Tech gifts under $50: Amazon Echo, Google Home, home cameras, and more

Shopping for tech gifts can be a stressful experience — there’s so much out there that it’s hard to know where to start.

But, don’t worry: if you’re having trouble finding quality tech gifts that are also affordable, we’ve got some ideas for you. Whether you’re shopping for a friend, parent, child, cousin, colleague, or even a pet, you’ll be able to find a tech gift here that suits your needs.

For any friend who loves to read, a Scribd subscription is the perfect gift. Scribd has a massive library of electronic books, magazines, audiobooks, and documents, from classics to the newest releases. Scribd is available for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook, and all web browsers, so your friend can read on the go, wherever they are.

This is one of our reviewers’ favorite cleaning gadgets. It can quickly and comprehensively clean any surface, from your bathroom sink to the roof of your car. It comes with five different brush heads to conquer all types of grime.

If your friend or relative is looking for a securiy camera, this is one of the best (and cheapest) gifts you can buy them. It captures excellent HD video, sends phone notifications when it detects movement, and is tiny enough to blend into its surroundings.

Our reviewer called this device “a shockingly great home security camera.” It’s also one of the best cheap tech products I’ve ever tested — I’ve badgered multiple people into buying it for themselves.

For a friend or relative who loves to take selfies, a selfie stick is a must-gift. This is our reviewers’ favorite one. It can extend up to 29 inches, boasts 20 hours of battery life, and can accomodate any smartphone size with its adjustible grip.

If you have a friend or relative who likes to bring a lot of tech on their travels, this gift will make their life a lot easier. It’s just the size of a book, but it has handy pockets and pouches for all tech accessories you need, including cables, cords, adapters, SD cards, flash drives, and more.

The Rocketbook Everlast looks like a standard notebook, but it’s actually a high-tech device. Write or draw on its 36 pages with the included FriXion pen, and you can easily save your work as a PDF or JPEG with your phone. The pages are also re-usable; just wipe them down with a wet cloth to start again.

This is similar to the BagSmart organizer, but it’s a bit larger and a bit more expensive. The bag has mesh pockets and straps to hold your headphones, dongles, cords, chargers, phones, e-readers, and whatever other tech you may need to carry around. It’s also easy to fold into a compact shape, and you can hang it fron the seat in front of you with an attached strap.

Blue light-blocking glasses make a great gift for anyone who spends a lot of time looking at screens. Cyxus sells affordable full-rim, half-rim, and clip-on frames. The company also offers a one-year warranty, so your friend can get them repaired or replaced if necessary.

Winter can be a rough time for tech enthusiasts, because gloves make it difficult to use a touchscreen. Never fear: the Moshi Digits Touchscreen Gloves are here to help. The fingertips are made with “conductive fibers” customized for use with a phone or tablet, and the palms include rubberized grips to keep you from dropping your gadgets.

If you’re not sure what gift to give a tech lover, you can’t go wrong with a wireless charger. This one is just $30, and it can charge any phone that supports wireless charging, even through a thick phone case. As a bonus, it’s got a futuristic, modern design that will look quite nice on your desk.

Gift this sleek, professional laptop bag for just under $25. Not only does it look great, but it also has extra compartments for their phone, tablet, passport, pens, umbrella, water bottle, and anything else they might need to carry around.

This cable includes lightning, Micro USB, and USB-C endings, so it’s a perfect gift for a friend or relative who needs to charge many different devices. It’s 1.5 meters long, and has a braided nylon covering to prevent fraying. Nomad says the cable will last at least five years, so it’ll be a gift that keeps on giving.

This heating pad is designed to alleviate upper-body pain. Drape it over your shoulders and fasten it around your neck, and you’ll have relieved muscle tension and reduced pain in just 20 minutes. It has four heat settings, from 110 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and is our reviewers’ favorite heating pad for the neck and shoulders.

For any friend who’s disorganized or worried about losing their keys, the Tile Pro will be a godsend. They can stick this tiny battery-powered device on their keyring and, if they lose their keys, they can remotely activate an alarm, or locate it if it’s out of range of their phone using a crowd-finding network.

This lamp is any desk worker’s dream: It’s a desk lamp, the base of which also functions as a wireless charging pad for your phone. You can easily adjust the lamp’s brightness and color temperature, and you can rotate its head up to 180 degrees.

