Tuesday, December 7, 2021

    31 cheap tech gifts under $25, from Bluetooth speakers to smart light bulbs

    31 cheap tech gifts under $25, from Bluetooth speakers to smart light bulbs

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    Updated

    2021-10-29T21:12:34Z

    Best Tech Gifts Under $25 4x3

    There are plenty of great tech gifts available for under $25.
    Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

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    Tech products make great gifts, but finding one for the right price can be tricky. Though high-end gear gets pricey, there are plenty of gadgets and accessories available in the $25 and under range.

    These affordable items are often designed to solve little problems or complement other products, making them easier to use. Better yet, they’re usually things that friends and relatives never think about getting for themselves, making them excellent gift ideas.

    For under $25, you can find all sorts of fun, useful, entertaining, and creative tech gifts. Regardless of whom you’re shopping for, we think we’ve found at least one budget-friendly product that would serve that loved one in your life well without running up your credit card bill. You’ll probably find a little something for yourself in here, too.

    A budget-friendly smart speaker

    Amazon Echo Dot

    Best Buy

    Echo Dot (3rd Gen), available on Amazon, $24.99

    Amazon’s third-generation Echo Dot is on sale for just under $25 during the holiday shopping season. There is a newer fourth-gen model with a more modern, spherical design, but that one costs double the price. This older version has all the same Alexa features, making it a full-fledged smart speaker that you can gift on a budget.

    If your giftee prefers Google’s ecosystem, you can also find the Google Nest Mini on sale for just right $25. Both devices are reliable, compact speakers with hands-free controls and helpful digital assistants. 

    A high-speed HDMI cable ready for next-gen gaming

    A wire connecting a computer to another device

    Amazon

    Amazon Basics 48Gbps HDMI cable (6 feet), available on Amazon, $9.99

    If there’s one thing home entertainment fans can never have too many of, it’s HDMI cables. Between streaming boxes, video game consoles, Blu-ray players, AV receivers, and computers, there’s never a shortage of devices we need to plug into a TV or monitor. HDMI cables always come in handy, and this Amazon Basics high-speed model is rated for all the latest and greatest video specifications. 

    With a bandwidth capability of 48Gbps, you can rest easy that this cable will properly transmit 4K and HDR content, even at 120Hz. This makes it a great fit for next-gen gaming consoles like the PS5 or Xbox Series X. 

    A plug-in for more Wi-Fi coverage

    TP Link wifi extender

    Amazon

    TP-Link N300 Wi-Fi Extender, available on Amazon, $14.99

    Wi-Fi signals can sometimes struggle to reach every corner of large living spaces. This can be especially challenging if you’re working from home. The TP-Link N300 WiFi Extender can plug into most common outlets and add up to 800 square feet to your home Wi-Fi coverage. 

    After you hit the WPS button on your home router, you’ll have to hit the range extender on your TP-Link device. After that you’ll be able to get speeds of up to 300 Mbps in otherwise difficult-to-reach areas in your home.

    An all-in-one speaker with lights, music, and an alarm

    Tranesca Bluetooth Speaker with Lights

    Amazon

    Tranesca Bluetooth Speaker with Lights, available on Amazon, $24.95

    This speaker from Tranesca acts as both a night-light and a home listening experience. After you connect your music device to the speaker via Bluetooth or an aux cable, you’ll be able to hear your favorite songs. One charge will let you listen to music for up to four and a half hours. 

    You can also switch the speaker to an alarm clock mode, making it a versatile product to place by your bedside.

    A fun phone case

    case mate

    Case Mate

    Case-Mate Phone Cases for iPhone and Samsung, available on Amazon, from $24.95

    For the colorful types out there, Case-Mate has a wide range of cases for iPhones and Samsung phones, including ones that are iridescent, full of glitter, or covered in real pressed flowers. 

    Colorful, shiny, and glittery isn’t everyone’s style, and Case-Mate has a selection of more reserved and sleek cases, including leather cases, clear cases, and stylish plastic cases that offer protection for that person who simply won’t get a case for themselves.

