Friday, November 20, 2020

Black Friday SSD deals: the fastest PC storage for the best price

Picking up a shiny new Black Friday SSD deal is one of the simplest ways to give your gaming PC a little shot in the arm. It's not going to suddenly deliver a chunky frame rate boost in Call of Duty Cold War, but it could mean you can get into the game a lot quicker, and y'know, actually fit the damned thing into your PC.

With game sizes getting ever more chonk it's always worth making sure you've got ample capacity in reserve for that next big title. Right now Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is the mightiest of all the mighty storage hogs on PC right now, clocking in at 231GB. That's big enough that a 256GB boot drive simply wouldn't have enough space for it and a simple Windows installation.

And we're at a point now where SSD storage is such good value on a price/GB basis that it now makes sense to simply keep adding in new solid state drives to your setup to keep that all-important game data safe. Especially with some of the Black Friday SSD deals we're expecting to see over the next week or so. Indeed considering some of the Black Friday SSD deals we're already seeing.

But size isn't the be-all-and-end-all. With the next-gen consoles both launching with speedy SSDs at their heart that performance is going to be front and center in the minds of game developers moving forward. Which means that hopefully a PCIe-based SSD will become a target on PC too, with the vast open world games of tomorrow all benefitting from super-fast storage.

So, it's worth getting on the NVMe SSD train right now, because the prices are no longer that different from their far slower SATA brethren. But there could still be some great Black Friday SSD deals on SATA drives too, making for great low-cost, but still relatively high-speed backups.

Pandora Black Friday deals 2020: Club members will find out first about major discounts

Pandora's bracelets, charms and rings will surely be at the top of many Christmas lists this year, with shoppers searching for online Black Friday deals to maximise their savings.

But the jewellery brand is keeping everyone guessing about their specific Black Friday deals, and encouraging people to become a club member to find out about the deals.

The Pandora website says shoppers should sign up to the club to be notified when the Black Friday offer begins. Members can also get free standard delivery in the UK.

We don't know all the details about the deals yet but you can get 20 per cent off some of their best selling products.

In the past Pandora has offered a free gift when you spend over a certain amount but it's not clear if they will do that again this year.

There are already plenty of discounts listed on the Pandora  website - learn more below. 

When is Black Friday?

Taking its lead from the American calendar, Black Friday is always the day after Thanksgiving.

This year Black Friday falls on November 27, 2020.

That is, officially, as unofficially lots of retailers jump the gun and list their deals ahead of the big day, with Amazon at the helm.

Consumer group  Which?  expects most sales will start the week before Black Friday, based on its pricing research.
Pandora club members

You can become a Pandora Club member to receive exclusive member benefits, sneak peeks and other special treats. Click here to learn more.

Pandora sale items

Some of the most popular items you can get this Christmas is the Pandora Moments Snake Chain Bracelet discounted at £110.00 from £275.00.

There is also the Flower Stem Neclace down to £88.00 from £175.00 as well as the Sparkling Pattern Ring at £62.00 from £125.00.

Some even more affordable sale items include the Oversized Sparkling Bow Charm at £30.00 from £100.00 and the Theodore Bear Pendant at £21.00 from £70.00.

If you really wanted to try the jewellery on you're in luck - Pandora even offers a virtual try on service.

It says: "Select the 'Try It On' button, you can find this on most of our product pages including: Rings, Bracelets & Charms. You can also take a picture of your own hand!"

You can also talk virtually to one of the store staff.

Shoppers warned over Black Friday scams: How to spot if a deal is genuine and common tricks used by fraudsters

This time next week, the biggest shopping event of the year will see people looking to take advantage of Black Friday flash sales.

More people will be online shopping than ever before with sales expected to increase a third this year, according to Adobe Analytics, thanks to the ongoing pandemic.

However, shoppers have been warned to take care when looking for cheap deals, as fraudsters look to exploit households purchasing early Christmas gifts.

Scammers will take the chance to capitalise on Black Friday - with some retailers already offering deals - leaving people at the risk of being duped as they attempt to make panicked buys in order to 'not miss out.'

Black Friday is a major shopping event of the year - something scammers take advantage of

Nearly half of 18 to 24 year-olds have fallen victim to fraud when shopping for Christmas, with 37 per cent losing over £100, a survey of 1,000 adults conducted by McAfee shows.

A further 74 per cent of millennials do not check whether Black Friday deals received via email or text are authentic and trusted before clicking.

The software security firm found that three quarters are concerned that the coronavirus means online scams will be more prevalent, with 46 per cent saying cyber scams become more prevalent during the holiday season.

Despite this, nearly half of people do not change their online activity as a result.

But how do fraudsters find their victims? Often it is through emails and online banners, using the same methods legitimate advertisers do.  

Alternatively, some scammers study their potential future victims and analyse their online behaviour, which can be easily done if the victim is browsing the web unprotected.  

To help shoppers avoid being scammed, This is Money reveals what to look out for when shopping on Black Friday and how you can spot fraud.

What to look out for this Black Friday

NordVPN, a private network service provider, listed five scenarios scammers will be looking to exploit in 2020:

1. Fake invoices: Paying an invoice that looks exactly like a utility one can easily happen when people make more transactions than usual.

This type of scam is called Authorised Push Payment fraud. The victims cannot reverse the payment once they realise they have been conned.

2. Bank notifications: Fraudsters mimic emails sent by banks, claiming that the purchases the victims have made couldn't be processed.

Willing to reinstate the payment, the victims then click on the link and enter their bank credentials on a fake bank website that looks exactly like the genuine one.

3. 'Your order has been cancelled': These scams can go as far as 'Sorry, we are out of stock, and your order has been cancelled. To claim your refund, please click here.'

Once the victim clicks on the link, they are asked to enter the details of the credit card to which they want to receive the refund and end up with their bank accounts being wiped out.

4. Lookalike pages: Amazon, eBay, Google — most users do not spot the discrepancies in the address bar as long as the website design looks legitimate.

They process the payment for the items in their shopping cart and end up robbed.

