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. Obviously there are plenty of options out there and we can’t cover them all, but here’s a selection of just a few highly rated options. With that out of the way, let’s jump right in!
Android Media Streamers
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, and all you need to do is plug the device into the HDMI port of the TV, connect it to your Wi-Fi network and follow some very basic setup instructions. There’s also a number of great services that offer support for Chromecast (Netflix, Hulu Plus, and so many more) with tons of new apps coming all the time. Don’t forget to check out our hands-on Chromecast review here.
Amazon Fire Stick
Following the launch of Google’s Chromecast, Amazon decided to try out the streaming stick market. It does basically the same things as the Chromecast, but some would argue that you get a little more for your money. There’s a remote included with the stick, allowing you to control the device from the dedicated controller. With Chromecast, however, your device is the controller.
You can stream over 200,000 TV episodes, listen to millions of songs, or play hundreds of games on the device. It also comes with a 30-day free Amazon Prime trial, as well as a free Netflix trial. This device has a ton of capabilities, and is a worthy competitor to the Chromecast.
On the downside, you won’t actually be able to put this one under the tree this year, though you could still order one for yourself or a loved one to deliver shortly after the holidays. Amazon is selling the Fire TV now, but it isn’t expected to ship until January 1st.
Moga Hero Power
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 series. 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.
Who doesn’t love a little bit of gaming? Have you ever played a game on your Android device and thought the experience would be made much better if you had a controller to play with? If so, the SteelSeries Free gaming controller may be for you. The controller connects to your Android, iOS, PC, or Mac through Bluetooth, and you’re all ready to play. This controller is estimated to have roughly 10 hours of nonstop play time, as well as a battery saving mode that shuts the controller off after 3+ minutes of inactivity. It also has up to a 20-foot range, so you can sit back in your favorite chair and play your game from across the room. If you’d like to learn more about this device, read our review of the best portable gaming controllers.
Nyko Playpad Pro
If you’re looking to save a bit of money when it comes to your gaming controller, the Nyko Playpad Pro may be your best bet. This Bluetooth enabled controller connects to any Android device. The layout consists of two analog sticks, a d-pad, four face buttons, and left and right dual shoulder/trigger buttons. This controller is compatible with many high-end mobile games, and specifically optimized for Tegra-powered devices. It works with Nyko’s free Android app called Playground, which provides backwards compatibility with the PlayPad Pro with legacy tablet titles. This is the whole package, folks. It can be yours for cheap, and it will make your gaming life much easier.
Now here’s something that’s adds a bit more functionality to your everyday life. The Impulse Universal Game Controller isn’t just a controller. It’s also a key finder and a “selfie snapper” for smartphones, tablets, and computers. You can even use it to control your Apple TV, as well as numerous presentations, if you so choose. It’s compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, and Fire devices, and has 30 day standby battery life. This controller is small, weighing less than 3oz, and measuring 1 x 4 x 5 inches. All of this can be yours in one inexpensive package.
NES30 Bluetooth Controller
The NES30 Bluetooth gamepad gives you everything you need to relive the glory days of gaming without the bulky console and stacks of dusty cartridges.
Every detail of the NES30, right down to the graphics printed on the front, is meant to mimic the original NES gamepad design. The only difference here is Bluetooth or USBconnectivity, 2 additional action buttons and 2 shoulder buttons which help to make this controller compatible with games from a variety of systems.
While the NES30 works well with iOS and Android games that are compatible with physical inputs, it is also a great asset for fans of retro emulators, plus it works with the Nintendo Wii!
While there are many Android devices that no longer include microSD slots, quite a few still do. Whether its for a phone, tablet or a digital camera, there’s plenty of reasons to own a spare microSD card or too. Even better, they make great gifts and excellent stocking stuffers.
