Buff Your PC With SSDs or Nab a Cheap Nexus 7 and More [Tech Deals]

Kannon Yamada 20-02-2014

This week we’ve got some great price drops on SSDs, primarily from Kingston. We’ve also got a ridiculously good deal on the Nexus 7 (2012 edition), a fantastic deal on a Nokia and Apple has restocked their refurbished products.


Tablet and Smartphone Users

Looking for a cheap Nexus 7 tablet or Windows Phone 8? Keeping reading, there are two deals you must see.

32GB Nexus 7, 2012 Edition (Refurbished)

nexus 7 2012

  • Price: $99 after $50 mail-in rebate; compare to $179.99
  • Retailer: Newegg — Buy it Now
  • Rebate: Download

The 2012 edition of the Nexus 7 still offers good performance, although it will no longer receive firmware updates as of February of 2014 – thanks to the Nexus series’ 18-months of support. That said, it still provides the cutting edge in Android design, being upgradeable to KitKat (Android 4.4). It also comes with a standard, for a refurb, 90-day warranty – I highly suggest stress-testing refurbished units How To Check New & Used Devices For Problems Using Simple Tips & Software Are you thinking of purchasing a new or used smartphone or computer? While you absolutely must test used electronics, even brand new smartphones and computers can suffer from defects that you may not notice until... Read More within that time frame, to weed out potentially defective units.

We reviewed the Nexus 7 Google Nexus 7 (16GB) Android Tablet Review and Giveaway We purchased a 16GB Nexus 7 for $249 which I've been reviewing for a week or so now, and I've really grown to love the little thing. We'll be giving it away at the end... Read More before and it’s a great tablet. For $99, it’s a killer deal.

Nokia Lumia 521 (Unlocked, T-Mobile)

Nokia Lumia 521

  • Price: $79.99; compare to $112.20 MSRP
  • Retailer: Home Shopping Network — Buy it Now

The Nokia Lumia 521 offers good mid-range specifications: Dual Core 1 GHz CPU, 8GB internal memory and a 4-inch screen. It’s not exactly a barn-burner in performance – but its pricing is red hot. Our own Christian Cawley has written extensively about Windows Phone 8 apps. It’s a solid operating system, although with some issues.

Also see:

  • XtremeGuard 80% off sale on everything (code: ‘VALENTINE80′) and an additional 50% off Apple device protectors (code: ‘APPLE50′).
  • Apple iPad 3rd Generation 16GB – $274.95 via eBay (seller refurbished)

Laptop Users

MacBook Air users, rejoice. Apple recently restocked their supply of refurbished laptops. Currently, you can get good (for Apple products) deals on several of their laptops.

13.3-inch MacBook Air (Refurbished)

macbook air 2012 ivy bridge

  • Price: $1,019; 27% discount
  • Retailer: Apple — Buy it Now

This particular model comes with a 27% discount, making it the most discounted refurbished model offered by Apple. It includes an Intel Core i5 1.8 GHz dual core CPU and an extremely thin profile. Like all of Apple’s refurbished products, it comes with a 1-year warranty (same as new models). On the downside, this particular model includes the older, Ivy Bridge CPU.

11.6-inch MacBook Air (Refurbished)

macbook air haswell 11

  • Price: $849; 15% discount
  • Retailer: Apple — Buy it Now

The MacBook Air 2013, 11.6-inch model includes an 128GB SSD, the latest Haswell CPU and outstanding 9-hour battery life. The all metal build also offers outstanding portability and design quality.

System Builders

Upgrading to an SSD is a great idea for both custom built computes and laptops. Fortunately, February seems to be the month that prices are starting to crumble, particularly for Kingston SSDs.


Kingston V300 240GB SSD

kingston v300

  • Price: $119.99; compare to $370 MSRP
  • Retailer: Tiger Direct — Buy it Now
  • Coupon: THH116959

The Kingston V300 at $0.50 per gigabyte offers excellent value for a lower performance solid state drive. It’s worth noting that Kingston V300 drives are getting dumped onto markets right now. Although Kingston recently switched NAND modules over from synchronous (the fastest modules for consumer quality drives) to asynchronous (slower and less reliable), the majority of users won’t notice the difference. However, for those concerned with SSD performance (and still want a deal) you would do better with the Seagate 600 series drives or the PNY drives, which include a 5-year warranty with registration, offered by Best Buy (see below).

