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I have news! This Thursday, Dec. 14, I'll be appearing live, in-studio, for the next. Yep, they're letting me sit at the grown-ups' table, where I'll be bringing some exclusive deals on fantastic gift items -- and maybe giving you the chance to win a prize!
The show airs at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT), so bookmark that link and mark your calendar! (And, yes, I'll include links to all the deals in case you're not able to watch it live.)
In other news... well, well, well. You know how I'm always saying that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are kind of bogus? Here's more proof: Amazon and Best Buy just kicked off a holiday sale with . That means, among other things, you can once again get the Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 tablets for $30 and $50, respectively. (And Target has the Fire HD 10 for $100 -- once again the .)
Key takeaway: If you miss a deal, whether on Black Friday or any other day, don't sweat it -- there's usually another one just around the corner.
Give the gift of memories
Go ahead, Jeff Bakalar and David Katzmaier,all you want. Modern digital photo frames are fantastic, and you'll never convince me otherwise.
For those of you who didn't watch the first Holiday Buyer's Guide a couple weeks ago, those two jokers just about hit the roof (and the floor) when I mentioned this product. Because apparently their last exposure to them was in 2005.
Allow me to school you as I did them: Modern digital photo frames offer beautiful designs, high-resolution screens, effortless connectivity and, in most cases, no monthly fees. Rock-bottom prices, too, in the case of today's deal.
In other words, they're nothing like the frames of yesteryear -- and that's why they make an excellent gift.
But act fast: Today only, Amazon has the Nixplay Iris 8-inch Wi-Fi Cloud Frame for $116.99 shipped -- the lowest price to date. (It normally runs $200.) That's for the version with the peach-copper frame. It's also available in silver and burnished bronze, but for $129.99. Update: Although Amazon's sale pricing was short-lived, Nixplay is offering Cheapskate readers the $129.99 pricing on all Nixplay Iris models through Dec. 14! Just head to the Nixplay site and apply promo code CNET129 at checkout.
As I noted above, this frame is fully connected. It taps into your home Wi-Fi network to slurp up photos from Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Dropbox and other online sources. It also has its own email address that friends and family members can use to send new photos. A companion app (for Android and iOS) lets you upload photos directly from your phone.
In other words, gone are the old hassles of adding new pictures. The Iris is also noteworthy for working in either landscape or portrait orientation. A power-saving option activates the screen when it detects sound in the room (!) and deactivates it when there's not. The power cord ingeniously doubles as the frame's stand, allowing for portrait or landscape viewing.
And check out the lovely metal frame -- a refreshing change from the black plastic bezels you see around similar products. The only way to tell this is a tech product is when you see the nonstop slideshow of all your precious memories. In your face, single-photo nondigital frames!
The tablet alternative
As some readers will undoubtedly mention, why not just buy the aforementioned $50 Fire HD 8 tablet (or, for that matter, $100 Fire HD 10) and use that as a photo frame? You absolutely could -- but the experience won't be the same. You can't, for example, email new photos to it and have them appear automatically. Photo-frame apps tend to be confusing or unreliable. And, let's face it, no tablet looks as lovely on an end table as this.
I think my only real reservation here is the size: an 8-inch screen is fine for close-up photos, but you might not get as much enjoyment out of group shots, scenery and the like. For what it's worth, Nixplay does offer larger models as part of its Original, Edge and Seed lines.
Scoff if you want, but I count my digital photo frame among my prized possessions. Various relatives have them, too, and love them. Because, let's face it, why should photos stay trapped in phones and albums? They deserve to be seen, if only once in a while.
Bonus deal: Wow, I almost hate to even mention this one. The DJI Spark drone was $379 on Cyber Monday -- a Cheapskate exclusive and the best price I'd seen to date.
Pro tip: Cashback service BeFrugal is offering 6 percent back on Abt purchases, which would bring your effective price down to about $281. (New to BeFrugal? Get an extra $10 when you sign up for an account.)
Cheeps, this thing was $500 until very recently. It's nearly as advanced as DJI's $1,000 Mavic, and an absolute steal for $300. I'm gobsmacked that the price dropped this much so soon after Cyber Monday.