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Get a 3DR Solo quadcopter with gimbal for $799

From the Cheapskate: Originally $1,399, this super-sexy drone is finally getting affordable.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

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, quick reminder: Enter for your chance to win a Jabra audio bundle! You've got until this Friday to toss your name into the hat, as it were.

As regular Cheapskate readers know, I'm a big fan of quadcopters, aka drones. And no, "drone" may not be the technically accurate term, but we're stuck with it, same as we're stuck with "hoverboard" for two-wheeled self-balancing scooters. Let's just accept it and move on.


Gimbal included! Alas, GoPro not included.


Alas, drones are not an inexpensive hobby, at least if you want one that can fly waypoints, integrate with a GoPro, stay airborne for more than 10 minutes and so on. That's why I'm excited about today's deal. It's still expensive, but no longer crazily so.

For a limited time, you can get the 3DR Solo with 3-axis gimbal for $799.96, plus around $12 for shipping. That's after applying coupon code DIYD20OFF at checkout. Regular price: $999.95, itself a big drop from the $1,399 original price tag of last year.

I got a chance to see the Solo in action a few weeks ago on what proved to be a very windy day in southern California's Corral Canyon. The drone performed several of its best tricks, including orbit and follow-me. Although I could see it getting buffeted quite a bit by the wind, the resulting GoPro footage was rock-solid thanks to the gimbal. Here's a video put together by the pilot, my buddy Dave. I'm the dork in red. Note that I had no say in the music selection.

And that's really the point of owning one of these: capturing amazing aerial video that would normally require a helicopter. Whether you're an amateur (or even a professional) moviemaker or you just want to see what birds see, this drone delivers.

The Solo is also amazingly easy to fly, with a game console-inspired controller that has buttons marked "Fly" and "Home."

The only thing missing: collision-avoidance sensors like the kind embedded in the new DJI Phantom 4. But that model will set you back $1,399. (On the other hand, it includes a camera. With the Solo, it's BYO GoPro, to the tune of another $300-400. Just saying.)

I realize that even at $799, this isn't an affordable splurge for everyone. But if you have the means, this deal delivers an awful lot of bang for your drone buck. Wonder if I can finance it by selling all my other quadcopters...

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