This story is part of, CNET’s guide to everything you need to know and how to make sure you get the best deal.
It’s always a good time to get a good deal on a tablet, but don’t just buy the cheapest tablet you see during this sale. We’re keeping an eye on two brands here: iPads and Kindle Fire tablets. The two main things to keep in mind about each brand:
- Apple iPads often sell for a little less than their list price, as long as you don’t buy from the Apple Store proper, where the price basically never drops. So you might see some decent discounts ($ 30 to $ 50, or even more) right now, but we may also see better deals during upcoming Prime Day sales on Amazon and elsewhere.
- Amazon’s Fire tablets almost always get deep discounts across the board during Prime Day and Black Friday / Cyber Monday. Those two times of the year are almost always the best time to shop.
- Amazon’s press release Thursday confirmed a great sale of Fire tablets, the HD 10 for $ 75. But that deal doesn’t start until Monday (at the latest).
In other words: you can see some decent discounts right now, but you have to wait until Prime Day (June 21-22) before buying, especially on Fire tablets. We will 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.
Prime Day iPad Deals
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The 8th generation iPad features a 10.2-inch screen powered by the A12 chip. The 32GB model has a list price of $ 329, but it has been reduced to $ 299 on Amazon. We saw it drop to $ 279 last year at Costco, and we may see this benchmark iPad drop during real Prime Day or one of the counter-sales.
Read our iPad 2020 review.
Apple’s 10.9-inch iPad Air offers much of what the iPad Pro does, but at a lower price. That great value earned it our Editors’ Choice award last year, but the newest Pro raises the bar (work for more money).
Read our iPad Air review.
Prime Day Fire Tablet Deals
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Amazon’s Fire HD 10 is the largest and most powerful tablet the company offers, and it recently got better. The 2021 review launched in April with more RAM, a 10% brighter display, and a slightly updated design. As their 2019 predecessor, the new HD 10 has a starting price of $ 150. The recharged Fire HD 10 Plus offers wireless charging, an additional gigabyte of RAM, and a “soft-touch slate finish” for $ 30 more, $ 180.
Right now, if you buy two Fire HD 10 models, you will get $ 75 discounted from the top ($ 225, less than $ 300). The discount is applied at the end of the purchase. On Prime Day, individual prices will drop by as much as 50%, putting the model on a price worth waiting for ($ 80).
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. Fire tablets do not use a pure version of Android, but rather 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 will have to install the store yourself, which means that game enthusiasts have access to all of their favorite mobile games for a great gaming tablet experience.
Coming Soon Prime Day Deals
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Offer confirmed as of soon: This $ 140 unit will sell for $ 70 on Prime Day, beating its previous all-time low of $ 80.
This kids 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 typically costs $ 3 a month and provides access to a ton of kid-friendly content. It’s not really suitable for remote learning, but it’s a much more affordable option than giving a small child a full iPad.
Other possible Prime Day tablet deals
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Price worth the wait for: Normally $ 90, this sold for $ 55 last November.
The Fire HD 8 (8-inch display) was updated in 2020 with a faster processor, USB-C charging, better Wi-Fi performance, 2GB of RAM (up from 1.5GB), and an increase 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 as sharp as the iPad screens. The HD 8 Plus adds wireless charging and slightly better performance, thanks to 3GB of RAM.
Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) review.
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Price worth the wait 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 Fire HD 8. The tablet should charge well on most wireless charging pads.
Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus review.
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Price worth the wait for: Typically $ 50, this sold for as low as $ 30 last November.
Fair warning: we really think you should pay for a Fire HD 8, which is a much better and faster tablet than the entry-level Fire 7. But at $ 40 or less, this 7-inch non-HD model is going to be tempting to a lot of people.
Sarah Tew / CNET
Price worth the wait for: Normally $ 100, this dropped to $ 60 last November.
It has all the same extras as the HD 8 above, but is the childproof version of the smallest and most affordable. Amazon Fire 7. You get a 7-inch screen instead of 8 and a less robust processor.