Don't get weighed down by old tech this summer. Our roundup of the week's best tablet deals will help you get a fresh start this season. Toss your laptop and save $40 on the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3, get $30 off an iPad with Retina, or grab the 10" Galaxy Note at a savings of $119.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 12" 64GB Windows 8.1 Tablet Preorders
Store: Microsoft Store
Price: $759.05 via text coupon with free shipping EXPIRED
Lowest By: $40
Is It Worth It?: Microsoft aims to truly replace your laptop with the Surface Pro 3. With this preorder deal, you can take $40 off the list price of the tablet and put it towards the cost of the Surface Pro 3's essential keyboard. Just text code "MSHS" to "29502" to receive a unique 5% off coupon. (Note: You'll be signed up to receive texts from Microsoft. You can reply "STOP" to cancel.) That's the first deal we've seen for this just-announced tablet, which is expected to be released on August 31.
Click on the "64GB/Intel i3" tab to see this deal. The Surface Pro 3 boasts an Intel Haswell Core i3 dual-core processor, a 12" 2160x1440 multi-touch LCD, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal memory, 5-megapixel front and rear cameras, 1080p video capture, USB 3.0, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, and Windows 8.1 Pro.
Refurbished Apple iPad with Retina Display 64GB WiFi Tablet
Store: Apple Store
Price: $499 with free shipping
Lowest By: $30
Is It Worth It?: The Retina display was a game-changer for iPad, so it's no wonder that this 4th-gen tablet remains a popular choice among Apple fans. You can see the difference for yourself with the factory-refurbished 64GB model, available for just $499. That's a $30 drop from our November refurb mention, making this deal an easy Editors' Choice pick. The iPad with Retina is 9.4mm thick and weighs 1.4 lbs. It features a 9.7" 2048x1536 Retina display, an A6X dual-core processor, a 5-megapixel iSight camera with 1080p video recording, a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, and iOS 6. A 1-year Apple warranty applies.
Looking for a different generation, or perhaps an iPad with 4G? The Apple Store has cut up to 39% off a selection of factory-refurbished iPads, with prices starting at $249. However, you'll find the best savings if you grab a refurbished iPad with Retina Display, as these models have dropped at least $30 since our November mention and are now at the lowest prices we've seen for refurbished units with a full Apple Warranty.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1" 32GB Android Tablet
Price: $349.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $119
Is It Worth It?: More a creative outlet than workhorse, the previous-gen Samsung Galaxy Note has a lot to offer the artistic user. Calling this tablet's S Pen accessory a "unique addition" that might be very useful for creative types (but less so for others), CNET was fairly pleased with this tablet at the time of its release: "The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 sports a proven, sensible design, a bevy of useful features, and fast performance." An Editors' Choice $119 price low, this is tied as the lowest price we've seen for a new unit.
The Galaxy Note sports an ARM Cortex A9 1.4GHz quad-core CPU, a 10.1" 1280x800 display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 1.9-megapixel front camera, 720p video capture, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).
Refurbished ASUS Google Nexus 7 7" 32GB Android Tablet
Price: $89.99 via $50 mail-in rebate with free shipping
Lowest By: $35
Expires: May 30
Is It Worth It?: You might balk at purchasing a 1st-generation Nexus 7 when its successor has been so well received, but this refurb offers excellent value at a ridiculously low price point. TheNexus 7 "has a great screen, solid performance and a clean, clear, uncluttered version of ... Jelly Bean," Engadget raved. You can score this Editors' Choice tablet for just $90 via the mail-in rebate above.
The Nexus 7's features include a 7" 1280x800 IPS multitouch LCD, an NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 1.2-megapixel front camera, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth, and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). A 90-day warranty applies, but it's unclear who backs it.
Refurbished Lenovo IdeaTab A2107 7" 8GB Android Tablet
Store: Springs Electronics via eBay
Price: $59.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $3
Is It Worth It?: If all you need is a tablet that's great for games and media, then look no further than this factory-refurbished Lenovo IdeaTab A2107 tablet. This solid, no-frills tablet is still available at the astonishingly cheap price of $60, which is tied as the lowest price we've seen for this model.
The IdeaTab A2107 has an ARM Cortex A9 1GHz processor, a 7" 1024x600 touchscreen LCD, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, a 2-megapixel rear camera, a 0.3-megapixel front camera, 802.11n wireless, and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). A 90-day Lenovo warranty applies.
Marcy Bonebright is a features writer for Dealnews.com, where this article first appeared: http://dealnews.com/features/best-tablet-deals/