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Stabilize your smartphone movies with this 3-axis gimbal for $90

This handheld gizmo works like a Steadicam, but for a fraction of the price. Plus, a Bluetooth speaker that's only $8?!

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read

Cheeps! In case you've been living under a rock at the bottom of the ocean on a different planet, Amazon Prime Day is coming. As you might expect, I'm all over that bad boy, starting with a look at Prime Day deals you can get right now and a sneak peek at what's coming.

What's more, Cheapskate newsletter subscribers can look forward to a little bonus content on Monday and Tuesday: My usual Cheapskate deal in the a.m., then a second, Prime Day-related mailing later on.

Lights, camera... gimbal!

In my next life, I plan to write and direct movies -- especially now that the tools for doing so are incredibly cheap now. I mean, heck, I've already got an HD camcorder in my pocket!

Ah, but curse my shaky hands. Sure, I could use a tripod, but what if I want to move the camera around? To keep the footage silky-smooth, that requires a gimbal.

Like this one: Today only, and while supplies last, Amazon has the new Yi Phone Gimbal 3-axis Handheld Stabilizer for $90 shipped with promo code YIGIMBAL. It just hit the market at $130, which is about the price you'd pay for most competing products.

A gimbal uses a combination of weights and motors to keep a camera steady while it's in motion. That means you can walk or even run and enjoy much smoother video than you could just holding the phone in your hand.

The Yi product is a three-axis gimbal. (If you see something similar priced less, chances are it's a two-axis model.) It can turn a full 360 degrees on one axis and 320 degrees on the other two. According to Yi, it can run for up to 8 hours on a charge.

The mount should be able to hold most modern phones, though the maximum size isn't specified anywhere. If you have something larger than, say, 5.5 inches, I'd check with Yi to make sure it'll fit.

I haven't tried this exact model, but I've used one very similar. There's a small joystick that lets you control panning and zooming and a mode button that toggles between various functions.

Speaking of which, when you pair the gimbal to your phone, a companion app gives you features such as subject tracking and panoramic photography.

Unfortunately, because it's brand new, there aren't any user reviews. But if you're in the market for a gimbal that's a full $40 less than most competing models, check this out. It can really elevate your movie game.


We're talking small.


Bonus deal: Just in case you don't already have a Bluetooth speaker in every possible location, here's this: For a limited time, and while supplies last, the TechVilla Wing 1 Mini 3-watt portable speaker is just $7.99 shipped (with Prime) with promo code MB6XV434. Update: It appears the code subtracts $7.99, rather than making a final price of $7.99. My apologies for the error. I'm checking with the vendor to find out what happened. Update No. 2 (7/12/18): Use this code: 55K93SBA. Tested, verified, works!

Couple interesting things about the Wing 1... First, it can be paired with a second Wing 1, which is unusual for a speaker at this price. (It's normally $23, and to my surprise it's been steady at that price for nearly nine months.)

Second, it supports Bluetooth 4.2 and can play for up to 5 hours on a charge, at least according to TechVilla.

Finally, it has an average rating of 4.6 stars -- and both Fakespot and ReviewMeta say those ratings are legit. But that's from just six users. I don't know how good a tiny speaker like this can really be, but I do know that if you want something small, it's probably worth $8 to find out.

Bonus deal 2: Want to bring your Echo Dot into the backyard? The Mokcao Power+ Cordless Speaker with Battery Base does exactly that for just $24.

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