    Keep in mind, however, that while Case-Mate offers several models in the $25 and under range, some of its cases do exceed that budget, including its new iPhone 13 lineup.

    A ring light to upgrade your Zoom calls

    ringlightzoom 2x1

    Amazon

    LED Ring Light with Tripod Stand & Phone Holder from UBeeSize, $17.59

    Now that working from home has become more common, we’re relying on video calls more than ever — often in less than ideal lighting conditions. This ring light can help improve the quality of your daily Zoom calls with three different lighting modes, a tripod for your phone, and a Bluetooth remote so that you can control your phone while it’s in the stand.

    Give AirPods a protective home

    airpods pro case insignia

    Insignia / Best Buy

    Insignia Case for Apple AirPods Pro, $12.49

    This AirPods Pro case by Insignia is a super easy and inexpensive gift that AirPod owners will appreciate. The case is made of protective silicone that not only prevents scratches and damage from drops and impacts, but reduces the amount of dirt and dust that can make its way into an AirPods charging case. 

    The carabiner is a great little touch that lets the user attach their AirPods case to anything they often carry out with them. It’s a nice solution to keep AirPods where you know they’ll always be found. The case is available in a variety of different colors, too.

    A desk stand for your phone that doubles as a charger

    ankerchargingstationstand 2x1

    Amazon

    Anker Wireless Charger, available on Amazon, $19.49

    Smartphones are our daily companions — from displaying recipes in the kitchen to playing music, hosting our social gatherings over Zoom, and serving as a TV you can take to any room. This desk stand from Anker makes it easy to prop up your phone on any surface and wirelessly charges it at the same time.

    A PopSocket Grip

    PopSocket

    PopSocket

    PopSocket Grip, available on PopSocket, from $8

    PopSocket grips stick on the back of any phone or tablet to provide a comfortable grip, but they can also be used as a stand. The thing that makes PopSockets so giftable is their affordability and sheer usefulness — people love them, as they help devices keep more secure in your hands and help prevent accidental drops. That, and they come in so many different styles. You can give your loved one a PopSocket with their favorite sports team, pop culture fandom, or animal on it.

    PopSockets can also be re-applied a few times to reposition or transfer to a different phone or tablet. They can be attached on bare phone or tablet surfaces, or on most smooth and flat cases. They pop in when not in use, but even then they offer some support. 

    A smart light bulb that can add some color to your living room

    kasa lightbulb 2x1

    Amazon

    TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Bulb, available on B&H, $14.99

    You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money to add some smart lighting to your living room. This color-changing smart light bulb from TP-Link could make a great gift for anyone looking to spice up their home lighting with different color and brightness options to fit the mood. It also doesn’t require any extra equipment like a hub or a bridge; just connect it to your home Wi-Fi, download the Kasa app, and you’re good to go. It works with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant , too.

    A compact Bluetooth speaker for everywhere

    anker soundcore bluetooth speaker

    Anker / Walmart

    Anker SoundCore Mini Bluetooth Speaker, available at Amazon, $24.99

    I have a small, portable, battery-powered Bluetooth wireless speaker just like the Anker SoundCore mini, and it’s one of the most used devices at my home. It brings better sound and louder volume than my phone can ever deliver, and it’s perfect for listening to podcasts and music in the shower, in the kitchen, chilling outside, and on camping trips. 

    The SoundCore mini has a 15-hour battery life, a 66-foot Bluetooth range, and 5W of sound. It doesn’t have water resistance, but it’ll still work just fine in a bathroom. It’s pricier than some other similar compact Bluetooth speakers out there, but most of them in the $25 range come from brands we’ve never heard of before, and you can’t go wrong with Anker.

    Tech-friendly touchscreen gloves

    Achiou Winter Knit Touchscreen Gloves

    Amazon

    Achiou Winter Knit Touchscreen Gloves, available on Amazon, from $8.49

    Anyone who lives in a place where it gets cold in winter knows that you have to remove gloves to use a smartphone outdoors. Essentially, a phone’s screen doesn’t register a finger’s touch through a standard glove’s material. It’s not the worst problem in the world, and it may not warrant someone to get a pair of these touchscreen gloves themselves, thus leaving you the perfect opportunity to give them a pair. 

