The payday wishlist – what we'd spend our money on this week (August 18)

Amazon Fire TV, MacBook Air, iPhone 14, Gateway Notebook and Fire TV Stick on a red background
(Image credit: Future)

We're back with another hand-picked selection of some top tech bargains that are inching their way into our shopping baskets this week as more and more retailers gear up for the Labor Day sales.

We kick things off with an easy impulse buy: the ever-popular Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max. The retailer's own streaming stick is down to a surprisingly low price for this time of year - and it's good news for those who aren't Prime members but are searching for a bargain.

Alongside that are two laptops at very much opposite ends of the price and performance spectrum. The first is cheap yet surprisingly powerful for the price - and an excellent buy for any students out there still after a new device in the back to school sales. The second is a record-low price for what our computing experts here at TechRadar think is the best laptop available to buy right now. That lot know their stuff, so definitely one not to be missed, then.

We've also got some big reductions on TVs. Perhaps a good one if you're looking to upgrade your home setup before the new NFL season gets underway. Go Bucs!

And lastly, the iPhone 14, free for the first time ever at Verizon without the need for a trade-in. Need I say any more?

Happy spending!

1. Fire TV Stick 4K Max

Buy a Fire TV Stick outside of Amazon Prime Day? Madness! I would usually agree with you there, but you do have to be a Prime member in order to get access to the lowest prices during Amazon's exclusive sale.

So, definitely don't sleep on this offer that lets you pick up the popular and most powerful Fire TV Stick 4K Max for its lowest-ever price for non-Prime members. In fact, it's only $2 more than the offer we saw in July, so not a huge difference in the grand scheme of things.

We awarded this device four stars out of five in our Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max review. This version pushes the streaming stick to its limits with excellent performance for the price and does everything you need to watch shows and films in 4K. Accessibility features and voice controls are handy additions, too, as you can navigate through apps easier and connect with other smart home devices.

Fire TV Stick 4K Max: $54.99$26.99 at Amazon

Fire TV Stick 4K Max: was $54.99 now $26.99 at Amazon
This is the lowest price we've seen for Amazon's premium streaming device for non-Prime members. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max streams the same content in the same quality as the standard 4K version, but the extra power inside means faster performance when navigating apps. Plus, it uses WiFi 6 technology to give you a more stable and consistent streaming experience.

2. iPhone 14

The iPhone 14 is a great phone. Just check out our very positive iPhone 14 review in which we call it 'seriously snappy' and 'really cool' – to cherry-pick just a couple of the compliments with minimal context. But, in all seriousness, it's one of the best phones for most people that prefer the Apple ecosystem.

How would you like one for free? Well, you can get one right now at Verizon - and it's the first time ever that the latest Apple handset has been offered for zero upfront cost without the need to trade in an old device at the same time. 

Now, of course, the network isn't just handing out a $800 phone for nothing. You do need to sign up for a reasonably pricey unlimited data line at the same time, but it's still one of the best iPhone 14 deals we've ever seen. It makes sense this is live now, considering we're just a short time away from the expected iPhone 15 reveal in September.

Apple iPhone 14: free with an unlimited data plan, plus $280 off an iPad and Apple Watch at Verizon

Apple iPhone 14: free with an unlimited data plan, plus $280 off an iPad and Apple Watch at Verizon
Verizon has just dropped its best iPhone deal ever on the standard iPhone 14 this week. Previously, a trade-in was needed to get this device for free but that's no longer the case as you can get the device as a freebie on a new unlimited data line. If you want some cheap accessories, you can also bundle in an Apple Watch for just $5 and get $280 off an iPad, although you will need to pay for those device lines separately.

3. Gateway Notebook

Our pals over at TechRadar Pro are popping in for a guest spot on our payday wishlist with a cheap yet excellent value-for-money laptop deal they've spotted over at Walmart that's proven very popular this week. I'll allow Managing Editor, Des, to take it away from here.

He says that the main appeal of this Gateway laptop is that it comes with 16GB of RAM – that’s twice what other similar-priced laptops offer and it matters because more memory helps with running multiple applications at the same time. Other useful specs include an Intel i5 processor, HD display, excellent battery life and a sizeable 512GB SSD. All for under $400 is a bargain.

And I agree. When it comes to affordable all-around laptops there's nothing that beats this right now. It's a great buy for general use and schoolwork so definitely snap it up while you can.

Gateway 14-inch laptop: $398 at Walmart

Gateway 14-inch laptop: $398 at Walmart
In terms of sheer value for money alone, this laptop is unbeatable. You get a whole lot of power and performance for the price, including an Intel i5 processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, a full HD display and long battery life. Gateway may not be the biggest name out there, but others have tried this device and come away impressed, so grab yourself a bargain laptop while stocks last.

