The holidays are rapidly approaching, and you know what that means – last minute gift shopping! But what if I told you that you didn’t have to wait until the last minute, and that you could find something awesome for the technology aficionado right now with this handy list? Now, what if I told you that everything on here is under $100? If that sounds good to you, keep on reading – these are the ten best tech gifts available today for under $100.
1) Raspberry Pi – $25-$35
The Raspberry Pi is as fascinating as it is cheap. Essentially, Raspberry Pi is a full blown desktop computer capable of running specialized versions of Linux, complete with 512MB of RAM, USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, and an HDMI connector all for just $35 for the Model B version, or $25 for the lesser Model A version. Perfect for projects, hobbies, a testing box, or even a DIY home entertainment box, a Raspberry Pi is an amazingly versatile little box that will fit perfectly in your loved one’s stocking this December.
2) iPod shuffle – $49
Sure, smartphone with MP3 playback built in may be all the rage these days, but there’s certainly still place for a dedicated MP3 player. With 2GB of storage, excellent media organization support via iTunes, and accessories for the fitness fanatic in your life, the $49 iPod shuffle is one of the smallest, most simple, and best MP3 players available on the market.
3) Ouya – $99
If you’re on a budget this holiday season, the $99 Ouya game console gives you every right to pass on the exponentially more expensive PlayStation, Xbox, and Wii U competition. With a large and rapidly growing game library available where everything is free to try, a fairly high performance Tegra 3 processor for plenty of untapped potential for games to enjoy, and a controller with touchpad support, the Ouya was one of the early darlings of the Kickstarter craze and remains a little console with a lot of promise.
4) Chromecast – $35
These days, there are plenty of products that allow you to stream video content to your television, but none of them are quite as simple or cheap as the Chromecast. Designed as a small dongle that resembles an overgrown USB thumb drive, the Chromecast plugs into your television’s HDMI port for video/audio and USB port for power. From there, it’s as simple as connecting your Chromecast to your wi-fi network and clicking the “cast” button built into supported applications such as Netflix or Hulu Plus from your mobile phone (iPhone or Android) to start watching.
5) Apple TV – $99
For some people however, the Chromecast is a little too simple. That’s why I’m also recommending the Apple TV, one of the best values in entertainment money will buy you today. Based on Apple’s rock solid iOS platform, Apple TV allows you to stream content from Netflix, Hulu Plus, MLB.TV, HBO Go, iTunes or so much more for without the need for a supported mobile device, all in 1080p. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can use AirPlay to mirror your iOS device’s screen to your television, allowing you to play your favorite iPad game on the big screen
6) Branch – $5-$10
The cheapest item on this list is also one of the most utilitarian and useful; Branch is a small, adorable, simple little piece of tech that fits into your device’s audio port and allows you to plug in up to three pairs of headphones into a single device. Branch has quickly become insanely popular in my area, and kids love using it to share music or watch a movie together from a single smartphone or tablet in the back seat during a long car ride.
7) Koss PortaPro Headphones – $25
A personal favorite of our own fearless leader Jeff Weisbein, Koss’s PortaPro headphones are an excellent choice for a great sounding pair of durable, quality, and cheap headphones with deep bass performance, accurate sound, and an adjustable headband. And to make this an even better deal, these headphones come with a handy little carrying case for easy portability.
8) Amazon Kindle – $69
The best e-book reader on the market is also one of the cheapest; the Amazon Kindle is the defacto standard in the e-book marketplace, the iPod of the digital book industry. While the base model Kindle lacks some of the niceties of their pricier models – notably, the backlit touchscreen screen of the Kindle Paperwhite, the large screen of the Kindle DX, or the ecosystem and versatility of the Kindle Fire lineup, the basic Kindle does one thing and it does one thing well – it’s the perfect reading machine. What more could you ask for?
9) Fitbit Flex – $99
Popularity of fitness tracking accessories have definitely reached an all time high in 2013, and Fitbit is known for making one of the best. Complete with mobile syncing support, real-time progress tracking, NFC, and social based leaderboards, the Fitbit Flex is undoubtably one of the all around most useful and highly praised accessories that tracks your steps, distance traveled, calories burned, hours slept, and quality of sleep – all with excellent battery life and in a multitude of colors.
10) R/C Quadcopter – $60
Ok, all of the above are great and useful products that’ll enhance your loved one’s life on the cheap, but with the R/C Quadcopter you can give them the gift of pure unadulterated fun this holiday season. It looks like something out of a science fiction movie, it’s capable of doing some awesome aerial stunts like somersaults and flips, and it just looks like an all around good time. Live life stress-free with the help of this fun little R/C Quadcopter.