Just remember that SSDs perform best when optimized How To Optimize SSD Speed & Performance Although Solid State Drives can deliver break-neck computing speeds, most users don’t know a nasty secret - your drive might not be properly configured. The reason is that SSDs don’t come optimized out of the... Read More . I highly recommend installing toolkits Top Tools for Managing and Maintaining Your SSD Did your SSD start out Usain Bolt fast, but now limps along? You can whip your drive back into shape using a handful of toolkits and optimization software, but caveat emptor: Some SSD optimization software... Read More and firmware updates, if these exist for your particular drive.

PNY XLR8 120GB Solid State Drive


  • Price: $69.99; compare to $170 MSRP
  • Retailer: Best Buy — Buy it Now

The PNY XLR8 series of drives offers very good performance along with high quality internal components, for a low price. It uses synchronous NAND and a three-year warranty. Synchronous NAND performs better and lasts longer than the asynchronous NAND used in cheaper drives. The XLR8 also offers encryption – in terms of its performance and additional features, the XLR8 is one of the best drives on the market. On the downside, PNY doesn’t offer any SSD toolkit and firmware updates aren’t in the pipeline.

I should also mention this drive is manufactured in the United States — an anomaly among electronics.

Note: Best Buy also offers 6% of this purchase in rewards.

Also see:

  • Samsung EVO 840 120GB SSD — $89.99 via eBay
  • Seagate 600 580GB SSD — $259.99 via Newegg


It’s hard picking a favorite, but the Nokia Lumia 521 is a great acquisition. While you don’t get the deep app ecosystems of Android or iOS, you do get a decently specced smartphone that can be used as a burner Sick of the NSA Tracking You? Burn Them with a Burner Phone Sick of the NSA tracking you using your phone's positioning coordinates? Prepaid phones known colloquially as "burners" can provide you with partial privacy. Read More or as a backup. On the other hand, for those of you with laptops or who may be building a computer, the various solid state drive deals this week are pretty spectacular. Although the Kingston drives currently offer the much-maligned asynchronous NAND, they will still offer solid performance for most mobile users.

That’s it for this week! Check back in next week for the same great prices!

Related topics: Buying Tips, Save Money.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Anthony
    February 26, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    I thought I heard something a while ago about a newer version of the Nexus 7 (which presumably does get updates) Yes/No?

    • Kannon Y
      February 26, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      Oh yes, that's a great tablet (I have one). It's sometimes referred to as the Nexus 7 FHD. But you will most likely hear it referred to as the 2013 Nexus 7.

      In my experiences though, the 2012 Nexus 7 offers a very similar experience to the 2013 version. But the firmware updates are a big thing.

      The cheapest I've seen a refurb 2013 Nexus 7 going for was 159.99. IMO, I'd rather get the 2012 for $99 and install a custom ROM when the firmware updates stop arriving. But overall, that decision depends entirely on whether or not one is comfortable rooting and ROMing a device. If you aren't comfortable, the 2013 Nexus 7 is easily a better pick.

  2. Davin Peterson
    February 20, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    When I was browsing the Northern VA Craigslist last weekend, I saw many Nexus 7 2012 edition for sale, but only 1 Nexus 7 2013. I guess many people want to sell the old one to get cash for the new one, One even had Flappy Bird installed on it

    • Kannon Y
      February 20, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      :-) Nice! It's true people are liquidating the Nexus 7 as it no longer receives firmware updates (although it will continue to receive updates over the next several years from the Nexus development community, but that will require manual updating).

      The FHD 2013 version of the Nexus 7 is a fairly good upgrade over the original Nexus 7 (it doesn't actually have a Snapdragon Pro CPU). Although it's not exactly a earth-shaking upgrade over it. The 2012 Nexus 7 is going to be a good tablet for years to come.