Updated November 18, 2017 You don't need to spend a fortune to bring a little joy into someone's life during the holidays. For those hoping to spy a gadget or gizmo for a holiday gift this year — but want to stay on budget — we've spied 11 of the best tech devices under $50 sure to impress this holiday season. We get it: You have lots of people to shop for, so watch your wallet while watching pals enjoy their holiday gifts. A little goes a long way when it comes to these ideas for holiday tech gifts for your friends and family.
$14.99 is a great price for a gift that will keep your recipient busy for hours at a time with Merge Cube. The soft foam augmented reality toy appears like a hologram you can hold right in your hand while being viewed through a smartphone camera. Remember the Rubik's Cube? Bring that classic toy to modern times and you've got Merge Cube. VR-inspired and wallet-friendly. (Available on Amazon.)
For the person on your list who loves taking a pen to paper the old-fashioned way, bring them into the modern era with Rocketbook Everlast Smart Notebook for just $34. They can take traditional notes in the sleek notebook and they get saved to the cloud and transferred to a Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, etc. Then clear away the old notes in the book and reuse time and time again. Note-taking just got high-tech. (Available on Amazon.)
No matter where you are, a convenient charge is always a must. With Anker PowerCore+ Mini Portable Charger, not only is the size small, but so is the cost… just $13.99. At this price, you can get one of these lipstick tube-sized chargers for everyone on your gift list. It charges quickly and the LED light alerts you to when your device is sufficiently "juiced up."
Sure, you know about Alexa. But this may be the year we all come to know Google Assistant and the Google Home Mini. Released this fall, the Echo Dot competitor comes in three fabric options, can be linked to a bigger speaker via Chromecast and works with many home devices including Nest thermostats. And at $49.99, the Google Home Mini squeaks right in under budget.
No more excuses for losing personal belongings thanks to Tile Slim Tracker. The small Bluetooth-enabled tracker connects with an app and keeps track of items and locations while it connects to other Tile users in a virtual lost-and-found community. Tile is slim enough to fit neatly into your wallet or comes as a sleek keychain. Starting at just $25, Tile will make you (and your wallet) happier. (Available on Amazon..)
Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled gadget that uses the innovation of Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, make phone calls, send and get messages, set all sorts of alarms, control Fire TV, and so much more. Set up is a cinch and the compatibility to connected devices is extensive. Get one for the handy device-lover on your list for a reasonable $49.99.
Does anyone have a green thumb on your holiday gift list? If so, the $24 Smart Plant Tracker from Urban Outfitters is a gardener's dream come true. The easy-to-use tracker helps anyone grow plants by measuring the appropriate amount of light, water, etc. the plants need from the tracker's unique sensors and sends the details to the associated app on the user's smartphone. (The grass will be greener on the other side after all.)
For sky-high excitement at a super-low price, gift a pal or loved one with the Eachine E010 Mini UFO Quadcopter Drone. For a $20.99 drone, the perks are powerful and plentiful. The built-in positioning system and one-key button return make the action amazing and the 3D rolling effects are impressive. LED night lights allow for droning 24/7. (Available on Amazon.)
Do you have a child on your holiday list who's a budding shutterbug? Go for a cool high-tech camera that's aimed (yep) to please. VTech Kidizoom Action Cam is lightweight and durable as well as waterproof. With an LCD screen, this camera comes in 3 fun color patterns and there are even games built in for extra camera-themed activity. Just $35.49. (Available on Amazon.)
Qi-enabled smartphones will get charged without the hassle of wires or the need for plugs with Belkin Boost Up Qi Wireless Charging Pad. It's only $39.99 yet works speedily and efficiently. The device is small in size and all you do is set your smartphone on top and it charges instantly. When the LED light shines, you're ready to go. (Available on Amazon.)
For the entertainment enthusiast on your gift list, consider the Amazon Fire TV Stick with voice remote. The Amazon Fire boasts over 4,000 channels, apps, and games, and 250,000+ TV episodes. With all this indoor fun, the snow outside won't be a bother at all! This stick can be taken on-the-go, and if your recipient has an Amazon Prime subscription, they can get unlimited access to Amazon Video. For $39.99, entertainment has never been so affordable.
For $49.99, the VR experience has never been so life-like. When the BoboVR Z4 Headset is paired with an Android smartphone, the 120-degree field of view headset immerses the user in the amazing virtual world. There are built-in headphones for even more realism and the headset is comfortable and lightweight for hours of VR enjoyment. (Still looking for some more gift ideas that won't break the budget? Check out our Holiday Tech Gift Ideas for Students.)