Tested product deals: Amazon Prime Day 2021
This article is part of CNN Underscored’s wall-to-wall coverage of Amazon Prime Day. To find all of our coverage, click here.
All year, our editors and writers put products large and small through a battery of tests and then use them day in and day out so we can make sure to recommend the things that will work best for you. For Prime Day, we’ve tracked down the very best deals on the products we’ve tested so you can be sure to get the things you really want -— and can depend on — for the lowest prices of the year.
Anker Powerline Lightning to USB Cable
Our pick for the best Lightning cable for your Apple devices, the Anker Powerline II gets a solid 25% off discount for Prime Day. It doesn’t get much better than Anker’s Powerline II cable. It’s extremely affordable, charges quickly and is more durable than Apple’s own cables. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty should anything go wrong. The MFi-certified (it meets Apple’s stringent quality requirements) Powerline II may be just a basic cable that does everything well. Pick up a few for home, office, your bag and your car and always be prepared to charge.
At nearly $100 off, our favorite full-size, over-ear noise-canceling headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM4, are not just a great listening experience, but a great deal. With impressive sound quality and noise cancellation, up to 30 hours of battery life per charge and a design that’s comfortable to wear all day, the Sony WH-1000XM4 outperformed every other full-size, over-ear headphone we tested. Onboard processing intelligently enhances audio; we enjoyed crisp and clear audio from every source we tried.
Fitbit Inspire 2
Available at a price matching its historical low, our favorite overall fitness tracker, the Fitbit Inspire 2, gives you accurate workout, step and sleep tracking in a slim, comfortable-to-wear package with up to 10 days of battery life. The small screen is very visible, the app is easy to use and it’s overall a great choice for anyone who wants robust data about their health and fitness.
At 26% off for Prime Day, the Wemo Smart Plug — our pick for the best HomeKit smart plug — is a solid choice for any smart home. Wemo Plug is the only one we tested to offer support for all three major smart home ecosystems: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. (While the Philips Hue Plug can connect to all three, it’s only rated for use with lamps.) We found the tiny, unobtrusive Wemo Plug to be faster than most plugs we tested in operation; it took only about a second to register a command (like turning the plug on or off) whether we were controlling it using the Wemo app or a smart assistant; some of the other plugs we tested took a good few seconds.
At 20% off for Prime Day, our premium portable hard drive pick, the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD, is a great deal on storage that outperformed the other solid-state drives we tested on read, write, backup and file opening speeds. The compact size and durable build makes it perfect for on-the-go use.
At the lowest price we’ve seen, the fourth-generation Amazon Echo, our pick for the best smart speaker, is a great deal on the device that defined the category. The new spherical form factor is more appealing aesthetically than the original Echo and most competing speakers, and the sound is richer and clearer. And you get the same ample access to Alexa, which is constantly getting smarter and giving you more control over your information.
Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700
Prime Day gives you a chance to pick up the Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700 — our pick for the most comfortable over-ear headphones — for a deep discount. They’re the most comfortable over-ear headphones we tested, and offer great sound quality and Bose’s typically effective noise cancellation. They don’t offer as wide an array of EQ modes or as much customization as our other top picks, but they are very solid performers, with Bose’s low-key, grown-up style.
Razer Huntsman Mini
While we didn’t recommend it as one of our best gaming keyboards, the Razer Huntsman Mini was a dream to game and type on, but it comes with a steep learning curve if you’re new to 60% keyboards. It’s so small, in fact, that it even lacks arrow keys. It uses Razer’s Optical Switches, in clicky or linear, and to make up for the lack of all the extra keys most of us are accustomed to, some of the keys have secondary functions that require you to hold in the Fn key to access. You can easily identify those keys by a small icon printed on the side of the key, and the alternate functions light up so they’re clearly indicated, but you’ll have to relearn your key combinations to take advantage of the smaller format.
