Prime Day tablet deals: The best iPad and Fire tablet sales so far


It’s less than a week until Prime Day 2021 (June 21-22), so it’s time for anyone taking note of price cuts on tablets to sit up and pay attention. We’re keeping an eye on two brands herein: Apple iPads and Amazon’s own Fire tablets. The two major things you need to keep in mind about each brand:

  • Apple’s iPads often sell for a bit less than their list price, so long as you don’t buy at the Apple Store proper, where the price is basically never cut. So you may see some decent ($30 to $50, or even more) discounts right now, but we may also see better deals during upcoming Prime Day sales at Amazon and elsewhere.
  • Amazon’s Fire tablets nearly always get deep discounts across the board during Prime Day and Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Those two times of year are almost always the best time to buy.

In other words: You may see some decent discounts right now, but you should wait until Prime Day (June 21-22) before buying, especially on the Fire tablets. We’ll continue to monitor Amazon as well as its competitors such as Best Buy, Target and Walmart — all of which have already announced Prime Day counter-sales — for any price drops on these or other popular tablet brands.

Early Prime Day iPad deals

Scott Stein/CNET

The eighth-gen iPad features a 10.2-inch display powered by the A12 chip. The 32GB model has a list price of $329 but it’s down to $299 at Amazon. We saw it dip to $279 last year at Costco, and it’s possible we’ll see this baseline iPad drop during actual Prime Day or one of the counter-sales.

Read our iPad 2020 review.

Apple

Apple’s 10.9-inch iPad Air delivers a lot of what the iPad Pro does, but at a lower price. That great value earned it our Editors’ Choice award last year, but the newer Pro raises the bar (albeit for more money).

Read our iPad Air review.

Early Prime Day Fire Tablet deals

David Carnoy/CNET

Amazon’s Fire HD 10 is the biggest and most powerful tablet that the company offers, and it recently got better. The 2021 revision launched in April with more RAM, a 10% brighter screen and a slightly updated design. Like its 2019 predecessor, the new HD 10 starts at $150. The recharged Fire HD 10 Plus offers wireless charging, an extra gigabyte of RAM and a “soft touch, slate colored finish” for $30 more — $180.

Right now, if you buy two Fire HD 10 models, you’ll get $75 taken off the top ($225, down from $300). The discount is applied at checkout.

The Fire HD 10 comes packed with benefits for Prime subscribers, making it easy for members to stream and download movies, TV shows and games. The Fire tablets don’t use a pure version of Android, but instead Amazon’s Android-based Fire operating system, and pulls apps from the Amazon App Store. You can still get apps from Google Play, but you’ll have to install the store yourself — meaning gaming enthusiasts have access to all of their favorite mobile games for an excellent gaming tablet experience.

Read more.

Other potential Prime Day tablet deals

Csar Salza/CNET

Price worth waiting for:Normally $90, this sold for $55 last November.

The Fire HD 8 (8-inch screen) was updated in 2020 with a faster processor, USB-C charging, better Wi-Fi performance, 2GB of RAM (up from 1.5GB) and a bump from 16GB to 32GB of storage in the base model. Its HD screen is sharper than the entry-level Fire 7, but it’s not nearly as sharp as iPad displays. The HD 8 Plus adds wireless charging and slightly better performance, thanks to 3GB of RAM.

Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) review.

David Carnoy/CNET

Price worth waiting for:Normally $110, this sold for $75 last November.

The Fire HD 8 Plus adds wireless charging and more RAM (3GB instead of 2GB), with performance that improves on the standard Fire HD 8. The tablet should charge just fine on most wireless charging pads.

Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Price worth waiting for:Normally $50, this sold for as low as $30 last November.

Fair warning: We really think you should pay up for a Fire HD 8, which is a much better, faster tablet than the entry-level Fire 7. But at $40 or less, this non-HD 7-inch model is going to be tempting for a lot of folks.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Price worth waiting for: This $140 unit previously sold for as low as $80 last November.

This child-friendly version of the Fire HD 8 tablet adds a padded case, parental controls, a two-year warranty and a one-year subscription to Kids Plus (formerly known as FreeTime Unlimited), which normally costs $3 a month and gives you access to a bunch of kid-friendly content. It’s not really suitable for remote learning, but it’s a much more affordable option than giving a young child a full-on iPad.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Price worth waiting for: Normally $100, this dipped to $60 last November.

This has all of the same extras as the HD 8 above, but it’s the childproof version of the smaller, more affordableAmazon Fire 7. You’re getting a 7-inch screen instead of 8, and a less robust processor.



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