Amazon Prime Day is due to take place in June 2021, which means we may only have a few weeks to prepare for the retailer's biggest sales event of the year. We're showing you exactly what you need to do to make sure you're all set up for the big day, with preparation tips that can help you pick out the best devices for you ahead of this year's Prime Day deals.
Working through your options before the discounts hit means you can make faster decisions when the pressure of the sales is on. You'll also be able to spot the best deals a lot better and, crucially, ascertain whether they are the best deals for you specifically.
That means making sure you know all the features and specs that you need from your new TV, laptop, or any device you're looking to buy over Prime Day, while also getting to know what prices you might expect and any sacrifices you might need to make if things don't run your way.
1. Find out exactly what you want
The first step in preparing for Amazon Prime Day is making sure you know exactly what you want from the sales themselves. That goes beyond knowing that you're looking for a new laptop for work or a smartwatch to track your summer fitness kick, and into the specific features and specs you both need and want from your budgeted price range.
We're looking for a 50-inch 4K TV on Amazon Prime Day, with a budget set at $400. We would need a strong, clear picture quality, with a good brightness, smart home support, and a wide range of all the usual apps. It would be nice to find a model that also offered more than two HDMI ports and Dolby Atmos audio in this price range.
It looks like the Hisense H8G Quantum fits the bill the best right now. It's slightly more expensive than our budget, but hopefully we'll see a price drop over the course of the event itself.
When Amazon Prime Day does roll around you'll want to be armed with knowledge on which features you absolutely need, and which ones you can sacrifice for a lower price point. Or, conversely, if you spot a deal that's maybe slightly higher than your budget but offers everything you could hope for and a little more you'll be able to make the right call in the heat of the moment. A strong list of 'needs' and 'wants' will help differentiate exactly what you need and what would be a nice to have if the price was right. Prime Day can get a little competitive, so the faster you're able to make these decisions the better.
A good first step is checking out exactly what's already available on the market right now, but you'll find a range of spec and feature considerations below to get you started.
If you're on the hunt for Amazon Prime Day TV deals you'll want to make sure you know the size and screen quality you're looking for first of all. Once you know how big you can go, take a look at the current 4K UHD, ULED, QLED, and OLED options, as well as the typical contrast ratios and brightness levels for each one. You'll find plenty of information in our guides to the best 4K TVs and our roundup of cheap TV deals already available to help you in this mission.
It's important to also consider which operating system you'd like to buy. There are only a few to choose from, but some offer wider range of apps than others. Other features like the number of HDMI ports, Dolby Atmos audio, and refresh rates should also be considered here, in relation to your budget.
If you're just looking for a simple display to catch up on Netflix and make the most of the influx of 4K content available right now, you don't need to spend more than $300 or $400. However, if you're looking for a premium next-gen gaming experience your options extend from $700-$800 all the way up to the $1,299 LG CX OLED.
If you're browsing Prime Day laptop deals for a new PC you'll want to make sure you know what you're going to be using your machine for. That will help you work out what screen size, processing power, storage, RAM, and extra features you might need. For example, someone looking for everyday browsing, some light note taking or Netflix streaming will only need a smaller Intel Celeron or AMD A-Series processor with entry level 4/8GB RAM and 128GB of storage.
Once you've found your specs under the hood, consider the design of the chassis and extra features. Weight and thickness will need to be a consideration if you will be travelling with your laptop a lot, and others may need a better quality screen or a 2-in-1 design as well. Make sure you know which ports you'll need, as many laptops these days are dropping certain connectivity options in favor of all-in-one USB-C alternatives as well.
Smartwatches come in all shapes and sizes these days, so before you dive into Prime Day Apple Watch deals or spend hours differentiating different Samsung Galaxy Watch prices, check in on exactly what you need from your wearable.
Fitness features can range from simple calorie and step counting to onboard training exercises, workout plans, and in-depth blood oxygen and fatigue sensors. Find out how complex you need your tracking to be, and also whether you're looking for any stress or sleep monitoring at the same time.
For example, those who just want to keep an eye on their activity levels throughout the day won't need the highly sensitive sensors of more expensive models, and will likely find the best value in a smartwatch like the Fitbit Versa 2 or 3, or the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active.
It's also worth noting whether you'll need music and payment features, as some cheaper smartwatches do drop these aspects to keep the price down. We're rounding up all the best smartwatches right here so you can get a head start.
These days your tablet choices are fairly limited to the iPad, Samsung's Galaxy range, the Surface Pro, and cheaper Android alternatives. When choosing the best tablet for you it's important to consider screen size (you're looking at between 10.2-inches and 12.9-inches), processor, the amount of storage you might need (dependent on how much you like to rely on cloud services), and it's worth taking a look at RAM if you're going to be using your tablet for more demanding apps or multi-tasking.
Put simply, if you're going to be using your tablet to stream content, play a few games, and maybe take a few notes you won't need the high end processors of the iPad Pro or Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus. Instead, an entry level model with 32GB or 64GB of storage will likely go the job well, and you won't need to check in on the amount of RAM on offer either.