    Aichou’s bestselling winter gloves have special pads on the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger that can be registered by your phone’s screen, letting the wearer keep the gloves on when it’s freezing outside.  

    A next-level screen cleaning kit

    WHOOSH

    Amazon

    Whoosh! Screen Cleaner Kit, available on Amazon, $14.99

    The Whoosh! Screen Cleaner Kit is an alcohol and ammonia-free screen cleaner that’s safe on phone screens, and unlike harsher cleaners, it won’t strip screens from the factory coatings, namely the oleophobic coatings that prevent screen from getting all gummed up with finger oils. 

    Coming with a pocket-sized bottle of cleaning spray and two cloths, this kit will also clean tablets, e-readers, TVs, Kindles, and anything else with a display. Even glasses can be wiped clean with this kit. The company even claims that Apple uses Whoosh cleaner in the Apple stores to keep display devices clean worldwide.

    We should note that Whoosh doesn’t claim that its cleaner kills bacteria or viruses. 

    A tabletop Burger Time machine

    Burger Time My Arcade 2

    My Arcade

    My Arcade Micro Burger Time Cabinet, available at Amazon, $23.99

    For the retro game fan in your life, give them the gift of digital burgers at their desk with a miniaturized version of the original Burger Time cabinet. 

    The Burger Time game was released in the US in 1982 as a large arcade cabinet, but this modern reproduction is small enough to hold in one hand, and can be placed on any flat surface like a desk. The tiny arcade cabinet has a 2.75-inch screen with original Burger Time artwork on the exterior, and it comes with speaker and a headphone jack. It’s powered either by four double-A batteries, or with a microUSB cable.

    Grips for the Nintendo Switch’s Joy Con controllers

    nintendo switch controller grips

    Amazon / Fyoung

    Fyoung Controller Grips for Nintendo Switch Joy Con, available on Amazon, from $9.99

    These Joy Con controller grips by Fyoung give players a better and more comfortable traditional console-style grip on the small Switch Joy Con controllers. They have full-size left and right bumper buttons, and they stay in place, even when you move them and shake them around for certain games. 

    For less than $10, these are a no-brainer for Switch-owning friends and family. They come in a variety of colors to match controller colors, too. 

    An adjustable phone stand

    lamicall phone stand

    Amazon

    Lamicall Adjustable Phone stand, available on Amazon, from $9.99

    The Lamicall Phone Stand lets you (or your loved ones) mount your phone at an adjustable angle, which works great when you don’t want to hold or touch your phone and frees up your hands for hands-free usage. Think streaming a video while you cook or sitting at a table, holding a video call with friends or family, or keeping a recipe visible while cooking (just remember to adjust your screen’s timeout to keep your phone’s screen on). 

    It fits any phone and can accommodate most cases, but thicker cases may not fit in the stand’s lower arms. It’s also easy to adjust, and can flip between portrait and landscape modes. The stand is made of metal and comes in a variety of colors, too.

    A headphone holder for their desk

    Brainwavz Hengja Headphone Stand $12.99

    Amazon

    Brainwavz Hengja Headphone Hanger, available on Amazon, $13.99

    The Brainwavz Hengja is an essential gift for a friend who has on-ear or over-ear headphones. This adjustable headphone hanger clamps horizontally or vertically onto a table, shelf, or even a thin wall. The clamp is tightened onto a surface with a flat piece of metal that you can screw to tighten with the included tool.

    It’s made entirely of metal, so it’s quite sturdy and will fit and support pretty much any headphone size. It only comes in a black color option. 

    A Wi-Fi smart plug for smart homes

    Kasa Smart WiFi Plug Mini $16.28

    Amazon

    Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini (2-pack), available on Amazon, $14.69

    You can connect any device to the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini, from lamps to fans and air conditioners, to make it a smart device that you can control from a phone via the Kasa app, or via a smart assistant like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. 

