Like winter in Game of Thrones, Amazon’s fifth annual Prime Day Sale has come. Prime Day began back in 2015. It was a day-long sale celebrating Amazon’s 20th anniversary, a chance for Amazon’s millions of Prime subscribers to score some sweet deals. That first Prime Day was so successful that Amazon made it an annual event. It’s been growing, Hydra-headed, ever since.
Last year, Prime “Day” stretched to 36 straight hours; this year it’s become Prime Days, running for a full 48 hours, likely with more deals then ever: Amazon Fresh is in on the action, as is Twitch Prime, along with some new offerings like the just-launched Happy School Year store, aimed at students, parents, and educators looking to stock up on back to school supplies.
There’s been some effort to rebrand Prime Day “Black Friday in July” since dozens of other retailers have their own competing sales going. As distasteful as that phrase is, it’s worth bearing in mind that Amazon isn’t the only place to score deals on Prime Day.
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When Prime Day Starts
Starts: Prime Day kicks off on Monday, July 15 at 12 am PT.
Ends: 48 hours later on Tuesday, July 16 at 11:59 pm PT.
That’s not all. Amazon already has a bunch of deals on its own devices, which we’ve highlighted below, and more are on the way. Be sure to also read below for some smart shopping tips.
WIRED’s Prime Day Coverage
The Best Early Prime Day Deals
Many of these deals just went live, and we think they’re a safe bet to purchase before Prime Day begins, if you’re in the market.
New 2019 Kindle for $60 ($30 off): The basic Kindle is our top pick for an Amazon book reader right now. It includes a backlight for the 6-inch E Ink touchscreen, meaning you can read in the dark. It comes with 3 free months of Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s Netflix-style book subscription, and you get a $5 ebook credit.
Fire TV Stick for 4K TVs for $25 ($25 off): The Fire Stick 4K is the best of Amazon’s Fire TV devices. It works with all modern TVs, no matter the resolution—HD or 4K. We prefer the Roku all things considered, but if you’re a heavy Prime Video user this makes a good streaming device. YouTube now works on Fire TV, as well.
Fire TV Recast for $130 ($100 off): It’s not much to look at, but this plain black box can handle all your DVR needs, recording and streaming your over-the-air broadcasts to a Fire TV-friendly device. If you need more, you can also get the 4-tuner model with 1TB of storage for $179 (also $100 off).
BackBeat Pro 2 Noise Canceling Headphones for $135 ($65 off): These are some of our favorite affordable wireless headphones. They typically hover around $200 and brown isn’t the greatest color, but their noise canceling is decent, they sound great, and they’re especially good for wearing as you walk because they’ll auto pause and sit around your neck without chokeholding you.
Sony WH1000XM3 Noise Canceling Headphones for $298 ($50 off): These are the best noise-canceling headphones you can buy (Read our review). They sound better and cancel more noise than Bose, though they aren’t good for phone calls.
Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet for $80 ($50 off): The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is our top pick for kids under 7. If your kid’s hands are especially tiny, they’ll appreciate the Fire 7’s smaller size. It’s also on sale.
Fire HD 10 for $100 ($50 off): The Fire HD 10 is a much more capable tablet than the 8. It’s faster, has more storage, and the 10-inch HD screen looks much nicer for watching video.
Amazon Subscription Deals
Kindle Unlimited offers Three Months Free: If you haven’t already signed up for Kindle Unlimited, you can score your first three months of unlimited reading for free. After that it’s $10 per month and it will auto-renew so set a calendar reminder if you plan to cancel.
Audible 1-year subscription + an Echo Dot for $120: Amazon has been running this deal for a few weeks, but it’s still good. Prime members can sign up for a full year of Audible for $120 and get a voucher to by an Echo Dot for a buck. If you don’t want to commit to a full year there’s also an option to get three months of Audible for $5/mo, but no Echo Dot.
Twitch Prime offers Apex Legends gear: Amazon is offering the ability to unlock exclusive legend and weapon skins for Apex Legends and some in-game content for multiple EA Sports titles, including FIFA Ultimate Team.
Prime Day Rival Sales
Amazon isn’t the only one with Prime Day sale, it’s just the only one calling them Prime Day. Historically, retailers like Walmart and Best Buy have gotten pretty worked up about Amazon Prime Day and offered their own defensive sales to try and steal some of Amazon’s thunder. This year we’ve heard that around 250 retailers will be joining the fray and some are trying to rebrand the days as “Black Friday in July.” We think one Black Friday is enough per calendar year, but below are a few stores with their own sales. We’ll highlight some of our favorite rival deals on Monday.
As the name indicates, the deals of Prime Day are only available to Prime members. You can sign up for Amazon Prime here. There is a 1-month free trial, and students can get 6 months free (and a discount), but odds are you’re already onboard.
If not, you should know that Prime is about $10 a month (if you subscribe annually) and offers free 2-day shipping on many items and access to the Prime Video service. There are other perks, like free Kindle books, and you can read them all here. If it’s not for you, after the sale is over, you can cancel your membership before the 30-day period is up and you won’t be billed. Just don’t forget to cancel.
There are deals on almost everything on Prime Day, but not all of them are great. To figure what’s a good deal and what’s not it pays to do some research.
Tip 1: Set Up Deal Alerts for Particular Products
If you’re hoping a particular item will go on sale, there are ways to keep an eye on it. First, install the Amazon Shopping app for iPhone or Android so you can get instant notifications. Then add the items to your Amazon Cart (You can “Save for Later”). Amazon should notify you if the price changes.
That works great if you know what you’re looking for ahead of time, but what if you find something on Prime Day and you want to know if it’s a good deal or not? For that we love CamelCamelCamel.com. It lets you search up the price history of any product on Amazon and track them at a click. Better yet, if you sign up (free), it can import and track prices on your entire Amazon Wish List. (You can easily make wish lists on Amazon by clicking on the “Add to List” button on every product page.)
Tip 2: Track Upcoming Lightning Deals
Lightning Deals can be super stressful. It’s so easy to miss them, but if you have the time to browse through deals in the morning, you can track upcoming Lightning Deals using the Amazon Shopping app. Click on the hamburger icon in the upper left, then Today’s Deals > Upcoming. You can click the “Watch this Deal” button on any deal that’s more than 10 minutes away to add it to your “Watching” list. The app should then notify you the moment Lightning strikes.
Tip 3: Set up an Echo for Alexa Exclusive Deals
If you own an Echo device, you can set up voice purchasing. In the Alexa app on your phone, head to Settings > Accounts and select “Purchase by Voice.” Once you’re set up, just ask, “Alexa, what are my Prime Day deals?”
For more smart shopping tips be sure to check out our other Amazon stories, including tips for shopping safe on Amazon, what Amazon’s star ratings mean, and what it means when something is “Amazon’s Choice”. Also be aware that scammers are trying to get in on the act as well, with a new phishing scam. Luckily there’s nothing unique about this scam, the usual rules for protecting yourself from email scams apply and, hopefully, are old hat at this point.
Check our Amazon Prime Day Page for more coverage and deals.