16 Great Deals on TVs, Apple Headphones, Soundbars, and More

With the Super Bowl around the corner and the weather still freezing in most of the northern hermisphere, now is a great time to snag some home entertainment products to help you make it through until the grass starts growing again. This week we’ve found excellent discounts on the best TVs, soundbars, headphones, and some other favorite tech.

Interested in venturing outside? Check out our list of great camera gear on sale right now.

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TV Deals

LG C1 OLED

Photograph: LG

With a 120-Hz refresh rate and super-low input lag, the LG C1 (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is the best-looking TV I’ve ever used to play video games. It also has perfect black levels, a very easy-to-use interface, and a remote that you can point and click like the Wiimotes of old. It’s the prettiest screen I’ve seen for the price.

If you don’t need a mammoth screen, this is a solid deal on a very decent Samsung. It has the company’s quantum dot panel for brighter colors and comes with the proprietary image processing to make sports look smoother. It also has Google Assistant and Alexa built in.

You buy a Sony TV for great processing, and that’s what you get with this X85J model. It has a 120-Hz refresh rate for smooth sports and gaming, and Sony’s 4K X-Reality Pro engine upscales standard HD content to look prettier on the 4K panel.

Do you also hate that most TVs come with legs way off on either side, thus making your existing TV stand useless? The Q80A is a great TV that comes with a center pedestal stand, so it’ll fit on legacy furniture.

Sony makes the prettiest TVs that money can buy, and this OLED model is no exception. If you want a TV to use in a small viewing space, or if you want an additional monitor to stream videos and games, this is an excellent choice, even at the still-hefty price for its size. A center pedestal stand makes it easier to place than other models.

Headphone and Speaker Deals

Apple AirPods Max

Photograph: Apple

The AirPods Max are the best sounding wireless headphones I’ve ever heard. Typically, they come with a hefty price to match, but this weekend they very nearly approach what you’d pay for a similar (but worse-sounding) model from Sony or Bose. If you’ve been waiting to snag a pair, now’s a good time.

The new AirPods Pro are the same as the old ones (8/10, WIRED Recommends), but they now come with a MagSafe charging case, which makes them better for those of us who break cables. They’re currently the cheapest I’ve seen them, which makes it a good time to buy nicer AirPods if your older pair is starting to have super short battery life.

In the market for a pair of noise-canceling earbuds? This new model from Sony (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is a bit bulky—I’d avoid if you have smaller ears—but they offer the best noise reduction I’ve ever heard from a pair of earbuds. Pop them in, and the rest of the world will disappear. 

I like the Alexa-enabled Polk Audio React (8/10, WIRED Recommends) because it’s a modular soundbar system. You can start with this bar, then add a subwoofer or surround speakers down the line, as room or budget allows. The Alexa functionality is also great for setting timers and for checking the weather before you step outside.

Everyone needs a soundbar, and this one is very cheap. The wireless subwoofer will make all your favorite shows and movies come to life, and it means this thing is not awful for playing dance music or karaoke. 

Sennheiser’s hyper-expensive Ambeo soundbar is a single thick speaker array that is capable of filling even large rooms with high-fidelity sound. It’s also one of the spendiest single-unit soundbars that money can buy, which is why a $500 discount like this one is worth noting. If you’re in the midst of a remodel and have the budget, this bar sounds nearly as good as a dedicated surround sound system but in a much sleeker package.

It’s not the steepest discount, but I’ve fallen in love with these little speakers from Sony. They’re about the size of a beer can, and they allow you to bring your favorite songs with you, thanks to an IP67 dust- and water-resistance rating and 16 hours of battery life. 

Computing and Home Deals

iRobot Roomba J7+

Photograph: iRobot

Roomba makes the best robot vacuums, and its self-emptying models have been the only ones we’ve found that actually work as advertised. It’s still spendy at this price, but if you are tired of vacuuming, a robot vacuum like this one will be a godsend—take it from someone who owns two dogs.

We’re big fans of the M1 Macbook Air (9/10, WIRED Recommends.) Even at $50 off, it’s a worthwhile buy for those who need a very powerful portable computer with excellent battery life. This deal is also available at Micro Center for an even steeper discount, if you can pick it up in person.

Still spending hours on Zoom calls each week? Consider increasing your audio quality with a mic like this Blue Yeti X, which comes in a sleek black color and will seriously up how good you sound to your peers.

Slow internet has been a struggle for many of us throughout the pandemic, and this Orbi mesh router system from Netgear is our favorite solution for larger homes. It’s rated for homes up to 5,000 square feet.


More Great WIRED Stories

10 Great Deals on Outdoor Apparel: Baselayers, Insulated Jackets, Rain Jackets

Now’s the time the outdoor clothing industry starts thinking about spring and summer and offloads the puffy hoodies, fleece jackets, and wool undies. The weather isn’t there just yet, so if you haven’t felt as warm as you’d like outside these past few weeks, you can snag new threads at steep discounts. We’ve found deals on some of our favorite rain jackets, mid- and outer-layer insulation, and base layers.

If you’re an REI member and spend at least $100 on a single purchase by February 13, either at a retail store or at REI.com, you’ll get a $20 bonus card that can be used on any purchase from February 16 to 26.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more.

Base Layer Deals

Smartwool Merino 150 base layer top

Photograph: Smartwool

Read our guide to the Best Winter Base Layers for more recommendations.

This ranked as my favorite wool base layer when I tested a bunch last year. I like thin base layers for active pursuits, such as climbing and hiking, and the Merino 150 was the perfect blend of warmth and breathability.

Likewise, Smartwool’s matching bottom base layers are warm, but not too warm that they’ll leave you sweating. There’s just a little bit of nylon here to make them form-fitting and stretchy to prevent bunching underneath top-layer pants.

