Black Friday Tablet Deals: Wait in Line or Stay in Bed?

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Toshiba, Sylvania, Samsung, Lenovo

2011 was the year of tablet glut, as PC makers pushed heaps of iPad-like slates onto store shelves. Although many of these tablets were too expensive at launch, and not as refined as the iPad, Black Friday changes the equation. For one day, tablets with unique features and capabilities can be had for cheap. Here are some of the most noteworthy Black Friday tablet deals of 2011, and whether they’re worth braving the crowds and the lines.

Best Buy: Acer Iconia Tab A100 for $189.99

Before the launch of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, this 7-inch Android Honeycomb tablet would’ve been a steal. Now it’s harder to justify, especially with a reported four hours of battery life. Skip it.

Best Buy: Asus Eee Pad Transformer for $249.99

The Asus Transformer’s optional keyboard and trackpad dock, which fold up like a laptop, makes it one of the most unique Android Honeycomb tablets of 2011. Although the dock’s not included in Best Buy’s Black Friday deal, $250 is a great price for any 10-inch tablet. Throw in the dock later and you still crack the $400 barrier. A quad-core sequel to the Transformer is coming soon for $500, so early adopters with money to burn will want to wait for the new model.

Best Buy: Toshiba Thrive 10.1 Inch Tablet for $279.99

The Thrive is an ugly tablet, but it’s got full-sized USB, MicroSD and HDMI slots for transferring photos, connecting keyboards, hooking up hard drives, plugging in wired game controllers and viewing content on a larger screen. Not a bad option if you want to use your tablet like a regular computer.

HH Gregg: Galaxy Tab 10.1 with Free Keyboard Dock for $499.99

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the slimmest Android Honeycomb tablet available today, and it’s generally regarded as the best, although without USB ports or other unique features, only Android enthusiasts are going to want this over an iPad. If you do find yourself craving the widgets and open app store that Google’s operating system provides, HH Gregg will throw in a free keyboard dock on Black Friday. It’s not a great deal, but one to consider if you’ve been looking to buy anyway.

(MORE: The Best Holiday Shopping Apps for Black Friday and Beyond)

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