There are plenty of great microSD options out there both online and in brick-and-mortar locations, though here’s just a few solid options on Amazon right now:
- Samsung 16GB EVO Class 10 Micro SDHC: 16GB ($10.99) / 32GB ($17.99) / 64GB ($33.74) / 128GB ($109.99)
- SanDisk Ultra 10 Micro SDHC/SDXC : 8GB ($9.24) / 16GB ($11.99) / 32GB ($15.99) / 64GB ($32.99) / 128GB ($109.99)
- Transcend MicroSDHC/XC Class 10 UHS-1 Memory Card: 16GB ($8.95) / 32GB ($13.95) / 64GB ($36.31)
Headphones for your Android devices
LG Tone+ Headset
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.
JVC HAS400B Carbon Nanotube On-Ear Headband Headphones (Black)
Sometimes it can be difficult to find a nice-sounding, inexpensive pair of headphones. If that’s what you’re looking for, we think the JVC Carbon Nanotube Headphones will do just the trick. These headphones are sleek and easy to carry due to the tri-fold design. They fold up more easily than other headphones this size, and only weigh 9.6oz, making them extra portable. The headphones are offered in black or white, but the black pair are being offered for 25% off right now, so you may want to stick with that color.
Panasonic makes some great headphones, and most of the time they’re pretty cheap. These headphones are small, lightweight, and come with a nice microphone in the cable. You can choose from five different colors, all of which are inexpensive. What more can we say? High quality, inexpensive, lightweight headphones… what more could you want?
If you need some extra bass in your headphones and don’t mind paying a bit more, these Sony in-ear headphones may be for you. These offer 110 dB/mW at 4-24,000 Hz, electric condenser/omni directional microphone, and has a multi-function button that has integration with the SmartKey app. The plug is gold-plated and makes the headphones much more premium looking. These are a great bang for your buck, and would please any audiophile.
Limeade battery pack
These days removable batteries are becoming increasingly less common in smartphones, though there are certainly some exceptions. Regardless, having a removable battery can be a nice way to give us a bit of extra juice 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.
Anker® 2nd Gen Astro E4 13000mAh External Battery Pack
External battery packs don’t usually come cheap, especially for anything over 5,000mAh. Well, most of the time. The Anker Astro E4 battery pack packs in 13,000mAh, leaving you worry-free for that holiday vacation you’re planning. This device is small, sleek, and even comes with an LED flashlight built in. The Anker Astro E4 will be convenient to anyone who is constantly losing power to their devices. Buy now on Amazon for $29.99.
RAVPower 3rd Gen Deluxe 15000mAh External Battery Portable
RAVPower makes some great devices, and their Deluxe 15,000mAh battery pack is no exception. It offers a little more juice than the aforementioned pack and is of the same build quality. This one comes with a flashlight and also includes a big, bright charging indicator to let you know how much battery is remaining. The included “ismart technology” recognizes what type of device it’s connected to, automatically adjusting the amperage output to up to 3 amps.
Anker 2nd Gen Astro Mini 3200mAh Lipstick-Sized Portable External Battery Charger
If you’re looking for a battery pack that’s a little more discreet, we’d recommend sticking with Anker’s Astro Mini Lipstick-Sized battery pack. Though we’re sure not many men out there would like this one, this battery pack is perfect for fitting in a pocket, small purse, or a small compartment in your car. This one holds 3,200mAh of juice, which will charge most phones out there up to 100%. It’s sleek, small, and at only 2.7oz, this can be easily tucked away for safe keeping.
Bluetooth car kits
Kinivo BTC450 Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit
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.
Belkin Hands-Free Bluetooth Car Kit
Bluetooth car kits can get in the way, but the Belkin Hands-Free Bluetooth Car Kit is made to be small. Here’s how it works: plug the end into your cigarette outlet, attach the top to your dashboard, and you’re all set. You can now play music and answer calls, all while using Bluetooth. Also, the cigarette plug power source adapter has an extra USB input, so you can charge your phone without having to worry about unplugging the Car Kit first. Remember, the audio will play out of your car speakers, so it requires a car with a 3.5mm audio jack input.