5. Renewing membership for the purchases you've made: Once you've finished with your purchases, scammers will send you an email claiming that your Amazon Prime subscription is due and the discount cannot be applied.

Therefore, if you want your items to get delivered, you have to renew the subscription. Ultimately, the victim gets tricked into disclosing their bank details.

Due diligence: 74% of millennials don't check if Black Friday deals received via email or text are authentic
Tips to help yourself prevent fraud

While it is scary to think that fraudsters could be looking to scam you next week, there are steps you can take to ensure you are shopping safely online.  

We have put together a list of top tips from McAfee and Action Fraud.  

1. Use multi-factor authentication: By using two factor authentication you can double check the authenticity of digital users and add an additional layer of security to protect personal data and information.

2. Browse with caution: Using tools can help block malware and phishing sites via malicious links.

These can often be ad blockers that are free to download on to your computer and will ensure nothing untoward crops up.  

3. Check website address: Checking a site URL can save shoppers from scams this Black Friday.

Fraudulent sites attempt to look as convincing as possible to seem similar to a website that you may often use.

Such methods include replacing a letter with a close looking one or missing out a letter that may be hard to spot.

Websites ending in .com and are the most normal sites to purchase from - beware of .org and .net.

4. Check the website content: When searching for deals, the images of items can sometimes be misleading or very different from what the product actually is.

If you are purchasing from directly from a site as opposed to a third-party page, such as Amazon, check if the site is genuine.

Websites with counterfeit products will often look less professional, with poor quality photos. If there is a padlock by the website URL, it should be safe.

It is also important to pay attention to how the site is written, for example, if there are lots of errors, such as spelling, it may have been put together in a hurry by a fraudster.

5. Payment method: When purchasing online, you should be able to pay by debit,  credit card or an online method like PayPal.

PayPal is often a safe option as scam artists will not be able to access your bank details.

You should never pay by bank transfer online as this could be difficult to recover. Take care to check out the returns policy as well.

Although Black Friday offers some amazing deals, if a usually expensive item is being offered at a large discount by an unknown website, it's most likely too good to be true.

6. Take care with links in emails and texts: Some of the emails or texts you receive about amazing offers may contain links to fake websites, designed to steal your money and personal details.

Not all links are bad, but it's good practice to check by typing the shop's website address manually into the address bar of your browser, or find the website through your search engine.

7. Keep devices up to date: Make sure you install the latest software and app updates.

These usually contain important security updates that can protect you against fraud and identity theft.

Information can easily be found about how to install these updates from Apple, Microsoft and Google.

Even better, just turn on automatic updates so your device will update itself in future.

A spokesperson for Action Fraud, said: 'Black Friday is one of the most anticipated sales events of the year. Unfortunately, criminals will see this as an ideal opportunity to take advantage of shoppers hoping to bag a great deal.

'To protect yourself when shopping online, use a secure payment method, such as a credit card if you have one, as this will offer you more protection if anything goes wrong.

'Always do your research before going through with a purchase and look up reviews of the website or seller you are using.

'Don't be taken in by deals that seem too good to be true – taking a moment to stop and think could help protect you and your money.'

How to spend wisely this lockdown

Atom bank, and Behavioural Psychologist at Durham University, Mario Weick, share their top tips to online spending wisely this lockdown.

1) Focus on a future goal: If you struggle to avoid the temptation of sales, one of the best ways to control your urges is to focus on a future goal that saving your money could lead to, whether that’s saving up for driving lessons or taking a step onto the property ladder.  

2) Avoid shopping when tired or under the influence of alcohol: Browsing your favourite online sites when you’re super tired at the end of a stressful week of work or after a few glasses of wine can lead you to make purchases without fully thinking them through.

3) Reduce your exposure to temptation: One way to alleviate the pressure is to reduce your exposure and avoid the situation, if possible. Something like going for a walk could be a good idea.

If you’re tempted to make a large purchase, just a five minute walk in the fresh air or a ten minute workout video could curb your spending.

If you’re still keen on making the purchase when your heart rate returns to neutral, then it’s unlikely that your body is just craving the endorphins that shopping can bring.

4) Drop the ‘all or nothing’ attitude: When you’re trying to limit your spending, you can feel like going cold-turkey is the only answer. However, evidence suggests that this ‘all or nothing’ attitude is actually harder to maintain than a split-budget approach.

As PriceRunner suggests that sales this Black Friday will be up 14 per cent compared to last year, ahead of Black Friday, set yourself a clear goal of how much you can comfortably afford to spend, and create a list of the areas you are happy to spend on.

5) Spend for long-term happiness: Take the time ahead of Black Friday to really work out what you want to gain from your purchases this month.

Although treating yourself can give you a little boost of joy, make sure you’re not only shopping for the sake of it, or to experience the excitement of grabbing a ‘bargain’.

This chance to reflect on whether your purchase will bring you long-term happiness will give the brain time to digest properly and lower the risk of spending on things that only have a short-term impact.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

Black Friday 2020: Expect shorter lines, simpler layouts and piles of pajamas

This holiday season, it’s all about the practical at Carter’s.

The children’s clothing chain has reimagined every part of the shopping experience. Pajamas, T-shirts and sweatpants are displayed prominently, near entrances, at all 800 stores instead of the red party dresses and plaid button-downs that are usually front-and-center this time of year. Stores have wider walkways and more cabinet space to accommodate online orders that will be picked up in-person. Pricing is more clear too: Instead of offering 40 percent off, for example, the company has moved to “more straightforward price points, so the T-shirt table is $6 and the pants are $8,” said Brian Lynch, the company’s president.

“Clarity,” he said, “has become really important.”

The pandemic has reshaped the most important shopping season of the year, forcing retailers to rethink inventory, store layouts and when, even how, they offer their deepest discounts. Many have spent months trying to accommodate a boom in online shopping, but Black Friday weekend requires they also confront their approach to what historically is the busiest stretch of the year for in-store shopping.

