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Tablets

Tablet Tuesday: Get a refurbished iPad Air (Wi-Fi+4G) for $237.99

From the Cheapskate: That's a post-rebate price, but still one of the best deals ever on a flagship Apple tablet. Oh, and don't forget the free data plan from T-Mobile. Plus: two sweet bonus deals!

CNET's Cheapskate scours the Web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.

This is a bit of a rerun. A few weeks ago I shared a similar deal on an iPad Air 2, though the net price was nearly $100 higher. Plus there was a bit of confusion over the accompanying "free data" option, so this is a good opportunity to clear that up while sharing an even better iPad

I'm not going to lie: I love my iPad. It's the best tablet, period. Woefully overpriced? Totally. And that's why when I see a sub-$250 price tag on a model that previously sold for $600-plus, I get excited.

ipad-air-groupon.jpg
Apple

So here's the breakdown: Groupon has the refurbished unlocked iPad Air (Wi-Fi+4G GSM) for $279.99, shipped. That's for the 16GB model; the smarter buy is the 32GB version for just $20 more.

But here's where it gets exciting: For a limited time, Ebates is offering 15 percent cash back on Groupon purchases, which drops your effective price to $237.99 (16GB) or $254.99 (32GB). So start your shopping trip there, then click through to Groupon. From there, click their Crash the Site sale and find the iPads.

If you've never used Ebates, note that you won't see your final (i.e. post-rebate) price anywhere in your Groupon shopping cart. Nor will you get any immediate indication that the purchase has been logged (though you should receive an email confirmation soon after). It can be a little disconcerting the first time out.

Another caveat: The warranty coverage (which is provided by the third-party seller, not Groupon) lasts just 30 days. With most refurbished products, you get 90 -- and Apple-certified refurbs are covered for a full year. So, yeah, bit of a dice-roll here. But my feeling is if it's in good condition out of the box, it'll most likely stay that way.

Because this is an unlocked GSM tablet, you should be able to take advantage of T-Mobile's free-data-for-life plan, which affords 200MB of 4G LTE data per month at no charge. I've done this: I popped a T-Mobile SIM into a similarly equipped iPad and chose the freebie plan from the options that appeared. Didn't need an existing T-Mo account, didn't need to sign up for a new one.

A few readers ran into trouble the last time out, mostly dealing with actually purchasing the SIM card. From what I understand, when you buy the $3.99 card here and follow the setup instructions, you should get the free-plan option. Again, that was my experience; let me know if yours differs.

Likewise, if you grabbed an iPad Air 2 from Groupon last time around, hit the comments and share some feedback. What was the overall condition? Are you happy with the purchase? Inquiring cheeps want to know!

Lenovo

Bonus deal: Following yesterday's Microsoft Surface deal (and while we're enjoying Tablet Tuesday), reader Taylor alerted me to this one from Costco: the Lenovo Miix 700 2-in-1 tablet for $549.99, plus sales tax and $19.95 for shipping. That's at least $150 lower than you'll find it elsewhere.

The Miix 700 is a 12-inch tablet (so it's roomier than the Surface Pro 2) with an ultra-high-resolution display, adjustable kickstand, and Surface Pro 3 (not 2) dimensions. It comes with a keyboard, in this case a mechanical one you might actually want to use. Just one catch: You must be a Costco member (or friends with one) to get that price.

Bonus deal No. 2: Just this morning I was sitting at breakfast, trying to read on my iPad while it lay flat on the table. Epic fail. Well, maybe not epic, but it still made me wish for a built-in kickstand. Next best thing: Teviwyn Direct has the Ace Teah 3-in-1 universal stylus 6-pack for $5.99 -- shipped free with Amazon Prime -- when you apply coupon code IBI69H8G at checkout. This cleverly designed tool is a ballpoint, touchscreen stylus and -- wait for it -- phone/tablet stand.