Willing to spend a reasonable amount of dough on some back-to-school gadgets? Here's a look at some top tech picks that cost less than $500.
Asus VivoBook X202E
We don't recommend all that many laptops under $500, but the Asus VivoBook X202E is an exception. It's a touch-screen Windows 8 that's quite decent for the price. Normally it retails for $599, but Amazon has it for less than $500.
For pure audio performance, we like the more expensive Audioengine 5+ speakers. But we've always had a soft spot for the smaller and more affordable Audioengine 2 speakers, which come in white and black and retail for $199.
They might not sound as good as the Audioengine 2 speakers, but as their name indicates, these Audyssey Bluetooth speakers are wireless, enabling easy audio streaming from tablets and smartphones. Plus, they work as computer speakers.
Pico projectors keep improving year over year, and one of our favorites from late 2012 was the 3M Streaming Projector, which has an integrated Roku Streaming Stick, so you can stream Netflix and Amazon Instant movies right from the projector.
The Vita hasn't exactly been a big hit and its game library isn't expanding quickly enough. But it's still a next-gen gaming experience in the palms of your hands, and Sony may put resources into it once the PS4 arrives this holiday season (the two consoles will be more integrated).
A new, larger iPad (iPad 5) may be just around the corner, but until it shows up, the iPad Mini is a safe bet. And if your grad doesn't like it, he or she can always return it at an Apple Store (unopened) and exchange it for something else.
Though it doesn't have the name recognition of GoPro, Contour turns out some very nice action cams. For what the ContourRoam2 lacks in fancy features, it makes up for in simplicity and mounting options.
Now here's a product that Dad (or Mom) could buy for the home and have Junior put to use while away at school. The Slingbox 500 allows you stream your home cable or satellite feed to mobile devices and computers (it's great for following your local sports teams while on the road).