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Best tablets: five great deals on previous-generation models

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(Read caption) Amazon Kindle vice president Peter Larsen holds the Kindle Fire HD in Santa Monica, Calif. Best tablets to buy right now are previous-generation models, with so many new versions on the way.

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While we wait for this year's crop of tablets to come to market, many previous-generation models are seeing their lowest prices ever. With that in mind, today we're highlighting five Editors' Choice tablet deals. Read on to see Amazon's best Kindle Fire sale yet, an all-time price low on Lenovo's Yoga 8, and $50 off the Dell Venue 8 Pro Windows tablet.

 

Kindle Fire HD 16GB 8.9" WiFi Tablet
Store: Amazon
Price: $189 with free shipping
Lowest By: $51
Is It Worth It?: The 8.9" Kindle Fire HD may lack the HDX's better-than-1080p display and quad-core CPU, but this previous-gen tablet is still an excellent choice for those looking for a media-centered experience — and it's available at a fraction of the HDX's cost. Prime members will reap the most benefits from this tablet, having access to features like Prime Instant Video and the Kindle Lending Library.
The Kindle Fire HD also features a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, an 8.9" 1920x1200 (1080p) IPS LCD, 16GB of internal storage, 802.11a/n wireless, Bluetooth, Dolby Digital Plus audio, and Fire OS 3.0 (Mojito).
If you'd rather get your hands on a current-gen Kindle tablet, there's never been a better time. Amazon is taking $30 to $40 off a selection of Kindle Fire tablets, including the 7" and 8.9" HDX models. Better yet, all items receive free shipping. With prices starting at $189, we've never seen a better sale on these tablets from Amazon.

Lenovo Yoga 8 32GB 8" WiFi Android Tablet
Store: Lenovo
Price: $199 via coupon code "USPYT848126" with free shipping
Lowest By: $100
Is It Worth It?: Although the Yoga 8 was only released in November, Lenovo downplayed this uniquely shaped tablet during CES 2014, opting to instead promote its convertible laptop/tablet hybrids, the Miix 2 and Yoga 2. Don't be fooled by this lack of hype! The Yoga 8 is still a great tablet, outperforming its larger sibling, the Yoga 10, according to PCMag. "Both use the same design, same display resolution, and same processor ... but the [Yoga 8's] display is sharper and its design is even more comfortable in the smaller form factor." Coupon code "USPYT848126" drops it to $199, shaving off $100 and making this tied as the cheapest Yoga 8 32GB tablet we've seen.
The Yoga 8 sports a built-in kickstand, an MTK MT8125 1.2GHz quad-core processor, an 8" 1280x800 IPS touchscreen LCD, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of flash storage, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth, rear and front cameras, and Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean).

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 16GB 7" 4G Android Tablet
Store: Sprint
Price: $49.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $216
Is It Worth It?: While the prices for the new Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro tablets haven't yet been confirmed, rumors are circulating that Samsung's latest generation of tablets could start at nearly $400. If that's too rich for your blood, consider opting for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 from Sprint instead. Available for just $50 when you sign up for a 2-year contract, this tablet offers 4G LTE connectivity for $216 less than you'd pay without a contract — making it the cheapest 16GB 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab we've ever seen.
The Galaxy Tab 3 features a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, a 7" 1024x600 touchscreen LCD, 1.5GB of RAM, 16GB of internal memory, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, a 3-megapixel rear camera, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth, and Android 4.2 OS (Jelly Bean).

Dell Venue 8 Pro 8" 32GB Windows 8.1 WiFi Tablet
Store: Micro Center
Price: $199.99 with in-store pickup
Lowest By: $50
Is It Worth It?: Given the fact that Windows 8 rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way, consumers looking for a Windows tablet could be forgiven for wanting a tablet running on the very latest version of the OS, Windows 8.1. A $50 price low at $200, the Dell Venue 8 Pro is easily one of the cheapest Windows 8.1 devices we've seen. The Dell Venue 8 Pro "is rather similar to what you would expect with any traditional Windows computer," according to SlashGear. "All the Windows goodies can be expected and those living in the Windows world will likely be right at home with the setup."
The Venue 8 Pro boasts an Intel Atom Z3740D 1.8GHz quad-core processor, an 8" 1280x800 IPS touchscreen LCD, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 1.2-megapixel front camera, 5-megapixel rear camera, dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth, and Windows 8.1 32-bit.

Oregon Scientific MEEP! 7" 4GB WiFi Android Tablet for Kids
Store: Best Buy
Price: $49.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $56
Is It Worth It?: Shopping for a kids' tablet means carefully balancing your child's desires against your concerns about online safety. The Oregon Scientific MEEP! 7" tablet offers the sort of parental controls you'd expect, but contained within the familiar Android architecture. Better yet, it's a $56 price low at $50. Wired's GeekMom reviewer noted that the MEEP! is a hit with kids who aren't used to playing on their parent's more powerful tablets: "If your child has never been exposed to tablet technology, and you are looking for a tablet to give your child that you don’t need to use yourself, the Meep! is a valid choice."
This 1.9-lb. tablet comes with a silicone sleeve and features a 7" 800x480 touchscreen display, an ARM Cortex A8 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of built-in memory, 802.11n wireless, and Android 4.0 OS (Ice Cream Sandwich).

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Marcy Bonebright is a features writer for Dealnews.com, where this article first appeared: http://dealnews.com/features/Previous-Generation-Steals-5-Editors-Choice-Tablet-Deals-from-50/974832.html

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