One of the best gifts under $50 you can get someone is the second-generation Amazon Echo Dot. Just ask Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant, to do your bidding -- play music, control your smart-home devices, set a timer, or even tell you a joke. The audio quality isn't fantastic, but you can connect it to any other stereo or speaker system.
Don't need voice control and want to save a few bucks? The $35 Chromecast Audio turns any old stereo, boombox or dusty PC speakers into a wireless music system. Just tap a button on phone or tablet apps like Spotify, Pandora, NPR One or iHeart Radio, and the music is transported to those bigger speakers via Wi-Fi. It works with iPhones and iPads with a few apps, but Android users can send any audio from their phone without restriction.
Buying a gift for a TV or movie fan? You can't go wrong with the Roku Streaming Stick. This little $50 streamer turns any HDMI-equipped TV into a gateway to online entertainment bliss: Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, YouTube, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, HBO Now and literally hundreds of other streaming channels.
We liked the Logitech X100 wireless Bluetooth speaker -- which can play any audio from a smartphone, tablet and many computers -- when it was priced closer to $60. But now you can find it for as little as $30.
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.
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 $35.
We're starting to see prices on wireless Bluetooth headphones dip below $100, but the Creative Sound Blaster Jam is the first wireless model for under $50 that we can recommend. It's perfect for anyone who likes listening to music on their smartphone or tablet without being encumbered by wires.
The $50 Biolite PowerLight Mini is a handy lantern, bike light, and charger all in one. You clip it to a pocket or strap or mount to your bike (mount included) and its 1,350mAh USB rechargeable battery provides up to 52 hours of light or a backup boost to your phone. Lighting modes include White Lantern, Red Night Vision, Red/White Strobe and White Point Light.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET
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).
For as low as $30, this super-lightweight music player boasts a built-in clip, has a no-frills digital screen for easy browsing, and works with both PCs and Macs. The best news? You don't need to sync with iTunes -- just drag and drop your music files.
The Fuji Instax Mini 8 brings back the fun of old-school instant Polaroid-style photography. The film prints are reasonably priced, too -- which is good, because kids raised on digital love snapping pics.
The entry-level Fire tablet isn't top-notch. But if you're buying a gift for an Amazon Prime member, you could do a lot worse. It costs just $50 but boasts a 7-inch screen and includes expandable storage. (If you're buying for kids, spend up to get the Kids Edition -- it's twice as much, but includes a no-questions-asked, two-year replacement policy.)
We can't say the Blu R1 is a great phone. And at $60, it costs a bit more than the $50 budget on this story. But you won't find a better new phone for the price (which is all-in, no contract required).
While the $60 Nintendo Mini-NES is also a bit beyond the scope of our budget, it's the perfect gift for both kids and nostalgic parents. It includes 30 built-in games -- including classics like Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, Zelda and Tecmo Bowl -- and connects to any HDTV. If you can find one -- and it's a big if -- pick up an extra controller for $10 for two-player fun.
If your child ever played Pokemon Go for more than a week, this Nintendo band will be a welcome gift. It tracks and helps capture Pokemon goods when the app's not on, which also might let you get your phone back for a little while. Unfortunately -- like Nintendo's NES Classic retro console -- demand outstrips supply, so it often sells online for far more than its $35 list price.