The best tech gifts under $50

Keep your holiday gift list high-tech and low-budget with these gadgets

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Shure SE112 Earphones ($49)

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The market for budget headphones is steadily growing, with decent offerings from the likes of Panasonic and Audiofly at the forefront. Nonetheless, Shure’s SE112 earbuds remain one of our favorites for the price. They produce an admirable level of detail and benefit from respectable passive noise cancellation, while sporting solid construction nearly everyone can stand behind. Subtle textures and instrumental separation are far more clear than one might expect, too, even if the upper registry proves a bit too snappy at times. The fact that they’re relatively comfortable is just a plus.

Read our full Shure SE112 review

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Amazon Echo Dot ($49)

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We’d be remiss not to include Amazon’s Echo Dot in our list. It does everything its bigger (and more expensive) brother does, only it’s slightly larger than a hockey puck. It’s not as loud as the standard Echo, but the third-gen device still emits decent sound for its size. It can also connect to any audio system, is capable of far-field voice recognition, and boasts a wide range of features and functions. This gizmo is compatible with dozens of different smart home devices as well, which means that if you get one, you’ll potentially be able to control your connected fixtures via voice commands.


Tile Pro ($35)

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Phones and keys are two objects that we can’t help but misplace from time to time. Fortunately, the Tile Pro is specifically designed for such occasions. The small, squarish device attaches to your key ring, and using a mobile app, users can ping the device and cause it to emit a loud sound from up to 300 feet away. If you misplace your phone, you can also double press the button on the Pro to make it ring (even if it’s on silent). The newest model even features a replaceable CR2032 battery, which can be swapped out in a matter of seconds.

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Black Diamond Spot Headlamp ($29)

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Whether you’re tending to livestock in the early morning, venturing deep underground on your latest spelunking expedition, or heading out on your favorite trail for a nighttime jog; this 300-lumen headlight has the guff to get you through the stuff. In addition to multiple light modes, the Spot boasts a memory feature, so when you turn the headband back on, it’ll be at the same setting you left it on. Even up against more expensive headlamps, this waterproof offering is still one of the best ones on the market right now.

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Anker PowerCore 20100 ($50)

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Do you hate that mounting feeling of anxiety that sets in when your phone battery starts to get low? Always need a charge and never near a charger? The Anker PowerCore 20100 may be your new best friend. Despite its pocket-friendly size and lightweight build, this little beast packs some serious heat (not in an explosive way, though). It also boasts enough power to fully charge your smartphone six times over, as well as multiple charging ports, rendering it one of the best chargers you can currently get your hands on.

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Oontz Angle 3 Ultra Bluetooth Speaker ($40)

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Looking to jam out while you’re on the move? The Oontz Angle 3 has the power and portability to make that happen. This slick, triangular boombox boasts a beastly 20-hour battery life, water resistance, and a built-in mic for making hands-free calls. If you like it enough to get two, you’ll be delighted to know that you can use them together by utilizing the “Dual Stereo” functionality, which will allow you to play music through both, simultaneously, from up to 100 feet away.

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SunPort Solar Plug ($50)

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If you want to use clean solar energy in your home, your only option is to get some solar panels installed — right? Wrong. Thanks to this ingenious little device, you don’t necessarily have to be a producer of solar energy in order to be a consumer of it. How? It’s a bit complicated to explain, but here’s what’s going on (for a fuller description, jump over to our full article on SunPort).

Once you plug it in, the SunPort measures the electricity you draw from your wall outlet, and automatically upgrades it to solar power by purchasing small fractions of a solar renewable energy certificate. That’s the magic of it. Certified SRECs generally represent an entire megawatt-hour of electricity (a sizable and relatively expensive chunk of power), so to make them more accessible to individuals, SunPort has developed an ingenious way to break them up into microcredits (called SunJoules) that you can use on a smaller scale. This happens automatically when you use the plug.

To be fair, using SunPort doesn’t technically increase the amount of solar power being generated in the world. But it does something almost as good — it increases demand for solar power, which ultimately translates to more solar farms being built in the future.


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