Eero Pro 6
Discounted to the lowest price we’ve seen for Prime Day, the Eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi Router (available in a set with two extenders) is the best mesh Wi-Fi router we’ve tested. It blankets wide spaces with unfaltering coverage and pairs with a helpful companion app, and its straightforward setup makes it a great choice even for a tech-challenged user. With more than 100 devices on the network (from smart bulbs to TVs, laptops to connected appliances), the Eero 6 never once so much as sputtered during our testing, nor did we notice the smallest of dead spots. While the main router alone has enough juice to cover 1,500 square feet, pairing it with the two extenders covers a radius of 5,000 square feet.
At 24% off, the Apple AirPods Pro, our pick for the best wireless earbuds for Apple users, are priced at just $20 more than the lowest price we’ve seen — a rare significant discount. They deliver great sound and solid noise-canceling ability and play especially nice with iPhones, iPads and Macs, with instantaneous pairing and the ability to switch between Apple devices without missing a beat.
Those in need of an alarm clock without any extra bells or whistles will be more than happy with the DreamSky Compact Digital Alarm Clock, our runner-up pick for the best alarm clock. The DreamSky, which gets a small discount for Prime Day, is small but packs a big display, and at $18.99 you get an easy-to-use clock with an adjustable wake-up tone. It lacks the extras of our overall winner, but the DreamSky Compact Digital Alarm Clock is a solid pick to get you out of bed in the morning.
Priced at $79.99 for Prime Day, the second generation of Amazon’s own budget Echo Buds are an even more solid option as a value pick for true wireless earbuds. In our testing we found sound that was balanced across the board but lacked some vibrancy and loudness compared to our main picks; the low-profile design is unobtrusive and comfortable but lacks some of the stability offered by the Galaxy Buds+, and the battery life is also shorter, at around four and a half hours. There’s deep integration with Alexa, including automatic recognition by Amazon devices and the Alexa app, as well as an Alexa-drven fit test that you do on initial setup.
55-inch Sony A90J OLED TV
At $200 off today from Best Buy, our pick for the best luxury TV, the Sony A90J, has the best picture quality we’ve ever tested, with superb detail and hyperaccurate colors. It’s one of the brightest OLED TVs we’ve seen, supports all the standards videophiles demand and lets you access everything easily with the Google TV interface. It’s still pricey, but if you’re after the finest possible picture here’s a chance to grab it at a small but still significant discount.
At $69.99, the cheapest price we’ve seen, our budget tablet pick is an even better deal. You don’t sacrifice much with the Fire HD 8 Plus. It can handle a host of everyday tasks, including streaming movies and TV shows, light emailing, plenty of content consumption, e-reading and even some light gaming. The only downside here is Fire OS, which limits you to solely using Amazon’s Appstore.
Need storage? Pick up our choice for the best overall external hard drive, the WD My Passport SSD, for 29% off in the 1 TB size. With the My Passport, files transfer quickly; we were able to back up Word documents in just a few seconds, full photo albums in less than 20 seconds and even large video files in under a minute. Those are speeds rivaling many devices’ onboard drives. Plus, it comes in a stylish yet rugged package.
If you’re looking for a deal on a pair of wireless earbuds to get you through your workouts, our recommendation for the best earbuds for working out or running is the Jabra Elite Active 75t, available at $60 off regular price for Prime Day. The 75t are secure, comfortable and durable enough for high-intensity training and have enough battery life for a long day at the gym, at the track or wherever your fitness journey takes you.
At 25% off — the lowest price we’ve seen — the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Wi-Fi, our pick for the best Android tablet, offers long battery life and enough power to keep up with whatever you can throw at it. While Android apps leave a lot to be desired when used on a tablet, with Samsung DeX, you can turn the Galaxy Tab S7 into a laptop-like device, complete with trackpad support and windowed apps for multitasking.
