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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Drones

Get a Parrot Bebop quadcopter and SkyController for $223.99

Originally $900 (!), this bundle offers a fun flying experience, with support for VR headsets if you want to see what the birdies see. Plus: the Roku Premiere dips below $50!

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.


Hey, here's a quick follow-up regarding last week's Samsung Gear Fit 2 deal. I bought one, it arrived quickly, and I tested it a bit over the weekend. Love the screen, love the huge assortment of watch faces (seriously, Apple, your limited selection is embarrassing), love the simple, logical UI. It's also solid at step-tracking and even recognized a walk I took yesterday, as opposed to garden-variety moving around the house.

Contrast this with a Fitbit Charge 2 I've also been testing; it thinks everything is a step, including reaching for the remote when I'm sitting on the couch. How these woefully inaccurate devices have become so popular is beyond me.

All told, I'm pretty pleased with the Gear Fit 2, especially at $86. Oh, and the "small" model fits my wrist just fine, and I'm a 6-foot dude.

Fly the friendly skies

This drone looks more like a flying sports-car. The tablet isn't included, but the excellent controller is.

Parrot

I've written about this drone before, but the deal has never been better. For a limited time, and while supplies last, TechRabbit has the refurbished Parrot Bebop 1 with SkyController for $223.99 shipped. That's after applying promo code TRPARROT20 at checkout.

A mere two years ago, this kit sold for $900.

There are two reasons I have big love for the Bebop. First, just look at it. Red, sleek and sexy, it's the sports car of the skies, far prettier than anything in the current 3DR or DJI lineup.

Second, the included SkyController is without question the best drone remote I've ever used. It's big, yes, to the point where you need a strap around your neck to hold it comfortably. But it affords incredible precision and includes easy-access buttons for things video start/stop, return-to-home and so on. It also greatly extends the range of the drone.

You also pair the Bebop with VR headsets for some seriously amazing first-person-view flights. (Here's one example of an app that makes this possible.)

I definitely recommend adding a tablet to the mix so you can get a good view of the real-time flight video. You will, however, need to spend extra via in-app purchase to unlock intelligent flight modes. (Google "Bebop Flight Plan" if you want to learn more about those options.)

Unfortunately, those modes don't include follow-me, and video quality -- despite the presence of a built-in 1080p camera -- is definitely mixed. I was never able to shoot anything quite as good as what Parrot captured in these promo vids. Alas, I don't live near gorgeous, sunny beaches.

The Bebop comes with two batteries, and although it's refurbished, the review unit I received was in like-new condition. You also get a one-year warranty.

Let me note as well that the aforementioned coupon code will work on all Parrot drones, and TechRabbit currently has a ton of them on sale. (I'll also note that Ebates users can get an additional 2 percent cash back.)

Much as I love drones, I don't love piloting via app. The SkyController elevates this deal from "good" to "awesome," as it makes flight way easier and, IMHO, way more fun.

Bonus deal: If you missed out (either by time or by choice) on the Roku 4 deal from a couple weeks back, here's good news: You can now get a refurbished Roku Premiere for $48 shipped. That's without question the best deal to date on a media-streaming box that can do 4K video. It's sold on Amazon via an outfit called Mallstop. Read CNET's Roku Premiere review if you want to learn more. Update: OK, I'm blaming my lingering flu-like virus on this one; this is a refurbished Roku Premiere, not a Roku 4, as I previously said. My apologies for the error.