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Friday roundup: 5 great cheap Christmas gift ideas

A huge sale on videogames, a crazy-cool toy for $10, a sound bar for only $30 and more! Plus: A space-age thermometer for just $20.


Today I bring you a grab-bag of deals, many of which would make great gifts.

Before we hop into that, though, a question: What do you think about a second daily Cheapskate newsletter, one that arrives in the early afternoon and contains various updates, bonus deals and the like? The format would be totally different from the morning newsletter -- I'm going for simple, conversational, easy to digest.

If you'd take a minute to vote on this, using the poll at the bottom, it would help a lot!

Video games up to 50 percent off at GameStop

With nearly 500 titles on sale, here's your chance to score some seriously good game deals.

For example, you can bag Battlefield V for Xbox One for $29.99 (it's also available for PS4 at that price), Lego The Incredibles for Nintendo Switch for $19.99 (that's more than 50 percent off, actually) and Madden NFL 19 for Xbox One for $29.99. (Again: same for PS4 version.)

Shipping is free on orders over $35, though for some titles you may be able to choose in-store pickup and dodge the shipping fee.

A TV sound bar for $30

Not happy with the sound coming out of your TV? That's probably because it has small speakers pointed downward or, worse, backward. Last I checked, people sit in front of their TVs.


Popchose? Sure, why not.


Solution: a proper speaker that points audio -- much better-sounding audio -- at your ear-holes. Like this one: For a limited time, and while supplies last, the Popchose 32-inch sound bar and Bluetooth speaker is just $29.99 with promo code ODAE46IQ. It normally runs $57.

I'm not sure how great a $30 speaker will sound, and you should note that it's an analog solution: There's no digital input, only a 3.5mm input jack. However, there's also a line-out jack for connecting a subwoofer, should you care to add one.

I'll simply say that just about any external speaker is likely to provide better sound than your TV's built-in speakers, if only because it points it in the right direction.

Prefer to stick with a name brand? Check out the Vizio SB362An-F6, which offers amazing sound for $100.

A dual-cam dashcam for $126

I'm not saying a dashcam is essential, but it sure can be useful. Just yesterday I was talking with my insurance agent and learned that if I'm in an accident, I don't have to pay the deductible if I'm not at fault. Dashcam footage can go a long way toward proving whether I am or not.


Two cameras are better than one.


Of course, accidents can happen behind the car, not just in front -- meaning if you want to more fully cover your bases, you need a rear cam as well.

Here you go: Ending tomorrow, you can get the Aukey DR03 dual-cam dashcam system for $125.79 with promo code AUK3XMAS. Regular price: $170. The seller here is PBUS; if you see a different one listed, the code won't work.

The windshield-mount front cam has all the essential features, including loop recording, collision detection, night vision and 1080p resolution with optional audio recording.

The rear camera mounts to the rear window using sticky tape, while cord clips help keep the 23-foot USB cable out of the way. You can also route it into the car trim (using an included tool) if you want to minimize cord visibility. Take note, however, that the rear camera is merely another recorder; it's not intended to be used as a backup camera.

As gifts go, this is definitely more practical than fun -- but if you have, say, a teenage driver in the family, hang fun. 

Now playing: Watch this: Dashcams: Is it time for you to get one?

A folding Bluetooth keyboard for $16


I love simple, effective, inexpensive solutions to life's little problems -- like when you need to compose a lengthy email or edit a document when you're on the go, with only your phone or tablet at hand. You need a real keyboard, but it's not like you can just make one magically appear.

Oh, wait, yes you can: Battop has its folding portable Bluetooth keyboard for $15.87 when you apply discount code VXXFCUVF at checkout. It normally runs $27.

When folded, the Battop looks remarkably like a three-hole punch and feels very solid, like you could whack someone upside the head if they were giving you trouble. Unfold it and it's a full QWERTY keyboard -- a touch narrower than standard, but comfortable enough for touch typing.

What's more, it has a built-in stand to hold your phone or tablet upright. Just don't expect to use it in your lap. If you want that option, check out Logitech's K480, which is similarly versatile and currently on sale for just $29.

A sensory-overload (in the best way) toy for $10

USA Toyz

Just typing these words, my inner child is going bananas: Mini light-up LED race car with stunt ball. I'll take 12!!

For a limited time, and while supplies last, the USA Toyz Whipz Micro Racer is just $10.19 with promo code 40WHIPZRACER. Regular price: $17.

Turn on this tiny car and voom -- it zooms around inside its included plastic ball, all crazy with flashing LEDs. This is better shown than explained, so watch the video on the product page.

Me, I'd love to get one of these on a Hot Wheels track and see what happens. Anyway, for $10, seems like a no-brainer stocking-stuffer.


Bonus deal: Still using one of those old under-the-tongue mercury thermometers? Guess what: The Stone Age called and they want that thing back. Because it's 2018 and we have Star Trek-level science at our disposal!

To wit: For a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get the iHealth Infrared No-Touch Forehead Thermometer for $20.64 when you clip the $5 on-page coupon and then apply promo code 05PT3DEC at checkout. The latter: Cheapskate exclusive!

This thing looks all kinds of amazing. Just point it at a forehead (no need to actually touch it) and push a button. In about a second you get a reading on its large LED display.

The gizmo runs on a pair of AAA batteries (included). It has a 4.2-star average rating from a couple dozen buyers. I think if you have youngsters around, this -- or something like it -- is kind of a must-have. (P.S. Don't forget to vote in the poll below!)

Read more: The best gifts for 2018

Read more: The best gifts under $50

CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!

Read More: Best Gifts Under $25 in 2019: Stocking Stuffers and More | Hottest Christmas Toys for 2019 | Best Bar Gifts Under $100 in 2019