Emart 10-inch Selfie Ring Light
Discounted this Prime Day to the lowest price we’ve seen, our favorite overall ring light, the Emart 10-Inch Ring Light, combines usability and affordability better than any of the other options we tested, meaning you’ll have an easier time looking better in your Zoom calls, selfies and TikTok videos. A fully adjustable tripod makes it easy to set up with any device, and plenty of light modes and brightness settings make it simple to tailor the Emart’s light to your environment.
At the lowest price we’ve seen on the 2TB size, The Samsung T5 Portable SSD is a good deal if you need a lot of reasonably priced portable storage space. We like the compact design and aluminum case, and though it’s a bit slower than our top picks for the best external hard drives, it’s still faster than a traditional physical hard drive and a lot easier to take with you.
Like the seventh-gen model before it, the Apple eighth-generation iPad quickly stood out as the best overall tablet during our testing. With it, you can send emails, chat in a group FaceTime and multitask between two apps without so much as a hiccup. This do-it-all tablet screams efficiency, allowing users to seamlessly transition from work-centric tasks (like creating a presentation or working in spreadsheets) to boredom-busting activities (think crisp, TV-like Netflix binges). It’s all thanks to the A12 Bionic chip inside, and iPadOS runs swimmingly. Better yet, you can pair it with the Apple Pencil for note-taking, and an attachable keyboard can make this device suitable for work. And at $299, it’s friendlier on your wallet than most tablets this powerful.
The Apple Watch Series 6 isn’t just the best smartwatch for the iPhone; it’s the best smartwatch period, and it’s available at a rare discount for Prime Day. The Series 6 offers the ability to take calls, quickly respond to messages and have plenty of apps on your wrist. Apple opted to keep the now classic design, and it comes in new finishes. The S6 processor inside is the fastest in any smartwatch. And then there are the health features: The watch not only tracks countless activities but can also take an electrocardiogram (ECG), measure heart rate, track blood oxygen levels and detect if you’ve fallen.
This deep Prime Day discount — equal to the lowest price we’ve seen — makes the Fire HD 10 more attractive if you want a Fire device with a big 10.1-inch screen. Overall, though, we find the Fire HD 10 a little unwieldy in thickness and size compared to the more portable Fire HD 8 Plus or our other picks for best tablet, and it has an older chip and lacks the wireless charging of the HD 8 Plus or the new HD 10 Plus. But if you’re looking for a big screen for reading and watching and don’t need the latest and greatest, it’s worth a look at nearly half off.
Also marked down to the lowest price we’ve seen, our favorite budget smart speaker, the compact fourth-generation Echo Dot is a miniature version of the Echo. It doesn’t get as loud or full-sounding as the bigger Echo, but you get almost everything you get with its big sibling (the Dot drops support for Zigbee smart devices and Amazon’s Sidewalk network) for less than half the cash.
Logitech G502 Hero
The Logitech G502 Hero — available on Prime Day for the lowest price we’ve seen — is one of the most popular gaming mice among those we tested to pick the best gaming mice, and for good reason. Eleven buttons, extra weights you can add or remove based on your preference and plenty of RGB lights offer plenty of customization, and the Hero has a max dots per inch (DPI) of 25,600 for precise control. The version we reviewed is wired; however, Logitech does offer a wireless model too.
At 40% off — as low a price as we’ve tracked — our pick for the best DIY home security system, the second-generation Ring Alarm, is an even better deal than usual. It combines painless, customizable installation with a wide-ranging feature set, and optional 24/7 monitoring is available for $10 per month. During our testing, we didn’t run into any issues or sensor errors.
The SteelSeries Apex Pro is our pick for the best gaming keyboard, and it gets a 19% discount for Prime Day. From playing action-packed first-person shooters to a more casual session of Minecraft, it kept up without any hiccups. One of our favorite features is the adjustable switches that allow you to fine-tune how much pressure the keys require for activation (aka a keypress) — it’s the only keyboard we tested with such a feature, and it made a huge difference. The OLED display is a nice touch as well, making it easy to adjust settings without having to leave a game and open the SteelSeries Engine 3 app. And It delivers a comfortable typing experience too.