Target is allowing shoppers to circumvent front-door lines by reservation, while Walmart has created one-way aisles that lead to some of its most coveted Black Friday deals. There are new rules regarding masks, maximum occupancies and temperature checks. And retailers are grappling with larger challenges too, including an ongoing recession, historically high unemployment, and supply chain challenges that could further damp what is projected to be a tepid shopping season, with sales expected to grow 1 to 1.5 percent, according to consulting firm Deloitte.

The stakes are especially high: More than a dozen major retailers have been tipped into bankruptcy since the pandemic, and experts say they expect a second wave of filings early next year. Many have staked their hopes of survival on the last weeks of the year, in hopes that consumers will be willing to open their wallets more freely than they have since the pandemic forced much of the country to shut down in March.

“We still don’t have a handle on how big of a recession we’re in and how much further we may go,” said Scott Stuart, chief executive of the Turnaround Management Association, a Chicago-based organization that represents restructuring professionals. “This holiday season is that much more important to retailers because of the weightiness of the pandemic. They are hoping to make up for lost time.”

Message is clear: ‘Shop early’

L.L. Bean set up its holiday merchandise in stores earlier than ever, in October, and in larger quantities than usual. Fleece, flannel and fuzzy footwear are expected to be in high demand, executives said, and there won’t be much time to keep replenishing shelves.

“The world is crazy and complex around us: Covid plus election plus cold weather plus darkness is heavy,” said Stephen Smith, chief executive of the Maine-based retailer known for its outdoor apparel.

Add to that a trucking shortage and widespread concern of shipping delays, and he says the company’s message to consumers is unequivocal: “Shop early.”

The company sprang into action in the early days of the pandemic, canceling $80 million worth of fall and winter merchandise, as it tried to figure out what customers might want. It also turned its boot production facility into a mask-sewing operation, where employees churned out 10,000 face masks a day for first responders using fabric originally destined to line dog beds.

By April, customers were beginning to spend again, mostly on items to spruce up their homes and backyards. Hammock receipts grew 150 percent, while sales of stand-up paddleboards doubled and demand for bikes grew fivefold. The company began placing fall and winter orders again, but for items it hadn’t originally intended to stock, such as flannel shirts, snow boots, puffer jackets and kids’ boots.

“We are still airfreighting in some items that we have been chasing, like slippers that will continue to be replenished as needed,” Smith said. “But for the most part, our stores are being stocked as full as possible.”

Carter’s is taking a decidedly different approach. It is offering fewer styles this year, particularly in stores. Executives canceled as many orders as they could early in the pandemic, and packed away what they couldn’t for next year.

“We had to make decisions in April about what we’re going to do for the holidays and decided to take a prudent approach,” Lynch said.

But, he said, executives were surprised to find that consumers began searching for “holiday” and “Christmas” items as early as July. Carter’s went all-in on festive apparel the first week of October, in hopes of winning over families who wanted to spruce up for holiday portraits.

“We realized that if people are going to dress up at all, it’s going to be to take that one picture for their Christmas cards,” said Jeff Jenkins, the company’s executive vice president of global marketing. “They aren’t getting dressed up for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner, or to go visit their family, but they want to have that one moment of normalcy.

After that, though, “it’s all about the warm and cozy, with jammies front and center,” he said.

Grab-and-go mind-set

Gone are the days of leisurely browsing, says Ryan Turf, president of home furnishing brand CB2. These days, shoppers come in with a purpose.

“When people come into our stores, they either want to test something out, get advice, or have products ready to go,” he said. “They’re looking for simplicity and convenience.”

As a result, he said, the company is bundling holiday decor this year so shoppers can quickly grab everything they need to decorate a mantle or a Christmas tree without having to pick out individual ornaments, candles and marble angels. It is also increasing the number of employees devoted to virtual design appointments and contactless pickups at its stores.

The pandemic also has created challenges for retailers that have relied on novel experiences, such as cooking classes, book signings and martinis in the shoe department, to attract customers.

Build-A-Bear stores, where customers can create their own stuffed animals, have typically been popular destinations for birthdays, celebrations and special occasions. But much of the hands-on experience has gotten a makeover in recent months.

In-store birthday parties have been canceled indefinitely and there are fewer face-to-face interactions. Staffers, called “bear builders,” wear custom masks printed with bear mouths. (The company has also started selling masks for stuffed animals, starting at $4.) The “heart ceremony,” in which the customer makes a wish and places a heart inside their stuffed animal, now takes place from afar: The child sets the toy on a pedestal and steps into a box, while the employee gets the bear and stuffs and sews it shut, said chief executive Sharon Price John. The emphasis, she said, is on maintaining a six-foot distance — or, as the store’s signs say, the length of “8 furry friends lined up."

“We had to close all of our stores on March, and then the question was: What can we do to make this terrible situation better?” John said. “We started almost immediately rethinking the store experience and shifting our efforts to e-commerce.”

Before the pandemic, the company, which has typically been based in shopping malls, had been rapidly opening stores on cruise ships and in airports and family-friendly resorts as a way to reach families in search of entertainment. But the pandemic brought almost all of that business to a screeching halt in March, and John says some of those locations are still closed. As a result, it has upgraded its website and offers a number of online subscription boxes, Internet-first toy releases and other virtual events to keep customers engaged.

“Our company is as much about the memories that are being made as they are about the actual Build-A-Bear,” she said. “But we’ve realized that the pandemic doesn’t stop the need for celebrate a kid’s birthday or the holidays, or to send something to grandma.

Black Friday 2020 laptop computer deals: Save big on Intel MacBook Air, Gateway, Lenovo ThinkPad and more!

This year has had more people working from home than ever before and so laptops are back in demand. Do you need a new ones? Well thankfully, Black Friday sales got you covered! You'll find a whole host of discounted laptops from Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg and Walmart, encompassing top brands like HP, Lenovo, Apple, Microsoft and more. We've gathered the best Black Friday laptops deals that are available now -- and those we know are coming soon. Be sure to check back; we'll keep this story updated as current sales expire and new deals emerge.

