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Best tech gifts under $100 (2015 holiday guide)
The holiday season is here and it’s time to get shopping! But we know it’s no easy feat to find a good gift for that special tech geek in the family. To make matters even more complicated, the things these gadget enthusiasts like are usually crazy expensive. This is why we have put together a list with some of the coolest Android- and tech-related gifts you can get for under $100. These recommendations will ensure you don’t go over your budget for all those tech savvy loved ones.
This curated list includes media players, prepaid phones, tablets, wearables, VR gadgets, Bluetooth speakers headphones, battery packs, wireless chargers and more! Keep reading for all the details.
Looking to spend a little less this holiday season? Be sure to check out our best gifts under $50. On the flipside, we also have a gift guide for those looking to spend $250 or less, or even $500 and less.
Amazon Fire TV
It seems one can’t talk about media players and streaming devices without mentioning the Amazon Fire TV. It was part of our list of the best media streamers for a good reason. Priced at $99.99, it is the perfect balance between value and performance.
It can handle all your media needs, taking advantage of Amazon’s ample content library. To make the deal even more enticing, this little set-top box can even handle some gaming! Just keep in mind these games will be mobile titles… and you can’t expect it to perform like a full-blown console.
Regardless, it’s a fun little gadget any person looking for a smart TV set-top box will love. Especially if you happen to be an Amazon Prime subscriber!
OK, so the ROKU is not exactly an Android device, but it’s a gadget of interest to many of our readers, and it does support Google Play Movies & TV. It’s not much cheaper than the Amazon Fire TV, but it does have a nice interface,a low profile and plenty of content available. There’s over 2,000 channels offering access to over 250,000 movies and TV episodes. You can also enjoy gaming, and the remote does work as a Wii-like controller.
Other functions of the remote include a 3.5 mm headset jack for private listening and a voice search microphone. I wouldn’t say it beats other Android products, but the ROKU 3 sure gets close, and some of you may prefer it!
Prepaid Android phones
ASUS ZenFone 2E (AT&T GoPhone)
Originally priced at $119.99, the ASUS ZenFone 2E is now an even better deal at $99.99. How can phones be that cheap? One would imagine a handsome amount of sacrifices would have to be made, but this handset is actually great for those who are not too demanding on their smartphone needs.
Specs include a 5-inch 720p display, a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z2560 CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, an 8 MP rear camera, a 2 MP front camera and a 2,500 mAh battery. Sure, it’s nothing to write home about, but it’s also only a Benjamin!
HTC Desire 626s (Virgin Mobile)
HTC‘s awesome build quality even extends to their lower-end, plastic smartphones, and the HTC Desire 626 is actually among my favorite lower-end handsets. The one we are recommending you is a slightly downgraded version, though. It goes by the name of HTC Desire 626s. The differences are not immense, though – it just has less internal storage and and a lower resolution front-facing camera.
Other than that, the phone is not half bad. It sports a 5-inch 720p display, a Snapdragon 210 processor, 1.5 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, an 8 MP rear camera, a 2 MP front shooter and a 2,000 mAh battery. It’s usually $129.99, but right now Best Buy is selling it for only $99.99.
LG Leon (T-Mobile)
The LG Leon is another super affordable smartphone, which usually costs only $139.99, but it can be had for $89.99 right now. This is definitely not a bad phone for that amount of money. It is powered by a Snapdragon 410 processor and 1 GB of RAM. Other specs include a 4.5-inch 480×854 display, 8 GB of internal storage, an 8 MP rear camera, a 5 MP front shooter and a 1900 mAh battery.
Sharp Aquos Crystal (Boost Mobile)
Don’t want to deal with those annoying thick bezels most modern smartphones still tout? You really can’t do much better than the Sharp Aquos Crystal when it comes to this issue. Just look at it – that bezel is almost non-existent!
It’s also not a bad phone, as it got a 7.5/10 rating in our review. There are few things to complain about. And though it’s definitely not the strongest or fastest, it is definitely good-looking and affordable at $91.68!
Tablets & E-readers
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Reading on a smartphone sure isn’t the best way to go. Your eyes get tired from both the light and the tiny letters. But E-readers are not always perfect either. One major downside they tend to have is that the lack of back light makes it nearly impossible to read in the dark. The Kindle Paperwhite has an E-ink display, as well as a light that can be activated when you are trying to read in the dark! I personally love it.
Amazon Fire Kids Edition
But what about the kids? They deserve some fun too, and the Amazon Fire Kids Edition has all the necessary tools to keep them happy. This gadget sports a 7-inch display that is large enough for media consumption, but not too unbearable for the kids’ small hands.
It also has enough power to handle your casual apps, running a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and 1 GB of RAM. 8 GB of internal storage are found within, which may not seem like much, but you do get the option to upgrade via the microSD card slot.
