BEST AMAZON DEVICE DEAL: Echo Show 5 -- $44.99 (save $35) BEST TV DEAL: Insignia 50-inch Fire TV smart 4K TV -- $299.99 (save $80) BEST APPLE DEAL: 2020 Apple iMac -- $1,499.99 (save $299.01) We're counting down the days until Amazon Prime Day (officially) starts on June 21, and in the meantime, there have already been some stellar deals to tide us over. We're of course seeing nice discounts on Amazon devices, but streaming channels, Apple products, and home appliances are already on sale as well. If you're itching to start shopping for your Prime Day haul, these are the best deals to shop early. The Echo Show 5 has been one of our favorites for a couple of years now.
As with all its smart TVs, Vizio's V-series brings the SmartCast interface to the table. It's best in show when it comes to effectively melding entertainment content from disparate sources (over-the-air, streaming, etc.). It also synergizes nicely with the company's minimalist remote, which now supports voice commands. The V5-series specifically is also relatively affordable. The 55-inch-class, model V555-J evaluated here retails for just $500.
Vizio and TCL sell budget-friendly TVs that don't compromise on quality -- perfect for gaming, virtual workouts, and binge-watching Cobra Kai. Reviewers love them because they're not as expensive as TVs from other top brands, but have many of the same features. But what brand should you choose? Both TCL and Vizio offer models with 4K resolution and advanced gaming features to use with the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. To help you decide, take a look at our TV breakdown. Sure, they don't have 4K or 8K displays.
The Apple TV 4K 32GB model is on sale for just $149.99 at Amazon as of Feb. 4. You can also get the 64GB Apple TV 4K for just $189.99 with an extra $9 discount. By this point we have subscriptions to more streaming services than we need. So it might be time to upgrade to a streaming device that connects all of your favorite platforms into a single interface for easier access. And if you want to make the jump to a 4K streaming box (even if you don't own a 4K TV yet), Amazon has a rare deal on one of the more premium options on the market.
The real crux of the issue isn't whether or not the SR-B20A is a good soundbar: it is, delivering robust audio for TV, movies, music, and games, despite the lack of an external subwoofer. The issue is that there are same-price'bars that do more: Yamaha's own YAS-109 soundbar is roughly the same price and gets you Amazon Alexa compatibility, while the very valuable Vizio V-Series'bar includes a very respectable external subwoofer at, by this estimation, no extra cost. The best thing about the SR-B20A is that it delivers very respectable sound without the need for an external subwoofer. If you really don't have much space to work with, it's an ideal choice. However, if you want to maximize sound quality per dollar, you're probably better off springing for a soundbar that delivers the kind of cinematic punch made possible by an external sub.
Google has announced four new additions to its own-brand hardware line including two new Pixel smartphones, a new Chromecast and Nest Audio smart speaker. The Pixel 5 is Google's new top phone, which slots in above the well received but heavily delayed Pixel 4a and the new Pixel 4a 5G, which also launches today. Announced during a live-streamed event, the new Pixel 5 replaces the Pixel 4 with a cheaper, simplified design, ditching its face recognition system for the older fingerprint scanner mounted in the back of the device. The new phone has a 6in 90Hz OLED screen with a selfie camera poking through a hole in the top left and a dual-camera setup with wide and ultra-wide lenses on the back, but no optical telephoto zoom camera. Differing from top-spec rivals, the Pixel 5 has Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765G mid-range processor, rather than the Snapdragon 865 used in the latest Samsung and OnePlus phones.
The Fire TV Cube is Amazon's attempt to combine a smart TV streaming box with an Alexa-powered smart speaker, producing a small black box that doubles as an Echo device. The combination of shiny and matt black plastic makes it stand out at first, but the 86mm-wide and 77mm-tall cube is small enough not to be distracting sitting next to your TV. It's essentially a voice-controlled Echo Dot mated with a Fire TV smart television box. The top resembles an Echo Dot with the same four-way configuration of buttons for volume, muting the microphones and an action button, plus a series of holes for the eight beam-forming mics. A light strip at the top front edge shows what Alexa is doing, lighting up blue when listening, or orange with alerts.
For the last several years, Vizio's M-Series has been a mainstay of TV value-hunters. The M-Series TVs (much like TCL's 6-Series) tend to give users the latest TV technology at much more affordable prices than the competition. To that end, 2019's M-Series Quantum delivers 4K resolution, an LED backlight with full-array local dimming technology, smart features, HDR and Dolby Vision compatibility, and--as you might have guessed from the name--quantum dots. Quantum dots are a newer TV tech that provide a big boost to a TV's color capabilities, and for the last several years they've really only been available in very high-end TVs from brands like Samsung and Sony. With the M-Series Quantum, Vizio is making this technology available to people who might not have $2,000 to spend on a new TV. Are the M-Series Quantum TVs perfect specimens? No--Vizio's learned how to cut just enough corners that, while nothing about them is too egregious, they're not as buttoned-up and posh-looking as their higher-price counterparts. Picture quality is the strongest foot forward here, while the design is nothing to speak of and elements of their software and behavior can be a bit frustrating.
When it comes to pure, cutting the cord TVs, Amazon's Fire TV Edition paved new ground in 2018. It was low-priced and aimed at folks who were happy ditching cable, plugging in an antenna and using the set to watch Internet programming. Vizio's new V436-61, just out, goes even further. It does all of that, and more. Instead of just being able to use voice commands via the Amazon Alexa assistant, Vizio lets you use Apple's Siri and the Google Assistant as well.
Sure, Siri can open Netflix for you and search for a George Clooney movie, but only if you spring $179 to $199 for the Apple TV accessory streamer. Now, Apple's personal assistant can turn on the TV, change the channel and find a specific TV show, on certain newer TVs from Vizio, Samsung, Sony and LG. It's part of a radical rethink on Apple's part to bring Apple outside of the ecosystem, and onto mainstream television sets. Samsung pushed out Apple's AirPlay features on new smart TVs that began shipping May 13. AirPlay lets you mirror what's on your device.