Ever since Windows 8 made its tablet debut, my complaint has been not with the operating system (which works well enough when paired with a touch screen), but with the high price of the hardware. I just couldn't see spending $600, $700, or more for a tablet.
Thankfully, given the passage of time and Windows 8's lukewarm reception, the high-priced hardware is becoming downright affordable. Witness: While supplies last (and they won't last long), DealFisher has the Acer Iconia W510 Windows 8 tablet for $324.99, shipped. Amazingly, it's new, not refurbished. When it hit the shelves just a few months ago, it listed for $599.
The Iconia has a 10.1-inch screen running at 1,366x768 (same as a lot of 13.3-inch laptops), 2GB of DDR RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, and a 1.5GHz Atom processor.
That chip doesn't have the muscle for heavy-duty software, but it's fine for the basics: Web, e-mail, videos, and so on. Of course, that begs the question of whether you even need Windows 8 versus, say, Windows RT, but obviously it's better to be able to run legacy programs if you want them -- even if they're a bit sluggish.
What's more, Acer promises an impressive 9 hours of battery life, and CNET clocked it at 10 hours, 10 minutes. You don't get that kind of all-day runtime from most tablets, and certainly not most laptops.
If you're looking to stick with the Windows 8 ecosystem, here's your chance to do so on the cheap. For way less than the price of even the entry-level iPad, you can get a big, powerful, and versatile tablet -- while supplies last, that is.
Bonus deal: Did you grab that kick-ass desktop yesterday? Here's an equally sweet monitor to go with it: For a limited time, TigerDirect has the AOC e2752Vh 27-inch LED monitor for $199.99, plus around $9 for shipping. It sells elsewhere for at least $30 more. This top-rated model features a 2ms response time, an HDMI input, stereo speakers, and a three-year warranty.
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