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.
The Roku 3 is our current top pick in the Internet media box category. It's the best overall choice for online streaming, with Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Amazon Instant, Watch ESPN, Vudu, YouTube, Sling TV, plus literally hundreds of other channels -- most of which, of course, require separate subscriptions or fees. (Pretty much the only thing missing is iTunes; you'll need an Apple TV for that -- see the following slide.) The Wi-Fi remote -- which doesn't require "line of sight" to the player -- seals the deal.
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 coming up on its third birthday, Apple is keeping its box fresh new channels every few months, including Watch ABC and FX Now.
We didn't initially have Amazon's Fire TV ($99), a Roku and Apple TV competitor, on this list. But with the addition of HBO Go and some other improvements, we think it's a worthy pick. Like other Amazon products on this list, you'll occasionally see Fire TV discounted by $15-$20.
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 model from time to time, making them even better bargains.
If you're not an Amazon Prime member -- and if you don't already have a bunch of e-books on the Kindle platform -- Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader is a good choice. The 2013 self-illuminated GlowLight model used to cost $119, but has come down to $99 and (unlike the Kindle) is totally ad-free.
JBL's Flip 2 Bluetooth speaker started out at around $130, but can now be found online for around $80. It sounds great for its size and comes in multiple color options. (Want more Bluetooth speaker options? Check out our list of best portable mini Bluetooth speakers, many of which are under $100.)
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 Jawbone Up24 lacks a screen, but who cares? You interact with the step and sleep tracking through its best-in-class Android and iOS apps, and it's far more stylish than most competing health trackers. (Just note that the successor Up3 is due out soon -- albeit for more money.)
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 you can pick up a Bose SoundLink Color ($130, £120 in the UK, and AU$179 in Australia). 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 Amazon regularly discounts it to $99. It's not as slick as the step-up Kindle Voyage, but it's a fine e-reader and a good value, especially at $99.