Buying iPads and tablets on Amazon Prime Day: what to watch out for

Amazon Prime Day can be a great time to pick up an iPad or tablet, but make sure you read this before you do

Amazon Prime Day 2021 Apple iPad tablets
(Image credit: Amazon | Apple)

T3 loves major shopping events as they offer great ways to bag top technology and products for less money. And, with Amazon Prime Day 2021 imminent, we're about to get an absolute flood of deals from the retailer as well as its rivals.

There will be, literally, millions of product deals on offer, so if you shop smart Amazon Prime Day could be a really great opportunity to bag that upgrade you've had your eye on.

One of the product categories we see a lot of deals on each year is tablets, with Apple iPads and tablets of various other operating systems frequently discounted. The truth is, though, is that while we've seen some absolute brilliant deals on tablets over the past few years during Prime Day, including discounts on some of the best tablets going, we've also seen a shed load of fake or trap door tablet deals, too.

As such, here T3 runs through six big questions anyone should ask themselves when considering a tablet deal this year. Follow this buying advice and you'll make sure you end up with a bargain and not buyer's remorse.

1. How was the discounted tablet reviewed?

May sound like a no-brainer question to ask, really, but you'd be surprised by how many poorly reviewed tablets get shifted on Amazon Prime Day and other big sales events like Black Friday. T3 has reviewed basically every tablet of note over the past five years and has numerous tablet buying guides, too, so be sure to read up on how a certain tablet has scored by us (and other publications, too, as you want to get the most balanced possible picture of a tablet) before pulling the trigger. For us, we tend to recommend purchasing 4 and 5 star products, however, depending on circumstances and your personal needs 3-star products are also worth considering.

2. Is the tablet about to get replaced with a new model?

Here's a very common trap that many people fall into when buying a tablet. Millions of tablets that are end-of-life get flogged on Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday and other major sales events, and while that doesn't mean it is a bad deal or bad piece of tech, potential buyers should absolutely do their research and see if a new model is about to drop. In some cases a new model has already been released, such as with Amazon's Fire tablets, with the retailer continuing to sell the outgoing generation alongside the "all-new" model. If a new model does exist then find out how much better and more expensive it is than the discounted older gen model – if the specs or numbers don't add up to a value purchase for you then back away. Remember, that all-new tablet will likely be reduced in a matter of months, too.

3. Is the tablet's price a deal or a fake price drop?

Now this is the big one. This is the question above all others that you should ask yourself before opening your wallet to buy a tablet on Amazon Prime Day this year. IS IT A FAKE PRICE DROP? Fake price drops are created by retailers by quietly inflating prices on products in the months before a sales event only so they can then cut them back to where they were in the first place. This tactic allows retailers to claim large percentage off price reductions, thereby making it sounds like a tablet has had a massive price cut, when the reality is that it should be retailing at that point to start with. Luckily, sites like camelcamelcamel.com exist that allow you to track pricing history on products, so we advise everyone to check a product's price history before making any purchase. These services will also let you see if the tablet has previously been sold at a cheaper price, too.

4. Is the tablet offered elsewhere with accessories?

Here's another common thing we see a lot – a tablet deal being beaten by a rival not in terms of price but by the addition of an accessory that may not be well advertised. For example, one retailer may reduce the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite as an Amazon Prime Day deal, and on surface value it may check out. A lower than ever price, free delivery, well-reviewed etc etc. However, another rival retailer may price match the first retailer's tablet deal and also throw in a protective case or stylus. As such, while in general it pays to be fast on the trigger with deals in general, be sure to very quickly scout rival offers on the same device before committing to a deal, as you could be missing out on a better one elsewhere.

5. What is the tablet spec and is it a refurbished model?

The devil is always in the detail and when it comes round to tablets that is especially true as they tend to come in lots of different spec variants and types. For example, certain Amazon tablets are available both with and without adverts baked into the user interface experience. So, while a Fire tablet may be offered at a reduced price, just make sure that it isn't coming loaded with a load of adverts, first. Other common things are specs such as storage, with often the smallest capacity variants discounted, as well as that word that can so easily be missed in a product description – refurbished. Now T3 is a fan of refurbished products in general, as they often deliver a like-new experience for much less money, but just make sure you know what you're buying, as otherwise that deal price might actually not look so good when you realise it was on a second hand product.

6. When is the product going to actually be delivered?

Finally, be sure you always ascertain if a tablet is actually currently in-stock in a retailer's warehouse and, two, exactly when it will be delivered to you. We recommend this as over the past couple of years we've seen a rise in deals being listed as available only for them actually to have multiple month lead times in terms of delivery, clearly because the slates aren't yet ready or even in the country. So you can end up picking up a deal only for the actual product not then arriving with you for weeks or even months. Obviously, if you're prepared to wait then that's fine, but remember that tech prices move quickly in the market and what looks like a deal now may not look like one when you actually receive it.

All that said, though, be under no illusion that Amazon Prime Day is a great time to buy a new tablet or one of the best tablets for kids. T3 will naturally be covering the entire Prime Day event so we can help surface to our readers the very best deals on offer, and we'll be rounding them up in our best Amazon Prime Day deals hub, so be sure to give it browse.

There's plenty of great prices on Amazon devices already, too. Check them out in the deals chart below.

The best Prime Day deals live now

Robert Jones
Robert Jones

Deputy Editor for T3.com, Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology and more for over 15 years. You can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket two favourites. Feel free to contact him with any related products, events, and announcements.