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3 drone deals you won't want to miss

With prices ranging from $31 to $349, there's a flier here for every kind of, well, flier. Plus: a sweet deal on an ultrawide monitor.

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.

Time to catch some air.

Today I've landed three drone deals, all of them great in one way or another. (I was going to continue on with a bunch more flight-oriented puns, but decided that idea would crash and burn. Hi-yo!)

Return of the FQ17W -- closer, cheaper

The FQ17W comes with a remote, but can also be flown via phone.


Last month I revealed my new favorite folding drone: the FQ777 FQ17W. However, it was available only via a China warehouse, and therefore likely to take 2-3 weeks to arrive. (Anyone get theirs yet?)

But, now, Tomtop carries it in its US warehouse, and I finagled a better price for you, too. You can get the FQ17W folding drone for $30.99 shipped when you apply promotion code TOP6560 at checkout. This was already a killer deal at $35.99.

What's so great about this? It's good looking and adorable, with folding arms and a red body. It also comes with a handheld remote, though you can fly it with your phone or tablet if you prefer. The remote's my preferred control method by a longshot.

Other good news: It has altitude hold, headless mode and a built-in camera (albeit a very low-resolution one). I love this little guy. It's super-fun to fly and ridiculously cheap. Just don't take it outside on a windy day.

Take this drone to be your Hubsan

The Hubsan H507A can perform a surprising number of advanced tricks, the kind normally reserved for drones costing hundreds more. It's also a good choice for University of Michigan fans.


Pricey high-end drones like the DJI Mavic Pro and GoPro Karma are notable for their cool features such as follow-me mode, waypoint tracking, orbital video and so on. That's why you gotta spend the big bucks, right?

Wrong. The Hubsan H507A offers a lot of those features, and while it may not have nearly the camera acumen of the aforementioned models, it's still quite impressive.

And quite a deal: Tomtop has the Hubsan H507A for $94.99 shipped when you apply the promotional code TOP4223 at checkout. (Make sure to select the US warehouse.) This is a very new model, not even available yet from a lot of stores. Incidentally, Ebates users can get an additional 3.5% cash back, knocking a few more bucks off your final price.

The H507A is an app-powered flier with a 720p camera, 9-minute flight time and wealth of nifty tricks up its... er, propellers. Among them: follow-me, waypoint flights, orbit mode, real GPS, first-person video transmission and so on. Good stuff.

Owing to crummy weather, I haven't been able to fly this guy much -- but my couple of test flights went quite well. The app is easier to use than many I've tried, and I love the cartridge-style battery, which is similar to the ones used by the Dobby (see below) but much less expensive. Extras aren't available yet (not that I could find), but expect to pay no more than about $20 apiece. That's not bad.

This Dobby is no house-elf

The Zerotech Dobby is an amazing little drone that folds up for easy portability.


I've written before about the Zerotech Dobby, a sophisticated selfie drone that's almost impossibly compact. It folds up small enough to ride in a baggy pocket, yet offers some amazing features. More on those in a second.

For now, this: As a Cheapskate exclusive, Wellbots has the Zerotech Dobby and three batteries for $349 shipped. That's significant because, until very recently, the Dobby and one battery cost $399. Also, spare batteries sell for at least $50 apiece.

So this package solves one of the chief complaints with this drone: battery life. (I don't fully get that complaint. This thing is small, and a little on the weighty side, and nine minutes is not terrible given that you'll mostly be doing close-proximity flying. Anyway.)

My big complaint is with the app that controls it: There's a learning curve. I felt like once I finally learned how to use, say, orbit mode, the battery had run out. But with two spares, that's no longer a problem.

This amazing little guy can do target-tracking, facial recognition (!), automatic pull-away and more, all while recording up to 4K video. And it's really good at keeping its position, even on breezy days. I tested one not long ago and was impressed to see it "leaning" into the wind in order to hold steady.

Just don't expect video of the caliber you'll get from higher-end drones, because the Dobby has a very small lens and only digital image stabilization, which often results in shaky video.

OK! Who's in for which drone, and why?


Bonus deal: I've long been a fan of dual-monitor setups, because there's considerable productivity value in keeping multiple windows open simultaneously. Even better, of course, is one monitor that can do the work of two -- like the LG 29UM58-P 29-inch ultrawide IPS LED monitor for $214.99 shipped when you apply promo code DSCHPSKT. Price elsewhere: At least $249.

With a resolution of 2,560x1,080, the screen isn't quite as wide as two actual monitors, pixel-wise. But it's certainly wide enough to keep, say, Word and your web browser open side-by-side and fully viewable. Of course, this model was also designed with gaming in mind, with three game modes available and features such as dynamic action sync and black stabilizer. It also has two HDMI inputs.