This probably sounds like a boring gift, but hear me out. You can stick this gadget into any regular outlet to make that outlet into an advanced smart outlet. Any device you plug in, be it a lamp, fan, air conditioner, or anything else, becomes a smart device that you can turn on and off using Alexa and Google Assistant. The wall tap includes two outlets and two USB ports, all of which can be controlled separately.

TP Link’s Kasa smart bulbs are some of the best cheap smart devices you can get. They work with Alexa and Google Assistant, and can create all sorts of cool effects. You can also incorporate them into scenes and routines, and set them to timers and schedules.

A power bank is an excellent gift for anyone who travels or spends a lot of time out and about. This one has both a lightning and a Micro USB connector, so it can accomodate iPhones, older Samsung phones, and Amazon Kindles and Fire tablets. If you have a newer Android phone, you can also buy a version with a USB-C connector.

If you’re not sure what to buy someone, a streaming stick is usually a safe bet. The Fire TV Stick is one of the cheapest ones out there, and it will allow your friend to search for content with their voice (using the included voice remote) and access hundreds of streaming services, including Hulu, Netflix, HBO and (of course) Amazon Prime Video.

Yes, you read that correctly: This is a radio, flashlight, charger, and SOS alarm in one. Anyone who enjoys hiking or other outdoor activities will love this device, which can be powered by solar power, a hand crank, AAA batteries, or a rechargable power bank. Oh, and it has a USB port to charge other devices as well.

This is our favorite Bluetooth keyboard and with good reason: it can remember up to three device connections at a time, it works with both Windows and Mac operating systems, and at just 10.9 x 4.9 inches, it’s compact enough to easily carry in your purse or backpack. Your friend can whip this out and type whenever inspiration strikes, whether they’re in bed, at a coffee shop, on the bus, or anywhere else.

Many people think you can’t buy good sports headphones under $50, but this pair is a perfect counterexample. They sound great, they’re good at blocking out the noise around you, and thanks to their hook-like design and a cable management clip in the back, they won’t come out of your ears while you exercise. Insider Picks reviewer Brandt Ranj said “they sound as good as pairs that cost double the price.”

A Bluetooth mouse makes a great gift, and this tiny one is our favorite. It’s completely wireless — there’s no receiver — so your friend can just whip it out and start clicking without fiddling with their computer’s USB port. They can also customize the device’s six buttons to map to the tasks they value the most. Insider Picks reviewer Brandt Ranj liked the M557 so much that he bought a second one to use at work.

You might not expect a small, portable speaker to sound very good. But the Doss SoundBox Touch, one of the top-selling speakers on Amazon weighs under a pound and still delivers excellent audio with very full bass. It also features 12 hours of battery life, and a Bluetooth range of 33 feet so you’re unlikely to lose connection.

As smartphones increase in size, it’s becoming more of a pain to carry them around, especially for folks who often wear clothing without pockets. That’s why our reviewers recommend Leatherology’s Long Crossbody Phone Pocket, a stylish carrying case for your phone. It has an exterior front pocket to hold other stuff as well.

Note: Make sure that your recipient’s phone will fit, as this pocket is only guaranteed to hold iPhones and a few Samsung models.

This is the best backpack to give a tech enthusiast — full stop. It has a laptop pouch, a lockable compartment for valuables, a USB port to charge devices, and a whopping 17 interior pockets for cords, chargers, and other accessories. It’s also water-resistant, so your stuff won’t get ruined in the rain.

This is a perfect gift for the many, many people you probably know who have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. This device will use pulsating lights, extra-loud noises, and a 12-volt bed shaker to make sure they’re out the door on time.

This is a great gift for a pet owner (or for your pet). It’s a battery-powered feeder that automatically dispenses up to five pet meals on a schedule that you set. If you’re out of the house for a few days, you’ll know your pet is taken care of.

I love 8Bitdo’s controllers; no matter how much my “gamer” friends mock me, I will never stop using them. They’re light and easy to hold, and the buttons are easy for my tiny fingers to maneuver. They make a great, affordable gift for any game-loving friend or relative, but especially those who enjoy retro gaming. While the wireless Sn30 looks old-fashioned, it has all the buttons you need for most modern games, including dual analog sticks.

I’m a big of The North Face’s eTip gloves, which are more expensive and higher quality than the Digits gloves I mentioned earlier in this guide. Not only are they made of grippy and fully conductive material, but they’re super stretchy and come in a variety of fun designs.

