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Best Prime Day deals: Instant Pot, Recast DVR, a free Echo, iPads, AirPods, Marvel movies and more

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Prime Day sales have already started.


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In case you’ve been off-planet for the past month, a bit of news: Amazon Prime Day 2019 — a.k.a. Black Friday in July, a.k.a. everything everywhere is on sale — starts Monday, July 15, at midnight PT (3 a.m. ET). Yeah, we’re all pretty sick of it already, but we’re also fairly excited by some of the deals we’re seeing now, to say nothing of what we’re expecting next week. Before you do anything else, take note of these eight ways to score the best deals during Prime Day 2019.

Of course, as Amazon goes, so goes the rest of retail. You’ll want to check out Walmart’s answer to Prime DayeBay’s answer to Prime Day and Target’s answer to Prime Day, because of course those stores are running their own sales on July 15 and 16. And Macy’s Black Friday in July sale is already under way, with this standout available right now: The 6-quart Instant Pot Duo for $49.99 with promo code DEAL. That actually beats Black Friday pricing. (And Amazon just matched it: see below.)

This year, Prime Day lasts a full 48 hours — though many Prime Day deals will likely continue in the hours (and even days) after the event officially ends. Keep this post bookmarked, and check it regularly, for all the current and still-available deals.

The best Prime Day deals right now

For now, let’s take a look at Amazon’s current batch of pre-Prime Day deals — starting with one that was announced last week: Spend $10 at Whole Foods, get a $10 Amazon credit good for use during Prime Day. You’ll also find just-added deals on the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, Marvel movie rentals and more. I’m especially liking the Amazon Fire TV Recast for $129.99 (save $100), a great deal on the cord-cutting over-the-air DVR.

While you’re at it, here’s how to make sure you don’t miss a Prime Day sale you’re looking for, your secret weapon on Prime Day and how to save even more than you expected on Prime Day. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products and services featured on this page.    

Everyone’s favorite kitchen accessory has been on sale at Macy’s all week, but Amazon just jumped in with a matching price (one that beats Black Friday, FYI). To get it, you need to click (or tap) the on-page $10-off coupon before adding it to your cart. Wondering how this model fares against all the others? Read CNET’s story on the best Instant Pot to buy.

The Recast is Amazon’s over-the-air DVR, a fee-free option for cord-cutters looking to record live TV. It normally sells for $229.99, so this is a huge savings (and by far the lowest price to date). Just take note that you’ll need to pair it with an Amazon Fire TV device. Those aren’t on sale yet, but they will be soon, no question.

Another deal exclusively for Prime subscribers, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro and Echo Dot bundle drops to just $169 when you add them to your shopping cart. Previously the Ring was on sale for $169 all by itself — the Dot just adds icing to the cake.

Between now and Prime Day, Amazon is offering deep discounts on a ton of magazines. Reader’s Digest, for example: 10 issues for $8. Martha Stewart Living: 10 issues for $5.49. Men’s Health: 10 issues for $9.99. These are all print mags unless otherwise specified.

Can’t get enough MCU? In the lead-up to Prime Day, Amazon is offering rentals of Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Iron Man 3, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and more for just $1.99 apiece. 

Although this dipped to an all-time low of $50 (!) over the weekend, it’s now back to $70 — a solid deal, but you may want to wait for Prime Day, when the full-size second-generation Echo will almost certainly drop again.

Yep, the third-gen Dot hasn’t been priced this low since November. 

Compared with music-streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited is already a deal at $7.99 per month. This promotion — which requires a Prime subscription and is for new Music Unlimited subscribers only — nets you four full months for just a buck. After that, you’ll be on the hook for the regular rate, unless you cancel.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Amazon currently has the 32GB 2017 iPad model for $249 (which is the de facto street price these days). But the better deal is the 128GB model for $329. That gets you four times the storage for the same price you’d pay for the 32GB model at the Apple Store. 

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

It’s not a huge discount, but it’s something. Apple’s flagship AirPods come with a wireless charging case, a tiny little convenience that is nonetheless super nice.

Don’t care about wireless charging? Amazon also has the second-generation AirPods with standard case for $144.99, a savings of about $14.

Now that you know what’s happening today, let’s take a look at what to expect in the weeks to come — and how you can make sure you’re getting the best deals. (Also, make sure you never miss any deals.)

Should I sign up for Amazon Prime now?

As noted, the big sale is exclusively for Amazon Prime subscribers, and an annual subscription costs $119 (or $13 per month if you don’t want to pay all at once).

Worth it? If you’re getting it just for Prime Day, then probably not. I’m here to tell you that Amazon products go on sale all the time. (Example: The Amazon Echo was recently discounted to $50, the lowest price to date — and that had nothing to do with Prime Day.)

But Prime affords a whole bunch of other benefits, including free overnight shipping on many products (and two-day on most others) and lots of movies and TV shows from Prime Video.

If you don’t want to pay for Prime but do want access to the Prime Day deals, here’s one strategy: Sign up for Amazon’s free 30-day Prime trial. The only catch: That’s for new subscribers only, so if you’ve done the trial or been a member before, you can’t get another trial.

What other kinds of deals should I expect?

The biggest discounts are likely to apply to Amazon’s own products and brands, including the full range of Echo speakers, Fire tablets and Fire TV streamers, Kindle readers, Blink cameras and so on. Amazon says to expect “the biggest Prime Day deals ever on Alexa-enabled devices.”

But other sellers will take advantage of the event to offer sale prices as well, hence the “over 1 million deals” Amazon has promised for the event.

Will Prime Day 2019 result in lower prices on Amazon gear than did Prime Day 2018? Or any day in between? We’ll have to wait and see.

For now, and for sake of comparison, here are some current prices and their Prime Day 2018 counterparts:

Amazon gear: Current prices vs. Prime Day 2018

*Items already on sale are shown in bold.

My guess is we’ll see similar Prime Day 2019 prices on most of these items, but maybe a few deals that are even better. Indeed, the Fire TV Cube was recently priced $20 less than it was last year, and as noted above, the full-size Echo smart speaker was recently priced at $50 — $20 below Prime Day 2018!

Where and how to shop on Prime Day

You don’t need to sit at your computer to shop Prime Day. For example, if you own any kind of Alexa-compatible device (like a Fire tablet or Echo smart speaker), you can ask Alexa for Prime Day deals — some of which might be exclusively available via voice purchase.

The Amazon mobile apps, meanwhile, will let you grab deals while you’re on the go. And if you happen to be in the vicinity of a Whole Foods, you might be able to score an extra Prime Day discount. In 2018, Prime subscribers received a $10 Whole Foods credit. At the very least, you’ll get “an additional 10 percent off hundreds of sale items,” according to Amazon.

Finally, don’t forget to get charitable: The Amazon Smile program is a free and easy way to donate a portion of your purchase to just about any charity. Just start your shopping experience at smile.amazon.com instead of www.amazon.com. (While you’re at it, read about other ways to give to charity without even trying.)

Where can I find more Prime Day advice?

It’s never too early to start learning the tricks of the Prime Day trade. For now, you can check out my main stories from last year:

I can’t wait for July 15. Where can I find good deals now?

Yes, it’s not until next week, but there are deals to be had. We’ll update this post as we find them, but for now, here are some worthwhile destinations:

Check out Amazon’s Deals Page, which is updated daily. 

Read my own Cheapskate feed, where I identify great deals every weekday.

Check out CNET Deals, where we share a variety of deals from our retail partners and the web at large. 

This story was originally published April 3 and is regularly updated.


CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!






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