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Get a Lenovo IdeaPad A1 Android tablet for $189

Let's be honest: this tablet can do almost everything the new iPad can. It's smaller and slower, sure, but it's also close to 1/3 the price.

The 7-inch IdeaPad A1 tablet is hard to pass up at $189 shipped.
The 7-inch IdeaPad A1 tablet is hard to pass up at $189 shipped.

This is an update of a deal I wrote about a couple months ago.

New iPad, new schmi-Pad. If you're looking for bang for the buck in the tablet department, and don't care about things like pixel overkill and 4G, the deal to beat remains the Lenovo IdeaPad A1. It's the little tablet that could--by which I mean it could prove more than adequate for the majority of users.

For a limited time, Lenovo is offering the black IdeaPad A1 tablet for $189 shipped. (To get that price, apply coupon code FOURDAYDEAL315 at checkout.) That's not the lowest price I've seen, but it's still a mighty compelling deal on what is arguably the most versatile 7-inch tablet available today.

The IdeaPad A1 features a 1GHz processor, 16GB of storage, front- and rear-facing cameras (0.3 and 3.0 megapixels, respectively), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, offline GPS, and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).

It's because it runs Gingerbread that I give it higher marks than, say, the Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet--both of which have nice media-centric ecosystems, but impose some limits on what you can do, app-wise.

CNET hasn't reviewed the A1, but the user reviews over at Amazon are mostly positive.

I haven't tried this model myself, as I'm kind of overloaded with tablets already. If you have, post your mini-review in the comments. (Based on what I heard from readers the last time around, the A1 is every bit as good as it appears.)

Bonus deal: Much as I like freebie security software, I like commercial security software I can get for free even more. Newegg has McAfee Total Protection 2012 (3-user) for $0 shipped--after you redeem a $65 mail-in rebate (PDF). It comes in the form of a prepaid debit card. The suite is particularly good at spam filtering, dangerous-site blocking, and child safety.