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 . Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!
True story: I'm getting ready to shoot a short video to promote an upcoming road-rally event here in Michigan. This very morning, barely an hour ago, I woke up thinking how cool it would be to incorporate a few aerial shots.
And, then, bam: Like a gift from the heavens, this deal. Today only, and while supplies last, Woot has the refurbished Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon Quadcopter for $349.99, with free shipping for Amazon Prime members. Once upon a time, this drone sold for $1,300 -- though that price included an aluminum carry-case and spare battery. This bundle includes neither.
First things first: It's a refurb, but you get a full one-year warranty from Yuneec.
Second: This is more than just an aerial camera. The belly-slung 4K orb is removable and can be used to capture ground-based footage. To that end, Yuneec supplies the battery-powered SteadyGrip, a handheld gimbal mount. I've seen similar products designed for use with phones, GoPros and the like. They start at about $100 and rise from there. So it's a substantial value-add.
Third: How do you catch a unique drone? Yuneec up on it. Sorry, had to.
Although the Q500 is a couple years old, it's pretty advanced, offering various autonomous flight modes, a robust remote control (which has a built-in 5.5-inch touchscreen display) and geofencing. The latter is good for beginners worried about the drone flying off into the stratosphere, never to return.
From here I'll turn you over to CNET's. Verdict: "A very fine 4K camera for the ground and the sky."
That review correctly noted that the Q500 is hardly a travel-friendly drone. If you want a selfie-minded flier that can ride along in a backpack, something like the DJI Spark (also $350, interestingly) might be a better choice.
But this? This is for getting serious about video, both in the air and on the ground. A larger drone should be more stable on windy days, and don't underestimate the benefit of a built-in touchscreen. One of the things I really dislike about DJI's drones (and similar ones) is having to commit my phone to the controller mix.
The Q500 still sells for around $600 new, so at $350 it's definitely worth a look.
Bonus deal: Trying very hard to be a grown-up while I talk about this deal from Amazon seller... GooBang Doo. Cough. Ahem.
For a limited time, and while supplies last, Amazon seller GooBang Doo [stifle] has the Abox T22 portable projector for $98.79. That's after applying promo code 2KX7L35B at checkout.
Normally $130, this LED-powered projector claims to offer a maximum brightness of 2,400 lumens -- quite a bit higher than many similar models in this class.
It features dual speakers and an HDMI input (and cable!), but also supports VGA, USB and microSD sources. The reviews are a little mixed, though, and there's no warranty information listed anywhere.
Even so, if you just want to set up an impromptu movie theater in, say, the kids' room or while traveling, something like this might be great to have along.