I may be allergic to hype, sales or deals but I’m no Buddha either — of course I love drinking great coffee, listening to music on the best speakers sitting on the most comfortable armchair. While the shopping madness of Black Friday means lots of people will be running around with flat screen TVs, there are certain products I will buy today and on any other day except this week they are significantly marked down. I’ve scanned though hundreds of deals at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and beyond and gathered my absolute favorites.
City-proof wireless earbuds
Jabra Elite 65t
With special dust and water resistance and a 5-hour active use battery life, these might be the only earbuds you may ever need to survive anything from a subway ride, to a confusing rain tornado amidst a jog in New York City. To boot is full integration with Siri’s voice commands and 4 noise-cancelling microphones to have a phone conversation in front of a jack hammer.
$170 → $120 on Amazon
DNA test for the curious
Beyond all curiosities, one may be the most interesting — where do you actually come from? Ancestry’s new DNA test gives a detailed look of your origin based on the information from 350 regions in the world. You’ll be able to trace how your family ancestors moved from country to country and at the end get to connect to the people who took a similar test and got similar results.
$99 → $49 at Ancestry
A starter’s 3D printer
Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer
3D printers used to be monstrous and cost thousands of dollars but it’s no longer the case. This machine from Monoprice is compatible with Mac or Windows and works with apps such as Cure, Repeater, or Simplify 3D. The printer features a large plate (8×8 inches) and allows for 7 inches of vertical space — ready for quite large objects. A Micro SD card included with this kit includes a few handy models to get printing right away.
$280 → $230 on Amazon
A minimal coffee maker
OXO On Barista Brain 9 Cup Coffee Maker
While I’m more of an espresso type, I love well-brewed regular coffee. The issue is, it’s hard to come by. With its latest coffee maker, OXO tries to point out how cluttered and unnecessary most other coffee makers are. A single button controls the brewing process and can set a timer to get your cup ready when you wake up. Under the hood is what makes the coffee taste so good — the sensor keeping the temperature at the perfect 197.6 Degrees F and a rainmaker shower head that evenly disperses water over coffee grounds for full flavor extraction.
$200 → $160 on Amazon
A perfect city backpack
ICON Triple Black Backpack
There are a hundred ways to make an average city backpack and only a few to make a great one. In their latest edition of Icon backpack, Incase focused on the design details that matter most. Constructed from special shade of 840D nylon and treated with an abrasion resistant finish, this durable pack accommodates an iPad and 15-inch Macbook with dedicated, padded sleeves, built-in accessory organizers and cushioned, ergonomic straps made of sternum.
$250 → $125 at Incase
A workout at home when it’s too cold out
ProForm HIIT High Intensity Elliptical and Stepper
Usually I never have to think about how much I move to stay healthy — most of my walking and city explorations make me plot miles and miles a day. That said, a few winter months a year the merciless New York wind makes me stay at home longer. Ellipticals are great because that most closely represent the act of walking. This model by ProForm features 24 resistance levels and an integration with iFit allows you to set an actual walking route in Google Maps and see the actual street views of the path as you walk.
$1020→ $700 at Walmart
A great studio workbench
The WORKPRO Multi Purpose Workbench with Work Light
In my design practice, the workspace means a ton. Everything from the height of the table, to the position and intensity of light to how handy the tools are located — all these make up for a productive day. This simple and affordable all-steel workbench seems to be made just for that. Black oxide finish actively resists rust and the particle board surface can take a beating.
$130→ $85 at Walmart
A new design tablet
Wacom Intuos Creative Pen Tablet
I sometimes think that I was born with a Wacom in my hands. The moment I switched from a regular mouse, I was instantly delighted how organic it is to browse and design with a pen in hand. I’ve switched a dozen Wacoms and this one will be my next. The new small model features 4k pressure levels for precision and control and a special Electro-Magnetic Resonance for a fluid feel.
$80→ $50 at Walmart
Read on the go
No book in the world will replace a hefty paper book but with the number of reads to do, sometimes carrying a dozen tomes in your backpack in inconceivable. This e-reader from Kobo features a new generation of anti-glare touchscreen display. The high 1024 x 768 resolution displays makes the text extra crisp and the new smart backlight allows to read at any time of day. A single charge with last you several weeks and the 4Gb storage allows to keep 3,000 books at a time (probably enough for me).
