After more than a week of lead-up promotions, Amazon Prime Day has now kicked off. The big question for consumers is how good the deals will be.

Based on what we've seen so far, it looks like Amazon Prime Day 2017 will fall somewhere between 2015's disappointing event, which some web commenters compared to a bad garage sale, and the explosive Black Friday-like event Amazon was promising for this year.

Given the way Amazon presents its deals, it can be hard to come up with a comprehensive list of specials. "Lightning" deals, for example, last only for short periods of time, and new deals can pop up as frequently as every 5 minutes.

Last week we offered several Amazon Prime Day shopping tips to help you get the best deals as they become available. They include signing up for alerts for when new deals appear and wait-listing items that are out of stock in case they again become available. The bottom line, though: You'll need to visit—and revisit—the site if you want to see all the sale items.


Find deals on products for your home on Amazon Prime Day.
 

This year, Amazon is placing special emphasis on Alexa, the company's voice-powered digital assistant, with special deals and early shopping access for those who own an Alexa-powered device. And the best Prime deals we've seen are for the Amazon EchoAmazon Echo Tap, and Amazon Dot devices. 

There will also be good deals on other Amazon products, including several varieties of the Kindle.

Based on the initial Amazon Prime Day deals we've seen, Amazon is also offering solid savings on PCs, and on certain TVs. (Just be sure to check our TV ratings to see whether the sets that Amazon lists are decent performers, and do some comparison shopping: We've seen lower prices elsewhere for some of these "specials.")

Here's our quick assessment of some of the Amazon Prime Day deals we've seen, broken out by product category.

TV Deals

Leading up to the event, Amazon was teasing a special deal on an Element 4K UHD Smart LED TV—Amazon Fire TV Edition. We now know it's the 55-inch EL4KAMZ5517, selling for $400 as a special Deal of the Day. This set was selling for $650 just a day ago, so this is a good price.

Unfortunately, the Element is not a high-performing TV. We just finished testing this set, and its overall score places it near the bottom of all the 55-inch models we’ve evaluated in the Consumer Reports TV lab. (The television's 4K performance wasn't bad, but the TV didn't stack up well against other 55-inch sets when it came to ordinary high-def picture quality.) We'd recommend it mainly as secondary set, not your primary TV if you're a discriminating viewer.

Amazon is also offering a deal on the Sony XBR65X850E, a 65-inch 4K smart TV priced at $1,500. This TV did very well in our ratings, and it can capably serve as a large main TV for most consumers. The Sony is selling pretty much everywhere for $1,600, so the real savings is only $100—but we regard a hundred bucks as a worthwhile discount.

The TCL 32S305, a 32-inch 720p TV, is another story. Amazon has it on sale for $185, but it's selling for $170 on Best Buy now, although it's possible that Amazon will adjust the price for this set during the sale. Consumer Reports has not tested this model.

None of these TV deals blow us away, but better ones—including some from major brands—could be revealed. That has happened in previous sales.

Amazon Echo, Dot, and Tap

Not surprisingly, many of the best Amazon Prime Day deals are on Amazon's own devices. For example, the Alexa-powered Amazon Echo speaker is $100, an $80 break from its everyday price.

The Amazon Tap, a portable Bluetooth speaker with Alexa, is sale-priced at $80. The Tap usually sells for about $130.

Those looking to spend a bit less could consider the Amazon Echo Dot, a small Bluetooth speaker that can also be connected to a stereo system. The Dot is priced at $35 now, about $15 off its regular price. That may not sound like a lot of money, but it represents a 30 percent discount from the regular price.

Amazon Fire and Kindle Tablets

There are too many deals on Fire and Kindle tablets for us to include them all. But, generally, price cuts are in the $25 to $45 range on the Fire HD 8, the Fire 7, and the kids' versions of these tablets.

For example, there's a $30 price cut on the new Fire HD 8, now $68, and $20 off the new Fire 7, which has a sale price of $43. The Fire HD 8-inch Kids Edition Tablet is being priced at $90, which is about $40 cheaper than usual.

