A holiday gift that impresses doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg -- in fact, you can find something ideal to buy for just about everyone on your list while still keeping to some semblance of a budget, like $50 or less. And if you're looking for suggestions on how to shop smart this holiday season, whether it's for a secret Santa celebration, Christmas presents or something last-minute, we've got you covered with an array of both practical and fun tech gifts.
Best Buy has the JLabs JBuds Air on sale for $30 through Sunday, Nov. 10. They normally retail for $50. JLabs makes a lot of true wireless earphones and these are its most affordable and, frankly, the only ones I'd buy. It's a decent set of true wireless earbuds that's a relative bargain at $30.聽
The Sphero Mini ($50), the app-enabled programmable robot ball, now comes in a version that looks like a soccer ball and even comes with mini cones. You can drive the Sphero yourself or program it to perform various maneuvers using coding commands in the app. Read our Sphero Mini first take.
Looking to buy budget-priced true wireless earbuds as a gift? What's most impressive about the EarFun Free are the features: Bluetooth 5.0 with both USB-C and wireless charging. They're also fully waterproof (IPX7) according to the specs list. Do the earbuds sound fantastic? Maybe not quite that, but they sound pretty good. They don't have the clarity of higher-end true wireless earbuds that cost $150 or more, but they do have plump bass and enough detail to avoid sounding dull. They're also pretty solid for making calls. An excellent value at $45 when you apply the 10% coupon on the product page. Read our EarFun Free earbuds first take.
It usually sells for $60 to $70, but the JBL Clip 3 will drop to just $30 later this month at Best Buy. Despite its small size, this little wireless speaker is great for music or podcasts. It's waterproof, travels well, recharges via USB and the built-in carabiner lets you clip it anywhere. It's also available in at least a dozen colors, which makes it great for gifting.聽Hold out for the $30 price at Best Buy (and possibly elsewhere) starting Nov. 28. Read our JBL Clip 3 review.
There are a lot of flashlights you can buy for under $50, but the聽Coast HP7聽is one of the better ones we've tried. Relatively compact and rated at 530 lumens, it's bright for its size and has a slide focus that allows you to shape the beam from flood to spot -- and then lock the beam into whatever shape you choose. Its list price is $60, but you can get it for less than $40. It's powered by four AAA batteries (included).
CNET editor Sharon Profis says this is "a go-to gift from me for coffee lovers." She adds that it's fun to give with half a pound of your favorite coffee beans.
Roku makes聽several excellent video streamers聽that cost around $50 or less. They turn any HDMI-equipped TV into a gateway to online entertainment bliss: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, HBO Now and literally hundreds of other streaming channels, including -- new for 2019 -- Apple TV and Disney Plus. Read our Roku Streaming Stick Plus review.
We spend so much time with our computers that everybody appreciates a good wireless mouse. This premium mobile model is about as comfortable as you get for a mini mouse. Thanks to Logitech Dark铿乪ld Laser technology, it works on just about any surface -- everything from a glass table to the Formica-style finish of my work desk. And it has an integrated rechargeable battery that's supposed to last up to 60 days on a single charge. Works with both Mac and Windows computers.
While its list price is $80, you can pick up the "meteorite" version for just under $40.
For several years Gunnar Optiks has been making "computer glasses" designed to block blue light and help alleviate the eyestrain that you get from staring at displays for long periods. The glasses come in a variety of styles and a few different tints. The core models have an amber lens, anti-reflective coatings and slight magnification.
The Vertex (pictured here in both amber and clear tints), Riot and Intercept styles are all priced at less than $50. You can add prescription lenses聽through the Gunnar website, but those RX packages cost more.
With both a USB-C PD port and a good old-fashioned USB-A port, the RAVPower 61W Dual-Port Charger can charge any device from phones to wireless headphones to a full-on laptop and most everything in between, including the Nintendo Switch, Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad. It's also a nice value at $30 when you apply the coupon on the product page.
Although it's not incredibly personal, no one's going to be upset with a portable battery pack as a gift, especially one that uses one of the smallest and lightest 10,000-mAh batteries with 18-watt power delivery and QuickCharge 3.0 for devices that support it. This charger has both a USC-C port and a USB-A port and can be used with both Android and Apple phones, though no cables are included. Certain colors cost as little as $30.
If you're not ready to splurge on a pair of Apple AirPods (or otherwise fairly pricey totally wireless earphones), there are some affordable options out there, including the TaoTronics True Wireless earbuds ($40), which are pretty decent. They may not deliver stellar sound (the AirPods don't either), but most people will find it perfectly acceptable. They have Bluetooth 5.0 and 5 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels. They're also sweatproof so your giftee can use them at the gym. Read our TaoTronics True Wireless Earbuds review.
Logitech's K380 has been around for a while, but it's still a great keyboard for the money -- perfect for computers, tablets and phones. You can find it for less than $30 online. Read our Logitech K380 keyboard review.
The $40 BioLite PowerLight Mini is a handy lantern, bike light and charger all in one. You clip it to a pocket or strap, or mount it on your bike (mount included), and its 1,350-mAh USB rechargeable battery provides up to 52 hours of light. It can also give your phone a backup boost. Lighting modes include white lantern, red night vision, red and white strobe and white point light. It's a great choice for eco-minded folks who enjoy camping or other outdoor activities.
Another candidate for best value wireless speaker, the Tribit XSound Go is one of the best ones for the money -- about $33 at Amazon, depending on which color you choose. And if you're willing to spend a little more, for around $55 you can pick up the larger MaxSound Plus, which has richer sound with more bass. Read our Tribit XSound Go review.
The latest version of Amazon's mini Alexa voice-enabled speaker now comes with an LED display that can show the time, outdoor temperature or timers. Its list price is $60 but it typically sells for less than $50.聽However,聽starting Nov. 28聽(Thanksgiving Day), the price drops to $35.聽That's when to buy. Read our Amazon Echo Dot with clock (3rd gen) review.
We can't include the Echo Dot in this gift roundup without also including Google's voice-enabled mini speaker. The Nest Mini is new for 2019 at adds slightly better sound quality and a wall-mounting slot. But the older Home Mini is still worth picking up, especially if you see it dipping as low as $19 to $25, as we're seeing this season (down from its usual price of $49). Read our Google Nest Mini review.
At around $40, the Eufy P1 is one of the more affordable smart scales. Beyond weight you can track body fat, BMI, bone mass, muscle mass and more for multiple users. You track everything using the EufyLife app, but the scale also ties into Apple Health, Google Fit and the Fitbit App. It's available in two colors.
Originally published last week and updated with new information.