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Cheeps! I'm back! If you were wondering where I went: personal day on Friday (first one in over nine years, just saying), then the long holiday weekend (best staycation/battery-refresh couple days in recent memory, thanks to my awesome family).
Along the way I did share a few deals on Twitter, which is why I encourage you to follow me there. Often I'll post deal updates, or share additional deals that cross my desk later in the day.
Remember a few years ago, when the phone in your pocket wasn't also a powerful high-definition camcorder? Oh, to be a budding filmmaker in today's world, when the gear is so, so cheap.
Of course, no one wants to look at shaky video (unless you're making a found-footage film), but you can't be truly creative if your phone has to stay shackled to a tripod. What you need is a gimbal, a handheld mount that keeps the phone rock-steady as you move around.
You've probably heard of these. DJI, for example, makes the, a handheld phone gimbal priced at $299, and GoPro recently got into the game as well with the (also $299).
If you like the idea but not the price tag, check this out: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Tomtop has the FeiyuTech SPG C three-axis stabilized handheld gimbal for $125 shipped. That's after applying promo code DYWFY24 at checkout.
Quick note: This will be coming from a warehouse in China, so expect delivery to take two to four weeks. (I've ordered from the supplier before -- most items have arrived in a little over two weeks.) Also, if you encounter any issues with the product, my contact at Tomtop invites you to contact her directly at email@example.com. The company is, in my opinion, working very hard to improve customer service.
Lights, camera... gimbal!
For those unfamiliar with the concept, 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 SPG C is a three-axis gimbal. If you see a similar product priced less, chances are it's a two-axis model. It can hold a phone that's up to 80mm wide -- or, to put that in real-world terms, most 5.5-inch phones. (Myfit, but only once I removed its case.)
I had the chance to briefly test-drive one of these, and came away impressed. It's a substantial piece of gear, very solid and nicely designed. There's a small joystick that lets you control panning and zooming and a mode button that toggles between various functions.
Cooler still, when you pair the gimbal to your phone, a companion app lets you enable features like face-tracking and panoramic photography (options touted in the aforementioned DJI product). I had some trouble with the former, however: Although the app seemed to lock in on faces just fine, the gimbal didn't respond accordingly. This may well have been user error, and I did find a firmware update on FeiyuTech's support page. (Haven't had time to install it, alas.)
I do wish the company would add time-lapse panning to the feature roster, but for the moment that's not available.
Even so, this is just a really cool piece of hardware, and definitely worth considering if you want to record much smoother video with your phone.
Bonus deal: Looking for a big tablet? No, I don't mean iPad Pro 12.9-big... I mean big. Like, you'll need a second lap to hold it. Like, it could replace a bedroom television.
For a limited time, and while supplies last (they're fairly limited, I'm told), Daily Steals has the Samsung Galaxy View 18.4-inch tablet for $379.99 shipped when you apply promo code CHPSKTE10 at checkout. It's already a killer deal; yours truly just made it killer-er.
This monster features a full HD display (1,920x1,080 pixels), 64GB of expandable storage, a built-in kickstand, dual-band Wi-Fi and optional AT&T-powered 4G. (It may be possible to unlock the tablet for use on any GSM network.)
This is new, not refurbished, and it appears to sell for at least $500 elsewhere. OK, let's address the elephant in the room: This tablet is like an elephant in your room. Why would you need something so huge? I think it would make a pretty sweet addition to the kitchen. Beyond that -- hey, you figure it out!