    Some of the “smart” things you can do with the Kasa smart plug includes adding routines to turn your plugged-in devices on or off. You can also check up and turn on or off those electrical devices remotely via the Kasa app, which works great to give you peace of mind when you’re away from home. 

    Glasses with a blue-light filter

    Cyxus Vintage Retro Blue Light Filter Glasses $8.86 $19.99

    Amazon

    Cyxus Vintage Retro Blue Light Filter Glasses, available on Amazon, $19.99

    It seems every day, more and more research is coming out about the dangers of over-exposure to blue light from phone and computer screens. A 2018 study showed that too much blue light can increase your risk of blindness.

    The Cyxus Vintage Retro Blue Light Filter Glasses filter out 90% of the blue light emitted from screens and barely affects the image. Blue light filters prevent eye dryness and general fatigue from staring at a screen too long, and these glasses are a good, affordable gift for anyone who you know to work in front of a computer screen for long hours.

    A cheap but effective laptop bag

    amazon basics laptop bag

    Amazon

    AmazonBasics Laptop Bag, available on Amazon, $13.49

    Amazon is full of laptop bags of all prices, but the AmazonBasics Laptop Bag is one of the top-rated, and it gets the job done for an affordable price. It comes in 10-, 11.6-, 14-, 15.6-, and 17.3-inch models to accommodate different laptop sizes, as well as a smaller version for tablets. Plus, it has extra pockets for mice, cell phones, pens, and other small gadgets you might be carrying. 

    A long USB-A to Lightning charging cable

    Anker Powerline  II Lightning Cable $19.99

    Amazon

    Anker Powerline II Lightning Cable, available on Amazon, $22.99

    For a stocking stuffer or gift exchange, you can never go wrong with a charging cable — no one ever has enough charging cables for their iPhones or iPads. Plus, the longer cables like this 10-foot model makes it easier and more comfortable to use your iPhone or iPad while it’s charging, as the included 3-foot cables don’t let you get very far from the charging brick.

    You don’t want to go cheap with cables, and one way to avoid cheap cables is to go with a well-known brand that’s proven its reliability over the years. The Anker 10-foot Powerline is a proven, reliable, and long-lasting cable that also comes in a variety of colors. 

    A solid wireless keyboard and mouse combo from Logitech

    logitech mk270 keyboard mouse wireless combo

    Logitech / Best Buy

    Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse, available on Best Buy, $24.99

    A full wireless keyboard and wireless mouse combo from Logitech for $25 is a great deal and an easy gift for someone you know who needs one. There’s no other combo we’d recommend to get someone who needs a mouse and keyboard up and running. 

    There’s nothing fancy here, apart from the value. The keyboard is powered by two triple-A batteries, while the wireless mouse is powered by a single double-A battery. The keyboard and mouse communicate with your computer with a tiny USB adapter, and it doesn’t need pairing because it doesn’t use Bluetooth. 

    An effective gaming mouse

    Logitech G300s Optical Gaming Mouse $20.68

    Walmart

    Logitech G300s Optical Gaming Mouse, available on Amazon, $22.35

    The Logitech G300s is a great gift for someone who enjoys gaming, but doesn’t yet have a top-notch gaming mouse. It has a comfortable ambidextrous grip and six programmable buttons you can adjust with Logitech’s gaming software. And, for under $25, it’s been praised by multiple reviewers as the best budget gaming mouse you can buy. Don’t let the price tag fool you: The G300s isn’t a bad mouse; it’s just an older model.

    The G300 comes with a gaming-grade optical sensor for better accuracy and tracking than standard mice, and some sleek and modest lighting strips that accent the all-black matte plastic G300s. It plugs into a computer’s standard USB port. 

    An big, wide mouse pad for work or gaming

    corsair mm100 mouse pad

    Walmart / Corsair

    Corsair MM100 Cloth Gaming Mouse Pad, available at Walmart, $12.96

    A mouse pad seems strange as a gift, but this one is large and well made — it’s one of those things that can make a surprisingly significant improvement to comfort and efficiency while using a mouse for gaming, work, or general use. 

