Ivy Bridge laptops, off-brand HDTVs will top deals in October

Electronics shoppers beware: October is a limbo month.

The biggest weekend of the year for electronics bargains is only weeks away, so pulling the trigger on a big-ticket gadget purchase before that time could lead to buyer's remorse. Nevertheless, if you're shopping for an Ivy Bridge laptop or an off-brand HDTV, some attractive deals will be available.

With the introduction of Windows 8 less than a month away, many notebook shoppers will be in standby mode until Oct. 26. That's understandable.

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But for laptop shoppers who don't need the latest and greatest operating system but want the latest and greatest Intel mobile processor, there are moves for you to consider. Besides, if you have any regrets after buying a laptop before the primetime release of Windows 8, you can upgrade your system for a mere $15.

In its report on October bargains expected to be published Monday, DealNews, a website that follows online deals, predicts there will be an abundance of deals on mainstream 15-inch Core i5 Ivy Bridge systems, which hit an astonishingly low price of $400 in September.

After Windows 8 is introduced, prices will start to move upward, DealNews predicted. That price movement will be driven by the introduction of new laptop/tablet hybrids, designed to take advantage of Windows 8's touchscreen support. DealNews cautioned against purchasing one of these early hybrid models.

"[M]any of them could potentially suffer from first-generation problems as they'll be a new breed of laptop hardware that mixes the ultrabook with a tablet," the deal site said. "Instead, we recommend looking for deals on Ivy Bridge systems with prices ranging from $400 to about $450 for a very capable 15-inch Core i5-based system."

Shoppers for hard drives may also want to curb their purchasing urges in October. Prices for those devices remain high relative to what they were before flooding from monsoons in 2011 reduced the industry's manufacturing capacity in Southeast Asia. Hard drive prices aren't expected to return to pre-flood levels until 2014.

Savvy shoppers know the Black Friday weekend is the best time to find TV deals. However, DealNews noted there are bargains to be had in large 55-inch sets and in off-brand 42-inch TVs.

High-end 3D 55-inch TVs have been selling for between $949 and $999. DealNews expects that to continue in October. Off-brand 42-inch TVs, such as those made by Westinghouse, Seiki and TLC, have been selling for under $300. During October, DealNews advises shoppers to look for bargains in the range of $230-$290.

For most electronics, however, the best deals of the year will occur during Black Friday weekend.

Not only is that the case for TVs and budget laptops, DealNews explained, but for digital cameras, media players and home theater components. That's because retailers are trying to move many of those items to make space for new models that typically arrive early in the new year.

"We also recommend holding off on most Apple items, too," DealNews observed. "Although the brand doesn't exactly see 'fire sale' prices on new items at any point during the year, Black Friday weekend will see resellers take some of their greatest discounts on current-generation Apple products."

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