From the Cheapskate: Amazing deals on a Parrot drone, a 360-degree camera and sport earbuds.
Rick BroidaSenior 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").
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.
Well, cheeps, we're now in the thick of gift-shopping season, so in the weeks to come I'll be keeping a close eye on deals I think your friends and family members would love to get.
Starting with three today, all of them Cheapskate exclusives! Take a look...
This $150 drone used to cost $500
Drone prices have fallen faster than a drone with sudden battery failure. (Sorry, terrible joke.) Last year's DJI Phantoms, for example, are now routinely discounted by as much as 50 percent.
And a scant 18 months ago, the super-sexy Parrot Bebop would have run you $500. Today, however, and for a limited time, TechRabbit has the refurbished Parrot Bebop drone for $149.99 shipped when you apply promo code CNETPB50.
First things first: This is manufacturer-refurbished, so it comes with a full one-year warranty. You also get two batteries, though it's not clear whether they're new or just "tested." You can buy extras for as little as $40 per pair.
The Bebop is like the sports-car of the skies, a Ferrari-inspired quad-rotor available in your choice of red or blue. It features a built-in 1080p wide-angle camera and support for Zeiss Cinemizer and Sony Personal View FPV glasses (for anyone who might like to get into drone racing).
You control the Bebop with Parrot's FreeFlight Pro app, which for $20 can be upgraded (via in-app purchase) to allow programmed waypoint and point-of-interest flights. It's annoying to have to spend extra for those features -- but worth it.
Watch this: Top 5 gadget gifts under $100 (2016 edition)
Also worth considering: Parrot's optional Skycontroller, which adds physical controls and greatly extends the Bebop's range. You can score a new one on Ebay for $99.99 -- not bad considering it was previously a $400 extra.
Again, these are all options; the real deal here is the Bebop itself for $150. It's a fun, versatile flier, and definitely a great gift.
360 degrees of camera goodness
Spherical cameras are all the rage these days, allowing you to capture 360-degree photos and videos that can be shared on Facebook, Google Street View, YouTube and so on. Alas, many such cameras sell for hundreds of dollars, meaning they're not exactly impulse buys (or easily giftable).
Ta-daa! For a limited time, and while supplies last, Daily Steals has the LG G5 360 Cam for $89.99 shipped when you apply promo code CHPDEC10 at checkout. It lists for $199 and sells elsewhere (like Amazon) for at least $137.
The G5 incorporates front and rear-facing wide-angle lenses that can capture 13-megapixel photos and 2K (i.e. slightly better than 1080p) video.
You'll need to BYO microSD card for storage, and you'll need an iPhone or Android phone to control the camera and view your photos and videos.
I have no hands-on experience with the camera, so read CNET's review to learn more. This was already a pretty good deal for the price; at $90 out the door, it's closer to a steal.
Return of the $10 sport 'phones
I'm your bud who brings you 'buds. By which I mean earbuds, of course. And whether you're looking for a secret-Santa gift, a stocking-stuffer or just an inexpensive earphone to toss in your gym, it's pretty tough to beat this:
I've tested these; they're a little bulky around the ear, but stay put very well (once you determine the proper tip and "wing" sizes) and sound decent. Better still, they support Bluetooth 4.1, meaning they can stay paired with two devices simultaneously -- a really nice perk.
If there's a red flag, it's the mere 60-day warranty. But I suppose for 10 measly bucks, something has to give. Your thoughts?