Yes, gps can be disabled, just like on a phone. I suspect it was part of the wifi chip and they could add a "feature" for cheap. It's a selling point in my book. I wanted one.
I saw the same thing, CL, refurbs, deal-of-the-day sites... Check the cpu and it's a 1ghz single or dual core for over $200. This thing has 4 cores and it's 1.3 ghz. I believe the gpu has 12.
Another feature I like. If you have a case with a cover (like a book) and it has an embedded magnet in the right place (easy to add, I did), the N7 will sleep with the cover closed and wake when it opens.... no buttons to push. (Now you gotta have one, right?