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Gadgets

Get a DJI Phantom 3 4K quad-copter for $599

From the Cheapskate: Originally $999, and normally priced at $799, this easy-to-fly drone can capture stunning 4K video. Plus: a seriously sweet Jabra speaker 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.


About a year ago at this time, I was considering my quad-copter options. A higher-end model, one that offered then-advanced features like waypoint plotting and follow-me flights would cost at least $1,000. If I wanted a 3-axis gimbal: another $300. Oh, don't forget the GoPro camera ($400) to attach to that gimbal.

Much as I loved all this stuff, I wasn't about to spend $1,700. My name is Cheapskate, not Billgates.

dji-phatom-3-4k.jpg

Not $999, not $799. Now you can get the Phantom 3 4K for $599.

DJI

Flash-forward to today: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Wellbots has the DJI Phantom 3 4K drone for $599 shipped when you apply coupon code CHEAPFLIGHT at checkout. It originally sold for $999 and normally sells for $799.

This is basically the DJI Phantom 3 Professional, but with a modified controller that employs a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi video downlink from the quadcopter. Translation: live video feeds (to your phone/tablet or YouTube!) with a range of up to 0.75 mile.

That video comes courtesy of a 4K camera, one that's mounted on an integrated 3-axis gimbal for rock-steady video. (To be clear, the actual feed is limited to 720p, but recordings can hit 4K.) Unlike a GoPro, it limits you to a 90-degree field of view. Said CNET reviewer Andrew Hoyle: "The narrower angle does make a huge difference, with considerably less distortion of the image. As well as just producing nicer-looking footage for your Facebook feed, professionals among you will appreciate the time saved by not having to digitally correct it."

I'm also super-excited by DJI's Go app, which offers a variety of "intelligent" flight modes: follow-me, course-lock, point-of-interest and so on. It also lets you adjust a ton of video settings and issues a warning when the battery is running low.

Speaking of which, the battery is good for around 20-23 minutes of flight time. I consider that pretty good, perhaps because most drones I've owned topped out at 15 minutes. Now for the bad news: Extra batteries will cost you $149 each. Ouch. Ugh. I did find some on Ebay for around $100, but that's still a painful price to pay.

Especially when you consider the price of the drone itself. For $599 out the door, this is an amazing value. The Phantoms are surprisingly easy to fly, and this model comes packed with advanced features. I'm going to splurge, because I suspect this will be the last quad-copter I need for a long time.

Your thoughts?

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Jabra

Bonus deal: An oldie but goodie, the Jabra Solemate is "a compact, well-constructed Bluetooth speaker with an eye-catching design, decent sound and battery life, and speakerphone capabilities. It comes with a water-resistant 'sound bag' and has a hideaway line-in cable for connecting non-Bluetooth devices." It originally sold for $200, but while supplies last, Yugster has the refurbished Jabra Solemate ruggedized Bluetooth speaker for $29.97 shipped. It's available in your choice of black or yellow. These won't last long, I fear.