When it comes to tablet innovation, Amazon is beating the pants off Apple. That's right, I said it. (Pardon me while I duck to avoid flaming arrows.)
More on that in a bit. For now, this: For a limited time, you can get the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 tablet for $189, shipped. Regular price: $269. And it's new, not refurbished.
Amazon's Fire HDX models are also on sale: the 7-inch Fire HDX for $199, shipped, and the Fire HDX 8.9 for $339, savings of $30 and $40, respectively. But to my thinking the $189 Fire HD 8.9 is the deal to beat, and not just because you're saving $80.
Well, OK, it's definitely because you're saving $80. And also because you're getting out the door with a premium 8.9-inch tablet for $189. And also also because the Fire HD 8.9 is superior to the much more expensive iPad Mini in so many ways.
I'm not talking about specs like processor speed and pixel density, which manufacturers love to throw around but don't really matter to most users. (That's right, I said that, too. With tablets, there's a law of diminishing returns when it comes to speed and screen resolution.)
I will note from experience that the Fire HD 8.9 is plenty fast enough to do everything you need a tablet to do (stream movies, load Web pages, play 3D games, etc.) and its high-resolution screen looks absolutely gorgeous. It may not be state-of-the-art like the HDX (or the current Mini), but on a screen this size, I say "so what?"
No, the Kindle's superiority lies in the usability features Amazon has packed in: user profiles, parental controls, X-Ray for books and movies, and so on. (Alas, you don't get the coveted MayDay feature unless you bump up to one of the HDX models.) And if you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you get one of the most underrated perks ever: movies and TV shows you can download to your Kindle for offline viewing. Rest assured I'm already stocking up on episodes of "Justified" for an upcoming trip.
If you need more convincing, check out what CNET had to say about the Fire HD 8.9. (Spoiler: "The best Kindle Fire yet.") Granted, that was before the HDX models made their debut, but it was also when the tablet sold for $299.
For anyone in the market for a big tablet, this is without question one of the best deals to date. Grab one while you can.
Bonus deal: Planning to buy a new iPhone or iPad? Good luck getting a discount. Ah, but here's an easy one: start your shopping trip at TopCashback and you'll get a 3 percent rebate on an iPhone or iPad purchased from the Apple Store. (After you click through and sign up for an account, search for Apple, then click through to the Apple Store and order your item like you normally would.) Granted, 3 percent may not seem like much, but if you're spending $600 on an iPad Air, that's $18 you wouldn't have saved otherwise. I continue to be a huge fan of cashback services like this one. And the most you typically see for Apple stuff is 1 percent.
Bonus deal No. 2: If you're in the market for an unlocked phone, DealFisher has two pretty sweet deals while supplies last: the HTC 8X Windows Phone for $139.99, shipped, and the Nokia Lumia 928 for $199.99, shipped. Both are refurbished, both are unlocked, and both can work with nearly any carrier. CNET said the HTC is "what a Windows phone should be" and called the Nokia 928 "Verizon's most powerful Windows Phone to date." You can choose between three colors for the former and black or white for the latter.
Deals found on The Cheapskate are subject to availability, expiration, and other terms determined by sellers.
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