MacBook Air (2020, Intel Core i3): $850

Important to note: This is not a sale on the new M1 MacBook Air, which showed impressive results in our first round of tests. This is the Intel-based Air that was introduced back in March. That means it won't be as fast, and the battery won't last as long. But it will ably run the last Big Sur operating system, and it can be yours for $100 less than the newest model.  

Gateway 14.1-inch FHD Ultra Slim Notebook: $449

If you're of a certain age, then you may recall the Gateway name and its computers that shipped in black-and-white cow-print boxes. Gateway has returned as a line of low-cost laptops and tablets at Walmart. You won't find any of the models on store shelves in their iconic cow packaging; the new Gateway laptops are available online only. This 14-inch Gateway laptop features a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU and 16GB of RAM. You get a 256GB solid-state drive for storage. The storage capacity is average for the price, but the amount of memory is double what is usually on offer. And you get a full HD (1,920x1,080-pixel) display, which is better than the 1,366x768-pixel panels found on other budget laptops. There's also a fingerprint read for easy, secure logins. Three of the four color options are in stock and on sale -- black, blue and rose gold.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7: $1,300

There isn't much that separates the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen series from preceding Gen 7 models. It features a CPU that's now two generations old, but this ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 configuration is deeply discounted with code THINKNOV10. It offers an eighth-gen Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The 14-inch display features a full HD (1,920x1,080-pixel) resolution and is rated for 300 nits of brightness. It's rare to find a ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 model priced this low. Read our Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 review. 

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3: $790

Microsoft's MacBook clone is thin and light with a fantastic touchpad-and-keyboard combo and offers a notable power boost over 2018's Surface Laptop 2. At 2,496x1,664 pixels, the 13.5-inch touchscreen gives you a resolution above the usual Full HD. This Surface Laptop 3 model features a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, Intel Iris Plus graphics and a 128GB SSD. The biggest downside CNET found was a comparably short battery life, but that's less of an issue when you aren't taking it out of your home. Read our Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 review.

HP Spectre x360 13t: $950 (Update: Expired)

The 13-inch Spectre x360 is one of CNET's favorite two-in-one convertibles for its premium styling, light weight and long battery life. The entry-level configuration of this customizable laptop features a 10th-gen Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, Intel Iris Plus graphics and a 256GB solid-state drive. With a full HD (1,920x1,080-pixel) resolution, the 14-inch touchscreen can rotate 360 degrees into tablet mode. The $200 discount also applies if you add upgrades, and I'd suggest spending $70 to upgrade to a 512GB SSD with 32GB of fast Optane memory, which brings the total to $1,070. Read our HP Spectre x360 13 review.

Lenovo ThinkPad X390 (Update: Expired)

It's not quite as thin and light as the flagship X1 Carbon, and its display is a smidge smaller, but the 13-inch ThinkPad X390 is a rugged laptop built for business. This configuration features the component lineup as the ThinkPad T490 above: eighth-gen Core i5, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The 13.3-inch display features a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution and 300 nits of brightness. You can get it for $900 with code THINKYAY.

The Best Black Friday Deals of 2020: Apple, Dyson, Patagonia & More

Want only the best deals of Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Here they are, compiled for easy shopping and updated daily.

It's that time of year again. Black Friday, Cyber Monday — a.k.a. the biggest shopping holiday of the year. This is your ultimate survival guide.

We'll be updating this page daily with essential info and, of course, the best deals, independently chosen by our team of gear heads and product experts.

Today's Best Deals, to receive our deal announcements and product picks directly in your inbox and check out our Black Friday tag page.

When Is Black Friday?

Technically, Black Friday falls on the day after Thanksgiving, which is 11/27 this year. Cyber Monday, historically a day of rapid online sales, is the following Monday, so 11/30. But over the past few years, both brands and retailers have approached Black Friday as an extended retail period that starts in early November and bleeds into December.

We expect most deals to start in earnest the Monday before Thanksgiving, 11/23. However, due to complications of COVID-19 and the continued rise of online shopping, we've seen an unprecedented number of early sales on notable products, from TVs to camping gear to cookware.

The short answer: Black Friday has already started.

What's Different This Year?

Consumers aren't the only ones navigating Black Friday during a pandemic. COVID-19 has thrown a massive wrench into retailers' operating plans this year. Many stores are operating at limited capacity for in-person shopping, and retail trends suggest people are more willing to shop online than ever before.

The likely result: bottlenecks at stores, warehouses that handle merchandise and among carries like FedEx and UPS, which already struggle to keep up with increased demand around the holidays.

For consumers, this translates to delayed shipping times, or what some experts are dubbing a possible "shippageddon." Don't wait until the last minute to do all of your shopping; there are plenty of great deals to take advantage of now (see below).

Where Can I Find the Best Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals?

Right here. We've got an entire team dedicated to scouring the web for the absolute best deals, and we'll be updating this page daily with new sales, promotions and discounts on notable products from brands like Apple, Dyson and Patagonia, as well as key retailers — Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy and more.

We expect many sales to continue into December, so be sure to bookmark this page and check back throughout the season. Good luck, and now, onto the deals.

Black Friday sales and promotions in Singapore 2020

Mark your calendars for Nov 27, 2020 because that’s the day we succumb to the darkest parts of ourselves, venture into the deepest parts of our wallets, and indulge in a relentless day of shopping.

Following the Singles Day sales is Black Friday, made popular in the United States as a major retail event that comes right after Thanksgiving.

In Singapore, it started gaining traction after the rise of online shopping, as fiery discount hunters went from stomping over each other at physical outlets to camping out in front of their computer screens.

While it’s known for the abundance of tech deals, retailers in other shopping categories from fashion to hospitality are getting in on the action as well. After all, it sets the tone for the rest of the year-end sale season (Cyber Monday, Boxing Day, 12.12 etc).

Here is a compilation of this year’s Black Friday deals and promotions in Singapore that you should look out for.

Beauty junkies, listen up! Sephora is running a 15 per cent discount on everything on their website for Black Friday alongside other promotions.

Just a PSA: Fenty Beauty’s mattemoiselle plush matte lipstick is currently for sale at only $14.50. You know what to do.

