Stocking-filler technology for under $100
Stuck for present ideas this Christmas? Thomas Kibwe recommends an array of amazing gadget gifts that won’t break the bank
So soon? It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is almost upon us once again – and for many frequent flyers and those travelling back home to see loved ones, that means a desperate rush to find the right gifts for them in time for the big day. Thankfully, help is at hand. All of these essential tech gifts are available to order now, and are all priced at US$100 or under. Whether your family and friends are well-weathered outdoors types or the most relaxed of couch potatoes, we’ve picked out the present for them.
For the car lover
Sony RM-X7BT smartphone controller
• What it is: A small Bluetooth accessory that connects your smartphone to your car sound system.
• Why it’s great: Many new cars come with smart connectivity options as pricey upgrade extras but if you have an Apple iPhone or Android smartphone you can enjoy most of the same benefits for less in your existing vehicle. This clever device lets you control your smartphone and your music with your voice via an AUX connection to your car stereo.
For the movie lover
Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet
• What it is: A low-priced tablet with a gorgeous high-definition screen, perfect for watching movies on.
• Why it’s great: With 12 hours of battery life and Dolby Audio, this cheap but well-built tablet computer is perfect for watching movies. Amazon’s own Video app comes with thousands of films and TV shows to watch as part of its Prime subscription, but if that’s not available where you live, fear not: Netflix and many other apps can be downloaded, too.
From US$59.99. www.amazon.com
For the gaming geek
Sega Genesis Classic Game Console
• What it is: A slimmed-down version of the legendary 90s game console designed to work on modern TVs.
• Why it’s great: Nintendo ushered in an age of retro revival with its recent Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo mini-consoles for use on modern HD TVs, but both devices are hard to find. For classic gaming on the cheap, look no further than its former rival, Sega – or, rather, AtGames, which has released this tiny micro console with two wireless controllers and 80 games built in, including classics such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Mortal Kombat. Hours of fun.
For pet lover
• What it is: A GPS pet tracker that won’t break the bank.
• Why it’s great: If your cat is a roamer, or your dog really likes to stretch its legs on a walk, a GPS collar allows you to keep an eye on them with your smartphone. Until now, most devices have required a hefty monthly fee, but the Findster Duo waterproof GPS tag is subscription-free – and even comes with a clever social network that tracks your pet’s data and even encourages you to get outside with them more. It’s currently available for
pre-order at under US$100.
From US$99.99. https://getfindster.com
For the kids
Amazon All-New Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet
• What it is: A tablet meant to withstand the attention of your kids – with the software to entertain them, too.
• Why it’s great: This version of Amazon’s 7-inch tablet, designed specifically for your little ones, comes with a super sturdy bumper case, parental software controls and even a two-year, worry-free guarantee should they break it. There are thousands of apps to keep them entertained, as well as suitable TV, movies and games via a one-year free subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service.
From US$79.99. www.amazon.com
For the music fan
Mighty music player
• What it is: A next-gen music shuffle with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Spotify support built in.
• Why it’s great: Apple’s iPod Shuffle, the tiny, clip-on music player, has been discontinued but its legacy lives on in the form of the Mighty, a clever little music player that stores Spotify playlists to listen to anywhere – even wirelessly with Bluetooth headphones.
Essential tech for joggers.
For the house proud
Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve System
• What it is: A pod-less, single-serve coffee machine that does cold brews, too.
• Why it’s great: Single-serve machines can be expensive to run, especially if they take only one brand of pod. Ninja’s machine uses your own beans and also serves delicious iced coffee.
From US$99.99. www.ninjakitchen.com
For the fitness fiend
• What it is: A fitness tracker wristband that logs everything from your steps to your sleep quality.
• Why it’s great: This subtle, powerful activity tracker looks like an innocuous wristband – but not only does it count your steps, helping you reach new, clearly defined fitness goals, but it also pairs with your smartphone to monitor calories burned and steps climbed. Great for anyone looking to be more active in 2018.
From US$99.95. www.fitbit.com.
For the outdoors fan
JEEMAK 4K Action Cam
• What it is: A tiny, rugged action camera for filming pursuits, from surfing to climbing.
• Why it’s great: GoPro may have all the brand recognition, but it’s not the only player in the outdoor action-camera market. JEEMAK’s tiny, cheap, resilient snapper films video at a super-sharp 4K resolution, and can be controlled from your smartphone over Wi-Fi. It can even film in slow-mo, so you’ll never miss an amazing moment again.
For the person who has everything
Syma X5UW drone
• What it is: A remote-controlled quadcopter equipped with camera – the ultimate toy for
a fantastic price.
• Why it’s great: Many drones run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but Syma’s model comes in well under $100 – and still packs in an HD camera. Clever flight settings include the ability to draw a route on your phone, as well as an altitude hold function.