$100→ $70 at Walmart
A phone stabilizer for video storytelling
The best camera for a city explorer
Capture great photos and video with this new Fujifilm digital camera. It includes a flexible 18-55mm zoom lens that easily adjusts to your subject, whether it’s close by or far in the distance. Features a large grip area, raised buttons and speedy X-Processor Pro engine.
$1,900→ $1,500 at Bestbuy
A great standing desk
Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk
Designed to keep you moving and the earth spinning, Jarvis Bamboo is the perfect adjustable height desk for both environmentally and aesthetically conscious standing desk users. With an industry-leading lifting capacity of 350 lbs, you can load up your desktop with just about anything—multiple monitors, gallons of coffee, and your dog. And its LED programmable handset lets you quickly adjust from low enough for a child to sit to high enough for a 6’7” tall person to stand—and every leaning, twisting, perching whim between.
$650→ $550 on Fully
A new generation gaming console
The robot to keep your floors clean
iRobot Roomba 960
Roomba 960 seamlessly navigates room to room to clean an entire level of your home, recharging and resuming until the job is done. Featuring AeroForce Cleaning System, Roomba 960 delivers up to 5x the air power and requires less maintenance.
$699→ $479 on Amazon
Perfect gaming on-the-go
The Nintendo Switch 32GB game system goes where you go. Take the handheld gray console on the road, or connect the portable Nintendo system to your television for traditional at-home play. This hybrid Nintendo console features a mini controller system known as Joy Controllers.
$299→ $250 on ebay
A minimal electric toothbrush
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100
A gentle power toothbrush with a pressure sensor that protects teeth and gums from excess brushing pressure. Brush heads wear out over time — BrushSync technology tracks how long you have been using your brush head and how hard you have been brushing. It will beep to inform you when to replace your brush head.
$70→ $35 on Amazon
Your own virtual reality headset
Oculus Go is a whole new way to watch in VR. With crystal clear optics and state of the art 3D graphics, the headset feels more like a personal theater. Just put it on, switch it on, and enjoy the littlest, big screen around. Watch a movie on a 180 inch screen, catch a sold-out concert from the front row, or just hang out with friends from anywhere.
$199→ $179 on Amazon
Kickstart a smart home
A humidifier for dry winter days
Dial Knob Mist Control Whisper-Quiet humidifier. All night mist makes you have a pleasant and quiet sleeping. Ultrasonic humidifier lowers the noise level to 32dB (quieter than a computer) for quiet humidification without disturbing your study, working or sleeping.
$50→ $39 on Amazon
A robot of your own
Cozmo is a real-life robot like you’ve only seen in the movies and he’s ready to be your loyal sidekick. Challenge Cozmo to games, or use Explorer mode to see things from his perspective. With a beginner-friendly interface, cozmo is the perfect educational robot for kids and adults to learn to creatively code.
$179→ $139 on Amazon
The only culture magazine that you need
The New Yorker subscription
Don’t miss the New Yorker’s famous fiction and poetry, book and film review, its incisive looks at politics, people and the way we live, and of course, those cartoons. In-depth reporting, surprising opinions, sharp wit, the best in prose, poetry, and the visual arts.
$105→ $5 on Amazon
A perfect back-up iPhone for travels
A cinematic drone to capture your travels
DJI Mavic Air
Explore the world like never before with this Mavic Air drone. Simple controls make this device easy for novices and experts alike, while the portable design allows for convenient storage between uses. Select from horizontal, vertical or 180-degree panorama views, or record video in UHD quality for breathtaking aerial imagery. With 8GB of internal storage and 21 minutes of flight time, this Mavic Air drone covers and captures vast areas in a single flight.
$1000→ $850 on Amazon
The only mattress you may need
Casper Twin Mattress
One of my favorite mattresses is made with premium latex foam for cooling & bounce and memory foam for supportive comfort. Developed and crafted with exacting standards in the U.S.A., the bed is resilient enough to compress-ship and fit through any door. Free shipping and free returns, with a 100-night no-risk trial.
$595→ $475 on Amazon
A digital keyboard for lifelong piano learners
Casio Privia PX160GD
The new Privia PX-160 utilizes Casio’s famous AiR Sound Source and its remarkable Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II keyboard. With several enhancements in sounds and features over the previous generation, the PX-160 continues to provide world-class features at an unbeatable price.
$499→ $399 on Amazon