At Zalora, Black Friday sales tie in with Cyber Monday sales, which will be on from Nov 25 to 28. Expect a 70 per cent markdown storewide for items ranging from fashion, electronics, household products and health essentials.

From Nov 27 to 30, ASOS will have big discounts across 850 brands on their website, including coats, jackets, sneakers, suits, heels, and Instagram-ready party dresses.

But if you can’t wait until then, you can always head straight to the outlet section (where it’s always Black Friday) and shop big brands with up to 70 per cent off on their price tags.

Care to Beauty and Cotton On may have yet to announce the exact promotion they’re having, but Black Friday’s definitely happening — just take a look at the countdown timer on their websites.

Care to Beauty has also given shoppers a glimpse of the brands that will go on sale on Nov 27, while Cotton On promises customers massive savings and stacks of surprises at their best event yet.

If you can’t wait, sign up for both mailing lists for first dibs into their Black Friday sales items.

As part of the Black Friday sales, Qoo10 is offering major discounts across all categories of goods throughout November. Called Black November ID Festival, the shopping website is dropping a tonne of promotions for fashion, cosmetics, food, technology and more.

While Shopee and Lazada have yet to announce their Black Friday sales, we’re pretty sure the e-commerce giants will be releasing more info nearer to the date — perhaps, they’re still overwhelmed with 11.11 orders.

Black Friday comes early at Gain City and E1 Personal Audio Singapore, as the brands have already started knocking down prices for their products. Be spoiled for choice at Gain City, where you can choose between heavily-discounted PCs, TVs, fridges and, practically, any household item you can think of.

Thinking of upgrading your earphones or headphones instead? E1 Personal Audio Singapore’s the place to go. We’d recommend you to be quick as some of their products are already sold out.

If you’re one of those lucky people who are travelling to Hong Kong under the Air Travel Bubble scheme, this Hong Kong Disneyland promo would probably come in handy because you could  save some moolah after spending a bomb on Covid-19 tests and flight tickets.

But if you’re staying in Singapore, you might want to consider hopping over to Ion Orchard to feast your travel blues away with promos such as 1-for-1 lunch sets and bubble tea deals, among many others.

Black Friday 2020: the best early deals and bargains

The Black Friday sale no longer lasts only a day – retailers have already started discounting in the run-up to 27 November.

Here’s a roundup of some of the offers:

• Aldi is running a Black Friday sale online and waiting until the day itself to launch its deal. It is offering a Nintendo Switch for £229 – £50 off the going rate. Other deals include a Lego Millennium Falcon kit for £59.99.

• As the winter nights get longer, now may be the time to add a little security and peace of mind to your front door. With £60 off, the latest Ring Video Doorbell 3 could be the simple upgrade you’ve been looking for at only £119 from Amazon, Ring and other retailers.

• If you’ve been considering upgrading to pay-TV, Sky’s 50% off deal may save you a fair chunk of change over 18 months. Plans start from £25 a month, plus a £20 one-off setup charge, with Sky Sports and Sky Cinema available at half-price.

• Very has a Samsung 55-inch TV reduced by £400 – £1,299 down to £899. The site currently says it is “awaiting stock” but it expects to deliver by 14 December – just in time for the Christmas specials.

Also at Very, Apple’s AirPods Pro noise-cancelling headphones are reduced from £249 to £199.

• Nespresso is selling a VertuoPlus coffee maker and Aeroccino 3 milk frother, plus 100 capsules, as a package for £89 until 2 December. The coffee maker on its own has a recommended retail price of £199, although it is currently selling for £99 on the site.


• The Dyson V8 Absolute Pro cordless vacuum has £100 off at the Dyson website until 1 December. It usually costs £399. The similar V8 Absolute Extra is subject to the same offer at Currys and John Lewis.

• The Natural History Museum is running two promotions: until 23 November there’s 50% off some adults gifts, including scarves, T-shirts and socks, then between 27 November and 1 December there will be half-price deals on kids’ gear and homeware, including a dinosaur backpack for toddlers reduced to £9.

• Tesco has already started its sale. It is offering a 16GB Fire 7 Tablet 7 Inch for £15 off at £34.95.

• Lakeland has a range of deals on kitchen gadgets. A Lavazza Jolie Coffee Machine with Milk Frother is half price at £64.99, while a Joseph Joseph Elevate 5-Piece Knife Carousel has been reduced to £62.99 (it’s usually £89.99 there but £80 and Dunelm).

• Asda’s Black Friday sale has started, and at the time of writing it was offering a Lego City Brick Box for £20, which is £15 off the standard price, and a Shark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Vacuum Cleaner, which was down from £349.96 to £197.

• Argos has offers across a range of items, with deals that stand out including Beats by Dre Studio 3 Wireless Headphones Decade Edition reduced from £189.95 to £149.95, and a third off an X Rocker Esport Pro Stereo Audio Gaming Chair with Subwoofer (£99.99 – down from £149.99).

Black Friday 2020: All the best Amazon Black Friday Week UK deals

Earlier this month the online retailer launched its Early Black Friday Sale, with huge discounts across a variety of departments.

Now it has officially launched its Black Friday Week Sale, a whole week ahead of actual Black Friday, which falls on 27 November this year.

Big deals will be available over the next 10 days taking you through Black Friday and coming to an end on Cyber Monday.

With discounts available from 20 November until 30 November, it’s safe to say shoppers are in for a treat this year.

Amazon’s sale includes electrical gadgets, fashion, beauty, garden and outdoors, home and kitchen, as well as Amazon devices and many more products.

For those on a budget, Amazon has made it easier to sift out the pricier purchases, as it has curated a range of deals under £15 to shop.

While for those keen to help smaller businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic, there are plenty of independent brands to shop on Amazon.

Amazon will also be launching Lightning Deals throughout the 10 days, so stay tuned for one-off discounts to drop online.

Whether you are looking to treat yourself, or start your Christmas shopping early, there truly is no time like the present.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

The Umbrella Academy Renewed for Season 3 at Netflix

While Netflix may have a bad habit of cancelling some of its promising originals after just a couple of seasons, the streamer knows when it has a hit on its hands. Like Stranger Things and The Witcher, The Umbrella Academy was a bit of an instant hit at Netflix, and fans of the live-action adaptation are getting rewarded with another season in the near future. On Tuesday, Netflix officially announced that The Umbrella Academy will be returning for Season 3.

