Our favorite deals we actually bought this year

Here at The Verge, we are just as eager to take advantage of sales and other good deals as anyone else (more so, perhaps, since we do have a slight interest in cool new stuff). What with inflation and all, the name of the game this year has been how to pick up devices that you need (or just want) for less than it usually costs, whether it’s a special holiday sale like Black Friday or is part of a lightning deal or is just available for less than usual.

At this time of the year, there are more of these special prices available than usual. So here, just in case you’re curious, are some of the deals that Verge staffers have picked up for themselves or as holiday gifts throughout the year. They include audio devices, a great camera, and a couple of wearables. Take a look.

Saving $100 on our favorite noise-canceling earbuds

As a reviewer, I get sent a wealth of mediocre earbuds, but I spent $179.99 of my own money to purchase the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds. While they’re often discounted to around $228 from their original $280 price, the earbuds dropped to $180 over Prime Day.

I regret nothing. Every word of Chris Welch’s review of these earbuds is true. While they are a bit bulkier than the less expensive options from the likes of Jabra or the ubiquitous AirPods, they sound amazing and have some of the best battery life out of the dozens of pairs or earbuds I’ve tried over the years. No wonder we still consider the XM4s to be one of the best wireless earbuds you can currently get.

Yeah, the limited number of prepackaged ear tips is a bit of a bummer, but that’s something that can be easily rectified with a $4 purchase on Amazon. However, Sony was able to address one of the issues we originally had with the XM4s by adding multipoint Bluetooth support with a post-release firmware update, so that’s pretty dope. Honestly, even with some small caveats, I’d still wholeheartedly recommend these earbuds.      

One more thing I’ll gush about is how great the XM4s are at blocking out unwanted noise. I have a partner who snores, but popping these earbuds in allows me to catch up on my essential viewing in bed without one of us disturbing the other. If $180 is all I have to pay for domestic bliss, I’ll take it. — Alice Newcome-Beill, commerce writer


Sony’s WF-1000XM4 have the best noise cancellation of any true wireless earbuds, and the sound quality is second to none. With a new design that’s smaller and rated IPX4, the earbuds also can now be charged wirelessly.

The $180 earbuds I got for $48

I love a good deal, and this one was just too irresistible to pass up — I grabbed the AKG N400 wireless earbuds for a measly $48 back in February of this year. That’s about $132 off their launch price and over $80 less than you can get them for on Amazon right now.

The N400 were quietly launched in 2020 to little fanfare — yet another true wireless earbud option among a sea of many. But they are well-equipped: active noise cancellation, Bluetooth 5.0, five hours of battery life with ANC on, a metal charging case with wireless charging, and four sets of tips (including Comply foam options) along with three wingtips for a secure fit.

The real appeal of these earbuds, however, is their sound quality. As audiophile YouTuber Crinacle explains, the N400 have excellent audio reproduction, hewing very closely to the Harman curve of frequency response. (That’s not a huge surprise considering AKG is part of the Harman group of companies, now owned by Samsung.) They have an engaging sound, with strong bass yet clear mids and highs that work well for any kind of audio genre or application you might use them for. They even work well for calls, thanks to clear microphones.

I have a couple of gripes, such as the over-reliance on swipe gestures to control them, the limited battery in the charging case, and a lack of multipoint support, but I’d still be happy with these had I paid twice as much as I did. That, reader, is the mark of a good deal. — Dan Seifert, deputy editor

Set of ARG earbuds in a black case


These waterproof wireless earbuds offer 8.2mm high sensitivity driver with metal acoustic chamber and noise cancellation.

Continuing my father’s Nikon shooting legacy and saving $800 in the process

2022 was the year I decided to get back into photography. Like my father, photography and video was a hobby for me, but it was also part of my major in college. My father, however, used to own a photography studio and business in the 1980s and early ’90s — and he used Nikon cameras. I was shooting with a Canon EOS 7D in the late ’00s and early ’10s until I sold it with the intention of upgrading it. But I never did.

Now I have discovered my father’s old lens collection that includes a big 300mm lens. Problem is, those lenses my father has uses F-mount, which Nikon is slowly replacing with its new Z-mount lenses. Luckily, Nikon makes an official F-to-Z adapter, so the transition is relatively easy. That adapter is normally $250, but when packaged with some Nikon cameras, it got discounted down to $150.

Cool, now all I needed was a body. After some research, I went with the Nikon Z 6II because it has in-body stabilization, something I’d probably need with all these classic lenses that have no Vibration Reduction features. In a package deal with a 24-70 S Lens (Z-mount), I saved $700, plus the $100 off the adapter. I also went with the Z 6II because it has dual SD and CF express slots for redundancy, and it can support 12-bit ProRes RAW 4K video on an external recorder — which is useful for when I totally break into Hollywood. — Umar Shakir, news writer

Back of Nikon camera with flower showing in viewfinder
Originally appeared on: TheSpuzz