This entry-level fitness tracker is Bluetooth-compatible and offers plenty of features. The unit can track your steps, distance, calories burned and even your sleep. It can even wake you silently with a vibrating alarm. In addition, the Flex features some LED lights that will keep you in charge of your daily goals by telling you how far you are from accomplishing them. And it won’t get in the way, as it features a very compact body.
It’s not the cheapest around anymore, but what it does, it does very well. Also cool is that you will never have to worry about this thing dying on you, as it sports a 5-day battery life.
When it comes to trackers, Jawbone is up there with the best of the best. The UP2 has been re-designed to look better, thanks to its new rope-like strap. It is smaller and made to appear much more like a piece of nice jewelry, at least compared to its predecessor.
Just like its competitors, the Jawbone UP2 can track your activity and monitor your sleep. But keeping a record doesn’t really mean you will be healthier. Similarly, I always keep record of my expenses, but I just end up realizing how badly I am spending my money! This is why Jawbone has created Smart Coach, which will offer personalized guidance to meet your goals.
Garmin Vivofit 2
The Garmin Vivofit 2 usually flies under the radar, as not many know about it, but it happens to be a pretty cool activity tracker. For starters, you get over a year of battery life, something very few competitors can claim. It also has a back-lit display that gives you a run-down of everything the device can do… and it can do quite a bit!
This thing counts burned calories, measures steps (and step goals), monitors your sleep, keeps track of your heart rate and even includes a timer. It also tells you when you have been sitting idle for way too long and need to get moving! Not to mention the official app, which has plenty of features, stats and other information.
The MOOV NOW happens to be my personal favorite tracker when it comes to looks, but boy does it also take care of tracking your activity. In fact, many claim this is the most advanced fitness wearable around… and it’s only $79.99!
But what is it that makes it so special? MOOV NOW doesn’t just tell you how many steps you have taken. Oh no! This thing goes all out. It actually speaks to you, and will tell you if your foot impact is too high, giving you tips on how to correct your form. It also knows what type of swimming you are doing (yes, it is waterproof), and can even tell when you turn around to swim the other direction. Furthermore it keeps track of your workout reps, and will even alert you when it’s time to switch gears on your bike.
Pretty insane, right?
There’s multiple reasons to like the Merge VR headset. Unlike most other VR goggles, this one is made of good quality foam, which may sound lame, but don’t mistake this for a cheaply made product. And because the material is soft, it makes this headset super comfortable.
The Merge also has the upper hand on content over a standard Cardboard reader, as it not only supports Cardboard apps but also has its own portal for finding VR content. The Merge VR also has dual trigger buttons built-in, allowing greater control than you’d find with a typical Cardboard app, though unfortunately few apps exist that support it just yet. The Merge VR even has an upcoming optional remote that works somewhat similarly to a Wii remote, though it’s unclear when it will arrive or how many games will be optimized for it.
The Merge VR is priced at $79, which might seem a tad high for what is basically an over glorified Cardboard reader, but there’s a ton of potential with the Merge VR as it pushes out its SDK and optional remote in the future.
Homido VR Headset
The Homido is a bit cheaper than the Merge VR at $69.95, though it’s also missing dual trigger input and some of the forward thinking moves that Merge is planning (such as the company’s upcoming Wii-like remote). Still, if you’re looking for an entry-level VR device, the Homido is certainly worthy of your consideration.
JBL Flip 3
Your Bluetooth speaker should be able to keep up with your needs, and JBL aims to accomplish this with the Flip 3. Did they? Well, the company is at least getting darn close! This thing has good “room-filling sound”. And you don’t have to enjoy it alone – it’s possible to connect multiple devices to it at once (up to 3) and take turns listening to your own media. JBL Connect also makes it possible to connect multiple compatible speakers and amplify the sound.
The battery should last about 10 hours of playtime per charge, making this a truly portable accessory. And because portable things are not always safe, this speaker is also splash proof!
UE Roll 360
The UE Roll 360 is easily one of the best-looking Bluetooth speakers I have ever seen. Just look at those things! Aren’t they the cutest? But don’t be mistaken – these bad boys are also pretty bad ass. For starters, the device holds an IPX7 rating, which makes it waterproof for up to 30 minutes and a 1-meter depth. And range is super extended at 65 feet, so you don’t have to worry about staying near the speaker.
But that is not where the features end. In fact, this speaker can also team up with other UE devices to multiply the sound. And because the battery lasts for 9 hours of playtime, you should have no trouble enjoying your tunes through a whole party.
UE Mini Boom
Talking about other UE speakers, the Mini Boom is actually quite an awesome option. Though it’s a relatively small one, it’s sound is definitely not tiny. I have used this speaker and it is loud, as well as very clear and full of bass. I don’t know what they did to this thing, but I am loving the results. Battery life is expected to be around 10 hours, and your range is limited to 50 feet (which is not bad at all).
You want to get serious? Let’s get serious, then. The Braven BRV-1 is no joke! I mean, just look at that thing – it emanates strength. This speaker is waterproof and can be submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes (I wonder how music sounds underwater). It also sports 3 Watts of audio output and a 70 mm passive sub-woofer.
