If I might paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield for a moment, Amazon's big tablets don't get no respect. No respect at all, I tell ya.
Why? Probably because they're pricier than 7-inch Kindle Fires, and therefore not perceived as such a screaming-good deal. Also, it's mighty easy to get lost in the mammoth shadow cast by iPads.
But, holy moley, check this out: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Amazon has the refurbished Kindle Fire HD 8.9 4G LTE (32GB) tablet for $159, shipped. Would you believe the 16GB model sold for $499 when it debuted just two years ago?
And that's what I mean: a $499 Kindle is a harder sell against a $499 iPad, even when the former has more going for it. But $159? Shut up and take my money, Amazon! (Actually, if I bring one more tablet into the house, Mrs. Cheapskate will break it over my head. And rightly so. It's getting a little ridiculous.)
Here's what you need to know about the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 4G LTE (32GB): It has an 8.9-inch screen running at 1,920 x 1,200. It comes with 32GB of storage (and the 64GB model is only $20 more). It supports optional 4G LTE service from AT&T, with data plans starting at $15 per month. Oh, and back in 2012, CNET called it
Granted, tablets have matured somewhat since then, but take my word for it that the Fire HD 8.9 is a sweet piece of hardware. And Amazon's custom OS allows for some seriously great features, my favorite being Prime TV shows and movies you can download for offline viewing (as part of your Prime subscription, natch).
That said, there are two things I seriously dislike. First, the Micro-USB and microHDMI ports are side by side, and virtually impossible to tell apart unless you look closely under bright light. Second, the power and volume buttons are so flush with the case, they're virtually impossible to find unless you look closely.
But those are hassles, not dealbreakers. And lest you think a refurbished Kindle means a used, beat-up Kindle, think again: Amazon polishes each one to a like-new shine and backs it with a like-new one-year warranty.
The last time I wrote about this model, it was a $10 less -- but it had Wi-Fi only (no 4G) and just 16GB of storage. At $159, this is a stupid-good deal for anyone considering a big(ger) tablet.
Bonus deal: Looking for a second monitor? Provided you don't need it to have an HDMI input, Meh has the refurbished AOC I2269VW-B 22-inch desktop monitor for $88, plus $5 for shipping. (Usual caveats: today only, and while supplies last.) It's a nonreflective, smudge-resistant IPS display (read: great viewing angles) that sells new for about $150. The only real rub is the 90-day warranty; new AOC monitors are covered for three years.
Bonus deal No. 2: In the market for a new credit card? Lots of cards promise lots of benefits, but here's one I haven't seen before: When you sign up for an Amex EveryDay or Amex Blue Cash Everyday card, you'll get a free year of Amazon Prime -- a $99 value. There's no annual fee, but the offer is good for new Amex customers only, and you must make at least $1,000 in purchases to claim the bonus.