Dell always likes to get the jump on the Black Friday hype machine, often being the first tech retailer to unveil its roster of deals, but this year it’s really outdone itself. Then again, in a year where not much has seemed ordinary, it’s probably not shocking that Dell is launching its holiday shopping plans for Black Friday and Cyber Monday on October 15, two weeks before Halloween and just after the dust settled on Amazon’s annual Prime Day extravaganza.
With people turning to online shopping not only as a necessity during the lockdown days of the pandemic, but also as a source of relief from the social isolation the pandemic has engendered, it’s probably inevitable that the hysteria surrounding Black Friday begin earlier than ever before. It helps that thanks to online retailers, what once was a limited-time event that occasionally erupted into brick-and-mortar bedlam has turned into a continuum of deals that starts in mid-November and goes straight through the week of Cyber Monday.
Dell’s plans provide consumers (and small business owners) with a blueprint of what the next several weeks of shopping will look like, as begins offering select “Black Friday” deals today, even though Black Friday is November 27 this year. Those super-early deals on XPS, Precision, Vostro and Alienware systems will run until November 1, when phase 2 of Dell’s dealing kicks off with access to all non-doorbuster Black Friday sales beginning November 2 and running through November 28. Next, daily doorbuster offers begin on November 15 and the complete doorbuster experience launches Thanksgiving morning at 10 a.m. and runs through midnight, then restarts at 8 a.m. on Black Friday morning and goes until 10 p.m. that night. Finally, Sunday, November 29 sets off a new round of deals in anticipation of Cyber Monday, when hourly doorbusters are on offer from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., before ending on December 7.
If you’re not exhausted yet from reading through the logistics of it all, let’s take a look at some of the highlighted deals Dell is making available. For today’s kickoff, the New XPS 13 Touch laptop with Intel 11th-generation Core processor options will be on sale for $1,249 until 7:59 a.m. on October 25. Another early doorbuster Dell has revealed is the Alienware m15 R3 gaming notebook with a 10th-generation Core i7 CPU 16GB of RAM, 512GB solid-state drive, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card for $1,549.99 starting on October 19.
(It’s important to remember to check the current pricing when evaluating any Black Friday/Cyber Monday special, as the promoted savings may be based off the list price — or “estimated value” in Dell’s ads — of a product that’s been reduced some already. For instance, what is advertised as a $300 savings on the m15 R3 mentioned above is actually only $100 off because today’s price is $1,649.99.)
Given that caveat, notable Black Friday discounts for budget shoppers include a doorbuster at 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving for the Inspiron 15 3000 laptop (Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD) for $179.99, or $140 off the current price. If you prefer a desktop, the Inspiron Desktop equipped with Core i5-10400, 8 gigs of RAM, and 1TB hard drive is a 8 p.m. Thanksgiving doorbuster for $399.99 ($120 off today’s price). For the same price (and $200 lower than the current price) the more stylish XPS Desktop with Core i3-10100, 8GB of memory, and terabyte hard drive is a 11 a.m. Black Friday morning doorbuster.
If you don’t mind a slightly older Core i5-9300H processor, you can grab the 15-inch version of the popular XPS laptop for $799.99 as a noon Cyber Monday doorbuster, a savings of $150 off the current price. Those who prefer screen size over sheer portability could go for an Inspiron 17 3000 configuration (Core i7/8GB/2TB) that doesn’t seem to be currently available on the Dell site, but will be come November for $679.99.
Dell has stepped up its game — literally — with its Alienware gaming systems as well as its own G-series PCs — and the best deals that appear to be available this holiday shopping season are a G5 15 Gaming Laptop with Core i7-10750H, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 with a Cyber Monday 10 a.m. doorbuster price of $1,149.99 (more than $250 off today’s price) and an Alienware Aurora R11 desktop configured with Core i7 CPU, 16 gigs of RAM, 512GB SSD, and GeForce RTX 2060 graphics for $1,179.99 ($250 off) starting at 9 a.m. on Cyber Monday morning.
Dell splits its deal up into consumer and small business buckets, with small biz getting its own Black Friday ad. One of the business-oriented pre-Black Friday deals is the Precision 3551 Mobile Workstation for $1,039 starting at 11 a.m. on November 23; while it’s unclear which configuration you’d be getting, the savings Dell claims (45 percent off) suggest that if nothing else you’ll get 16GB of RAM and Nvidia Quadro P620 graphics. Those who could use a little less laptop for their business can grab a $679 Latitude 3510 doorbuster (Core i5, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD) instead starting at 10 a.m. on Black Friday ($140 off the current price), or get a $230 savings off the current price of a Vostro 15 5502 notebook with 11th-generation Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory, 512GB SSD, GeForce MX330 graphics and full HD display available as a 4 p.m. doorbuster on Cyber Monday for $819.
For workers chained to their desks, an early November 16 doorbuster gets you a Precision 3440 small form factor workstation with Core i5, 16 gigs of RAM, and 256GB SSD for $859, saving you $170 off today’s price, and a Cyber Monday sale sees Dell offering a well-configured Precision 3240 compact desktop for $1,289 or $210 less than the current pricing. Far less sexy, but equally essential servers are even discounted, such as the PowerEdge T340 with Celeron processor, 8GB of memory, and terabyte hard drive for $649 ($120 off) on Black Friday or the PowerEdge T440 with Intel Xeon Bronze CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 1TB hard drive for $999 ($160 off) on Cyber Monday.
With Dell revealing its Black Friday hand early, will other retailers follow suit? Check back to ZDNet as we continue to track Black Friday deals on laptops, desktops, and more.