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It's hard to believe the DJI Spark is already "last year's model," though technically it's not even a year old yet.
When it debuted in June, 2017, it offered a surprising amount of bang for the buck -- all 500 of them. Of course, if you wanted the optional controller -- which I strongly recommend for reasons I'll explain shortly -- it would set you back another $119.
Today, and while supplies last, B&H Photo has the DJI Spark and remote controller for $349 shipped. Most places charge the same for the drone alone (and DJI proper still charges $399). That's for the Alpine White model; the other colors come bundled with the controller as well, but cost $399. Update: Shortly after I posted, the price for that model jumped to $399. Thankfully, I worked a little Cheapskate magic and got the B&H folks to reinstate the deal! Use this exclusive link to get the Spark and controller for $349.
Calling the Spark a "selfie drone" belies its capabilities, because although human-facing photos and videos are definitely a strong suit, the flyer is nearly as versatile as much higher-end models.
Without the controller, it has a pretty slick bag of tricks: Palm-based takeoff and landing, gesture-based flight and photo capture, obstacle-avoidance, and a built-in HD camera mounted on a 2-axis gimbal.
With the controller (which, FYI, is backordered and will ship separately when available), you get a much better flying experience than you can with gestures and/or your phone. If you just want to zip the Spark around an open field or pilot it down a wooded trail, nothing beats the precision of those two joysticks.
I'll turn you over to $44 at B&H, about the cheapest I've seen them anywhere).for a deeper dive. I agree that DJI's app is as confusing to use as ever, and that you may want to spring for an extra battery (
I also agree that the Spark offers "all of the camera drone features most people will ever need in an impossibly small package." I think my sole complaint with this model is that its arms don't fold up, making transport a little more challenging (and a carrying case a little more essential).
Bonus deal: People can't stop talking about "The Greatest Showman." Best movie ever, I listen to the soundtrack every day, and on and on.
Planning to buy the movie for yourself? Amazon, iTunes and Vudu all charge $20, but for a limited time, Redbox On Demand has "The Greatest Showman" (digital HD) for $9.99. Given that a rental will likely cost $6 (when it's actually available for rent, which is not yet), it's probably worth an extra $4 for unlimited repeat viewings.
Ah, but Redbox On Demand? What the heck is that? Yep, another a-la-carte movie service like, say, Vudu. You can download movies to your computer via the Redbox client or watch them on Android, iOS, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku devices. It also supports various LG and Samsung smart TVs, but not Amazon Fire TV.
So, yeah, probably a little outside your normal ecosystem, but still available in most of the places you normally watch movies. Which is good, because, ahem, the Show(man) must go on.
Bonus deal No. 2: On the hunt for a good alternative to Outlook? I've found one: Hiri. It's a desktop client with a clean design and lots of useful productivity features. (Alas, for the moment, it's only for Microsoft email: Exchange, Hotmail, MSN, Outlook.com, etc.)
Sound good? Then check out my Hiri deal over at Business Bargain Hunter. It's an exclusive: 60 percent off the price of a lifetime license.
Bonus deal No. 3: Fellow Michiganders! Do you like games, puzzles, road rallies, escape rooms, scavenger hunts and/or "The Amazing Race"? Then clear your calendar on May 19 for Escape Detroit: The Race to Find Agent 22.
It's a city-wide team game produced by yours truly! Assemble your crew, collect your case box and find the field operatives scattered around town. This is a really fun afternoon and I'd love to see some cheeps out there getting their spy on!
Oh, and of course I've got a deal for you: Save $5 per ticket when you use promo code CHEAP5.