A C-note is all the budget you need to buy a great tech gift. Here are some of our favorites.
Best tech deals for less than $100
For around $100 -- or less -- you can pick up lots of high quality and useful tech gear. Read on to see our current picks in this price class, and look for updates as new products are released or older products get discounted.
In the spirit of "if it ain't broku, don't fix it," Roku added voice search to its $99 Roku 3. It also removed a couple of features from its second-best box, the $69 Roku 2, while turbocharging its response time. The Roku 2 is now just as fast as the Roku 3, and as snappy as any other streamer we've tested.
Meanwhile the features reserved for the Roku 3 all reside in the remote: voice search, point-anywhere Wi-Fi control and the headphone jack for private listening. All are pretty cool and work well, but not one is essential. If you won't use them much, and want to save $30, then buying a new Roku 2 instead is a no-brainer.
Amazon's Fire TV does have some cool advantages over Roku and competing devices, including excellent parental controls, great support and the ability to work with tricky hotel and dorm-room Wi-Fi systems (although Roku recently added that last feature). The new Fire TV box also delivers next-generation 4K video for less than any other 4K-compatible streamer, although most 4K TVs have built-in apps that can do the same thing. Plus, its new Alexa voice assistant feature offers cool tricks like replying to your queries about the weather and adding stuff to a to-do list.
JBL's third-generation Flip wireless speaker has a more streamlined, splashproof design and better battery life (at 10 hours), while the price remains the same at $100, £100 or AU$150. And as with all such speakers, the JBL plays any audio content from a Bluetooth-enabled source -- nearly any smartphone or tablet, and most recent computers -- so long as it's in the same room, or relatively nearby. (Want more Bluetooth speaker options? Check out our list of best portable mini Bluetooth speakers, many of which are under $100.)
Yes, tablets and smartphones can double as e-readers. But the $79 Amazon Kindle has a long-lasting battery and a paperlike screen that avid readers will appreciate. And unlike more versatile devices, there won't be any calls, emails or texts to distract the reader, either.
Amazon's latest entry-level e-reader, which occasionally gets discounted to $59, adds a touchscreen, but leaves off the integrated light found in the step-up 2013 Paperwhite and Voyage models.
As much as we like e-ink readers, though, an extra $20 will get you a full-fledged color tablet. Sure, it doesn't have much storage (8GB) and it's not super-zippy, but the well-designed Fire HD 6 is one of the better options out there -- especially given its $99 price tag. It does come in a 16GB version for $20 more, and it's also worth mentioning that Amazon occasionally discounts both HD 6 models from time to time, making them even better bargains.
The "new" Apple TV starts at $149, but the old Apple TV, which doesn't come with the fancy voice remote or have the ability to play games, is $69.
If you're invested in the Apple universe -- own an iPhone, iPad or Mac, or you already have lots of movies, TV shows, and music on iTunes -- Apple TV is a better choice than the Roku. And even though it's three years old, Apple is keeping its box fresh with new channels every few months.
Beyerdynamic makes some great high-end headphones, but lately it's been putting out some value models with great sound. The on-ear DTX 350p, which comes in black or white, sounds better than a lot of headphones that cost twice the price. (Want more headphone options? Check out our list of best headphones under $100.)
The new version of the Jawbone Up2 features a redesign that makes the band more stylish and, more importantly, less likely to fall off your wrist. It's leaps and bounds better than the original Up2. Plus, a new firmware update finally adds overdue automatic sleep tracking to this model and previous versions.
It's a few years old, but the Logitech Harmony 650 is still the best universal remote you can get for under $80. However, just be ready to invest some time and effort into programming it on your Mac or PC.
We've got a few products here at the end of the round up that don't quite get in under the $100 mark, but if you're willing to stretch your budget a little, they're worth checking out.
First up is the ideal upgrade to the aforementioned Harmony remote: the Harmony Home Control. It costs close to $150, but it offers the biggest bang for the buck in the Logitech line, with an RF remote (no more line-of-sight issues) and the option to use iOS and Android devices as remote controls, too.
For a little bit more than $100, you can pick up a Bose SoundLink Color ($130). It's doesn't perform quite as well as the $200 SoundLink Mini, but it's an attractive little Bluetooth speaker that delivers big sound for its size, is easy to tote around and recharges with a standard Micro-USB cable.
Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite e-reader carries a list price of $119, but sometimes Amazon discounts it to $99. It's not as slick as the step-up Kindle Voyage, but it now sports an "HD" screen and is a fine e-reader, especially at $99.