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The most feature-rich tablets often carry top-of-the-line price tags, even when they're a generation or two behind. However, there's a money-saving hack you can employ to get these devices for way less: buy them refurbished or used! To help you find the perfect second-hand tablet, we've rounded up the week's best refurb and used tablet deals. Grab a refurbished Surface Pro at a $100 savings, score a used 4th-gen iPad for $76 off, and save $100 on an ASUS Transformer Pad.
Nervous about buying something second-hand? Be sure to check out our rundown on what to look for — and look out for — when buying refurbished.
Is It Worth It?: Many a buyer on the hunt for a laptop replacement has fallen in love with Microsoft's Surface Pro, a hard-working Windows tablet with a lot of processing power. If the only thing holding you back is the Surface Pro's price, then grab this factory-refurbished unit from eBay for just $399. At $100 off the price of a new one, this Editors' Choice tablet still comes with a 1-year Microsoft warranty. Performance-wise, Engadget's reviewer said the "Surface Pro more than met our expectations. A cold boot is completed in eight seconds or less, which is quite impressive indeed, and apps launched snappily and reacted well."
The 2-lb. Surface Pro features an Intel Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz dual-core processor, a 10.6" 1920x1080 (1080p) multi-touch LCD, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, front- and rear-facing 720p HD cameras, a microSDXC card slot, and Windows 8 Pro. A 1-year Microsoft warranty applies.
Is It Worth It?: Apple recently decided to bring the 4th-generation iPad back to its storefront, offering the legacy iDevice for $399. However, you can grab a used one for nearly $100 less at CowBoom, via coupon code "13593622". That's an Editors' Choice $76 savings on this Retina display-sporting tablet. At the time of this iPad's release, CNET said "the 2,048x1,536-pixel 9.7" IPS screen is unmatched among tablets. Color accuracy is superb, movies look great, and photos look even better. Text is crystal-clear, just like on the iPhone. It makes a big difference when looking at Web pages."
This 9.4mm-thick, 1.4-lb. iPad also boasts an A6X dual-core processor with quad-core graphics, a 5-megapixel iSight camera, a 1.2-megapixel HD FaceTime camera, 1080p video recording, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, up to 10 hours of battery life, and iOS 6. Of note, no warranty information is included. Also, this used unit may be missing accessories and have scratches or dents.
Is It Worth It?: Even the most ebullient Apple critics admit that the differences are slim between the 3rd and 4th generation iPads, as they both boast the Retina display. If you don't crave the faster processor and re-worked OS from the model above, you can save a bundle buying this used 3rd gen unit. At $174 below the price of a new unit, this Editors' Choice iPad is at the cheapest price we've seen for this model. With its elegantly simple design, this iteration of the iPad won over The Verge: "There's little to fault in this design — everything is pretty much where it should be, and functions as it should. For a tablet device where the display is the only substantial method of input available, you need little more than a screen — and that's what the iPad provides."
This 3rd-generation iPad is 9.4mm thick, weighs 1.4 lbs., and features a 9.7" 2048x1536 Retina display, an A5x dual-core processor with quad-core graphics, a 5-megapixel iSight camera with 1080p video recording, a front FaceTime camera, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, up to 10 hours of battery life, and iOS 5. Of note, no warranty information is included. Also, this used unit may be missing accessories and have scratches or dents.
Is It Worth It?: Not into iPads? For the price of a new, middle-of-the-road 7" tablet, Android fans can score a factory-refurbished Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 with a little more screen real estate. When this tablet first came on the scene, Digital Trends said "the extra screen size is worth the premium, and the combination of long battery life and great design round out what we think is one of the best 8" tablets available." At $170, this refurb has dropped $30 since our previous mention and is a current price low by $55.
The Galaxy Tab 3 has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, an 8" 1280x800 touchscreen LCD, 16GB of internal storage, a 1.3-megapixel front camera, a 5-megapixel rear camera, 802.11a/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, a microSD card slot, and Android 4.2 OS (Jelly Bean). A 90-day Samsung warranty applies.
Is It Worth It?: If you're looking for a quad-core Android tablet, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better value than this refurbished ASUS' Transformer Pad TF300 in Blue. At $150, this Editors' Choice refurb is $100 cheaper than a new unit and still holds up as a solid contender in its class. "Don't expect iPad levels of clarity ... but it's still excellent compared with most tablets," CNET said at the time of its release. "Also, there's still that great, smooth Tegra 3-induced, 60-frames-per-second screen transition effect when closing apps or swiping through apps and widgets."
The Transformer Pad sports an NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.2GHz quad-core processor, a 10.1" 1280x800 IPS multi-touch LCD, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 1.2-megapixel front camera, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth, a microSD card slot, and Android 3.2 (Honeycomb). A 90-day A4C warranty applies.