Black Friday 2021: Smart home and networking deals live now – CNET

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This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift.

Thanksgiving is upon us, and that means that the holiday buying season is in full swing, with Black Friday looming on the horizon. While many of the best deals won’t be available until then, we’re already seeing plenty of early-bird specials from manufacturers and retailers hoping to grab some attention before the big day hits — and that includes a number of good offers for popular smart home gadgets and top-tested home networking equipment, including a number of Editors’ Choice winners.

We’ll update this post regularly with our favorite deals of the bunch, several of which are worth considering right now. So let’s get right to it — all of these deals are live and in stock as of Thursday morning.

Deals live now

Chris Monroe/CNET

Amazon might make our favorite smart speaker, but Google leads the way with smart displays, which add in a screen. The best of the bunch is the second-gen Nest Hub, which offers a 7-inch display that can play videos or display recipes while you cook, host video chats with friends and family, and so much more. The Google Assistant voice controls work well, too, making it a handy device for smart home controls, glanceable weather forecasts, or help with conversions and quick fact lookups. It even offers sleep tracking, if that’s your thing. At this price, you may want to just grab two of them since you’re going to want them around the house.

As of Wednesday morning, the sand- and sky-colored versions were out of stock, but Nest Hubs with chalk- and charcoal-colored bases are still available.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

This deal saves you $40 on the latest Echo Show 5 smart display, just released a few months ago. It offers improved cameras for video calls, still has a physical camera shutter to protect your privacy and more. At $45, this is the best price we’ve ever seen for it, and you can also add a Blink Camera into the mix for just $5 more.

Looking for the Echo Show 5 Kids Edition, with the chameleonic coloring and the enhanced parental controls? That one’s on sale, too, down to $50 from a usual price of $95, saving you $45.

David Priest/CNET

With support for 2K resolution and night vision, plus a built-in siren and spotlight, the weather-resistant Arlo Pro 4 is our top-rated outdoor security camera of 2021 — but it’s typically pretty expensive to buy in. This Black Friday early-bird special knocks $200 off the price of a three-pack, bringing the cost down to $400. Both the black and white versions of this system are on sale, and as of Thursday morning, both are still in stock.

SimpliSafe has been one of CNET’s top-rated home security systems for years — now, for Black Friday week, you can score the company’s Protect package for $130, saving you $90. For the money you’re getting the SimpliSafe base station plus a keypad, a motion sensor and four contact sensors for windows and doors. From there, it’s $15 per month for 24/7 live professional monitoring, plus full app controls that let you control and customize the system to your heart’s content.

Signify

Philips Hue owners know the drill: You start with a starter kit, and then you add additional color-changing bulbs throughout your home whenever the things go on sale. That time is now, with a three-pack of the current-gen LEDs marked down to $100, saving you $35. Note that these bulbs feature Zigbee and Bluetooth radios, so you’ll be able to pair them with a phone even if you don’t have a Hue Bridge plugged into your router.

Signify

This Hue deal gets you a color-changing light strip that you can stick behind your TV, beneath your countertops, above your cabinetry, or anywhere else you’d like — and it also gets you the all-important Hue Bridge, which plugs into your router, quarterbacks all of your Hue lights, and unlocks all of the best features and integrations in the Hue app.

With that Bridge in place, it’s easy to start expanding your setup whenever you catch Hue lights on sale. That makes this a great deal for smart lighting newbies.

Ry Crist/CNET

The TP-Link Archer AX21 is an entry-level Wi-Fi 6 router that typically costs about $100 or so, but right now, for Black Friday week, you can find it for $25 off, bringing the cost down to $75. Among all of the Wi-Fi 6 budget picks we’ve tested, it performed the best, with fast, reliable speeds and an easy-to-use app that makes it a cinch to set the thing up and manage your home network settings. All of that made it an easy Editors’ Choice-winner here on CNET. 

It’s very likely that most of the new Wi-Fi devices you’ll be buying in the next year will support Wi-Fi 6, so if you want to take advantage of that faster, more efficient level of performance at home, you’ll need a router to match. This deal gets you there with a very capable router at a terrific price.

Netgear

If you’re looking for a Wi-Fi 6 router with a little more oomph than our best budget picks, then you’ll want to consider this deal on the Netgear Nighthawk RAX48, an AX5200 router with full support for Wi-Fi 6. Capable of hitting speeds of up to 3Gbps, the RAX48 is a nice step up from the entry-level models, and it’s on sale for half off, bringing the cost all the way down to $150. 

Linksys

Wi-Fi 6E is a brand new designation for current-gen Wi-Fi 6 routers that are equipped to transmit data over the newly-opened 6GHz band, which is something that routers couldn’t do before an FCC vote last year. That 6GHz band is extra-wide and free from interference from earlier-gen Wi-Fi devices, so it’s sort of like Wi-Fi’s new VIP section.

It’s still early days for Wi-Fi 6E, with only a handful of devices that support it, but if you want to take advantage of it at home (or future-proof your home network for devices yet to come), then you’re going to need a Wi-Fi 6E router. All of the ones available so far are very expensive and tough to recommend outside of the earliest of early adopters — but now, one of those routers is on sale for half off, bringing the cost down to $250.

The router in question is the Linksys Hydra Pro, an AXE6600 Wi-Fi 6E tri-band router that can connect on the 2.4, 5 and 6GHz bands. $250 for it is downright reasonable, and the first good Wi-Fi 6E sale that we’ve seen this year.

Ry Crist/CNET

The Eero Pro 6 is the higher-end version of Amazon’s mesh router, adding a second 5GHz band into the mix to serve as a dedicated wireless backhaul between the main router and its satellite extenders. That, along with support for faster Wi-Fi 6 speeds, is the key to unlocking top-tier mesh performance, and sure enough, the Eero Pro 6 is one of our top-recommended mesh routers, and an Editors’ Choice-winner from last year.

The Eero Pro 6 usually sells in a three-pack for $599, but for Black Friday week, Amazon has it marked down to $449, saving you $150. That’s a great deal on a top-performing mesh router capable of spreading a fast, reliable signal throughout the entirety of a large-size home.

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