Staples Black Friday 2014 deals include $239 Apple iPad mini 2, $99.99 Asus Windows laptop

The office retailer will also have the original iPad Air for $319, the iPad with Retina Display for $279, and the Toshiba Encore Mini Windows 8.1 tablet for $99.99.

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Office "superstore" Staples might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think about buying an iPad, but it certainly helped the retailer's brand cache when Apple agreed to start selling its products there last year . It comes in handy particularly when Black Friday rolls around, as Staples gets to join in the arms race when it comes to the best iPad deals.

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The bad news for Staples is it's not high-profile enough to tout specials on the newest models in its ad, like Best Buy and Target have been able to. The good news is that the latest iPads are just incrementally better than their predecessors, which means plenty of people will still be interested in previous Apple tablets. The retailer has a trio of those specials for bargain seekers.

For the first time this shopping season, we've seen the iPad mini 2 (the first with a Retina display) discounted in a Black Friday ad. AT $239 it's $60 less than its current price, and only $40 more than the Walmart deal on the first-generation iPad mini. Staples is also pulling out the iPad with Retina display (once known informally as the "iPad 3"), which Apple no longer sells directly, and offering it for $279 -- $80 less than it is selling it for today, but only a few dollars more than what Best Buy has it available for. For $40 more ($319), you can move up to a first-generation iPad Air, which Sam's Club will have for $349 in very limited amounts, and which Target is selling at full price with a $100 gift card . Note that Staples warns that not all its stores will have them in stock, and quantities are expected to be limited.

Staples also has another major first for Black Friday 2014. While other retailers like Office Depot/OfficeMax Office Depot/OfficeMax are promoting Windows 8.1 laptops that dip below $200, its chief competitor has a Windows notebook that is priced below $100. The just-released Asus X205TA, which comes with Intel Atom Z3735F processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB SSD, 11.6-inch display, and Windows 8.1, will be available for $99.99 in store locations only, not online. While Staples is hyping that the regular price for the X205TA is $249.99, it's currently available from the Microsoft Store for $179, Amazon for $199, and Staples itself for $199.99. Nonetheless, this is incredibly aggressive pricing if you need a Windows laptop with minimal specs for very basic computing needs.

The X205TA, in fact, is being offered for the same price as a Windows 8.1 tablet, the 7-inch Toshiba Encore Mini, which was already inexpensive at its current $109 price. Staples sweetens the deal by throwing in a 16GB microSD card, which can add extra storage capacity to the Encore Mini's built-in 32GB. As with other retailers, Staples will be selling the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 for $99.99, the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 4 for $249.99, and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 for $79. It also has the Kindle Fire HD 7 for $109, $30 less than usual, and the 16GB 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S for $399.99. (In comparison, Best Buy will be selling the 32GB Tab S for $449.99 on Black Friday.)

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Staples doesn't have any offer laptop deals as good as the $99.99 Asus, but it does have a range of deals, everything from a Toshiba Satellite C55 running Windows 8.1 with Intel Core i3 processor, 6GB of RAM, 750GB hard drive, and 15.6-inch screen for $299.99 to a similar spec'd version that adds a DVD burner and comes with Windows 7 Professional for $429.99 to a Dell portable with Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, terabyte hard drive, Windows 8.1, and 14-inch touchscreen for $549.99. One thing missing from the lineup is any kind of 2-in-1 or hybrid laptop/tablet device, which a number of other retailers like Best Buy are putting on sale for Black Friday.

There are also five desktop specials Staples is advertising for Black Friday. These include a pair of HP all-in-one PCs, both priced at $449 and coming with an Intel Pentium processor, 4 gigs of memory, DVD burner, and 500GB hard drive, but one with a bigger 23-inch display, and the other with a 21-inch screen with touch capabilities. Two HP towers are also available: The 110-406 includes a Pentium J2900 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, DVD burner, Windows 8.1, and built-in Wi-Fi for $299.99, while the Pavilion 500-281 has a faster Core i3-4130 processor, doubles the hard drive space, includes Windows 7 instead of the latest version, and costs $399.99, though it's currently already at that price point on the Staples website. A better deal than the HP Pavilion is probably the Dell Inspiron 660, which, for the same price, includes a Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, along with Windows 8 (not 8.1).

Note that some of the deals Staples is promoting make use of the company's "Easy Rebate," which doesn't require a mail-in form (unless you so choose) but does make you submit information online to get back either a prepaid Visa card or a check in the mail. Thankfully, neither the Asus laptop nor the iPads require the Easy Rebate.

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