It’s the season for giving, and hopefully, receiving gifts, and we understand how difficult it can be to pick something that’s just right. If there is someone you know who uses an Android smartphone or tablet, we’re here to try and help make that decision a little easier! And of course, there’s no reason why you can’t “gift” yourself something awesome as well. Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best gifts for Android users, available for under $50. Let’s get started!
The Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming media Player lets you stream your online video and music to your TV from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, with support for Android and iOS devices and Chrome for Mac and Windows. Setup is very easy, with all you needing to do is plug the device into the HDMI port of the TV and connecting to the Wi-Fi network. You know it’s a good gift choice when the device is chosen as Time magazine’s Gadget of the Year. Granted, support is somewhat limited currently, with support for Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Google Play Movies, and some music apps through Chrome available for now, but it should get a lot better soon. Don’t forget to check out our hands-on Chromecast review here. Buy now on Amazon for $32.88.
The Moga series of Bluetooth controllers are must-have accessories for any serious Android gamers out there, with the Moga Hero Power being the slimmer, more portable, and slightly cheaper option. While compact, the Hero has all the controls you’ll need, including two clickable analog sticks, a D-pad, four action buttons, two triggers, and two shoulder buttons. So even with the smaller form factor, you get all the functionality of a full-sized controller. The holding arm extends up to 3.7-inches, enough to accomodate even larger devices like the Galaxy Note 3. The Moga Hero also comes with an added feature called Power Boost, that allows you to charge your device while docked, as long as the battery of the controller is above 25%. Definitely not a battery extension replacement, but more than enough to help out in a pinch. Don’t forget to check out our hands-on review of the Moga Hero Power here. Buy now on Amazon for $48.70.
While quite a few OEMs, except Samsung, aren’t including micro SD slots in their high-end devices, if you know someone with a smartphone or tablet that does feature expandable memory, the easiest gift choice would be a micro SD card. SanDisk Ultra microSD cards feature 30 Mbps transfer rates and starts at $10,99 for 16 GB, and goes up to $34.99 for 64GB. While Transcend products feature a transfer rate of 45 Mbps, and start at $14.49 for 16 GB, up to $50.45 for 64 GB. In the spirit of the gift-giving season, you can always pre-load the microSD card with music, movies, and pictures as well. Buy now on Amazon – SanDisk and Transcend.
The Tone+ Bluetooth Headset by LG is one of best products at this price range, and features enhanced audio and bass response with built-in apt-X technology to reproduce CD-like quality over a Bluetooth connection. While not an audiophile’s dream device, the Tone+ more than serves its purpose at this price point, and the audio quality is vastly improved over its predecessor, with additional Noise Reduction and Echo Cancellation technologies. This headset also features LG’s BT Reader app (available from the Google Play Store) to read your incoming messages, and also includes an audible battery status alert, and a vibrating call alert. The battery life is impressive as well, giving you up to 10 hours of music playback, and 15 hours of talk time with one charge. Buy now on Amazon for $44.99.
Since a lot of smartphones nowadays feature non-removable batteries, but even otherwise, external battery packs are your best bet in a pinch, and the Limeade Blast is one of the best, considering that it provides a whopping 15,600 mAh capacity. The Limeade battery pack can be used to charge two devices simultaneously, and holds more than enough juice to charge the battery of your smartphone multiple times. Also includes a built-in safety flashlight, and 4 LED indicators to show level of charge. Buy now on Amazon for $49.99.
The Kinivo Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit is designed to provide a simple hands-free solution for answering and receiving calls while on the go, along with the ability to stream music from your smartphone at CD quality, with support of the aptX codec. The Car Kit features an understated design and can be mounted anywhere, and includes easy to use music controls and a built-in microphone to answer calls. Keep in mind that audio is provided through your 3.5mm input in Car Stereo when playing music and answering phone calls, and requires a car stereo with a 3.5 mm AUX input. Buy now on Amazon for $39.99.
The Munitio COD MW3 Special Edition Earphones feature Billet 9mm earphones with an in-line mic to deliver superior mobile performance. Don’t be confused by the name, these earphones aren’t for console gaming, but is compatible with most smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs. The Gun Metal Black earpieces are machined from aircraft-grade billet aluminum, with the cables being Kevlar-reinforced. The earphones are also laser-etched with the Modern Warfare 3 game logo, for a great overall look. The earphones come with a tactical carrying case, six sets (two each in S, M, L sizes) of proprietary noise-isolating Silicone Hollow Points, and two earhooks. Sound quality is also far better than expected at this price range. Buy now on Amazon for $39.95.
