As far as we’re concerned, there are only a two requirements for a gift to be considered a stocking stuffer: It must fit in a stocking, and it shouldn’t come close to a three-digit price tag. When it comes to tech, the first part is easy, and the second can sometimes leave shoppers puzzled. We’ve taken up the cause and rounded up 10 of our favorite tech stocking stuffers under $50 for 2010. Sometimes, smaller (and in this case, less expensive) really is better.
EyeClops Mini Projector$41 Amazon
At first glance, you might think the EyeClops Mini Projector is for kids (and don’t get us wrong, the younger set will absolutely love it). But really, it’s for everyone obsessed with a mobile device. The handheld projector is compatible with MP3 players and iPhones, meaning the person on your list who constantly treats you to iPhone videos of her dog would, hypothetically of course, love being able to magnify those images and throw them up on the nearest wall. It also works great with DVD players and video games, which could maybe help satisfy the gamer in your life until he can afford that TV upgrade. This isn’t a high-end projector (hence the price), but it easily wins as a stocking stuffer. Just remember the cables (RCA) to connect to your gadget of choice!
Bone Collection iPhone Portable Amplifier Horn Stand$24.95 Cyber Guys
No batteries or outlet required. This flexible iPhone amplifier uses its phonograph characteristics alone to blast music from the device. We tested the product on the iPhone 4 recently and found that despite being wire-free, it absolutely worked as a speaker-dock – and a convenient one at that. It also works with the iPhone 3G/3GS and comes in black, green, light brown, and white. Its durability is an added bonus, so you won’t have to worry if it’s stuffed at the bottom of the stocking.
Griffin Slap Watch for 6 Generation iPod Nano$24.99 Griffin Technology
The iPod Nano slap watch has been making the rounds this holiday season, and lucky for you, it’s small and inexpensive. Of course, you should be sure the recipient either owns or will shortly own the latest iPod Nano. But that detail aside, this eye-catching piece firmly holds the MP3 player and prevents bumps and jolts for easy listening.
Kodak Mini Video Camera$48.99 Amazon
The mini video cam from Kodak will have no problems fitting into…well, just about anything you want it to. It’s ultra sleek, even with its pop-out USB arm, but can take a hit: It’s waterproof and doesn’t shatter easily. It works with Macs and PCs, and is user friendly for all skills levels. Experienced users will love the built-in editing, new ones will like the easy effects.
My Many Colored Flash$20 Urban Outfitters – online only
There are seldom opportunities to buy photography lovers an affordable, and compact, gift. My Many Colored Flash solves both these problems. Okay, so it might be a little bulky, but finagling it into a stocking will be well worth it. It’s a fun and simple gadget that requires two AA batteries and an interest in filtered photos. It has five different colors attached and will fit most cameras with a hotshoe.
iPod 2GB Shuffle$49.99 Apple Store
It might seem like everyone and their brother has a smartphone or an MP3 player by now, but anyone out there late to the game will appreciate the Shuffle. Particularly the less tech-savvy will be grateful for the extremely basic device that does one and only one thing: plays music. It’s tiny, inexpensive, and will surely impress anyone still using a portable CD player.
TK-421 iPhone Case with Flip-out Keyboard$49.99 Think Geek
Apple purists out there might balk at the idea of a keyboard, but hear us out! New converts from non-iOS phones would undoubtedly appreciate a flip-out keyboard, or maybe you know someone out there missing his old BlackBerry. Whatever the reason, this model is compatible with the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 and gives users something to mash away on with their thumbs.
Wireless smartphone charger$25.98 to $39.99
Charging mats are a hot item this holiday, and anyone you’re buying for will be happy to eliminate one more cord. Think Geek has the AirVolt Wireless Phone Charger for the iPhone 4 on sale for $25.98 (with the base unit and adapter). Best Buy has a Powermat Wireless Charging System for the BlackBerry Curve for $39.99 that supports three different models of the phones, and the Powermat Reciever Door for the HTV EVO 4G available for $29.99, if you know someone who already owns the mat itself.
Canon or Nikon Vacuum Insulated Thermoses and Mugs$39.99 to $49.99 Canon Mugs
This item is more novelty than gadget, but it definitely has tech appeal. The stainless steel mugs and thermoses even let you showcase a Canon or Nikon allegiance! The mugs were originally made as gifts for photographers at the most recent Winter Olympics, but now you can grab one and lay claim over the title of this year’s most unique gift giver.
Xbox 360 12-Month Live Gold Card$44.96 Amazon
Forget the Starbucks gift card this year. If you know anyone with an Xbox 360 (and we’re willing to bet you do), a free year’s supply of online multiplayer gaming is a gift to be treasured. And even if gaming isn’t a huge priority, the card also gives the recipient access to streaming movies, TV shows, Netflix, even sites like Facebook and Twitter, right to the TV.