For those who prefer a synthetic fabric for base layers, the Marmot Polartec is made from a midweight polyester, with a bit of Spandex mixed in for a snug fit. Synthetic fabrics dry out faster than wool, although they don’t insulate when wet the way wool does. 

Insulated Jacket Deals

Carhartt Yukon Extremes Insulated Parka

Photograph: Carhartt

Check out our guide on How to Layer Outdoor Clothing for tips on where insulated jackets should fit into your clothing system.

I prefer synthetic-insulation puffies like the Featherless Hoody in damp or snowy environments where temperatures can hover around freezing, because they dry out faster than goose down. There’s also a hoodless version for $131 ($44 off) if you’re not a fan of hoods flopping behind your head.

The Fuego is packed with 800-fill goose down, which is treated with a durable water-repellent finish to help lessen the amount of moisture it absorbs. Fill power is a way of measuring the warmth-to-weight ratio and compressibility of the goose down. A high number (such as the Fuego’s 800) means it’ll be warmer than a garment with a lesser number and can compress down smaller in your pack. The men’s hoodie is also on sale, and there are hoodless versions available for women and men. If you buy a Cotopaxi item for $75 or more at Moosejaw by February 7, you can score a free Bataan hip pack (worth $30) by entering the code COTOPAXIGIFT at checkout (as long as supplies last).

The lightweight fleece still has a place in my heart as mid-layer insulation between a base layer and shell jacket (or rain jackets). Fleece tends to be less bulky as a puffy mid-layer, and it’s durable and dries out quickly.

If you need something more durable, the Yukon Extremes parka packs around 14 ounces of synthetic insulation inside a 500-denier Cordura nylon shell. Unlike lightweight hiking puffies, you won’t have to worry about a branch or fence post slicing your jacket if you’re out doing yard work. 

Rain Jacket Deals

Outdoor Research MicroGravity

Photograph: Outdoor Research 

Just in time for the rainy season, a few of our favorite rain jackets are on sale right now.

The MicroGravity (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a lightweight, three-layer shell designed for climbing. Its helmet-compatible hood and ability to pack down into its own pocket makes it a worthwhile addition to your climbing or hiking pack, but it’ll also serve you well on rainy days in the city. 

WIRED senior associate reviews editor Adrienne So likes the PreCip Eco for its PFC-free recycled nylon fabric. Its seams are completely taped, so water won’t leak in during harsh weather, and it has armpit zippers for venting the jacket during strenuous activity. The men’s sizing is on sale here.

The Helium is—surprise—a very lightweight jacket, weighing only about 6 ounces, depending on the size. While it’s not as feature-rich as heavier jackets, it still has pit zips and a hood, and it’s fully seam-taped. The men’s version is available on sale for $119 in limited colors.


More Great WIRED Stories

The IRS Drops Facial Recognition Verification After Uproar

The Internal Revenue Service is dropping a controversial facial recognition system that requires people to upload video selfies when creating new IRS online accounts.

“The IRS announced it will transition away from using a third-party service for facial recognition to help authenticate people creating new online accounts,” the agency said on Monday. “The transition will occur over the coming weeks in order to prevent larger disruptions to taxpayers during filing season. During the transition, the IRS will quickly develop and bring online an additional authentication process that does not involve facial recognition.”

The IRS has been using the third-party system ID.me for facial recognition of taxpayers. Privacy and civil rights advocates and lawmakers from both major parties have objected to the system. The IRS wasn’t demanding ID.me verification for filing tax returns but was requiring it for accessing related services, such as account information, applying for payment plans online, requesting transcripts, and the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.

The ID.me system is “using Amazon’s controversial Rekognition technology” and had verified 20.9 million users’ selfies by January 25, Bloomberg wrote. The Treasury Department last year signed a two-year, $86 million contract with a vendor to deploy and maintain ID.me software.

US Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, was among those who called on the IRS to scrap the system. “The Treasury Department has made the smart decision to direct the IRS to transition away from using the controversial ID.me verification service, as I requested earlier today,” Wyden said after Monday’s announcement. “I understand the transition process may take time, but I appreciate that the administration recognizes that privacy and security are not mutually exclusive and no one should be forced to submit to facial recognition to access critical government services.”

The IRS process involves uploading a photo of an ID (such as a license or passport) along with a video selfie, which are compared against each other to verify the user’s identity. ID.me explains that, if the process fails, “you will be routed to verify your identity over a video call with an ID.me Trusted Referee … You will need to show your identity documents to an ID.me Trusted Referee along with a selfie (a photo of yourself) to complete your identity verification.”

ID.me verification was already required for people creating new IRS accounts. There was a phase-in approach for people who had previously created IRS online accounts—the IRS said in November that those people can use their credentials until summer 2022 and will be “prompted to create an ID.me account as soon as possible.”

A group of 15 Republican senators last week wrote a letter to IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, saying the “IRS has unilaterally decided to allow an outside contractor to stand as the gatekeeper between citizens and necessary government services.” The senators objected to “intrusive verification measures” and the fact that “ID.me is not subject to the same oversight rules as a government agency.”

Another letter urging the IRS to abandon the facial recognition technology was sent Monday by four Democratic House members. “Americans will be forced to put sensitive data into a biometric database, which is a prime target for cyberattacks,” they wrote.

The Democrats illustrated the risk by pointing to a 2019 “cyberattack on a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) subcontractor [that] exposed the face images and license plates of thousands of US travelers. The subcontractor cyberattack and ensuing fallout were significant, but the cybersecurity risk with the IRS’s plan is far greater: millions of Americans use the IRS website annually for a variety of vital functions, and, as a result, each of them will be forced to trust a private contractor with some of their most sensitive data.”