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Get a DJI Phantom FC40 quad-copter for $449

More than just a toy (but still insanely fun), this heavy-duty drone can record HD video and has a range of well over a quarter-mile.


Break open your piggy banks, cheeps -- this is the splurge you've been saving for.

For a limited time, and while supplies last, StackSocial has the DJI Phantom FC40 remote-controlled quad-copter for $449 shipped. That's after applying coupon code phantom50 at checkout.

Update: Ack! Turns out there's a $15 shipping charge. This was a total misunderstanding on my part, and I apologize profusely for the error.

Although that's only 10 percent off the regular price, it's still the best deal you'll find anywhere (and a Cheapskate exclusive, ahem). And, heavens, it's totally worth it.

I say this based on an afternoon with a loaner FC40, courtesy of the StackSocial folks. It's a total blast -- fast, easy to fly, highly maneuverable, and chock full of smart features.

For starters, it auto-hovers at whatever altitude you set; you don't have to keep the throttle in precisely one spot while you perform your maneuvers. Even better, an onboard GPS can be set to automatically return the Phantom to your starting position if it gets out of range. In other words, it knows how to fly home. Come on!

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to test the included camera, which streams live 720p video to your Android phone or iPhone. (Check out some of the amazing footage Phantom owners have shot.)

But your phone isn't the remote; rather, DJI supplies a huge (but comfortable) controller. With it you can pilot the Phantom to distances of over 1,600 feet away -- that's well over a quarter-mile, in case you need help with the math.

What really strikes me about the Phantom FC40 is its durability. It's made of hard plastic, not mere foam like the Parrot AR Drone. Consequently, it's not subject to mild breezes, nor even the wind blowing in off the California coast during my beach tests. (Don't tell the StackSocial guys, but I accidentally flipped the drone into the sand after the first liftoff. I was horrified, but the FC40 shrugged it off and took flight again, no problem. Even so -- don't crash it in sand.)

If you've enjoyed a quad-copter like the Hubsan X4 (which is also a blast, but significantly smaller), or you just want to see what all the drone fuss is about, I can't recommend this highly enough. It's crazy-fun to fly.

Bonus deal: Kindle Fire deals are pretty common these days, but it's rare to find a Paperwhite price drop. Today only, and while supplies last, Amazon has the refurbished Kindle Paperwhite e-reader for $85, shipped. Price for a new one: $119. Difference between this and a new one: almost zero. Kindle refurbs tend to arrive in mint condition and come with a full one-year warranty. Check out CNET's review if you want to learn more.