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Tablets

Tablet Tuesday: Get a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 for $299.99

From the Cheapskate: That's $200 off the original list price and $100 off the best price elsewhere. Find out why this is my favorite non-iPad tablet. Plus: learn to self-publish for cheap!

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.


As you know, I love me some tablets. And when I can get one for cheap, I'm happier still.

So color me happy: For a limited time, you can get the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 tablet for $299.99 shipped. (That's for the black model; it's available in white for the same price.) It normally lists for $499.99, and the best price elsewhere is $399.99. It's the best deal I've seen to date on what I consider the best Android tablet to date.

Update: Ugh. I don't know what in tarnation happened here (believe me, that's not the word I'd like to use), but the price is now appearing as $399.99. (That's after momentarily flashing 299.99.) Some readers have reported luck calling Samsung's sales department; if you do that, don't bother mentioning this post -- they won't know anything about it. Do mention that you'd "read online in a variety of places" that the price was $299.99, and you're briefly seeing that price before it jumps $100 higher. Really sorry, cheeps -- no idea what's behind this cluster**** other than an unfortunate mistake at Samsung's end.

galaxy-tab-s2-9-7-white.jpg

Pretty tablet, pretty price.

Samsung

Yep, you heard right. If you're not an Apple fan, you most likely want something that runs Android. Unfortunately, you have precious few options outside of Amazon's Fires (which don't really offer a true Android experience) and Google's Nexuses.

But here's your chance to score a decidedly premium, fully Android tablet for the price of mid-range model. (Quick aside: the 8-inch Tab S2 was briefly listed at $199.99, but now seems to be back up to $399.99. So, yeah, actually $100 more than the 9.7-inch version.)

Why am I so sweet on the Galaxy Tab S2? For most of the same reasons I enjoy an iPad Air: it's slim, light, fast and fantastic for consuming media. It includes a fingerprint scanner, 32GB of storage (because what self-respecting tablet would come with only 16GB) and a microSD slot for adding more. (Small ding: You need a paper clip to pop open the card tray. WTH, Samsung?)

The AMOLED screen delivers a dazzling 2,046 x 1,536 pixels, though movie fans might dislike the 4:3 aspect ratio. (Book fans will likely prefer it, though.) And battery life is stellar: nearly 13 hours in CNET's lab tests.

Speaking of tests, I'll turn you over to CNET's review if you want to learn more. Key takeaway: "The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 is a divinely designed Android tablet with a stunning screen." Oh, and although that review was based on Android Lollipop 5.1, the S2 now comes with Marshmallow 6.0.

So let's put this in perspective. A 32GB Amazon Fire HD 10 sells for $40 less but comes with considerably lower specs (most notably a screen resolution that's just too low for a 10-inch tablet). The iPad Air 2 starts at $499 and comes with just 16GB of storage -- which you can't expand. And Google's Nexus 9 has been discontinued.

Bottom line: If you're in the market for an awesome Android tablet, this is the one to get. Right now, while it's $200 off.

Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: A few years back, I self-published a book. (It's a little out of date, so you should probably wait for the 2nd edition -- I present it here merely as an example.) The toughest part wasn't the writing, but rather the logistics: how do I format it for Kindle? How do I create an effective cover? Should I be shopping for a publisher instead? There are answers to these and countless other questions in the eBook Self-Publishing Bundle, an online learning series that consists of seven separate courses. Price: $25. Value: $175. If you have even the slightest inclination to write a book, I'd say this tiny investment in the how-to side of things is money well spent.