Win8.1 tablet prices slashed to $229-249 in Microsoft Store sale

Late last year, we saw the arrival of many Windows 8.1 tablets with 8" displays and Bay Trail Atom processors from Intel. This week, Microsoft's online store is running a sale on several of those systems—and the discounts are surprisingly steep in some cases.

As InformationWeek points out, the cuts apply to three 32GB tablets and one 64GB model. Those are:

  • Toshiba's Encore 32GB, which is down from $329 to $249.
  • Lenovo's Miix 2 32GB — down from $299 to $249.
  • Dell's Venue 8 Pro 32GB — down from $299 to $229.
  • ...and Dell's Venue 8 Pro 64GB — discounted from $349 to $299.

All four tablets have 8" 1280x800 displays, Bay Trail Atom processors, 2GB of RAM, front and rear cameras, and Windows 8.1 pre-loaded with a copy of Office Home & Student 2013. Now, of course, there are some small differences between them.

For starters, the Atom Z3470 chip inside the Encore and Miix 2 has a slightly higher Turbo speed (1.86GHz vs. 1.83GHz), a slightly lower TDP (2W vs. 2.2W), and one more memory channel than the Atom Z3740D in the Venue 8. Also, battery run-time ratings are 10 hours for the Miix 2, eight hours for the Venue 8, and only seven hours for the Encore. Finally, Toshiba offers only five-finger multi-touch (compared to 10-finger input for the others), but it delivers the highest-resolution rear camera of the bunch (at eight megapixels).

According to InformationWeek, the cuts will apply until February 9. The site says the Venue 8 Pro was supposed to return to its regular price yesterday, but as far as I can tell, it's still on sale for $229. That's the same price Google charges for its Nexus 7 tablet—and it's definitely not bad for a full-fledged Windows tablet with x86 software support.

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