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Sunday, June 26, 2022

The weekend’s best deals: Apple’s newest AirPods, Google’s Pixel 5a, and more

Ars Technica


It’s time for another Dealmaster. Leading today’s roundup of the best tech deals we can find is a new low price on the latest Apple AirPods, as the third-gen model of the popular wireless earbuds is currently down to $140 at Amazon. The full discount should appear at checkout. This price is also available at Costco, though you’ll need a Costco membership to take advantage of the deal. Either way, this is $39 off Apple’s MSRP and about $30 off the average street price we’ve seen since the earbuds launched in October. As of this writing, Amazon’s listing says the AirPods will ship before Christmas, though that could change as more orders are placed.

We’ve had a pair of the newest AirPods on hand for a couple of weeks. While we don’t think they’re the absolute best value among wireless earbuds, they could still be worthwhile for the right person. Namely, if you prefer an “open-back” design that rests outside of your ear canal instead of inserting within it, the third-gen AirPods have a richer and more balanced sound than most of their peers. They let in too much outside noise to sound better than the best true wireless in-ear headphones, but if you find this kind of fit more comfortable, that might be worth the trade-off. They’re a definite upgrade over the previous AirPods in terms of audio quality; just be aware the wider earpieces here might not fit certain ear shapes as comfortably as the older pair.

In general, the third-gen AirPods borrow heavily from the AirPods Pro. The open-back design means there’s no active noise cancellation, but the earbuds have the same IPX4 water resistance and “force sensor” control scheme. The latter still isn’t perfect, but it’s more responsive than merely tapping the earbuds to take calls and pause your music. The same host of Apple-friendly features are here as well: the new AirPods pair quickly with other Apple devices and can automatically switch between them if you, say, take a call on an iPhone while listening to music on an iPad. The included case supports wireless charging and can power up the earbuds four or five times per charge, while the earbuds themselves last a little over six hours on their own. That’s decent, if not world-beating.

The new AirPods are still not ideal for Android users, and again, there are other true wireless models we like that offer more for the money. But if you’re an iPhone owner that can’t stand the feeling of in-ear headphones, they may be the right fit for you.

If you’re all set on the headphone front, though, our deals roundup also includes a returning Black Friday deal for Google’s Ars-approved Pixel 5a phone, a new low price on a board game we like in Mysterium, a Best Buy deal that gives $20 in store credit when you buy a $200 Apple Gift Card, and several deals on well-reviewed video games that released earlier this year. You can find all of those and many more deals we like in our full list below.

Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

The third-generation Apple AirPods.
Enlarge / The third-generation Apple AirPods.

Jeff Dunn

Featured deals of the day

Sony's WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling headphones.
Enlarge / Sony’s WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling headphones.

Jeff Dunn

Electronics deals

The Google Pixel 5a has a great design at any price point.
Enlarge / The Google Pixel 5a has a great design at any price point.

Ron Amadeo

Fitbit's Sense smartwatch.
Enlarge / Fitbit’s Sense smartwatch.

Corey Gaskin / Ars Technica

TV and media streamer deals

The new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max promises faster speeds than the base Fire TV Stick 4K, as well as Wi-Fi 6 support.
Enlarge / The new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max promises faster speeds than the base Fire TV Stick 4K, as well as Wi-Fi 6 support.

Amazon

Laptop and desktop PC deals

Samsung's SSD 980 (middle) is a dependable SSD for mainstream uses.
Enlarge / Samsung’s SSD 980 (middle) is a dependable SSD for mainstream uses.

Jim Salter

Video game deals

<em>Bowser's Fury</em> is an all-new <em>Mario </em>game that comes alongside the enhanced Switch port of <em>Super Mario 3D World</em>.
Enlarge / Bowser’s Fury is an all-new Mario game that comes alongside the enhanced Switch port of Super Mario 3D World.
The charming platformer <em>Psychonauts 2</em> is one of our favorite games of 2021.
Enlarge / The charming platformer Psychonauts 2 is one of our favorite games of 2021.
The co-op platformer <em>It Takes Two</em> recently won Game of the Year at <a href=
Enlarge / The co-op platformer It Takes Two recently won Game of the Year at The Game Awards.

Hazelight

The unusual adventure-meets-delivery game <em>Death Stranding</em>.
Enlarge / The unusual adventure-meets-delivery game Death Stranding.
Razer's Kishi is a mobile game controller that wraps around the side of your smartphone.
Enlarge / Razer’s Kishi is a mobile game controller that wraps around the side of your smartphone.

Gaming deals

The Nintendo Switch.
Enlarge / The Nintendo Switch.

Smart home device deals

Google's Nest Mini smart home speakers.
Enlarge / Google’s Nest Mini smart home speakers.

Google

Accessories and miscellaneous deals

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