates? 3 Simple Steps To Banish Your Fear Tiger Direct gets a lot of attention as an inexpensive retailer of electronics. Its reputation and low-cost owes something to its controversial rebate program. Be aware of the pitfalls and how to avoid them. Read More .

There’s also another deal for a single 4GB stick of Corsair XMS memory for $14.99, after a $50 rebate from Newegg. Both are very good deals.


Gigabyte Motherboard GA-H61M-S1 (MicroATX Form Factor)

Gigabyte H61 Motherboard

Tiger Direct offer a dirt cheap LGA 1155 motherboard this week. It uses the H61 chipset, which is a variation on the Intel Series-6 chipset. Gigabyte is one of the most reliable and customer friendly motherboard manufacturers around, so I consider this deal particularly good for system builders.

Although Series 6 is a somewhat older chipset, you should still be able to use Ivy Bridge CPUs with it (after a BIOS update). If you picked up the Core i7-3700K from last week for $222, this is the perfect board to throw it on. On the downside, it doesn’t come with HDMI and lacks USB 3.0 ports.

Here’s the rebate.

Bonus Deals

As an added bonus, we’ve located an external backup drive and a Samsung Note II for cheap.

Seagate Backup Plus 1TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive

seagate backup plus

  • Price: $59.99 + shipping (receive $8.40 in points); compare to $69.99 retail and $69 on eBay
  • Retailer: Rakuten

Rakuten currently offers two stackable coupons: The first coupon (551EC6E) is for the Seagate Backup Plus external drive and the other coupon (RAK2014) provides a 14% remittance in “Rakuten Points”, which can be used for a future purchase. That brings the total in at $51.59, the lowest I’ve seen on a 1 terabyte portable hard drive.

It’s important to note that the coupon code ‘RAK2014’ can work with anything on Rakuten, for 14% in points.

Samsung Galaxy Note II (Here’s the Advertisement)

samsung galaxy note ii

  • Price: $299 unlocked; compare to $480 from T-Mobile
  • Retailer: Fry’s (Bay Area in California only)

The Note II sports an absolutely gigantic screen, as well as outstanding internal specs. Frankly, this is one of the best deals I’ve seen on a smartphone, period. Read our review of the Note II Samsung Galaxy Note II Review and Giveaway The Samsung Galaxy Note II is an Android Jelly Bean driven hybrid between a smartphone and a tablet. Its key features are a 5.5-inch large HD Super AMOLED display and an integrated active stylus, called... Read More to get an impression of just how good this thing is.

Unfortunately, the discounted Note II is available only at the brick-and-mortar Fry’s, located in California’s Bay Area. I mention this deal because you may be able to get a price match from your local brick and mortar. Fry’s will offer the deal only until January 2.


Retailers are clearing out last year’s inventory on all manner of great devices. Prices can get seriously low. My favorite deal this week is for the $99 (due on 1/9) Moto G, but if Verizon isn’t your thing, the unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note II might be something you can get your local retailer to price-match!

That’s it for this week folks! Check back next Thursday for more great deals!

Related topics: Buying Tips, Save Money.

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  1. Danny K
    January 3, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Actually looking at the Moto G now!

  2. Mark Julius U
    January 2, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Thanks for posting!