The RoverBeats T3 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker promises great sound quality with a CSR Bluetooth chipset that offers class-leading performance for crystal-clear audio reception, and a Enhanced Bass Resonator. The device is compatible with any smartphone or tablet with Bluetooth capability or a 3.5 mm audio jack. Not only does this device support music playback, it also has a built-in mic for hands-free calling from any phone with Bluetooth, and also works with Skype. The speaker is compact and very portable, and also features an anti-skid mat at the bottom to add stability. The speaker requires only 2 hours to charge, with around 7 hours of music playback possible on a single charge. Buy now on Amazon for $27.89.
Google Play Gift Cards are a great gift choice for an Android user. They are available from numerous retailers like Walmart and Target, and also from some online retailers. They come in $10, $25, and $50, and can be redeemed online by entering the code on the back of the gift card. The balance can then be spent on movies, music, apps, games, or any other content in Google Play. There is no additional cost above the value of the gift card and they never expire. Of course, you’ll need to remember that these gift cards cannot be used for magazine or app subscriptions, or for hardware purchases. You can find the list of retailers that sell Google Play Gift Cards here.
This isn’t for everybody, but if you know someone who uses a smartphone or tablet with Qi-standard wireless charging support, you can help make their lives much easier by gifting them a wireless charger. The PowerBot Qi-enabled Wireless Charger is a compact and easy to use charger, and is compatible with all Qi-enabled smartphones. The device can be placed on the pad at any angle, with a beep indicating that the device is charging. An anti-slip grip holds the device in place, and LEDs display charging status. Available for less than half the price of the Nexus Wireless Charger, the PowerBot Wirelesss Charger is definitely a good choice. Buy now on Amazon for $22.49.
While USB Chargers and Cables may not be the flashiest of gifts, it is definitely the most practical. A bundled set of an AC Wall Charger, dual port Car Charger, and USB 2.0 cable should cover the users charging needs, with all three combined falling well within the budget constraint of being under $50. The iXCC Dual USB 20W AC Wall Charger is a convenient, easy to use, and fast charger than can charge two devices at once, with each port delivering 2,100 mA independently. For your charging needs on the go, the Anker Dual Port 24W Car Charger does a great job, with each port delivery 2.4 A. The Anker Car Charger is also compact and portable. And finally, the FRiEQ USB 2.0 Cloth Jacketed cable features a high quality Nylon Fiber cloth jacket surrounding the cord for increased durability, and is a 6 feet gold plated A Male to Micro B cable. You can get all these products from Amazon - iXCC AC Wall Charger ($12.99), FRiEQ USB 2.0 Cable ($7.99), and Anker Car Charger ($11.99).
As I’d mentioned in the MicroSD cards section above is that expandable memory is being left out with some devices. If someone you know has a device with no expandable memory, but is finding the in-built storage capacity inadequate, the Meenova MicroSD Card Reader is the perfect gift. Like an SD/MicroSD card reader that you often use on PCs, but made for your smartphones or tablets. The device plugs into the microUSB port of your device, allowing to play videos or music, view photos and documents, and copy and backup all your data. The Meenova MicroSD Card Reader will be a great addition for most users, but compatibility is an issue you have to keep in mind. Your device needs to support USB OTG, but even if it does, it’s best to refer to the list of compatible devices, which you can find here. You can order the Meenova MicroSD Card Reader here, available for $12.
The Easy-Macro Lens Band is a simple, flexible magnification accessory for smartphones and tablets that lets you take closeup photos with incredible detail. The band is stretchable, ensuring that the lens will fit any smartphone currently available in the market. When not in use, the band is compact and portable, and can even fit in your wallet, with the original card. Using the band will give you 4x optical magnification, for great close ups. Buy now on Amazon for $14.95.
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Thanks for the nice set of suggestions. I couldn’t get the LG Tone Plus BT headphones to play full volume with my Galaxy S3, only low. They worked with my Nexus 7 but back they went. The Meenova adaptor is great.
how can we tell how loud could it get?