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Get a 3DR Solo quadcopter bundle for $379.99

From the Cheapskate: That price includes a GoPro-compatible gimbal, spare battery and extra set of propellers. This drone once sold for $1,399 all by itself! Plus: another great car-mount deal!

CNET's Cheapskate scours the Web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.

Look out! Drones are falling!

Wait, sorry... drone prices are falling. Whew. That's way less scary.

Back in March, I shared a deal on this very quadcopter, and can I just say I hope you didn't jump at it. Because now it's literally less than half the price, and it comes with some valuable extras.

You don't get the phone or GoPro, but you do get a 3DR Solo with gimbal and extra battery!


For a limited time, Best Buy has the 3DR Solo drone for $379.99 shipped (plus tax), a price that includes not only a 3-axis gimbal, but also a spare battery and two extra sets of propellers.

Let me put this in some perspective. The Solo originally sold for $1,399(!) without the gimbal, though it now runs $700. Spare batteries still list for $150, though you can find them around $100 if you look hard. So it would still be pretty incredible if this was just the Solo for $379.99, but the gimbal and extra battery are worth about $350 all by themselves.

So, yeah, pretty amazing buy. Earlier this year I got a chance to see the Solo in action, auto-navigating its way through a particularly windy day in southern California's Corral Canyon. Without so much as a blip, it 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.)

Needless to say, put one of these together with a GoPro or a similar compatible camera and you can capture the kind of amazing aerial video that would normally require a helicopter. The Solo is also admirably easy to fly, with a game console-inspired controller that has buttons marked "Fly" and "Home." In contrast, I've found DJI's software annoyingly complex, meaning my Phantom 3 4K is headed to Craigslist.

At this price, a sophisticated, high-end quadcopter is no longer a splurge. It's a fairly affordable tool -- or toy, if you prefer. The only bummer is I'll barely have a chance to fly it before winter slaps Michigan for eight months.

Your thoughts?


Bonus deal: Lots of you loved yesterday's smartphone car-mount deal, so here's another one: For a limited time, Mpow is offering its universal dashboard mount for $8.99 (shipped free with Prime) after coupon code JSHX3NJR. This one requires no magnets or metal plates. It relies on an adjustable cradle that features a push-button release, and you can adhere it to either your windshield or dashboard. Either way it's a great solution for keeping your phone up near eye level.