Earlier this year, with no one looking (and almost no one noticing), HP unveiled an entry-level 8-inch tablet priced at a tempting $169.99.
Cut to today: The HP Home & Home Office Store is offering the HP 8 tablet for $134.99, shipped, when you apply coupon code DEALNEWS15HP at checkout.
How does that compare with, say, the original iPad Mini? Glad you asked. Like the HP 8, Apple's 8-inch tablet has a screen resolution of 1,024 x 768 -- definitely on the low side, but good enough for most tablet tasks. Both models employ IPS technology.
The HP 8 also matches the Mini's 16GB of storage, but while the latter isn't expandable, the former sports a microSD slot for cheap and easy expansion. As for weight, the two are virtually identical at 0.7-pound.
See where I'm going with this? The Mini sells for $299; you could literally buy a pair of HP 8s and still not spend that much.
Now for the bad news: The HP 8 lacks Bluetooth. This is inconceivable to me, and it definitely limits the tablet's versatility. Personally, I'm a big fan of streaming music to Bluetooth speakers, but that's not an option here. Bummer.
Still, if you're looking for a bigger-than-average tablet for the kids... If you're looking for a tablet that can sit on the coffee table for second-screen action... If you're mostly interested in checking email and hitting up Web sites... This is quite a deal. It may not match the Mini blow-for-blow, but it comes close. Your thoughts?
Bonus deal: Trying to figure out what to do with your old iPod speaker dock now that you've moved on to Lightning-interface iDevices? Simple: Turn it into a Bluetooth speaker. While supplies last (and they won't last long), ShopTronics has the Nyrius Songo Link Bluetooth Adapter for $9.96, with free shipping for Amazon Prime subscribers. Just pop the little gizmo onto a 30-pin speaker-dock connector, and presto! -- instant Bluetooth. I've seen similar gizmos selling for as much as $50.
Bonus deal No. 2: Game time! Ending soon, Steam is offering two of my all-time favorite games for ridiculously cheap: Portal and Portal 2 for $6.24. Though at first blush they resemble first-person shooters, they're actually puzzle-solving adventures that place little emphasis on reflexes and lots on brain power. Plus, the sequel is one of the funniest games I've ever played (thank you, Stephen Merchant).
Bonus deal No. 3: Regular readers know I love me some Ebates, and for a very limited time, the cashback service is doubling up on some big-name stores. For example, you can get four percent back from Office Depot and Staples, five percent from Walmart, and six percent from Kohl's. And if you happen to be headed to a Holiday Inn anytime soon, grab a hefty eight percent.