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How to save cash on the season's hottest tech gifts

Save on tech gifts

Your holiday shopping list this year will more than likely include some popular tech gifts. Dan Ackerman, senior editor at CNET, is here to rescue your wallet and save you money with some smart tech-shopping tips this holiday season.

Finding the best deals 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t the only great days for deals. Many sales now start at the beginning of November and continue through the end of December. So whether you’re an early bird or a shopping procrastinator, there will be deals for you.

Online vs. in-store

”It’s very tempting to just look at online sales and go to websites of your favorite stores,” Ackerman said. But just because you want to avoid the holiday rush doesn’t mean you should stick solely to online shopping. Ackerman noted that sometimes retailers will have special in-store-only deals for tech items (often “doorbusters” for Black Friday) or general holiday-season deals. The bottom line: Look at both in-store and online for tech gift deals.

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Heba Kanso of CBS News and Dan Ackerman of CNET test the Hover Camera Passport selfie drone.

Watch out for fake shopping apps

Ackerman reports “an uptick in fake shopping apps that look like real shopping apps from brands that you know.” These fake apps are both on the Android and iOS app stores. Ackerman suggests you look at user reviews -- a fake app will probably not have many reviews, compared with a real app that might have thousands. These fake apps could steal your personal information by asking you to log in with, say, your Facebook credentials and getting credit card information.

Saving on the most popular items

There are often various versions of the same tech item - some newer, some older. Ackerman recommends saving cash by getting the previous version of the newest tech items, including: 

-- Wireless headphones. They’re popular this year in part because many people bought the iPhone 7 from Apple, which doesn’t have a headphone jack. If you want a pair of nice Bluetooth headphones, Beats by Dre, which is actually owned by Apple, is a good option, Ackerman said. Powerbeats3 recently came out and sell for around $200, but the previous version, Powerbeats2, will cost you about $100.

-- Drones. Save on drones by getting something small and simple like a Metakoo Bee drone for $30 to $40. If you are looking for a deal on drones with cameras, Ackerman suggests something like the Aerix drone. It comes with a phone headset that lets you follow the camera’s video stream - it’s less than $100. If you want to go a little more high-end with what’s called a selfie drone, Ackerman demonstrated the Hover Camera Passport. It has face- and body-tracking to follow you while it records, and it goes for around $600.

-- Virtual reality. Want VR for an affordable price? Ackerman suggests the new PlayStation VR from Sony. The headset itself is around $400 and it works fine with the standard PlayStation 4 you might already have.