    The Corsair MM100 mouse pad is larger than standard office mouse pads at 14.5 x 10.6 inches (370mm x 270mm) with 3mm thickness, making for greater surface area. That means fewer mouse lifts as you’re moving the cursor around the screen. And, of course, it’s great for gaming, which is this mouse pad’s primary intention. 

    An effective dashboard phone holder

    iOttie Easy One Touch 4 Dash Car Mount $24.24

    Amazon

    iOttie Easy One Touch Phone Holder, available on Amazon, $16.06

    If you know anyone who is still using an ancient GPS to navigate, have mercy on them and give them the iOttie Easy One Touch Phone Holder. This car mount has a one-touch release mechanism for easily inserting and removing your phone, and its arm can pivot 225 degrees to ensure a comfortable viewing angle.

    The Phone Holder stays on a car’s dashboard via a suction cup, which sticks to an included dashboard pad that sticks firmly on a car’s dash. You can simply use the suction cup on a car’s windshield if the driver would rather not use the dashboard pad that sticks onto the dash.  

    A Tile Bluetooth item tracker

    tile mate 2020

    Amazon / Tile

    Tile Mate, available on Amazon, $24.99

    Attach the Tile Mate to your keys, luggage, backpack, briefcase, or any other valuable possession to ensure you never lose that item again. If you misplace the object that includes your tracker, just check the Tile app to see its location in seconds. As a bonus, if you lose your phone, you can squeeze your Tile Mate to make it ring. 

    The Tile Mate has 200-foot range (60m) and it’s water-resistant, making it an actual realistic option to track your pets, too. If items with the Tile Mate are out of range, there’s a chance that the someone else with a Tile can pick it up and relay its location back to you via the Tile Network and Tile app. The Tile Mate has a one-year battery life that can be replaced by the user. 

    Antonio Villas-Boas

    Senior Tech Reporter

    Antonio is a senior tech reporter for Insider’s Reviews team, where he helps lead coverage, reviews, and guides of smartphones, tablets, accessories, wearables, smart home products, as well as audio devices from Apple, Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and other major tech companies. Before joining Business Insider, Antonio was a consumer-electronics analyst at PCMag. He graduated from Colgate University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in history. You can contact Antonio with tips and cool tech via email at: avillasboas@businessinsider.com Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. Learn more about how we test tech and electronics.

    Joe Osborne

    Senior Technology Editor

    Joe is Senior Technology Editor for Insider Reviews with more than a decade of experience in games and tech media. His work has appeared in TechRadar, PC Magazine, Laptop Magazine, Tom’s Guide, AOL’s Games.com, and more. Joe has also appeared as a tech expert on programs such as Cheddar from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as well as on panels of experts for events such as the Consumer Electronic Show. His specialties include computing as well as gaming products using a variety of operating systems and interfaces, not to mention extensive benchmarking experience. Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. Learn more about how we test tech and electronics.

    Steven is a Tech Editor for the Insider Reviews team, where he oversees streaming and home entertainment product coverage. He previously served as High-Def Digest’s Gear Editor from 2013 to 2019, and his work has appeared on Ben’s Bargains, Steve’s Digicams, Big Picture Big Sound, and Consequence of Sound.  Over his nine years of experience covering the audiovisual industry, Steven has reviewed numerous TVs, headphones, speakers, monitors, streaming players, and more. He was one of a select number of journalists invited to get a hands-on first look at LG’s first 8K OLED TV in 2019, and is always excited to check out the newest and biggest displays on the market.   Based on his extensive experience in the home theater industry, Steven served as one of the expert judges for the 2018 TV Shootout, the premier annual display competition that crowns the best TVs of the year. Steven also has a background in film criticism, having reviewed over 400 movies and TV shows. He uses his movie industry knowledge to help inform his coverage of the streaming and home entertainment markets.   St even’s own home theater setup makes his passion for entertainment clear, complete with a 65-inch HDR display and the biggest Dolby Atmos speaker system he can fit in his apartment. And though he often spends his free time binging new series on every streaming service under the sun, he remains proud of his huge collection of Blu-ray discs. See below for some of his work.

    Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. Learn more about how we test tech and electronics.

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