This renewal news isn't exactly surprising, given just how popular the second season of The Umbrella Academy was when it was released back in July. The series was a staple of the Netflix Top 10 for quite some time, and found itself as one of the most popular shows of the summer according to the Nielsen streaming ratings.

 The announcement was first made by Netflix on Twitter. A graphic of the number three with an umbrella was posted to the NX on Netflix Twitter account, along with a tease of what's in store for Season 3.

"With time travel, you never know where you'll end up," reads the tweet. "Season Three of The Umbrella Academy is on the way!"

The third season of The Umbrella Academy will begin production in February in Toronto. Netflix confirmed that stars Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castaneda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Justin H. Min, Ritu Arya, and Colm Feore will all be reprising their roles in the new installment. Steve Blackman will be returning as showrunner and executive producers, joined by fellow EPs Jeff F. King, Mike Richardson, Keith Goldberg, Jesse McKeown, Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba.

You can check out the official synopsis of The Umbrella Academy Season 2 below.

"Five warned his family (so, so many times) that using his powers to escape from Vanya’s 2019 apocalypse was risky. Well, he was right - the time jump scatters the siblings in time in and around Dallas, Texas. Over a three year period. Starting in 1960. Some, having been stuck in the past for years, have built lives and moved on, certain they’re the only ones who survived. Five is the last to land, smack dab in the middle of a nuclear doomsday, which - spoiler alert! - turns out is a result of the group’s disruption of the timeline (déjà vu, anyone?). Now the Umbrella Academy must find a way to reunite, figure out what caused doomsday, put a stop to it, and return to the present timeline to stop that other apocalypse. All while being hunted by a trio of ruthless Swedish assassins. But seriously, no pressure or anything."

WWE Releases Former Announcer Tony Chimel, Staff Employees

WWE released another group of employees on Friday, according to a new report from PWInsider's Mike Johnson. The biggest name among those to be let go was former ring announcer Tony Chimel, best known for his work as Friday Night SmackDown from 1999 through the mid-2000s and the WWE version of ECW. He had made the occasional appearance over the last decade, mostly in segments involving Edge and his signature delivery of the "The Rated-R Superstar" nickname. Chimel has not commented on his release via social media, and hasn't posted a tweet since 2016.

Among the other releases, Johnson specifically named Director of Venue Merchandise and Remote Operations Derek Casselman, who had been with the promotion for nearly 30 years.

Bask on April 15 WWE released more than 30 active wrestlers while furloughing a number of backstage and headquarters-based employees. The biggest names o that list included Risev, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Lio Rush, EC3 and Eric Young. The company explained the releases were apart of a cost-cutting measure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our first quarter financial performance was strong and largely unimpacted by the COVID-19 outbreak," Vince McMahon wrote in a statement days after the releases. "Now we are in the midst of unprecedented times, which require us to be especially nimble, creative and efficient in order to ensure the ling-term value of WWE. We are taking precautions to protect the health and safety of our performers and staff as we produce content in new ways, engage fans with a much-needed diversion and operate effectively in this evolving environment."

"Given the uncertainty of the situation, the Company also identified headcount reductions and made the decision to furlough a portion of its workforce effective immediately," WWE wrote in a press release on April 15 hours before the releases were announced. "The decision to furlough versus permanently reduce headcount reflects the fact that the Company currently believes the furlough will be temporary in nature. The Company's reductions of employee compensation and headcount result in an estimated monthly savings of $4 million along with cash flow improvement of $140 million primarily from the deferral in spending on the Company's new headquarters."

Since the wave of releases, a good portion of those wrestlers have found new homes in promotions like AEW, Impact Wrestling and Ring of Honor.

One-Punch Man Season 2 Hits Blu-ray and DVD with New Trailer

The time has come for all you One-Punch Man fans! It has a been a hot minute since the anime made waves on the media circuit, but the show's second season is changing that at last. After all, Viz Media just released the second season of One-Punch Man on Blu-ray / DVD, and there is a new trailer out to mark the milestone!

You can check out the clip below if you feel like refreshing yourself on season two. This newest season follows Saitama and Genos as they are faced with a new threat like never before. When the Hero Association finds itself targeted, everyone is put on high alert, and the debut of the villain Garo only makes things even more interesting for Saitama.

If you want to nab this new season of One-Punch Man, you can nab the Viz Media release from a variety of partners. Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart all have the limited edition Blu-ray bundle on sale for about $60 USD. You can also nab the season digitally through venues like iTunes, Google Play, and more.


Need more information on this big anime release? Well, Viz Media has got you covered. You can check out the production details of this One-Punch Man season two bundle down below:

"Saitama, alongside his cyborg disciple Genos, is ready to begin his official duties as a professional hero. But when a new friendship and interest in martial arts prove distracting, the Hero Association is left to deal with a sinister new wave of monster attacks on their own. To make matters worse, their heroes are being hunted! Is Earth doomed, or will Saitama save the day with one punch?

4-Disc Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack, Episodes 13–24 in 1080p, 16x9 HD in English and Japanese Stereo Audio, English Subtitles SPECIAL FEATURES: 6 Original Video Animations, Clean Opening and Endings, Trailers"

Ms. Marvel Reportedly Filming Now

Even with the delays the COVID-19 has saddled the entertainment industry with some things are continuing to move forward and that includes production on the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 4 -- especially the highly-anticipated Ms. Marvel series for Disney+. While the series was expected to start production in August, it was pushed back. Now, Insider Charles Murphy reports that filming has begun on the series, in keeping with a previous report that it would in fact start production this month in Atlanta.

