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bestbuy-ipad2

Looking for a bargain on possibly the second best 10″ tablet? When Apple introduced the third generation iPad, they cunningly kept the prior generation base iPad 2 in play… by dropping its price $100. And, at $399, the iPad 2 is a decent deal. Yet, for many, the new iPad screen is worth the $100 surcharge despite the additional heft and heat. But at $350 or $360 the dynamics may be more compelling, especially for folks on a budget or those anticipating limited tablet usage. MicroCenter is currently blowing out their iPad 2 inventory at $359.99.  As you can see from the pic above, at least one Best Buy is willing to price match – and a friend picked up two on the cheap. Should these supplies run out, Apple is offering refurb iPad 2s for $349. While some may not be entirely comfortable purchasing a refurbished product, having bought several Apple devices this way, I can tell you they’ve all been pristine – including our former iPad 1. Further, refurb Apple iPads carry the same 1 year warranty you’d receive with a new device.

(Thanks, Ricky Tan!)

Ready to give those newly enacted, FCC mandated CableCARD self-install procedures a go? TiVo’s got a deal for you on refurbished Premiere DVR hardware. $50 gets you the hardware, $20 a month gets you the service. It’s not quite as good as their occasional $0 down promotions, but it doesn’t require that two year commitment. Something worth contemplating if you assume they’ve got Super Premiere hardware in the pipeline for 2012. Additionally, multi-room service discounts are in effect – dropping the monthly fee to $14.99 for existing subscribers.

The fine print: Continue Reading…

By any measure, Google TV has been a failure. In fact, I’d say they’re not even in the game. And no company has paid the price more than Logitech with their bad bet on Google’s initial foray into the living room. Just how bad has it been? More Logitech Revue hardware was returned in the second quarter than was actually purchased. Ouch. I’m sure both Google and Logitech shoulder their fair share of blame – neither did an effective job explaining the unique benefits of this product or platform. But the software experience failings themselves are on Google. At $250 or $300, as originally priced, there are very few people I could (or did) recommend the Revue too.

However, as of today, the Logitech Revue is now merely a hundred bucks. And its capabilities and shortcomings look much different at this price point… First off, in my experience, Google TV offers the very best television-based web browsing experience. Neverminding for a moment those blocked sites. Next, while the Google TV platform has remained relatively stagnant and most “apps” are actually just reformatted webpages, you’ve got access to core services similar to what’s found find competing platforms in this range - like the new Roku 2. In fact, I’d say Netflix, Amazon VOD, Pandora, and YouTube make the Revue fairly well rounded. Pulling it all together is the full-on wireless QWERTY keyboard… which ran $99 until last week. So now you get Logitech’s complete Google TV experience for the price of the keyboard.

Of course, it’s not entirely clear how committed Logitech will remain to this product or Google TV in general given the massive hemorrhaging. But if they deliver the marketplace-powered Android Honeycomb Google TV update this summer, as promised, it’s a whole new ballgame.

In honor of the new Zatz Not Funny Facebook annex, we’re giving away our Vulkano Flow review hardware.

If you recall, the Flow is the first placeshifter with a MSRP under $100. And mobile clients run almost 2/3rds less than their Slingbox equivalents. Overall, we found it a good value for those with non-HD placeshifting needs. Check out our review here.

To win the Vulkano Flow, you’ll have to Like our Facebook page. We’ll randomly choose one US-based winner from amongst our registered fans on Wednesday, May 18th. What you do after Wednesday is up to you. But, of course, we do hope you’ll stick around. Right now, the page primarily consists of ZNF story headlines… sprinkled with a few other interesting digital media story links and photos. The Wall is also currently open for contributions, so feel free to throw your hat into the ring. And we’ll collectively see how this thing evolves.

If you’re addicted to iPad games, you can’t do better than the deal Big Fish Games is running for Mother’s Day. Games that usually range $6.99-$9.99 are only $0.99 (on iPad or iPhone) through Sunday. Most of them are some variant of the Hidden Object/Puzzle and Adventure Quest genre – good for your own leisure time or for playing with the kids. My favorite by far is Drawn: The Painted Tower, but I enjoyed Puppet Show: Mystery of Joyville and several others as well. The only one I don’t recommend is Azada, which still seems to have some bugs that need working out. I picked up three more game downloads today, all for less than it would usually cost to buy one. Don’t miss it.

If you happen to be in the market for a TiVo Premiere and don’t object to a refurb unit, Woot’s got the deal for you. They’re offering the TiVo Premiere XL for $200 with service running the traditional $12.95/month. While you could pick up a new Premiere from TiVo.com for $100 @ 20/mo, over the course of a year, the difference between these two products is about 16 bucks. Which is an extremely reasonable fee for the higher-end backlit Glo remote and 1 terabyte (versus 320GB) of DVR storage. As with all modern TiVos, not only do you end up with a fine HD DVR experience, you’ll receive access to various Internet content such as Netflix, YouTube, and Pandora. Or you could just skip the perceived complexity and expense by renting your cableco’s DVR for $15/month… as most do.

While folks are lining up for iPad 2s today, my wife will be surfing the web from her “new” refurbished iPad 1. $350 was too good a deal to pass up. The fact is, Apple’s prior generation iPad is superior to current generation Android tablets in many regards – namely polish and app ecosystem. For the sort of casual usage I anticipate, she’s going to really enjoy v1 and wouldn’t necessarily appreciate the improvements of the iPad 2.

The last time we possessed an iPad, I found a decent stand for in-home use… but never came across a slim, functional case that I was willing to invest in. Fortunately, due to Apple swiping an InCase design and resultant publicity we learned of the Convertible Magazine Jacket ($50). And now have a winner. Continue Reading…