Among this week's best tablet deals, you'll find some history-making price lows. Students can score the first real price drop on a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, while everyone else can get a Sony Xperia Tablet Z at $250 off list, or an iPad mini for just $199.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 12" 64GB Windows 8.1 Tablet
Store: Microsoft Store
Price: $649 via valid .edu email address with free shipping
Lowest By: $89
Expires: September 3
Is It Worth It?: Last week we mentioned that Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 makes an excellent laptop replacement for college students, but the ultra-high price point probably puts this tablet out of reach. What a difference a week makes! Through September 3, anyone with a valid .edu email address can grab this flagship Windows tablet for just $649. That's an $89 price low and the first big discount we've seen on this tablet since Microsoft was taking preorders for it in May.
The Surface Pro 3 boasts an Intel Haswell Core i3-4020Y 1.5GHz dual-core processor, a 12" 2160x1440 multi-touch LCD, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal flash storage, front and rear 5-megapixel 1080p cameras, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0, and Windows 8.1 Pro. A Surface Pen is also included.
Refurbished Sony Xperia Tablet Z 10.1" 32GB Android Tablet
Store: Secondipity via eBay
Price: $249.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $250
Is It Worth It?: Thin, light, and waterproof, this refurbished Sony Xperia Tablet Z is an easy Editors' Choice at $250. After all, that's $250 under the price of a new unit! Although CNET's reviewer was unimpressed with the tab's load times given its $500 MSRP, he concluded that "the Sony Xperia Tablet Z offers plenty of features, a sharp screen, and good gaming performance."
The 1.1-lb. Xperia Tablet Z features a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz quad-core processor, a 10.1" 1920x1200 LCD, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 2-megapixel front camera, an 8-megapixel rear camera, 802.11a/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, and Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) OS. A 90-day warranty applies, but it's unclear who backs it.
Apple iPad mini 16GB WiFi Tablet
$199 with in-store pickupEXPIRED
Lowest By: $70
Is It Worth It?: While Apple prognosticators work themselves into a furor over the possible release of a 3rd-gen iPad mini, we can take comfort in the very real downward trend in legacy iPad mini prices. Right now, you can pick up a 1st-generation iPad mini from Target at the Editors' Choice price of $199. That's tied with our June mention as the lowest price we've ever seen for any 16GB iPad mini, including refurbs. (It's a current price low by $70.)
Features include an A5 1GHz dual-core processor, a 7.9" 1024x768 touchscreen LCD, 16GB of internal storage, a 5-megapixel iSight rear camera, a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime front camera, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, and iOS 6.
Refurbished Lenovo A1000 7" 8GB Android Tablet
Price: $59.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $34
Is It Worth It?: Lenovo went all in on a line of entry-level Android tablets awhile back, with remarkably pleasing results. This refurbished A1000 is one such tablet, and an Editors' Choice pick at $60. You'll save $34 on this capable, no-frills media slate.
This tablet sports an MTK 8317 Cortex-A9 1.2GHz dual-core processor, a 7" 1024x600 touchscreen, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, 0.3-megapixel front camera, 802.11n wireless, and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). No warranty information is provided.
Refurbished Samsung Galaxy Tab 7" 2GB 3G Android Tablet for Verizon
Store: BidAllies via eBay
Price: $64.95 with free shipping
Lowest By: $208
Is It Worth It?: The original Samsung Galaxy Tab was called "a serious contender to the Apple iPad" by CNET at the time of its release, in part because of its "more convenient" 7" profile. Of course, this refurb is a true legacy tablet, as it only comes with 2GB of internal storage (expandable via a microSD slot), and runs on Froyo. But it's 3G-capable, and the $65 price tag makes it easily one of the cheapest data tablets you can score right now.
This Verizon compatible tablet features a 1GHz dual-core CPU, a 7" 1024x600 touchscreen LCD, 2GB of internal memory, front- and rear-facing cameras, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 3.0, and Android 2.2 OS (Froyo). Of note, no warranty information is available.