Murphy shared the update on Twitter in response to a fan who had asked about an update on Ms. Marvel's production timeline. This report about the production on Ms. Marvel is just the latest update on the series this week. Another report, this one from DiscussingFilm, indicated that the series has also hired a veteran cinematographer in Carmen Cabana. Cabana has a number of credits in both film and television including eleven episodes of Vida, ten episodes of Narcos, and all of Hulu's High Fidelity on the tv side while on the film side are credits such as the Welcome to the Blumhouse installment Nocturne, Hollow Point, and Holiday Breakup.

Ms. Marvel is being showrun by Four Weddings and a Funeral's Bisha K. Ali, with Bad Boys for Life directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, The Punisher director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and The Magicians director Meera Menon helming episodes of the series.

Ms. Marvel follows the adventures of Kamala Khan, a teenage, Muslim, Pakistani-American girl from Jersey City who gains superpowers when her latent Inhuman DNA is triggered. Since her debut in the comics in 2013, Kamala has become a fan-favorite character as she balances school and friendships with being a member of the Avengers, Secret Warriors, Protectors, and Champions. Iman Vellani was recently cast in the titular role. As Marvel Studios executive Kevin Feige revealed last year, the goal is for Kamala Khan - as well as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk and Marc Spector/Moon Knight - to eventually factor into movies as well as their Disney+ shows.

“I feel like she’s the future,” Captain Marvel star Brie Larson previously told “So, when I’ve been asked about the future of the MCU, or the future of the Captain Marvel series, I want to be with her.”

Scorpion King Reboot Announced, Produced By Dwayne The Rock Johnson

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is involved with a revival of The Scorpion King, one of his first major starring roles and a spinoff from the 1999 adventure film The Mummy, which turned out ot be a box office hit and earned two sequels, an animated series, and a long-running Scorpion King franchise, which ran until 2018. The new installment will be written by Jonathan Herman, best konwn for the film Straight Outta Compton and one of the most in-demand screenwriters in Hollywood. Dany Garcia’s Seven Bucks Productions will produce the film, which marks his first involvement in the franchise in years.

According to Deadline, who broke the story, Johnson is unlikely to play the title role given the many commitments he has on his schedule, which has become even more densely packed after the covid-19 pandemic shut down production for half a year. That doesn't mean he might not appear in a future installment in some capacity, though.

"The Scorpion King was my very first role ever on the silver screen and I’m honored and excited to reimagine and deliver this cool mythology to a whole new generation," Johnson said in a statement.I" wouldn't have had the career I'm lucky enough to have had it not been for The Scorpion King and I'm thrilled that we at Seven Bucks Productions can help create those same opportunities for other hard working actors today. I believe Jonathan Herman will put in the hard work to deliver a fantastic script for our global audience."

The franchise, which takes place in ancient Egypt about 5,000 years before the events of The Mummy, centers on that film's villain, Mathayus, and tells the story of his rise to become the legendary Scorpion King. The first film, which was the only one to star Johnson, also featured Steven Brand as Memnon; Kelly Hu as Cassandra; Michael Clarke Duncan as Balthazar; and Peter Facinelli as Takmet.

Following the film's release, there were initial plans for a sequel with Johnson to return as Mathayus and go up against a new villain, Sargon, but these plans eventually fell through and the project was shelved. A direct-to-video prequel, The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior, was released in 2008 with Michael Copon as Mathayus and Randy Couture as Sargon.

Sequels, which were released between 2012 and 2018, starred actors like Victor Webster and Zach McGowan played Mathayus, opposite a number of cult-favorite heavyweights like Billy Zane, Michael Biehn, Rutger Hauer, Lou Ferrigno and former WWE wrestler Eve Torres.

The most recent revival of The Mummy, which starred Tom Cruise and was supposed to kickstart a shared "dark universe" for Universal's monster films, failed to connect with audiences and turned out to be a flop that killed the Dark Universe idea. Whether it was because they knew that was a possibility, or just because they hoped to get Johnson involved again, that film used a new and different villain, leaving Mathayus for his own films down the line.

Fantastic Beasts Fans Weigh in on Mads Mikkelsen Replacing Johnny Depp as Grindelwald

Some fans have been professing their wish that Johnny Depp would exit the Fantastic Beasts series for years following allegations against him regarding domestic abuse, with those audiences finally being granted their wish last week when he announced he was stepping away from the role of Gellert Grindelwald at the request of Warner Bros.

While some audiences hoped to see Colin Farrell return to the series, a recent report claims that the studio is hoping to tap Doctor Strange star Mads Mikkelsen for the role. With the upcoming sequel currently in production, the studio will likely secure the role imminently, as the talks of Mikkelsen taking on the role have sparked a variety of reactions from fans.

Mikkelsen's impressive body of work has caused some fans to share their enthusiasm about the notion of him joining the series, yet others are still bemoaning the fact that Depp has left the role. Other fans, meanwhile, would still rather have Mikkelsen bide his time so he can film a fourth season of the cancelled TV series Hannibal.

Five Nights at Freddy's Movie Producer Jason Blum Says They "Haven't Quite Figured It Out"

Development on a Five Nights at Freddy’s feature film has been ongoing for years at this point and apparently it's not moving any quicker. Horror producer extraordinaire Jason Blum is one of the minds behind the upcoming adaptation and in a new interview he admits that while work continues on the project, things are moving very slowly. Speaking with Inverse about the project and its future, Blum's update was short and simple, albeit perhaps with a hint of grimness in how long it's taking. "It’s still active," Blum said. "We haven’t quite figured it out, but we’re getting closer every day."

He added, "The story is the big challenge. You know, Five Nights at Freddy’s should have been easier because there are books, there’s a lot of lore and storytelling. For a video game, I think it has more storytelling than almost any other. But still, the story goes down so many rabbit holes. It goes down so many different directions. It’s big. Choosing which part to tell the first time out of the gate — and how to tell it — has been tricky."

To his credit, Blum's not wrong. Across the many games in the series, in addition to the spin-off novels and stories written by series creator Scott Cawthon, there's a lot of material to mine from and explore on the big screen. From elements like "The Bite of '87" to "The Purple Guy," anyone talking about the larger web of a narrative weaved through the titles will end up looking like Charlie Day in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as he pours over his Pepe Silvia charts and graphs.

