With 2017 now close to its end, the time has come to look for the best items for your family and friends during this holiday gift giving season. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a high quality present for those closest to you, and we have a list of what we think are the best tech gifts under $50.
Looking for even more options? Check out the following guides:
- 10 cheap tech gifts that only look expensive
- Best tech gifts under $25
- 11 cheap secret Santa gifts
- 6 geeky gift ideas that aren’t just for nerds anymore
Give the gift of a great sound quality
Looking for a good bluetooth speaker without spending a fortune? The Creative Metallix is a portable mini speaker has a full range driver with a hidden passive radiator, which delivers a big sound experience in a small package.
What else makes it stand out? For one thing, there are four different ways to use it. You can connect your device via Bluetooth, use a wired connection, playback music on an MicroSD card, or even use the built in FM radio. All of these functions are controlled using the on-board playback controls built into the speaker. Not only that, but you can connect it to your phone’s virtual assistant by double pressing the play button.
For those interested, you can even link two Metallix speakers together for stereo sound! At just 2.6 x 2.6 x 3.0 inches, these speakers boast 24 hours of playback capability making them the ultimate in portable entertainment.
The biggest surprise the Metallix packs is its price. Despite having great features, the Metallix is available for just $29.99 — $10 off the suggested retail price.
For those who are looking for a good pair of affordable in-ear headphones, check out Creative’s Outlier ONE Wireless In-Ear headphones. These headphones support high definition Bluetooth 4.1 for 9.5 hours of great sound. Thanks to its IPX4 water resistance, these earbuds are also completely sweat proof, allowing you to push yourself to your limits worry free.
These headphones will be able to withstand the heartiest workout you can throw at them. The tangle free cable with inline remote allows you to control your music on the go. All of this is just $30, again $10 off the advertised retail price.
Want to learn more about these affordable yet highly capable earbuds? Check out our full review of the Outlier One.
Stream all things from movies to TV, and beyond
If you want to get rid of your cable or satellite TV service, but still want to keep up with everything in television, you need a streaming media device connected to your big-screen TV. Thankfully, there are plenty of choices that don’t cost much money.
One such choice comes from Roku. Roku currently makes the most popular streaming media devices, and its Streaming Stick is highly portable for people who want to use it at home, or even in a hotel room. It offers a 1080p resolution and access to thousands of streaming channels, many of which are completely free to access. One of the best free channels is the recently launched Roku Channel, which offers lots of recent ad-supported movies.
Roku’s interface is easy to use and while it comes with its own remote, you can use your smartphone or tablet as a backup.
Not sold on Roku?
Much like the Roku device, the Amazon Fire TV Stick allows you to stream media up to 1080p resolution from many different channels. The included remote even supports voice commands via the Alexa digital assistant, allowing you to search for TV shows and movies with just your voice.
Lastly we have the Chromecast.
The Google Chromecast is a bit cheaper than the Roku and Fire TV models, but it does require the use of a smartphone or tablet. The Chromecast can cast thousands of media streaming apps and games from your phone to the big screen TV, and can even mirror your phone’s home screen if you want. There’s no direct UI though, and that means no remote control either.
For those that constantly have their phones tethered to their side, this actually is one of the easiest, no-frills way to stream all your favorites.
Give the gift of virtual reality
Get your mobile game on with a new gamepad
Playing certain smartphone games, especially shooters and racing titles, can be difficult with just a touchscreen interface. For those kinds of games, you need a controller. Thankfully, there are plenty of affordable game controllers for smartphones to choose from.
If you love to game, and you also love some retro looks for your gamepad, then the 8Bitdo N30 Pro Controller is for you. This Bluetooth-based controller looks very much like one you might use on your Nintendo console from the 1980s. Yet, it still has a modern button control layout. It even comes with its own carrying case, for easy and safe transport.
If you want a more traditional game controller for your smartphone, the POWER A MOGA Hero Power is an excellent choice. You simply connect your smartphone to the controller’s lock arm so you can play racing and shooter games without having to hold the phone yourself. The Bluetooth-based controller also comes with its own 1,800 mAh battery so you can charge up your phone if it needs an extra boost.
Give the gift of a virtual assistant-powered speaker
The Amazon Echo Dot benefits from the more advanced and developed Alexa digital assistant, which is adding more features and support nearly every day. Also, its seven far-field microphones and advanced Bluetooth audio support are more advanced than the Google Home Mini. However, its a much smaller speaker making it less ideal for actual music and better for controlling your smart home and asking basic questions.
However, the Dot does have an ace up its sleeve. If you have an existing wired or Bluetooth speaker you can connect it to the Dot, giving you better sound alongside access to all of Alexa’s many features.
A few other ideas worthy of your consideration
You want to quickly find your car or house key, but sometimes that’s hard to do. The Tile Style Key Finder makes it easy by letting you attach the small hardware device to your keys, suitcase, purse, phone or anything else that’s valuable to you. You can use your smartphone to track down the Tile Style within 200 feet. If you lose your phone, tap on the Tile Style itself to cause the phone to ring, even if it is set on silent mode.