Welcome to Amazon’s two days of its annual Prime Day sale. Amazon says that during the course of the two days, over one million products will be discounted. But they don’t say how extensive the discounts will be, and some of the discounted items will be quantity limited or only available for a few hours – this is Amazon’s way of trying to add a sense of excitement and urgency to the process.
The overall range of products being discounted is becoming somewhat predictable, as can be the extent of the discounts too. But we’ve seen some truly amazing discounts this year, and some new items featured for the first time, so do keep reading on.
First, though, these discounts are for Amazon Prime members only. What if you’re not a Prime member? Well, good news on that. You can sign up for a free 30 day trial here. (If you stay a member after then, there is a choice between a $13/month or $119/year plan).
As always, when evaluating these items, keep in mind not only your own interests but also the ever-closer onset of this year’s Christmas season and the need to find gifts for everyone on your gift list.
Amazon Echo Devices
New this year is their Echo Auto – a device for your car. We reviewed it when it came out last year, and gave it a mixed rating. But at a $20 sale price (instead of $50 normally) the cost of being wrong drops down to something very minimal, so maybe try one (or two).
Amazon announced a new range of Echo speaker products less than a month ago (we wrote about them here) with the main difference being that their popular and best-value Echo Dot units have changed from a “hockey puck” design to a globe/sphere design. There seems to be no difference in functionality.
The great news is that the previous “third generation” hockey puck style Echo Dot units are now selling for as little as $19, rather than their earlier $50 list price. Plus, you can get a package deal of an Echo Dot and an Alexa-controllable lightbulb, both combined together for the same $19 price. This is a steal of a deal, and we strongly recommend you stock up on Echo Dot units.
An enhanced type of Alexa Echo unit is their Echo Show, available with various different screen sizes. We continue to think Amazon hasn’t yet done a good job of migrating their Alexa concept, originally designed to be 100% voice driven, to now use the added benefits of a camera and video screen too, but they are getting better. We review the Echo Show 5 here.
We’d not buy one of the larger screened and much more expensive units, but the 5.5″ unit, normally priced at $90, and which we review here, is on special for half that – $45. And, just in case you’re sure you’d like the screen addition, the very much bigger 8″ screened unit is only $20 more – $65 (normally $130).
Amazon Fire Tablets
Amazon make Fire tablets with several different screen sizes – 7″ (way too small), 8″ (starting to be reasonably sized, but low resolution) and 10.1″. The 10.1″ is clearly the pick of the bunch, allowing full 1080×1920 HD video to be shown, and with reasonably good battery life and other tablet capabilities (but no GPS). We first reviewed the 10.1″ Fire Tablet here and have commented on it several times subsequently.
Normally this lists for $150, and often it will be discounted down to $120. For the Prime Day sale, it is being offered at a massively reduced $80 (if you choose the 32GB ad supported option – if you want more memory, it is better and less costly to add a Micro-SD card to it). That’s a wonderful bargain.
There are a number of televisions at very appealing discounts. These days, with 4K resolution sets, you no longer have to worry about “needing” to sit a way back from the screen – quite the opposite. With their very fine resolution, get as big a screen as you can and sit closer to it than ever before.
The two key things to consider with 4K sets are the screen size (of course!) and how it implements high dynamic range. One increasingly relevant further consideration is whether the set includes a Roku or Amazon internet video streaming controller as part of it, or if you’ll need to buy one separately. We discuss television buying issues in this article.
SD Card Memory
Maybe you need some more SD or micro-SD memory cards for your phone, your camera, your tablet, your music player, your security cameras, or some other device. Amazon has its usual discounts on both SanDisk and Samsung memory cards. A Samsung Micro-SD 512GB card for $70 looked very appealing, although beware that some products can’t read 512GB cards, in which case the 256GB unit for $28 would be a great alternate choice and a lower cost per GB of storage.
We know some people still like the Kindle eReader units with their eInk screens. If that is you, and if you don’t already have a Kindle Paperwhite, perhaps you might choose to get one, reduced from $130 to $80 presently.
The excellent Bose QC35 Series II noise cancelling headphones – our preferred model currently – are on sale, reduced from $350 down to $199. That’s a great price on a product that Bose seldom allows resellers to discount.
If you don’t yet have one, perhaps now is the time to get an Instant Pot? We’d suggest the largest 10 quart unit ($100 instead of $150) or the slightly smaller 8 quart unit that does a couple more things ($130 instead of $180).
Not discounted is the wonderful Amazon Fire Stick 4K streaming video controller. That is both disappointing and puzzling.
What else? Plenty more – even face masks.