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I continue to be a little mystified by the popularity of Microsoft's Surface Pro line -- not just because I think any tablet larger than 10 inches is too unwieldy, but also because there are some much more affordable alternatives.
A short while back, for example, I shared a deal on HP's sexy Spectre x2, which just last month I considered a steal at $429.99.
Now it's even steal-ier: Groupon has the refurbished HP Spectre x2 for $399.99 shipped. But, wait, you can get it for even less: Head to Ebates first, then click through to Groupon, search for the Spectre and check out like normal. You'll get a 9-percent cash rebate, bringing your final cost to $363.99! (New to Ebates? Sign up here. Or learn more about it here.)
That's a killer deal, especially considering the optional Verizon 4G LTE connectivity. And you get a full 90-day HP warranty.
Want a little more horsepower? Lenovo's IdeaPad Miix 700 also attempts to beat the Surface 4 at its own game -- and succeeds in at least one key area: Like the Spectre, it comes with a keyboard. Meaning right out of the box, at no extra charge, it's ready to replace your laptop.
For a limited time, and while supplies last, Adorama has the Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700 hybrid tablet for $459.99 shipped. It's new, not refurbished, and offers two key advantages over the Spectre.
First, the processor: It runs Intel's Core m5, versus the Spectre's slower Core m3. Second, the Miix offers a native resolution of 2,160 x 1,440 pixels to the Spectre's 1,920 x 1,080. Okay, is that really an advantage? On a 12-inch screen I'd say no; it's more like overkill. Not that it's bad overkill, mind you.
CNET hasn't reviewed the Miix, so I'll turn you over to PC Mag's review. Verdict: an Editors' Choice nod, and that was based on a $769.99 price (for the same configuration you're getting here). The Surface Pro 4 starts at $899.99, keyboard not included.
So, yeah, I can't quite understand why anyone would go that way, not in the face of alternatives like these.
Bonus deal: There's a place in the world for the mid-size TV -- the den, the game room, the studio apartment. And, oh my, this deal: Best Buy has the Hisense 40HC31 40-inch HDTV for $149.99 shipped (plus tax). It's not smart, but it features three HDMI inputs, so you can connect your streaming stick or box of choice and still have room for your DVR and a game console. Hisense may not be a household name, but the user reviews don't lie: nearly 140 buyers rated the TV 4.4 stars out of 5. A 40-inch TV for $150, people!