If you’re like me, you’ve been holding off getting a Tablet Computer because of the high prices. Spending $400-$600 US is just too much money for a portable device for reading emails, viewing web pages, and other assorted mobile tasks. However, I discovered that Staples has a great deal going on now that will give you a $100 instant discount on most tablets in their local stores. I say “most” because it excludes the HP Touchpad and Nook tablets, but it does include the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola XOOM, and Acer Iconia Tab A500. Of those three Android tablets, the Acer Iconia Tab was priced at $400 so with the $100 coupon the price of that tablet drops to $300, which really got my attention.
So, I did a bit of online research and discovered that the Acer Iconia Tab got some pretty good reviews. It had a following features:
- 10.1 inch 1024×800 res screen
- Tegra 250 dual-core processor
- 16 GB Flash storage
- 1 GB Ram
- 5 MP rear, 2 MP front cameras
- WiFi b/g/n
- microSD card slot (expandable storage)
- 3260 mAh battery
- Standard and micro USB port
- HDMI output
Some pretty good specs for a tablet in general, and with the $300 price it pushed me over the edge to consider getting it. As such, I stopped by a nearby Staples store in the Seattle area as I was driving home from work to check one out in person. First, I was impressed with the fit and finish of the Acer Iconia Tab as I was expecting something not so polished as the Galaxy Tab and Xoom tablets, mainly because the Acer was selling about $100 less than those two other tablets. However, that was certainly not the case. The Acer’s screen was beautiful, big and bright and vibrant with colors. The basic operation of the Android Honeycomb OS on the tablet also was swift and smooth, with no delays. And all the criticism in the online reviews on its weight and being too thick was just bunk. Yes, the weight of the Acer is certainly more than an Apple iPad 2 (the gold standard) and it was also thicker than the iPad 2, but it’s still a lightweight and thin device in my opinion (and, I’m all about thin and lightweight devices). So I wouldn’t worry about those two issues and I suggest you check one out in person to see for yourself.
After about 15 minutes of playing around with the Acer I asked the sales rep if I could buy one, with his response being they are all sold out. He explained that with the “$100 tablet coupon” they’re sold out on all their tablets. In fact, he said that he sold 36 of the Acer tablets that morning when they opened the store doors and several Microsoft employees rushed in to use their coupons (the Staples store was near Redmond, WA where Microsoft’s headquarters is located). When I asked if he could check the nearby Staples for stock, he said he already did earlier and none of the Seattle stores had any, although the do have 6000 units at their main distribution warehouse. What the sales rep did offer me, was to order the Acer online in the store (where he could apply the $100 coupon) and have the Acer shipped to my house the next day (at no cost). So, I went ahead and did that since it seemed the best option.
As the sales rep was ringing up my order, he explained that this was a crazy deal, and the margins on the tablets aren’t that big, so they were losing $70 per tablet sold with the $100 coupon. This deal was considered a “Black Friday” sale, and they were hoping to draw customers in for purchasing other products (e.g., accessories, office supplies, protection plan, etc). Definitely a good deal if you’re on the fence to whether to buy a current tablet or not.
So my recommendation is for you to check out the nearest Staples and see for yourself if you’re in the market for a tablet. You can’t use the $100 coupon online ordering from your home, as it is a “in store” purchase only, but you can have the store order it for you and have it shipped to your home relatively quickly (again, for me it was the next day at no additional cost). The deal ends on August 30th, so you only have a week or so to take advantage of it. Here’s the coupon below that you can print and the official Staples web page with that coupon: