CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Get a smartphone-controlled RC race car for $39.99

The Griffin Moto TC Rally is a surprisingly large, heavy-duty car that pairs with your iOS device. It normally sells for $99.99.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read
The Moto TC Rally is a big, beefy RC car with some advanced features.
The Moto TC Rally is a big, beefy RC car with some advanced features. Griffin

I've never met a kid who didn't love radio-controlled cars, and I know plenty of adults who dig 'em as well.

For a limited time, and while supplies last, StackSocial has the Griffin Moto TC Rally RC car for $39.99, shipped. It normally sells for $99.99, and the best price I've seen elsewhere is around $60.

First things first: This is no wimpy little racer. The Moto TC Rally measures around 10 inches long and sits on big rubber tires atop an independent shock-absorbing suspension. It's far more substantial than you'd expect, and its impact-resistant flexible plastic shell can easily absorb all kinds of bumps and rolls.

I say this because Griffin was kind enough to let me test drive one a few months back. More on that in a minute.

This is a nice-looking car, with working front and rear lights, a horn, and even ground-effect lighting.

You control the car via your iOS phone or tablet, though because it relies on Bluetooth, you'll have much better luck racing indoors. Outside, the range may be poor because there's nothing for the Bluetooth signal to bounce off. I haven't been able to test it there for obvious reasons (winter).

The Moto TC app is used for steering, via your choice of tilt or onscreen controls. I found the latter much easier to use, though either way there's a bit of a learning curve; the Moto TC Rally can be awkward to control at first, and younger kids might get frustrated. What's more, the car actually gets going so fast that you need a pretty open area to drive it, otherwise you'll be bumping into walls, furniture, and whatnot.

If you spring for two, you can actually have races. One option is simply to run laps, but the most fun is bump-and-run, in which internal sensors register collisions and change the way your car handles. You can even customize virtual aspects of the car (speed, armor, and so on.) within the app. Alas, there's only one body style and color, so while you're racing it's easy to lose track of whose car is whose. (My advice: Let your kids decorate the cars to help distinguish them.)

The car charges via USB, and as with many such RC goodies, runs for only about 20 minutes before needing nearly two hours of recharging time.

Make sure to read StackSocial's fine print: Delivery may take up to two weeks, and all sales are final. And I'm afraid this deal is for US customers only.

The Moto TC Rally looks and runs like a $100 product. At $39.99 out the door, it's grand theft auto.

Bonus deal: Tablet Wednesday! Today only, and while supplies last, Amazon is offering refurbished Kindle Fire HD 8.9 (16GB) for $129, shipped. That's $70 off and an insanely good deal on an 8.9-inch tablet. Specs include a 1080p display, dual-band Wi-Fi, and a full one-year warranty, same as with new Kindles. I'll take some flak for this, but I can't imagine spending $399 for an iPad Mini when you can get an even larger tablet for literally one-third the price.

Deals found on The Cheapskate are subject to availability, expiration, and other terms determined by sellers.

Want to know more about The Cheapskate blog and how it works? Read our FAQ.