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Bag a bargain laptop in time for Christmas

Black Friday bargains for all

Left on the shelf

The shelf life of technology products is another plus as far as the consumer is concerned, too. While it's frustrating to see the shiny MP3 player you couldn't resist back in the summer now being offered for half price or less, the upside is that you can capitalise by bagging a bargain of a not-quite-new item when thrift is of the essence.

Digital cameras, in particular, plummet in price just weeks after they first go onsale, as the crossed out pricing on Amazon.co.uk and other tech stores shows. For instance, Amazon UK is currently offering the Nikon D40 digital SLR camera for £229 - a massive saving on the original retail price of more than £450.

Of course, it's not as though the retailers don't recognise that this is when they're going to be doing the briskest business. It's no coincidence that this is the only time of the year you'll see Boots The Chemist touting its compact digital camera line-up in its newspaper ads, rather than its deals on multi-vitamins or suntan lotion.

PC World says the laptops that are in its current retail line-up are planned to be 'end of life' come mid- to-late January, with similar stories from Dell, Sony, Asus and other big technology brands. In other words: buy now and help them clear the shelves for the even more exciting but initially higher-priced new models.

Not every deal is a good deal, of course. In among all those festively good deals is plenty of overpriced tat - and not just of the 'comedy' Margaret Thatcher nutcracker variety. That's why, if you're after a decent tech deal, you need to research the product area first to check on what the budget you've set aside out to garner you.

The buying guides and comparative group tests, as well as the individual reviews here on PC Advisor's website are a good starting point, while our latest magazine issue summarises the best laptops, cameras, satnavs, MP3 players and more in a handy guide.

The Shopping section of our site and the price comparison links on our reviews will help you find the best current online deals, but you'll want some similar best-price reassurance when you're traipsing the high street too.

It's not just John Lewis that is Never Knowingly Undersold - other shops offer guarantees of being the best deal around too.

This means that if you're in a shop that says it will match the price of local or even national retailers, it's a fair bet that you're getting a great deal. It's worth checking whether they have get-out clauses for sale items, of course. Having bought your bargain item, it's also worth checking up on the veracity of the retailers' claims using an online price checker.

Although PriceProtectr is primarily aimed at US consumers, it can also check deals on some UK sites including the UK arm of Amazon.

We don't have Black Friday, but nor do you need to wait for the January sales to bag a technology bargain.

Just remember to pay by credit card for anything over £100 and to keep the receipt in case you subsequently find a better deal.

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