Apple’s MacBook Air M3 hits a new low, plus the rest of the week’s best tech deals

Apple’s MacBook Air M3 hits a new low, plus the rest of the week’s best tech deals

It might be too late to get a big tech gift to ship in time for Father’s Day, but if you’re looking to upgrade your own setup, you can still take advantage of a few sales that are still kicking ahead of the weekend. The 13- and 15-inch versions of Apple’s latest MacBook Air are each down to all-time lows, for instance, as are both versions of the newest MacBook Pro. Beats’ new Solo 4 headphones are $70 off, too, while Solo Stove has a sale on some of our favorite smokeless fire pits. Several other gadgets we recommend are also on sale, including Amazon’s Echo Buds, the Backbone One mobile game controller and Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today.

Photo by Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

Amazon and B&H have the latest 13-inch MacBook Air down to $899 for the base configuration with an M3 chip, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. That’s its lowest price to date, coming in $200 below Apple’s MSRP and $100 below the street price we’ve seen on Amazon over the past month or so.

This version may be enough if you only plan to use the laptop lightly, but if you want to multitask with any regularity, we’d recommend getting a config with double the RAM and storage space. That one is on sale for $1,329 at the same retailers, which is another all-time low. Apple sells this model for $1,499, though it’s gone for less on Amazon in recent weeks.

In any event, the M3 MacBook Air earned a score of 90 in our review this past March, and it’s now the top pick in our guide to the best laptops. It still has just about everything we want from a mainstream notebook: a premium design, a crisp display, a comfortable keyboard and trackpad, long battery life, solid speakers and fast performance for most needs. It can still run a bit hot under heavy workloads, and it’s still limited to just two USB-C ports, but it gives little to complain about otherwise.

It’s worth remembering that the M2 MacBook Air is still a great value if you want to save a few more dollars, but this newer model adds support for dual external displays (albeit only when the laptop is closed) and Wi-Fi 6E alongside the slightly faster chip. The base M3 model also has faster storage performance than its M2 equivalent.

$899 at Amazon

Photo by Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

The 15.3-inch version of the MacBook Air, meanwhile, is down to $1,129 for a base model at Amazon, or $1,489 for a config with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. Both deals represent all-time lows; the former is $170 less than buying from Apple directly, while the latter is $210 off. B&H has the higher-spec model available for $10 more as well. The 15-inch Air is essentially the same as the 13-inch version, just with a more spacious screen and a better speaker system. It, too, earned a score of 90 in our review.

$1,129 at Amazon

Apple

Apple’s latest MacBook Pros are also on sale. The 14.2-inch version is down to $1,699 for a config with an M3 Pro chip, 18GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD at Amazon and B&H. That’s $300 off Apple’s list price, $100 below the street price we’ve seen on Amazon over the last couple of months and another all-time low. The 16.3-inch model is also on sale for a low of $2,199, which is a similar discount. That model has the same base specs, though it has a slightly stronger 12-core CPU (instead of the 11-core chip on the 14-inch model) and 18-core GPU (instead of a 14-core unit).

We gave both M3 MacBook Pros a review score of 90 last November. They’re more laptop than most people need, but they should make sense for 3D designers, video editors and other professional types that are willing to pay for more power, a richer mini-LED display and a wider port selection. Both models have excellent battery life, but the 16-inch one lasts a little longer.

Note that Apple has already launched a new M4 chip with the new iPad Pros, so it’s only a matter of time until all of these MacBooks receive a refresh. According to a Bloomberg report earlier this year, the Pros could be updated by the end of this year or early 2025, while new Airs could arrive sometime next spring. That said, none of the current notebooks will feel slow anytime soon, so these are good deals if you need to upgrade today.

$1,699 at Amazon

Photo by Jeff Dunn / Engadget

The most recent Amazon Echo Buds are back down to $35, which matches their lowest price to date. They normally retail for $50. We highlight this pair in our guide to the best budget wireless earbuds for those who prefer a more open design that doesn’t insert all the way into the ear canal. It doesn’t isolate much outside noise as a result, nor does it deliver much deep bass, but those with sensitive ears should find it more comfortable to actually wear. It also sounds fairly decent for the category — after a little EQ tweaking, at least — plus it supports features that we don’t always see in this price range, including Alexa voice controls, wear detection and the ability to connect to two devices at once. The five-hour battery life isn’t great, however, and the design isn’t sweat-resistant enough for the gym.

$35 at Amazon

Photo by Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

The Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook Plus is the top recommendation in our Chromebook buying guide, and it’s now down to $349 at Best Buy. That matches the lowest price we’ve tracked. The 14-inch notebook has a list price of $499, though we’ve seen it dip under $400 a few times over the past several months. This configuration includes an Intel Core i3-1315U processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of eMMC storage, two USB-C ports, a USB-A port and a microSD slot. The 1,920 x 1,200 IPS touchscreen is impressive for the price, with a tall 16:10 aspect ratio that’s well-suited for reading and word processing. Its battery life is mediocre, but it runs quick enough for the basic web tasks you’d do with a Chromebook, and both its keyboard and trackpad are comfortable. It’s not the most svelte machine, however, checking in at 3.5 pounds and 0.78 inches thick.

