Yes, you can spend less than $50 and still get some great tech. Here are CNET's favorites as of summer 2015.
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.
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.
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).
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.