Jabra DRIVE Bluetooth In-Car Speakerphone
If you don’t want to take up your cigarette outlet with your Bluetooth speaker, there’s another option out there for you. The Jabra DRIVE Bluetooth Speakerphone clips onto your sun visor, mounting it close to you eliminating the need to project when you’re concentrating on the road. It has a clear sound and can connect to multiple Bluetooth devices at once. This isn’t just for talking on the phone, though. You can stream music, podcasts, or anything else you’d like to listen to. The battery will last you up to 20 hours of talk time or 30 hours of standby time, so you don’t need to worry about charging it often.
RoverBeats T3 Bluetooth Speaker
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.
Logitech X100 Mobile Wireless Speaker (Red)
One of the conveniences of having a wireless Bluetooth speaker around the house, is that you don’t have to make many sacrifices. If you want to go into another room and still listen to music, just pick up the speaker and go. The Logitech X100 Wireless Speaker should be perfect for that, thanks to its 30-foot Bluetooth range and weight of 5.6 ounces. Perhaps a more important feature in a speaker is sound quality, and you likely won’t be making any sacrifices with this one. This speaker has great acoustics with its clear highs, mids, and bass. What’s more, is the speaker has a 5-hour battery life, so you should be set to listen for quite awhile before needing to charge it again.
The OontZ Angle – Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Sometimes Bluetooth speakers are big and bulky, making them very difficult to move around. The OontZ Angle Bluetooth Speaker is super portable, coming in at 5.3 x 3 x 2.7 inches, and only weighing 9.1oz. It can attach to any Bluetooth-enabled device, and has an awesome 10 hour battery life. It comes in a ton of different colors, and is definitely the one you want if you’re looking for portability.
Anker Classic Portable Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker
Portability isn’t something everyone is looking for when it comes to Bluetooth speakers. A more powerful speaker is a better purchase for many, and the Anker Classic Bluetooth Speaker is just that product. Now, this isn’t necessarily big, but it’s shaped like a box, so it may be a bit more difficult to take on your travels. It’s only 3.5 x 3.5 x 2.4 inches, but it packs a big punch. It has a battery life of 15-20 hours, and you can pick yours up in black, blue, or white.
Google Play Gift Cards
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.
Powerbot Wireless Charger
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.
Anker® Ultra-Slim Wireless Charging Pad
Wireless charging is growing in popularity recently. With the added convenience of charging your device wirelessly, it makes plugging your device in seem like a thing of the past. The Anker Ultra-Slim Wireless Charging Pad is a great, inexpensive option for anyone looking for their first wireless charger. It works with any Qi-enabled device, and is about the size of a coffee cup coaster. It features a small blue LED light to confirm that the device is charging. Leave it plugged in, and set your phone down when you’re at your desk or in bed. It’s really simple!
CHOETECH Stadium Qi Wireless Charger
If you need a wireless charger that’s a bit bigger, this one may be for you. The CHOETECH Stadium Qi Wireless Charger is big enough to fit your entire phone, almost eliminating the need for you to move the device around until it’s connected. It works with any Qi-enabled device, and can also be used on any device with a Qi-receiver. The device doesn’t come with a wall charger, so most people have an extra one lying around to use with this. However, it does feature a blue LED light to ensure that your device is charging.
Wireless Charger, TechMatte Qi-Enabled Charging Pad
The TechMatte Qi-Enabled Charging Pad has a bit of a different look to it than the others, as it has a nice matted finish. In turn, this one feels a bit more premium than the others. It also comes with an LED light, complete with an energy-efficient idle mode. This charging pad is durable, lightweight, and is plenty big enough to fit an entire phone on it. Oh, it also has a power cable included in the box!
Misc tech gift ideas
Easy-Macro Lens Band
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.
Belkin WeMo Light Switch
Home automation makes us feel like we’re living in the future, and for less than $50, it’s hard not to try it out. The Wemo Light Switch is easily programmable. All you need to do is hook it up to your Wifi, download the app, and you’re basically all set (after a bit of installation, of course.) Not only can you turn lights on/off manually from your Android device, but you can also program them to turn on/off at sunrise or sunset every day! Trust us, this is a really cool device to have in your house.
FAST USB Chargers
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.