This tiny portable Bluetooth speaker will allow your friend or relative to take their tunes on the go. It’s waterproof, so you can bring it to the beach or out in the rain, and plays up to 10 hours on a charge. You can also use it to make calls, with the help of its noise-cancelling speaker technology.

Here’s another one for pets — specifically, cats. It’s a mini fountain that constantly filters and dispenses clean running water. It’ll ensure that your cat has access to a fresh drink at all times, even when you’re not home to refill their bowl.

These are our reviewers’ favorite cheap headphones for their excellent sound quality, comfortable design, and effective noise-isolation filters. Note that as studio headphones, these are best suited for use with a computer, TV, or home-entertainment system, rather than a smartphone. They’re attached to a sturdy 3.5mm cable, and come with a 6.3mm adapter for larger audio equipment.

A Google Home Mini is a great gift for a friend looking to get started on a smart home, or anyone who just wants a nice smart speaker. It sounds decent for its small size, and it’s got a very cute futuristic design for a modern home. If your friend hasn’t used a voice AI before, they’ll love playing around with Google Assistant and discovering everything it can do.

Any gamer or aspiring-gamer friends will appreciate the gift of a good gaming keyboard. This is our reviewers’ favorite budget option for its full RGB lighting and solid, well-built keys. It also has six programmable buttons which they can customize to their gaming style. Though the K55 is only $49, it has the look and feel of a much more expensive RGB device.

If you have a friend or relative who has trouble sleeping, you need to buy them this white noise machine, which plays ten different types of fan sounds. You might be skeptical, but trust me: The LectroFan’s fan sounds are actually the most calming ambient noise I have ever heard. (For more traditional users, it plays 10 levels of white noise as well). I gave this device to an insomniac friend this summer, and he still uses it every night.

Don’t let the price fool you: The Echo Dot is a great gift not just because it has Amazon Alexa built in, but also because for such a small speaker, it sounds incredible. You can also ask Alexa to adjust the equalizer settings on the Dot (for example, “Alexa, turn up the bass”).

Like the Google Home Mini, this gift is a great way to introduce a friend to smart home and voice assistants. I gave this to a friend last year, and he spent four hours playing with it when he got home.

For any friend who is looking to replace their computer speakers (or buy their first set), Logitech’s Z313 is the best budget option. The system includes two stereo speakers and a subwoofer, and while they won’t deliver premium sound, they’re head and shoulders above any monitor’s built-in speakers.

The Roku is a bit more expensive than the Fire TV Stick, but if you’ve got a larger budget, it also has a better interface with more options for apps and streaming services. The included remote has dedicated buttons for the most popular streaming apps you need.

Gift this device to any tech enthusiast, and they’ll wonder where it’s been their whole life. It can charge 7 devices at once, and all 7 USB ports have surge protection. You also don’t have to worry about tangled cables — the dock has seven slots with anti-scratch silicone pads to hold each device upright while it juices.

My boyfriend’s bedroom power strip is currently a horrendous rat’s nest of cables, cords, and adapters, so I’m buying him this for Christmas — please don’t tell him?

Anker makes a lot of great Bluetooth speakers, but this is one of the best-value ones. It’s portable and water-resistant, boasts 10 hours of batterly life, and produces a big, booming sound.

Gift this to business-y friends or relatives who are always on the phone. It allows you to make phone calls hands-free, and features noise-reduction so your conversation is loud and clear.

You might be surprised how many people, especially younger folks, don’t have regular access to a printer. You can gift them this one for just $50. It features a built-in scanner, a 1.44-inch LCD display for easy navigation, and a 100-sheet paper tray.

There’s no better gift for a techy kid than a Raspberry Pi kit: It’s essentially a tiny low-power computer (running Linux) that you build yourself, and can customize for countless tasks you might want it to do. It teaches programming skills, and it’s also a lot of fun.

There are countless Raspberry Pi kits out there that vary widely in quality. This is one of the top-selling kits on Amazon, and also one of the most affordable.

For any kid or geeky adult who wants to fly a little thing around, a cheap starter drone is a good choice. It can fly very fast — Tom’s Guide called it “nippy” — and comes with a large remote that’s easy to use. Its built-in camera can capture either photos or video footage, which you can look through in Drocon’s smartphone app.

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Post time: Dec-16-2019
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