4. MacBook Air

For a laptop on another level, you'll want to consider the MacBook Air, which is currently down to its lowest price ever at Best Buy. Both the older M1 and more recent M2 versions are on offer, and you can't really go wrong with either considering we awarded both 4.5 out of five.

Sure, the M1 version is a little older now, but it's still a speedy and powerful device with an impressive battery life. Meanwhile, the M2 version is an extra $200 more, but it does come with the upgraded M2 chip for even better all-around performance. It's rounded out with a thin and light design, improved battery life and a stunning display

And while these prices are already the cheapest ever and two of the best laptop deals right now, you can also get an extra discount of $50 on the MacBook Air M2 if you're a My Best Buy Plus or My Best Buy Total member. You can sign up for My Best Buy for as little as $0 to get free shipping or read our full breakdown of the new My Best Buy memberships system for all the perks at each tier.

MacBook Air 13-inch (M1):$999.99$749.99 at Best Buy

MacBook Air 13-inch (M1): was $999.99 now $749.99 at Best Buy
The 2020 Apple MacBook Air with an M1 chip is a little old now but it's still one of the best laptops ever made - and Best Buy now has it for the same record-low price we first saw over Prime Day. Our MacBook Air M1 review awarded the device 4.5 stars out of five, where we particularly praised Apple's premium device for its speed, responsiveness, beautiful design and long-lasting battery life.

MacBook Air 13-inch (M2): $1,199$949 at Best Buy

MacBook Air 13-inch (M2): was $1,199 now $949 at Best Buy
Best Buy also has the MacBook Air M2 for its lowest-ever price if you'd prefer the more up-to-date model. We concluded that this is the best laptop you can buy in our MacBook Air M2 review thanks to the stylish design, sharp display, impressive performance and long battery life. This is the one to get if you need a premium powerhouse for creative apps such as photo editing, video editing and more intense workloads. The M1 is still up to those jobs too, though, so you'll be fine with the cheaper option if your budget is smaller - but it's worth the upgrade if you can afford it.

5. Fire TVs

There are already some stellar deals on TVs ahead of the big Labor Day holiday weekend. Some of the best TV deals are at Amazon, where you can get smart TVs from as little as $64.99.

The highlight is the Amazon Fire TV 55-inch Omni QLED Series for $429.99 as it's the cheapest it's ever been. And it's packed with some top-end TV tech, including that QLED display, to offer better brightness, more vibrant colors and excellent overall picture quality.

We've got more of our hand-picked favorites below, or you can follow our full Labor Day TV sales coverage for even more of the best deals coming soon.

Amazon Fire TV 55-inch Omni QLED Series 4K TV: $599.99$429.99 at Amazon

Amazon Fire TV 55-inch Omni QLED Series 4K TV: was $599.99 now $429.99 at Amazon
Amazon's all-new Fire TV Omni QLED Series is a big step up in the otherwise cheap range of smart TVs - and this version is now $30 cheaper than the price we saw over Prime Day. This set boasts premium features, including a QLED display, full-array local dimming, Dolby Vision IQ, and HDR10+ Adaptive support to deliver a high-quality picture for all-around viewing and gaming. A good overall buy for the budget-conscious who don't want to compromise on picture quality and performance.

Toshiba V35 32-inch HD Fire TV: $99.99 $89.99 at Amazon

Toshiba V35 32-inch HD Fire TV: was $99.99 now $89.99 at Amazon
At just 32 inches this Toshiba V35 is a bargain if you need a small and basic TV for a second room in the house such as a bedroom or kitchen. Don't expect any fancy bells and whistles, this is just a straightforward HD display. It does, however, come with the Fire OS so you have access to all the major streaming apps and voice controls through Alexa.

Amazon Fire TV 40-inch 2-Series HD Smart TV: $249.99 $189.99 at Amazon

Amazon Fire TV 40-inch 2-Series HD Smart TV: was $249.99 now $189.99 at Amazon
If the Toshiba above is too small then you can upgrade to this 40-inch Amazon Fire TV instead and still pay under $200. Again, the Amazon Fire 2-Series TV is just a basic HD display, but you do get smart capabilities with the Fire TV experience and Amazon Alexa on board for hands-free control at a bargain price.

James Pickard
Senior Deals Editor

James Pickard is a Deals Editor at TechRadar. After many years of scouring the net for the cheapest games and tech for his own personal use, he decided to make it his job to share those bargains with you. James also has over five years of experience covering some of the biggest sales events of the year at Eurogamer and VG247, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day. When not deals hunting, James can be found on the PS5, watching a classic film noir or cheering on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.