$349 at Best Buy

Photo by Mat Smith / Engadget

The Backbone One mobile game controller is on sale for $80 at Amazon, Backbone.com and Best Buy. That’s a $20 discount, and it ties the best price we’ve seen for the second-gen iteration since December. The deal applies to all USB-C and Lightning versions of the gamepad, including the standard black models and the PlayStation-branded white models. Backbone says the sale will run through June 16.

We’ve recommended the Backbone for those who want to stream console and PC games to their phone or just play more involved mobile fare without touch controls. It’s not as roomy as a full-size PS5 or Xbox controller, and the way Backbone promotes its subscription service can be annoying, but it’s comfortable for what it is, it requires almost no extra setup and it has all the inputs needed to play modern games. It’s a particularly nice fit for the recent wave of emulators on iOS.

$80 at Amazon

Photo by Jeff Dunn / Engadget

The Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite is down to $50 at Amazon and Best Buy, which is about $15 off the gaming mouse’s average street price in recent months. It also matches the lowest price we’ve seen in more than a year. The Scimitar is the “best for MMOs” pick in our guide to the best gaming mice, as it has 12 programmable side buttons you can use to quickly perform actions in titles like Final Fantasy XIV, World of Warcraft and more complex single-player RPGs like Baldur’s Gate III. It’s on the bulky side, like most MMO mice, but it should be comfortable for most hand sizes. Just be aware that it’s a wired model — there’s a newer wireless version, but it costs $130 — and the scroll wheel could stand to be firmer.

$50 at Amazon

Xbox

Amazon subsidiary Woot is selling three-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions for $34.49 and one-month subscriptions for $11.79. The service normally costs $17 per month, with the first month available for $1 if you’re a new member. These aren’t the largest discounts we’ve ever seen, but the three-month deal essentially gives you a bonus month for no extra cost. Woot had discounts on lower-tier Game Pass Core subscriptions earlier this week, but those have since sold out, so you might want to act fast here. The offer is eligible to both new and existing subscribers.

As a refresher, Game Pass Ultimate gives access to a large library of games across consoles, PC and cloud streaming, including just about all of Xbox’s first-party releases. It also enables online multiplayer. A subscription will make the most sense if you like to play a wide range of games instead of sticking to the same small handful. The Xbox library as a whole isn’t as stacked with must-play exclusives as the Nintendo Switch or PlayStation 5, but Game Pass still covers plenty of games we like, so this is a decent chance to save if there’s a few you’ve been eyeing for the summer.

$34 at Woot

Photo by Billy Steele / Engadget

Beats only launched its new Solo 4 headphones just over a month ago, but the on-ear pair is already down to $130 at various retailers. That’s $70 off the Apple subsidiary’s MSRP, $20 off the wireless set’s street price over the last few weeks and a new low. A bundle that pairs the headphones with two years of AppleCare+ protection is also on sale for $150.

We gave the Solo 4 a score of 79 in our review. Battery life is their headline feature, as they can last more than 50 hours on a charge. They have a nicely even-handed sound beyond that, and they support wired playback over a USB-C or 3.5mm cable. There aren’t a ton of wireless on-ear headphones coming out these days, so this is one of your better bets if you like that form factor. That said, the design can feel tight if you have a larger head, and the whole thing is light on features, with no ANC, multi-device connectivity (on iOS), wear detection, transparency mode or EQ. But if you like the style and fit, the Solo 4 is much more palatable at $130 than $200.

$130 at Amazon

Solo Stove

Solo Stove is running a Father’s Day sale with discounts on its “smokeless” fire pits, including the small-size Ranger 2.0 for $200, the medium Bonfire 2.0 for $230 and the large Yukon 2.0 for $400. None of those are all-time lows, but they range from $30 to $100 off the fire pits’ usual prices.

We’ve recommended these stainless steel devices multiple times before. Each is lightweight for its size and easy to load up with wood, and they all do well to send (most) smoke upwards instead of in your face. Each one also comes with a removable ash pan, so you don’t have to turn the whole thing over to clean up, plus they’re backed by a lifetime warranty. The Bonfire probably has the most universally agreeable size, though the Ranger is a nice option for frequent campers. Just be aware that, if you’re using one of these things with an especially large group, you might want to add a heat deflector to increase how far the warmth spreads.

$230 at Solo Stove

Hisense

The 65-inch version of Hisense’s U6K TV is down to $498 at Walmart, which ties the largest cash discount we’ve tracked from a reputable seller. It’s the same discount we saw around Black Friday last year. 

The U6K is a budget-level set that’s received high marks for providing better contrast and colors than most options in its price range. It takes advantage of display tech that’s typically reserved for more expensive TVs, such as a mini-LED backlight, quantum dots and full-array local dimming. It’s still limited to a basic 60Hz refresh rate, and it lacks HDMI 2.1 ports, so it won’t provide the absolute smoothest image with game consoles like the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. Its picture washes out a bit when viewed from an angle, too, and it doesn’t get bright enough to really make HDR content pop. Still, it’s a decent value if you’re on a tighter budget.

The U6K is a 2023 model, and Hisense has launched a follow-up for 2024 called the U6N. That one now costs $648 for a 65-inch set, however, so the older version looks to be a better value while it’s still in stock.

$498 at Walmart

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Jeff Dunn

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