Make sure you also know whether you'll need or want LTE connectivity, and be sure to check in on battery life and stylus pointer options as well.
We are expecting some excellent Prime Day iPad deals this year, so it's worth getting to grips with both Apple and its competition for the best offers.
There's a massive range of headphones out on the market right now. While you can whittle down the options with the help of our best headphones guide, you will also need to take note of the features that are actually important to you before heading into Amazon Prime Day.
For example, do you need active noise cancellation, or would isolation do the trick? Do you need a 30+ hour battery life or can you save some cash and charge up more regularly? Also consider whether you'd like virtual assistant compatibility, and a stronger wireless connection.
A commuter, for example, may prioritise noise cancellation, a foldable design and a longer battery life, whereas someone looking for a set of cups to kick back with at home will be looking for a higher audio quality with less of a focus on portability.
Prime Day headphone deals have offered some excellent discounts on front runners like the Sony WH-1000XM4s in the past, but prices still bleed over $200, so cheaper offers might need a little more research.
2. Price it up
This is the less fun part of preparing for Amazon Prime Day - budgeting. To make sure you're not pitching too high or too low with your ideal budget, take a look at the regular MSRP of your chosen product and compare it with both sales prices that pop up through the year, the lowest recorded price for that item, and last year's Amazon Prime Day price.
The current lowest price on our Hisense H8G Quantum is $434.44, which bodes well for a price drop below our $400 budget come the summer. This model is new for 2021, which means it's currently at its record low price, and wasn't included in last year's Prime Day deals. However, the 2020 model reached a record low of $349.99 last year which means things are looking promising for a larger price drop in the near future.
The best starting place for finding this information is camelcamelcamel. The Amazon price checker will allow you to check the history of your chosen item, as well as how much it cost over Prime Day last year - just remember you're looking at October 2020 rather than the regularly scheduled summer dates this time. Once you've got a base knowledge of this pricing, keep a close eye on discounts and deals over the course of the next few weeks to see how far those fluctuations are rolling.
It's best to aim for a price tag between the lowest it's ever been and the last Prime Day price. In an ideal world, this year's Amazon Prime Day will offer up a brand new record low, but to stay realistic it's best to keep those expectations fairly conservative to avoid disappointment and scrambling on the day itself.
The previous record low price could have been due to an incredibly rare flash sale, or demand for your chosen product may have risen since then, for example.
It's also worth noting that your chosen product may not have been included in last year's Prime Day offerings. This might be the case if demand was particularly high back then (as we saw with cheaper laptops and Chromebooks in 2020), or if the product was new to market last time Prime Day rolled around (like the iPad Air 4, for example).
3. Know your alternatives
Nobody knows which products will see big discounts over Amazon Prime Day, which means there's a chance your chosen device won't see any price drops at all. You don't want to be scrambling trying to find the next best thing in the heat of the moment, which is where your research on the features you absolutely need will come in handy.
At $449, the TCL 5-Series could also drop into our $400 budget. There's a QLED display so we're still getting the brightness and color quality that we're after, four HDMI ports which fit our 'nice to have' category, but we would be sacrificing Dolby Atmos here.
However, the LG NanoCell 85 offers an even better picture than we were hoping for, with local dimming, a 120Hz refresh rate, and excellent color and brightness. Dolby Atmos and a large number of HDMI ports are also there, with virtual assistant compatibility as well. While far out of our budget right now, this model has dropped to $496 in the past and so we'll be watching this price over Prime Day.
It's easy to get carried away or overwhelmed with the amount of discounts available, leaving many unsure of the best offer for them. However, going back and finding some alternatives will allow you to have a much wider net from which to gather the highest value options available.
There may be other products available that still fit what you're looking for, but sacrifice a few features in favor of a much smaller price tag. These offers may well still be worthwhile if your best case scenario doesn't work out. Or, there may be devices that are a little further out of your price range right now, but offer improvements that would be beneficial to you if that cost was reduced.
It's worth finding some backup options that suit both of these categories so that you know exactly what each Prime Day deal is offering, and crucially - how valuable that offering is to your situation.
4. Keep a close eye on pre-Prime Day deals
Once you have your desired features, the right price for you in mind, and a few products that fit the bill, it's worth keeping a close eye on the market in the run up to Amazon Prime Day itself. The best offers become extremely competitive once the event actually kicks off, but we do see some excellent discounts in the weeks ahead of the sales as well. That means you could easily find the perfect price for you before Prime Day begins, and there's no guarantee that either the deal will return or be in stock once the main event kicks off.
You'll also get an earlier chance to pick up the deal of your dreams in the upcoming Memorial Day sales, so be sure to stay tuned for more information.
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Tabs is a Deals Editor at TechRadar, bringing you all the latest savings on the tech everyone's talking about and covering deals on gaming, laptops, tablets and more in the US and UK. Happiest with a DualSense controller in her hand, she's also contributed to GamesRadar, Tom's Guide and T3 and specializes in gaming hardware and computing.