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Best Buy sale shaves $175 off iPad Mini 3, but only for 4 hours

The sale on last year's little Apple tablet runs Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. PT, but the deal is available only on Best Buy's website.

You can save $175 on an iPad Mini 3 at Best Buy, but you'll have to be quick about it. CNET

Looking for a good sale on an iPad Mini 3? Best Buy is offering a deal, but you'll have to act fast to snag one of the Apple tablets.

The retail chain is discounting all iPad Mini 3 models by $175, but only for four hours. The sale started Tuesday at 9 a.m. PT and ends at 1 p.m PT. You can't walk into a Best Buy store to pick one up; the sale is good only at Best Buy's online site.

Released in October, the iPad Mini 3 comes in several different variants and capacities, ranging from a 16-gigabyte Wi-Fi-only version to a 128GB version with both Wi-Fi and 4G LTE support. The tablet is available in space gray, silver or gold.

At its September 9 launch event, Apple unveiled the iPad Mini 4 but barely mentioned it, focusing virtually all of its tablet attention on its new iPad Pro . At the same time, Apple discontinued the iPad Mini 3, leaving the iPad Mini 2 and the new Mini 4 as its only smaller tablets. When it was introduced last year, the iPad Mini 3 offered no major upgrades beyond support for the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

The iPad Mini 4 starts at $399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only version and runs up to $729 for a 128GB edition with Wi-Fi and LTE. So is an iPad Mini 3 discounted by $175 a good deal, or should you spend the extra money for a Mini 4?

The new iPad Mini 4 offers 2GB of memory, topping the Mini 3 with 1GB of RAM. The Mini 4 is powered by Apple's A8 processor, faster than the A7 in the Mini 3. But the A8 is older technology that was part of last year's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The new iPhones use a A9 chip, while the iPad Pro uses an A9X chip, both of which are more powerful than the A8.

Perhaps the coolest new feature in the Mini 4 is the split-view mode. With iOS 9 installed, the iPad Mini 4 enables you to run and view two apps side by side for true multitasking. That feature is not available in the older iPads, such as the Mini 3.

Still, a $175 discount is a good deal. And if the split-view mode isn't important to you, then you may want to opt for an iPad Mini 3 at Best Buy. But hurry. You've only got a few hours.