T-fal Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Three Piece Set
Our favorite nonstick pan, the 10-inch T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan with Lid, is on sale this Prime Day as part of a three-piece set, for not much more than the price of the skillet on its own. The T-fal has tall enough sides to prepare recipes you might otherwise turn to post for, and still does a great job on eggs and meats.Nothing clung to the pans surface in our testing, it resisted scratching even when we tested it with metal utensils, can take up to 400 degrees in the oven, and cleans up easily.
Prime Day brings a 31% discount on the 2020 version of our pick for the best streaming device, the Roku Ultra. The Ultra is faster, thanks to a new quad-core processor. In fact, this is the fastest streaming device Roku has released, and we can confirm that it feels faster than the Streambar or last year’s Ultra. It outpaces the many sticks and dongles from Roku as well. The newest Ultra retains all of the features we loved and enjoyed about the 2019 model, like almost zero lag time between waking it up and streaming content, leading to a hiccup-free streaming experience. On top of that, the Roku Ultra can upscale content to deliver the best picture possible on your TV — even on older-model TVs that don’t offer the latest and greatest picture quality — and supports everything from HD to 4K.
MacBook Pro M1
The MacBook Pro M1 is our choice for the best laptop for video editing and other intensive tasks on the Apple platform, but this Prime Day deal brings its price in line with the cheaper MacBook Air, so if you want a little more processing oomph now’s a great time to think about the otherwise pricier machine. The Mac also the latest iteration of a design favored by everyone from students to business professionals. The latest version uses Apple’s high-speed, low energy M1 chip, and has some of the best overall performance you can find in a laptop. A major highlight is its 20-hour battery life – the longest ever in a Mac.
MacBook Air M1
Our pick for the best Apple laptop, the MacBook Air M1, is an even better value for Prime Day, at a small discount. The Air offers much of the performance as the MacBook Pro at an even lower price point (and in a lighter, thinner package). The thinner design drops the TouchBar and some video processing power, but otherwise you get similar speed, the same experience, and the well-thought-out Apple ecosystem, with seamless connection between your iPad, iPhone and laptop.
We once ranked Sony’s WF-1000XM3s as the top pick in true wireless earbuds. While they do fall short of the newer WF-1000XM4 in a couple of ways, with a bulkier, heavier design that sticks further out of the ear. The XM3 also isn’t water resistant. But at $148 plus a $20 gift card, you get a set of earbuds that have good sound, effective noise cancellation, a wide soundstage and an app for customization.
Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp
Get a head start on fending off the winter blahs with a great deal on our favorite portable SAD lamp, the Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0. If you need to take a light therapy device on the road, this is the right SAD lamp for you. The folding lamp emits a surprising amount of light for such a small surface area, and fits into any work bag or carry-on suitcase. You can use the desktop stand, or mount it on a wall if you want to use it in a compact space.
If you’re looking to beef up your TV’s audio and add some smarts in the process, now’s the chance to save a little money on our pick for the best soundbar, the Roku Smart Soundbar. The slim, vibrant sounding device is a no-nonsense way to add robust sound and simple streaming to your TV. With performance akin to much pricier models, the Roku is a no-brainer.
Webcams have been in short supply all year, so it’s rare to see a deal, but this Prime Day our pick for the best high-end webcam, the Razer Kiyo Pro, gets a substantial price cut to the lowest price we’ve seen. One of the best performing webcams we’ve ever tested, the Kiyo Pro can shoot crisp 1080p video at a fluid 60 frames per second. This consistently led to great-looking photos and videos. It also has a wide field of view at up to 103 degrees, making it ideal for group calls. Its adaptive light sensor, which delivered bright and sharp image quality even in poorly lit rooms.
Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker
If you want to take fresh, cold-brewed coffee with you, our travel cold brew pick, the Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, gets a steep 36% price cut for Prime Day. The intuitive design performed just as well as the other cold brewers we tested, with the advantage of portability.