Get a 3DR Solo quadcopter with gimbal for $799

From the Cheapskate: Originally $1,399, this super-sexy drone is finally getting affordable.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

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As regular Cheapskate readers know, I'm a big fan of quadcopters, aka drones. And no, "drone" may not be the technically accurate term, but we're stuck with it, same as we're stuck with "hoverboard" for two-wheeled self-balancing scooters. Let's just accept it and move on.

3dr-solo-with-gimbal.jpg

Gimbal included! Alas, GoPro not included.

3DR

Alas, drones are not an inexpensive hobby, at least if you want one that can fly waypoints, integrate with a GoPro, stay airborne for more than 10 minutes and so on. That's why I'm excited about today's deal. It's still expensive, but no longer crazily so.

For a limited time, you can get the 3DR Solo with 3-axis gimbal for $799.96, plus around $12 for shipping. That's after applying coupon code DIYD20OFF at checkout. Regular price: $999.95, itself a big drop from the $1,399 original price tag of last year.

I got a chance to see the Solo in action a few weeks ago on what proved to be a very windy day in southern California's Corral Canyon. The drone performed several of its best tricks, including orbit and follow-me. Although I could see it getting buffeted quite a bit by the wind, the resulting GoPro footage was rock-solid thanks to the gimbal. Here's a video put together by the pilot, my buddy Dave. I'm the dork in red. Note that I had no say in the music selection.

And that's really the point of owning one of these: capturing amazing aerial video that would normally require a helicopter. Whether you're an amateur (or even a professional) moviemaker or you just want to see what birds see, this drone delivers.

The Solo is also amazingly easy to fly, with a game console-inspired controller that has buttons marked "Fly" and "Home."

The only thing missing: collision-avoidance sensors like the kind embedded in the new DJI Phantom 4. But that model will set you back $1,399. (On the other hand, it includes a camera. With the Solo, it's BYO GoPro, to the tune of another $300-400. Just saying.)

I realize that even at $799, this isn't an affordable splurge for everyone. But if you have the means, this deal delivers an awful lot of bang for your drone buck. Wonder if I can finance it by selling all my other quadcopters...

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