You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give a fantastic technology gift. Here are 10 products under $100 that are sure to bring a smile to the face of the recipient, while delivering lasting performance and value. (You might find something for yourself here, too.)
Amazon Fire Tablet; $49 (pictured at right) — This is a great little tablet at an impressively low price. It is fun to use. It also serves well as a small backup tablet for places you don’t want to take your expensive iPad. I take mine to the gym to listen to music, watch movies, read Kindle books and surf the Web while I ride a stationary bike. If you have Amazon Prime, it is an even more attractive proposition. You can pay an extra $15 to skip the ads on the lock screen, but I actually like the ads because they keep me up-to-date on neat new things. amazon.com/fire
GE 25797 Surge Protector with USB Charging; $19.99 — This may not be a flashy gift, but it is incredibly useful and will be appreciated every day. It turns a wall outlet into six surge-protected outlets with two built-in 2.1-amp USB ports for high-speed charging. Plug it in by your nightstand and add two cables to create a permanent bedside charging station. Available online or in many retail stores. tinyurl.com/gesurge
Tablift; $49 — This sturdy stand is perfect for those who use their tablets in bed. It goes over your body with long, strong and flexible spider-like legs and holds the tablet in place perfectly. A must-have for the tablet addict. tablift.com
Modern Portable HiFi ELITE Super 66 headphones; $66 — These headphones offer excellent sound and have attractive, modern styling and an extremely comfortable fit. The engineers used $300 audiophile headphones as a sonic benchmark when they designed the Super 66, and it shows when you experience the natural, clean, non-fatiguing sound. The Super 66 works with Bluetooth and wired connections and has a microphone for phone calls when connected via Bluetooth. A tremendous bargain, the Super 66 looks, feels and sounds like it should cost much more. The manufacturer offers a 45-day money-back guarantee and will even pay for return shipping. modernportable.com
SJCAM SJ4000 action camera; $75 or less — A repeat recommendation from last year, this action camera has a built-in LCD display and the form factor of a GoPro camera. The SJ4000 uses MicroSD cards and records 1080p video at 30 frames per second. The video quality is pristine, with great color and very high sharpness. It’s mind-boggling that the package also includes a waterproof housing and tons of accessories for so little money. It is compatible with the GoPro mounting system and has been so successful that many inferior knockoffs also called SJ4000 litter the online marketplace. I recommend buying only from sjcam.com or bhphotovideo.com to ensure that you get a genuine SJCAM SJ4000.
OontZ Angle 3; $35 — The latest in the enormously popular and successful line of OontZ Bluetooth speakers, the Angle 3 is the bestselling portable Bluetooth speaker on Amazon. And for good reason: It looks good, sounds good, is splash-proof and dustproof and, with a 4.5-star review average, is loved by users just as much as its predecessor, which was also a bestseller. Several attractive colors are available, and it works as a speakerphone, too. If you have a big room, check out the $99 OontZ XL. It’s my favorite Bluetooth speaker under $100. theoontz.com
Dayton Audio B652-AIR; $59 — This is the best bookshelf speaker available for under $100 a pair. It uses an exotic Heil Air Motion Transformer tweeter for sweet-sounding, detailed treble. It’s great for a starter system or to use in the garage or other places you don’t want to put expensive speakers. tinyurl.com/b652air
Apple Magic Mouse; $69 — If you or someone you know has a Mac, you need this mouse. The wireless Apple Magic Mouse is controlled with clicks, swipes and gestures and takes your personal interface with your computer to the next level. I was a bit skeptical, but now that I have one, I can’t imagine being without it. apple.com
Insignia NS-SB314 Soundbar; $99 — Poor sound from flat-panel televisions — including dialogue that is hard to understand — is the No. 1 complaint I get from readers. Sold at Best Buy, this stereo soundbar is easy to set up and has pleasant sound with deep bass that will greatly enhance your TV-viewing experience, whether you are watching news, sports or movies. It’s a bargain at $99 but is frequently on sale for $79, so keep your eyes open. tinyurl.com/ insigniasoundbar
Audio-Technica AT-LP60 turntable; $99 — Most turntables selling for under $200 not only sound horrible, but can damage your records. Although it sells for less than $100, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60 has a moving magnet cartridge that exerts very little downward force on the needle, preserving your records instead of prematurely wearing them out like most cheap turntables do. It has a built-in, defeatable phono preamp so it can be used with any audio system. Best of all, the sound is respectable, if not high-end, and the compact footprint and fully automatic operation make it a great way to begin experiencing the joys of collecting and listening to vinyl records. audio-technica.com
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadviceblog.com.