Friday Deals: Resolutions, 2.33Gbps Router, Yamaha AV Receiver [u]

MacNN and Electronista Deals for January 2, 2015

[Updated with more deals on Saturday] Welcome to Friday Deals, the first installment of 2015 (alternately known as the "Santa didn't get me everything I wanted" edition) of the money-saving post where we find great offers on hardware, gadgets, and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Just like last year, the offers are correct at the time of writing, but may change, so check before purchasing. Also, come back to this post later, as we will be adding more deals to it throughout the weekend.

Hardware

[Updated Saturday] Are you one of the many who got a new iPhone or iPad under the tree this year? If so, you might suddenly be finding yourself in need of a car charger that can handle both smartphones and tablets. Amazon has a few on sale, including the Aukey 48W/9.6A four-port USB model in either black or white for only $17 with free shipping for Prime members (otherwise, you'll need to pad the order out to $35 or more). There's also a two-port version that's considerably more compact for only $10 Prime shipped.

It is likely that you, like so other people, will have by this point made a resolution to get fitter or to improve yourself throughout the year. One easy way to accomplish the fitness aspect would be a Gaiam Balance Ball chair. Consisting of a 20-inch balance ball and a back rest, the chair is designed to help promote proper spinal alignment and posture, as well as strengthening the core muscles. As an Amazon Deal of the Day, it is priced at $56 instead of $80 until the end of today.

Maybe it is the "other" kind of resolution you're more interested in. Best Buy is offering the LG 65-inch Ultra HD smart TV for $2,200, saving $800 on the regular price. The similar 65-inch Samsung Ultra HD TV is also offered for $2,500 instead of $3,500, with Samsung's version also including the ability to watch 3D content.

[Updated Saturday] If you don't need or want 4K, the old-fashioned 1080p sets continue to fall in price as well. Best Buy and Amazon both have a 55-inch Samsung 1080p LED Smart HDTV for $680. The unit features a 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz Clear Motion Rate, two HDMI intros, DTS 5.1 decoding and built-in Wi-Fi. Smart features include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora and YouTube, though all but YouTube require a separate subscription.

For just a tiny bit more money, Best Buy can move you into a 60-inch Sharp Aquos with very similar specs for $700. This one, in addition to being a bit bigger, offers Netflix, Pandora, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Picasa, but not Hulu Plus.

Rakuten.com is currently listing the Yamaha RX-V477 A/V Receiver for $350, down from $450. The Dolby True HD, DTS HD, Digital Plus, Digital, and Virtual Surround-compatible 5.1-channel reciever includes six HDMI inputs, one 4K-capable HDMI output, and AirPlay music streaming.

If you're looking to improve your home network, Newegg is selling the Netgear R7500-100NAS Nighthawk X4 router for $200 instead of $280. Using a dual-core 1.4GHz processor and four high-gain antennas, it offers a data transfer rate of up to 2.33Gbps over dual-band Wi-Fi with beamforming, four Gigabit Ethernet ports with one WAN port, two USB 3.0 ports, and an eSATA port.

[Updated Saturday] Best Buy is having a (up to) 60 percent off sale on the "Best Buy Outlet" section of its website, with some notable refurbished items for iPad and iPhone owners, now through January 17, and some special "open box" deals you can discover by visiting your local store. Quantities are limited, obviously, so act fast on these. For Apple owners, there's a ton of Smart Covers for both full-size and Mini iPads and last-generation sales on iPads of all sorts -- in addition to truckloads of accessories from well-known third party names like Rocketfish, Speck, Zagg, Griffin and others for 40-60 percent off.

Mac Software

If you promised yourself that you would sort your taxes out well before they need to be filed, maybe H&R Block Tax Software 14 Deluxe would be a good purchase. Available on PC and Mac, Amazon is selling the disc version in frustration-free packaging for $22, saving 51 percent off the regular price.

GoG's main sale this weekend consists of games from Interplay. Notable discounted items include Descent 1 and 2 for $5, the first two Earthworm Jim games for $5, and Battle Chess Special Edition for $3.

[Updated Saturday] IcyBlaze software is discounting its products by 60 percent until January 5. This includes document organizer iDocument for $28 rather than $70, image collection organizer Sparkbox for Mac for $12 (till January 10), and social network picture organizer PixFeed (formerly Droool) for free (the latter does still require a $10 in-app purchase to unlock all features, however).

Mariner Software, makers of fine word-smithing and related desktop Mac apps, started their End-of-Year sale off with a bang -- as in, an exploding web server. Their eStore was consequently difficult to access for a while, but all is now working again and the company has decided to extend their 50 percent off all desktop apps sale to January 6 as a result of the problems. This is your golden opportunity to get the fine word processor Mariner Write, the Excel alternative Mariner Calc, writing tools Montage or Persona or Storymill, or even recipe manager MacGourmet, among other programs, for half their normal price (even the bundles are half off). Just visit the web store and apply code EOY2014 to your purchase.

Speaking of extended sales, Synium Software has extended their Christmas sale to January 11 -- despite the fact that their server appears to be working fine! As with Mariner, all the company's apps are half off their normal price. This includes their flagship genealogy programs, MacFamilyTree for OS X and MobileFamilyTree for iOS, video capture program Screenium, 3D software TerraRay, and budget-planning software iFinance and iFinance Mobile. No code is required, the programs are already discounted through the 11th.

Apps for iOS

[Updated Saturday] Password manager for iOS and Mac OneSafe has a sale running on the iOS part of it, down to just $1 from its usual $9. The OS X counterpart, which can sync with the iOS version using iCloud or Dropbox, is still priced at $10.

The Free App of the Week is Icycle: On Thin Ice, which is probably one of the best games with naked bicyclists around. Match-3 puzzler Azkend 2 HD: The World Beneath is down to just $1 from its normal $5, and Dungeon Village, a sweet little RPG-townbuilding retro-style game with no in-app purchases, is just $2 -- 60 percent off its normal $5 price.

One of the painting apps featured in Apple's current gallery of user-created art is Waterlogue, which sells for $3 -- but you can get it for free by opening or downloading the Apple Store app and visiting the "Stores" tab, which routinely gives away valuable software.

Miscellany

[Updated Saturday] We generally stick to hardware and software in Friday Deals, but occasionally a good deal will come along that doesn't fit into either category, but demands the attention of us bargain-lovers. So it is with the current sale on rentals of documentaries from the iTunes Store. Sure, action-packed zombie fests or CGI-laden superhero movies are awesome, but sometimes a good documentary can change your entire life.

Currently, iTunes is offering rentals on some 40 documentaries for $1 each, the lowest price -- by far -- we've ever seen on most of them. If you haven't seen Blackfish, Searching for Sugar Man, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, To Be Takei, Grizzly Man, Muscle Shoals, 20 Feet From Stardom, Women Aren't Funny or The Queen of Versailles, all we can tell you is that this is your cheapest-ever chance -- and that your mind will be utterly blown in all kinds of good (and bad) ways, far more than any crude light-comedy vehicle that accidentally annoys certain Supreme Leaders.

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