What we do know about the movie is that Gremlins writer and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone director Chris Columbus has been tapped to helm the film, officially coming on board back in 2018. Cawthon had previously been hired to pen the script for the film, though said two years ago that one draft of the adaptation had been scrapped entirely.

“It’s been a real challenge for everyone, including myself, to come up with a good screenplay for this," Cawthon said in 2018. "But I’m determined to find the right story. I’m sticking to what I’ve always said, either the right movie gets made or no movie gets made. I hate delaying a project that’s already seen so many delays, but I have to go with my instincts on what I think will be exciting and interesting, and what I think the fanbase will really want to see. If that means that I have to start over ten more times, then that’s what I'm going to do. The good thing is that each attempt gets better and better, in my opinion. So, despite the delays, it's going in the right direction."

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: James Gunn Is Not Making the Movie Without Dave Bautista

Fans of DC and James Gunn alike are stoked for the director's upcoming The Suicide Squad, but that's not the only comic book movie he's got on his agenda. Gunn plans to return to Marvel for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and he recently answered some fan questions about the movie on social media. He revealed yesterday that the "script is written and most of the production heads have been hired." Another fan reached out to Twitter and asked about Dave Bautista's involvement in the film and Gunn made it clear he wouldn't make the movie without his Drax.

 "Is @DaveBautista coming back?," @AngryBatman52 asked. "Would I do a Guardians movie without
@DaveBautista?," Gunn replied. Knowing Gunn, this was a rhetorical question. He loves Bautista and would certianly not want to make the movie without him."

In the comments someone else asked, "Would you ever do a GOTG movie with some random, nobody in a small, yet integral role? Not just someone off the street … but an actor that just graduated or got their footing.” Gunn replied, “I’ve done this dozens of times in my films. I cast most roles based off auditions and we audition many hundreds of people."

Back in September, Gunn shared that Marvel Studios boss, Kevin Feige, paid a visit to The Suicide Squad set, and explained that "there isn't the enmity behind the scenes like there is in the fan community." This comment received some backlash, so Gunn clarified, "I think by far the majority of folks in the fan community are accepting, cool people. But to say there isn’t a lot of unnecessary fractiousness between some Marvel & DC fans would be denial, ignorance, or dishonesty." In another recent tweet, the director added that he'd love for some of the other DC directors to visit him on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Currently, we have no idea what to expect from Gunn's next Marvel movie. Karen Gillan, who plays Nebula, previously teased that it will be the best yet.

Ip Man: Kung Fu Master Trailer Released

Martial artist and actor Dennis To returns as the real-life legendary teacher of the Chinese martial arts form Wing Chun in the trailer for Ip Man: Kung Fu Master, the upcoming film set to open in select theaters as well as on demand on December 11th from Magnet Releasing. The film marks the second time that To has played the martial arts icon, having previously portrayed him in 2010's The Legend is Born - Ip Man.

"This is my second time playing the role of Ip Man. But this time, Ip Man is also the 'Black Knight,' which made me look forward to making the film even more," To said in a press release. "After I got the script, I pondered over and over again. This time I was able to bring the role of Ip Man not only a higher level of Wing Chun skill, but also a deeper level of interpretation."

Per the film's official plot synopsis, "Ip Man: Kung Fu Master harks back to Ip’s early days before the Communist Revolution in 1949. Ip, portrayed by Dennis To for the third time as the martial artist who famously tutored Bruce Lee, was then a police captain who was framed for the murder of a ruthless but honorable mobster, and targeted for vengeance by his dangerous daughter. Forced to quit the force, Ip soon also has to contend with the arrival of the Japanese army in Guangzhou."

In addition to Dennis To, Ip Man: Kung Fu Master also stars Yuan Li Ruoxin, Tong Xiaohu, Yue Dongfen, Chang Qinyuan, Zhao Xioguang, Ren Yu, and Michael Wong. The film is directed by Li Liming. In addition to the official trailer -- which you can check out in the video player -- photos from the film as well as the poster have also been released. You can check them out below.

Ip Man: Kung Fu Master opens in select theaters and on demand on December 11th.

The Conjuring Director James Wan to Produce Post-Apocalyptic Horror Movie

Modern horror maestro James Wan is gearing up to produce what sounds like a pretty exciting new horror project. Deadline brings word that Wan's Atomic Monster production company and WB's New Line Cinema are set to produce a new untitled original horror film from newcomer Bishal Dutta who will also direct. Though no title or official logline were revealed in the report, the project is described as "an original horror film set in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles." The film marks the latest collaboration between Wan's company and New Line, having established a years long relationship that is set to continue for the next few years.    

The work between New Line and Atomic Monster has helped re-establish the WB subsidiary back into its horror roots. Originally an independent company in the 1980s, New Line was previously known as "The House that Freddy Built" as the success of producing the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies established New Line as a major player in Hollywood. Wan and New Line have collaborated on the entire "The Conjuring Universe" franchise including the three Annabelle spin-offs, the two sequels to The Conjuring, and The Nun solo film. They've also developed some other non-Conjuring movies like The Curse of La Llorona and Lights Out, plus the upcoming original film Malignant which marks Wan's next feature as a director.

Details on Malignant remain under wraps, though we do know that the film will star Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White, Jake Abel, Jacqueline McKenzie and Ingrid Bisu. Bisu co-wrote and executive produced the film with Wan, and other producers include Wan's Atomic Monster partner Michael Clear.

"There’s been a bit of speculation as to what my next project is… all I’ll say is, I’m super excited to go back to my indie roots with this hard-R thriller," Wan said of the project last year. "An original horror idea (not a reboot/remake or anything based on existing IP) with old school, practical effects and no giant, blue screen sets.”

Initially scheduled to debut in August of this year, Malignant has been delayed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic with no premiere date in sight. Star Annabelle Wallis had high praise for the film and Wan's direction in a previous interview, saying: "I think it’s genre-bending. I think it’s so brave. It’s so original. I just haven’t read anything like it. And you know, again, I’m at a place in my life and my career where it’s time to be brave."