Amazon Fire tablets have earned only middling scores in Consumer Reports testing, but several of the company's Kindle e-readers have performed extremely well, and the company is offering lots of deals on these products, too. 

A standard Kindle will be $60, down from $80. Kindle Paperwhites will be discounted about the same amount, and Amazon is dropping the price of the top e-reader in CR's ratings, the Kindle Voyage. The sale price is $195, down from the official price of $220—though we saw it selling on Amazon for just $200 the day before the sale. And the Kindle Paperwhite Travel Bundle is on sale for $170, for $30 off the presale price.

If you already have a Kindle or Fire tablet and need a case, several are being offered starting at about $15.

Phones

Amazon is offering several deals on phones. The most impressive is an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S8 phone with virtual reality accessories, sale priced at $625. That's a very good price on the phone that sits atop Consumer Reports' smartphone ratings. Although the specific model isn't listed, we've seen the 64GB version in black selling from $630 to $725 elsewhere with the VR accessory kit, and up to $888 with both the VR accessories and a charging stand.

In other phone deals, Amazon says you can save up to 40 percent on the 64GB version of Moto G5 Plus. Calling the sale a "Prime Exclusive," the company is offering the phone for $180, down from $240 regularly.

There will also be sales on three Huawei items—but the sale prices weren't announced before the start of the event. These items are the Mate 9 phone, normally priced at $600; the Watch 2 smartwatch, usually $300; and the 64GB Honor 8 unlocked GSM phone, which sells for $360. You'll have to check Amazon during the sale to see what kinds of discounts are being offered.

Gaming and Low-Price PCs

Amazon is promising very good deals on both gaming PCs and all-in-one (AIO) computers, though prices weren't announced ahead of the sale.

Here are several of the most interesting PCs in the sale. (Consumer Reports has not tested these computers.)

The Asus ROG Core i7 Compact Gaming Desktop (G20CB-DB71) sells for about $1,500 elsewhere, but Amazon had it for $1,400 right before Prime Day. It has impressive specs: a fast 3.5GHz Intel i7 processor, a GeForce GTX 1070 graphics processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive.

The CyberpowerPC Gamer Panzer PVP3020LQ is an even higher-powered gaming PC that was $1,760 at Amazon and about $1,900 at other retailers. This model is a 4.2GHz Intel i7-powered PC with an NVidia GTX 1080 graphics card, 32GB of RAM, and both a 2TB hard drive and 256GB SSD storage. (The solid-state disk allows for fast startups and loading of applications.)

If you like your gaming on the go, you can go to the site to see the sale price of the MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro-422 gaming laptop. Before Prime Day, it was priced at $1,150 on Amazon and from $1,400 to $1,500 elsewhere. It's a 15.6-inch Intel i7 notebook computer with GTX 1060 graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. 

If less expensive all-in-ones are more your speed, Amazon says it is cutting the price on the Acer Aspire AIO desktop, which was $670 before the sale. It has a 24-inch 1920x1080 display, a 2.2GHz Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive.

Another even lower-priced option is the Dell i3265 A643WHT PUS Inspiron Desktop Display, listed for $450 before Prime Day, with 6GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a 21.5-inch 1920x1080 display.

Miscellaneous Deals

Among the other assorted deals we saw is a PlayStation Slim 500GB Console Uncharted Bundle, for $229, down from its regular price of about $265. Also for gamers is the NVidia Shield game system/streaming media player, which is $180 instead of $200.

Last year Amazon sold more 200,000 headphones on Prime Day, so we expect to see a lot more deals on headphones of all types. One early deal we saw is on the Sony XB950B1 Extra Bass Wireless Headphones, an over-the-ear model that usually costs about $200. Amazon will have them at half price during the event.

Amazon also promises discounts of up to 70 percent on assorted wireless Bludeio Bluetooth headphones and wireless speakers. Prices weren't revealed when we checked.


Editor's Note: Consumer Reports collects fees from Amazon for referring users. We use 100 percent of these fees to fund our testing programs.