Get the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet for $199 shipped

This is the lowest price ever on B&N's new tab, which normally sells for $249. The Nook-or-Kindle-Fire decision just got a lot harder.

Down to $199 for a limited time, the Nook Tablet stands toe-to-toe with the Kindle Fire.

If you've been keeping score, Barnes & Noble's refurbished Nook Color e-reader has been selling for as low as $129. But, let's face it, that's last year's model. The newer, more powerful Nook Tablet, which debuted just a few months ago, has held steady at $249.

That's why today's deal is kind of a big, well, deal. Until midnight on Friday (February 17), and while supplies last, you can get the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet for $199 shipped. That's after entering coupon code CNOOKDEAL at checkout.

As you'll no doubt see when you click through, this is an eBay-hosted deal. Thus, you'll need an eBay account to take advantage of it. The good news is that it includes "Fast N' Free" shipping, which promises to put the Nook on your doorstep within four business days.

I've poked and prodded every inch of my Nook Color, but I haven't actually had any hands-on time with the Nook Tablet. Physically, the two are just about identical, though the latter weighs about 1.7 ounces less. Both have that same distinctive hole cut in the corner, which, for reasons I can't explain, I just love.

Inside, however, B&N beefed up the specs, with a faster processor, more storage (16GB, with the same microSD expansion slot for adding more), and a built-in microphone. Bluetooth, alas, is still MIA.

Want the full skinny, including what you need to know about the custom Android OS? Read CNET's review of the Nook Tablet--but keep in mind it was based on a $249 price tag.

Indeed, now that it's down to $199, at least temporarily, it's positioned head-on with Amazon's Kindle Fire. I think the latter offers a better overall multimedia experience thanks to Amazon Prime (which, incidentally, adds $79 to the price--annually), but the Nook is definitely the more versatile overall thanks to its extra storage and storage expandability. Instead of having to stream everything, you can actually store your media on your Nook.

Bottom line: If you're looking for a 7-inch tablet, it's hard to go wrong with either product. But for me the Nook Tablet wins the day with its better specs and $50 price drop. Your thoughts?