The best tech you can buy for under $50

"Cheap tech" used to mean throwaway products -- but not anymore. Now, you can get some of the most convenient and useful gadgets available at amazingly low prices. That includes everything from headphones and video streamers to wireless speakers and fitness trackers. In fact, everything pictured here can be yours for less than $50.

This story was published earlier, and has been updated for mid-2015.

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Misfit Flash

The Misfit Flash is our favorite fitness tracker available for under $50. It works with Android phones and iPhones, making it a nearly universal accessory.

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Panasonic RP-HTX7

Everyone can use a new pair of headphones. The full-size but lightweight Panasonic RP-HTX7s do a good job of blocking out external sounds, and they sound great for the price. They're available in at least five colors (black, white, red, pink and green) for as little as $32.

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JVC HA-S400 Carbon Nanotubes headphones

You won't find Beats headphones for less than $200 or so. But these stylish JVC models are a nice budget alternative, and they get the job done for under $30.

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Moshi Mythro

If you prefer in-ear headphones, the Moshi Mythros are some of the best you can buy for $30 or under. Unlike many supercheap models, the Mythros includes an inline microphone for taking calls.

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Creative Sound Blaster Jam

We're starting to see prices on wireless Bluetooth headphones dip to below $100. But the Creative Sound Blaster Jam is the first wireless model for under $50 that we can recommend.

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Logitech X100

Bluetooth speakers, meanwhile, are ideal for music lovers who use their smartphones or tablets as a primary music source. The doughnut-shaped Logitech X100 is available in multiple colors and delivers good sound for its size and price (about $40).

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Philips BT2500

If you've got a thing for retro design, the Philips BT2500 is a good option. It looks like an old transistor radio -- with a nice big analog volume dial -- but the BT2500 travels well and delivers impressive sound for its size. (Step up to the double-wide BT3500 for $70 if you want more gusto -- and NFC pairing.)

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Amazon Basics Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The largest Bluetooth speaker on our list is still small enough to travel well, and it delivers a bit more oomph than the micro-mini models listed previously. The Amazon Basics model is also available in blue, white and red. A smaller model, the Ultra-Portable Mini Bluetooth Speaker, retails for just $30.

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Sol Republic Punk

Looking for a more rugged wireless speaker? The Sol Republic Punk is water-resistant, so it's great for the pool, beach or shower. Originally priced at $70, it can now be found for under $50. But also note that its larger, better-sounding sibling, the Sol Republic Deck, can now be purchased for a few bucks more -- even though it once sold for $200.

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Philips Shoqbox Mini

The Philips Shoqbox Mini continues the water-resistant theme. It's new for 2015 and costs just under $50.

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JBL Clip+

As the name suggests, the JBL Clip+ can be latched on to nearly anything while it's streaming music from a smartphone or tablet. And the "plus" version adds water resistance, to boot.

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Divoom Voombox Travel Bluetooth speaker

Rounding out the outdoor-friendly Bluetooth speaker list is the Divoom Voombox Travel. It's one of the better-sounding water-resistant wireless speakers you can buy for under $50.

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Tylt Energi 2K

The Tylt Energi 2K does double duty as a standard USB charger (with fold-away prongs) and external battery pack. That's because there's a rechargeable 2,200mAh battery built into the unit, which comes in three different colors (blue, black, lime green).

When plugged into the wall, the Energi 2K charges your device first, then its internal battery. When on the go, it should almost double the battery the life of your phone.

No charging cable is included, but you simply connect a Micro-USB or Lightning cable and you're ready to charge whatever phone you want, whether it runs Android, iOS or Windows.

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myCharge Energy Shot

The myCharge Energy Shot is among the company's smallest and most inexpensive (you can find it for around $20, although its list price is $30) external battery chargers. The 2,000mAh charger offers an easy-to-read battery-life indicator that lights up when you shake the battery.

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Logitech K480 Bluetooth keyboard

Do you use your phone or tablet as an impromptu computer? The all-new K480 is designed to toggle between any three Bluetooth-enabled devices, be they Android, iOS, Windows or anything else. A built-in tray lets you stand most tablets and phones. It's not as elegant as some dedicated iPad keyboard cases, but it's far more versatile for home use, and -- at just $50 -- not too pricey.

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Google Chromecast

Saving the best for last: a cheap and easy video streamer is arguably the best technology you can get for your home right now. These are small boxes or "sticks" you plug into any free HDMI port on a TV.

The most affordable one at $35 or less is the Google Chromecast. It delivers most of the key streaming services (Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Pandora, YouTube, Watch ESPN and many others), but the main caveat is that you need to use your smartphone or tablet as the remote.

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Amazon Fire TV Stick

For $5 more than the Chromecast, the Fire TV Stick adds a nice dedicated remote control. It's got most of the key services young people want (Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Crackle, Amazon Instant), and just added HBO Go and the "skinny bundle" cable alternative, Sling TV.

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Roku Streaming Stick

At just under $50, the Roku Streaming Stick is a tad more expensive than the Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV Stick. But for the extra money, you get a wider selection (more than 2,000 channels, including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, HBO Go, Showtime Anytime, Vudu and Watch ESPN).

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Roku 2

Spending just $20 more than the Roku Streaming Stick will get you the new-for-2015 Roku 2, which delivers a much speedier interface. Yes, $70 is more than $50 -- but that gets you the best media streamer on the market today.

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Apple TV

The Apple TV, meanwhile, is always rumored to be replaced by a newer, better model. While that hasn't happened yet, Apple keeps adding more channels (like HBO Now), making it a worthy Roku 2 alternative for anyone who prefers seamless compatibility with iPhones, iPads and iTunes media. Originally $99, Apple cut the price to $69 in March.

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