Entertainment

Best Labor Day 2021 tech deals at Amazon and Best Buy


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Save on Apple Watches and more. (Photo: Amazon)

What does Labor Day have to do with discounts on tech products? Very, very little. The same is true of Memorial Day, July 4th and countless other holidays that stores leverage for big sales.

Nevertheless, a deal is a deal, regardless of when it happens. With that in mind, I’ve rounded up some noteworthy tech gear that happens to be on sale this weekend. These aren’t “Labor Day sales,” necessarily, but rather “sales that happen to coincide with Labor Day.” Tomato, to-mah-to?

Note that all these prices are accurate at the time of this writing, but may change.

Spit-take! 23andMe kits test your DNA for origins, health markers and more. (Photo: 23andMe)

Spit-take! 23andMe kits test your DNA for origins, health markers and more. (Photo: 23andMe)

Ready to crack open your genes and see what’s inside? That’s the idea behind 23andMe’s ancestry kits, which examine your DNA to help identify your origins, health predispositions and more.

Basically, you buy one of the kits, drop a little saliva into a test tube and mail it back. Then you receive a fascinating, potentially very enlightening report. And if you’re so inclined, you can opt-in to locate far-flung relatives. Because, let’s face it, you could be royalty.

The kit deals are as follows:

I’ve yet to try one of these kits myself (though I’m eager to), but the user ratings are overwhelmingly positive: 4.7 stars on average from nearly 50,000 buyers.

Starting at $79 (was $99)

These super-popular string lights can work indoors and outdoors, and they're controlled by your choice of app or voice. (Photo: Govee)

These super-popular string lights can work indoors and outdoors, and they’re controlled by your choice of app or voice. (Photo: Govee)

If you’ve been to a restaurant, cafe or neighbor’s backyard lately, chances are good you’ve seen these string lights (or ones like them); they’re insanely popular. And with good reason: They look really cool and they, you know, provide light.

Govee’s Lynx string-light kit serves up 15 LED bulbs on a 48-foot string, the better to stretch them across your patio or the like. It normally sells for $50, but right now you can get it for just $25 when you clip the on-page 20-percent-off coupon and then apply promo code GOVEE7012A at checkout.

These are “smart” lights, too, meaning you can use the Govee app to turn them on/off at designated times, control brightness and even set up various “scene” modes. You can do likewise using voice commands, provided you’ve got an Alexa- or Google Assistant-powered device.

One important thing to note: Although the lights and light string are waterproof, the power adapter is not. That means you’ll either need to run it to an inside outlet or use a weather-protected outdoor one.

$25 with code and coupon (was $50)

The lovely, highly versatile Apple Watch Series 6 is down to $319 in the Product (RED) style. (Photo: Apple)

The lovely, highly versatile Apple Watch Series 6 is down to $319 in the Product (RED) style. (Photo: Apple)

While there’s a very good chance Apple will announce a new watch later this month, there’s everything to like about the existing flagship model, the Series 6. Especially given that the Product (RED) version is currently on sale for $319, which is $80 off the regular price.

As it happens, I own this very model — not an easy thing for a self-described cheapskate to admit. While there are some very good smartwatches that cost half as much (or less), I’ve yet to find anything that works as well with my iPhone.

To wit: I can not only receive text messages, but also reply to them. I can download music and podcasts for offline listening while out for a run. I can even talk into my wrist, Dick Tracy-style, instead of reaching for my phone.

Granted, $319 isn’t the lowest price on record for this Series 6, but it’s still a solid discount.

$319 $399 at Amazon

The Facebook Portal makes a great standalone station for Zoom calls, but also works with Facebook Messenger. It's a full-featured smart display as well. Great deal at $99. (Photo: Facebook)

The Facebook Portal makes a great standalone station for Zoom calls, but also works with Facebook Messenger. It’s a full-featured smart display as well. Great deal at $99. (Photo: Facebook)

The Facebook Portal is a smart display designed with video calls in mind, though it can do a lot more. It normally sells for $179, but right now Amazon has the 2nd-generation Facebook Portal for $99. That’s the lowest price on record.

Available in black or white, the Portal resembles a digital photo frame (and of course that’s one of its capabilities), one that can work in both portrait and landscape orientations. Needless to say, it requires a Facebook account.

If you have one, you can easily video-call others via Facebook Messenger. The Portal also supports the popular messaging tool Whatsapp, and it lets you participate in Zoom calls as well.

$99 $179 at Amazon

The 2nd-generation Apple Pencil clips magnetically to the side of select iPad models -- and charges while it's there! (Photo: Apple)

The 2nd-generation Apple Pencil clips magnetically to the side of select iPad models — and charges while it’s there! (Photo: Apple)

It’s an undeniable asset to iPad owners, but Apple charges a hefty $129 for the current-generation Apple Pencil. $129! For a plastic stylus! Yes, it’s technologically fancy-schmancy and all that, but the price still kills me.

For a limited time, it’s a little less atrocious: Amazon is offering the Apple Pencil (2nd-gen) for $99, tying the lowest price on record.

The Apple Pencil is compatible with the following models: iPad Air (4th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd, 4th and 5th generations) and iPad Pro 11-inch (1st, 2nd, and 3rd generations). It clips magnetically to the side, so you don’t need a special holster or anything to keep it nearby. Amazingly, that magnetic connection also charges the Pencil.

$99 $129 at Amazon

As budget TVs go, it's hard to beat Hisense's A6G Series 60-inch model when it's priced at just $400. (Photo: Hisense)

As budget TVs go, it’s hard to beat Hisense’s A6G Series 60-inch model when it’s priced at just $400. (Photo: Hisense)

Let me be frank: Big TVs are better TVs. Because when I want to escape into, say, a Marvel movie or the comfort-viewing that is Seinfeld, I want the largest possible window into that world.

That’s a rather flowery way of telling you this Hisense TV is on sale for a very good price. The 60-inch A6G Series offers HDR-enhanced viewing goodness and built-in voice controls. In fact, anyone familiar with Google’s ecosystem will feel right at home here, as Google Assistant handles the voice commands and a special version of Android runs the TV’s operating system.

I haven’t tested this model, but it earned a 4.5-star average rating from nearly 300 Best Buy customers. Chances are extremely good you’ll enjoy a happy ending with this big TV — especially if you watch Happy Endings on Netflix or Hulu. That show is seriously underrated.

$400 $550 at Best Buy

"Wait, how does the sound get into my ear-holes? Through my CHEEKBONES?! I mean, OK, if you... hey, it works!" (Photo: Aftershokz)

“Wait, how does the sound get into my ear-holes? Through my CHEEKBONES?! I mean, OK, if you… hey, it works!” (Photo: Aftershokz)

What’s my favorite audio accessory for running? If you were expecting me to say AirPods, think again: It’s earphones by Aftershokz. They’re on the pricey side, and not often on sale, but here’s a solid deal: Amazon has the Aftershokz Air for $100. It previously sold for $120, but for a long time prior it was $150.

Aftershokz makes open-ear, bone-conduction earphones. That means the little speakers rest just in front of your ears, not on them or in them. As a result, you can hear oncoming traffic and other potential safety hazards. Audio signals actually reverberate through your cheekbones, which is equal parts weird and amazing.

But it works! And the sound quality is, well, not as good as you’d get from traditional earbuds, but definitely good enough for podcasts and playlists while running. I’m a huge fan, and I’m not the only one: Check out the 4.6-star average rating from over 1,800 buyers.

$100 $120 at Amazon

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