Thinking of getting the best out of Amazon with Amazon Prime? Here are the major pros and cons that you should know about.
Try before you buy -- You can often get a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime before you have to start paying for your subscription. Explore all that Amazon Prime has to offer... if you don't feel it's worth the cost before then, cancel it at any time. You'll still be able to enjoy what Amazon Prime can do until the end of your trial period.
E-commerce goodies galore -- Amazon Prime has quite a few things to offer in terms of a better shopping experience on Amazon. In addition to faster shipping options at reduced (or, often, zero) cost, you can also get access to exclusive product lines, early access to deals-of-the-day, and discounts on diapers and other essentials for your baby.
A multimedia menagerie -- An Amazon Prime subscription also gets you access to hundreds of free movies and TV shows on Amazon Instant Video, as well as millions of songs and hundreds of custom playlists and "radio station" mixes on Amazon Music. You can also store an unlimited number of photos in Amazon's Cloud Drive, along with up to 5 gigabytes of other types of files.
The best comes at a price -- Amazon Prime is a little bit pricey, especially compared to some of its competing services. It originally cost $79 per year, but now costs $99 per year (while most of its competitors still cost $79 a year or even $50 a year). With that said, you do get lots of benefits with the service; it's up to you whether or not they're worth the price tag.
Media coverage is a bit lacking -- There are still some movies and TV shows on Amazon Instant Video that you have to rent or buy, as opposed to watching them for free over Amazon Prime. And even if you have Amazon Prime, you'll still need to buy movies, TV shows, and music tracks before you can download them onto your computer and do with them as you see fit. Also, some say that Amazon's media libraries don't have as much content as some other specialized services, such as Netflix (for movies), Hulu (for TV shows), and Spotify (for music), though they are not all that far behind.
Objectively speaking, Amazon Prime is one of the most expensive services of its kind out there. However, to be fair, you get an awful lot for what you pay for: faster, lower-cost shipping; mostly-free access to large media libraries for music, movies, and TV shows (though some of it still needs to be rented or bought); a large amount of free secure storage for your photos and other files; and exclusive access to various deals and discounts.
Overall, it's tough to give a final rating on Amazon Prime, since how good it is depends heavily on how much you use Amazon anyway. If you're set on using Amazon as your all-in-one website for shopping, watching movies and TV, listening to music, and storing your computer files, then Amazon Prime more than pays for itself. However, there are several other services out there that specialize in one or more things that Amazon Prime does, and often at a slightly (or much) lower cost. If you're only planning on using Amazon Prime for just a few of its benefits, then maybe try a comparable service instead.
We'll explain what we mean in our next article on how much Amazon Prime costs, and how it stacks up against comparable shopping and media-streaming websites.
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