Not only does the BRV-1 sound good, it will sound good for 12 hours! That is definitely much more battery life than what I have gotten from any Bluetooth speaker.
Dreamqi Bluetooth Alarm/Charger
A modern spin on the conventional alarm clock, this high-tech alarm clock not only offers great quality sound via Bluetooth connection, it also has a built-in wireless-charging pad so you can juice your devices up while listening to tunes, or set them there to charge overnight while you rest.
The price of the Dreamqi Blueooth speaker is $89.99, which isn’t bad at all considering the fact you get an alarm, wireless charger, and a Bluetooth speaker.
Audiophiles are all about this ATH-M50x headphones, and they are great, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the ATH-M40x headset. These are designed with a high focus on music listening. Whether you need headphones for professional use or leisure, these will definitely get the job done.
They are only $99 and happen to have a 4.6 out of 5 star rating. Not bad, if you ask us, and our buddies at Sound Guys happen to love these headphones.
Whoever said professional grade headphones had to be crazy expensive? This Sony MDR7506 headset is only $79.99. This things creates some amazing sound for the price. And though they are made for studio monitoring, these cans are also portable enough to carry around in a bag.
Sennheiser HD-280 Pro
We can’t just ignore Sennheiser, right? This is one of the most recognized brands in audio, with a huge number of loyal customers. Those who like good padding and a comfortable fit will fell right at home when wearing these.
These also happen to be highly portable and very durable. I would get them mostly for frequent travelers and those who don’t mind using large headphones on the daily. Really, at $91.95 they are a hell of a deal.
Did you like the older Klipsch S4 series? You will love these. They feature the same sound signature, but the harsh highs have been tamed to make for a much more pleasant listening experience. The remote has also been improved. In previous versions users needed to download an app; the new earbuds simply work with Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices, as well as Xbox One and PS4.
Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear
If you are more of an earbud lover and don’t like Klipsch’s earbuds, maybe what Sennheiser has sounds better to you. The Momentum In-Ear headphones cost $99.95, but they offer great sound and build quality. These are made of stainless steel, so you know they are solid. In terms of sound, you will experience high-quality dynamic transducers and super accurate sound. Sennheiser never fails to impress us, and the Momentum headphones are no exception to this rule.
Tylt ENERGI 10K battery pack
When it comes to accessory quality, very few brands can beat Tylt. Not to mention that these products happen to look very good. The tylt ENERGI 10K battery pack has features both characteristics and costs $59.99 right now. The set-up is simple, which is something that should be the case with all portable chargers. After all, these serve only one purpose: charging your gadgets.
This bad boy comes with a 10,400 mAh battery and can charge 3 devices at a time. The LED indicator lights will keep you posted on battery levels too, so you won’t run out of juice so easily.
Mophie Powerstation XL
Mophie is mostly known for its cool charging cases, but they also make traditional battery packs for those without compatible handsets. This one comes with a 12,000 mAh battery and the ability to charge a couple devices simultaneously. It’s simple and easy to carry. And if you are in a rush, it also supports ultra fast charging.
Tylt VU 3 Coil Qi wireless charger
I personally use the Tylt Vu 3 wireless charger and have nothing but good things to say about it. I leave it siting on my desk and keeps my phone propped up while charging, so it doubles as a stand. It charges your phone “as quickly as a traditional plug-in charger”, a statement I would say is pretty close to being accurate. I still charge faster when plugging in, but this thing is definitely fast, while looking very good doing so.
IKEA Nordmarke triple pad for wireless charging
Here we are, thinking IKEA makes nothing but low-cost, easy-to-build furniture! That’s not the case, as they also make some pretty snazzy wireless chargers. The Nordmarke happens to look very sleek and natural. I don’t know about you, but I love wooden technology, and this one is actually made of said natural material. To make matters even better, this thing has three pads for charging a trio of devices all at the same time!
IKEA Selje nightstand with wireless charging
This is the future, guys. The Selje nightstand literally has wireless charging built into it! Just drop your phone on top of the “+” sign and fall asleep. Your phone will be fully charged in the morning! It’s not expensive, either.
IKEA Riggad work lamp with wireless charging
And while we are shopping all over IKEA, why not get a work lamp with wireless charging? Yep, they made one of those too, and it’s only $79.99.
Google Play Store
Of course, no solid shopping guide is complete without the beloved gift cards. And since here at Android Authority we are all about Google’s mobile OS, we would like to remind you there’s plenty of options under $100 to be had from the Google Play Store.
You can also get Amazon Gift cards in plenty of increments, ranging from $10 to the thousands. These can be used for all your tech and content, so go grab them!
It seems we got pretty jolly with all the gifts! Seriously, though, any tech geek will be extremely happy with one of these gifts. Just try to find out what he/she may be missing.
Have any of you guys tried any of these gadgets? Hit the comments to share what you think of them! Also, are there any other cool tech gifts under $100 that you would recommend?