In my opinion $85 for that Hakko from Fry's is a steal. I didn't know they had come down that much. I payed significantly more than that for the older generation 936.
I HIGHLY recommend getting a decent station. You won't ever look back. I learned to solder on a shitty constant wattage RadioShack iron. I had no idea what I was doing and why sometimes I could never get stuff to work. Looking back its because it was always either too hot or cold. I went to the station after I became at least halfway decent with the pencil iron and now I can solder almost anything.
My theory is buy the proper thing once and never have to replace it. Buy once cry once.