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Best Mother's Day tech gifts under $100

Can't afford to spend a lot on mom this Mother's Day? Despair not, you can get some nice gear for less than a 100 bucks.

David Carnoy
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
John Falcone Senior Editorial Director, Shopping
John P. Falcone is the senior director of commerce content at CNET, where he coordinates coverage of the site's buying recommendations alongside the CNET Advice team (where he previously headed the consumer electronics reviews section). He's been a CNET editor since 2003.
Expertise Over 20 years experience in electronics and gadget reviews and analysis, and consumer shopping advice Credentials
  • Self-taught tinkerer, informal IT and gadget consultant to friends and family (with several self-built gaming PCs under his belt)
David Carnoy
John Falcone
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Best tech deals for less than $100

So you don't have a ton to spend on mom this Mother's Day. Well, don't worry for around $100 -- or less -- you can pick up lots of high quality and useful tech gear she'll appreciate. Read on to see our some of sub-$100 favorites.

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Roku 3

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, YouTubeSling 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.

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Apple TV

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, HBO Go, and HBO's standalone subscription service, HBO Now. Better yet, it got a recent price drop to $69.

Amazon Fire TV
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Amazon Fire TV

Amazon's Fire TV ($99), a Roku and Apple TV competitor, is another top streaming media box with particular appeal to Amazon Prime members who get access to lots of free content. And 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.

Amazon Kindle 2012
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Amazon Kindle 2014

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.

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Logitech MX Master wireless mouse

Your mom probably wouldn't run out and buy Logitech's new $99.99 MX Master on her own. But this is a high-performance wireless mouse with a built-in rechargeable battery that anyone would appreciate as a gift.

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Amazon Fire HD 6

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.

Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight
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Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight

If mom's not an Amazon Prime member -- and if she doesn'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.

Seagate Seven
9 of 23 Dong Ngo/CNET

Seagate Seven Portable Drive

The Seagate Seven 500GB portable drive ($99.99) may not offer the most storage bang for the buck, but it is the slimmest portable hard drive out there and offers excellent performance.

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Sol Republic Shadow Wireless

Sol Republic's Shadow Wireless has a flexible around-the-neck design. It's one of those Bluetooth headphones you can leave on all day and forget you're wearing it.  It's available in a lighter gray color.

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Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760

The Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 is eco-friendly and practical -- use it with a Mac, iPad or iPhone, and never worry about recharging the battery.

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Wacom Creative Stylus 2

The Wacom Creative Stylus 2 is a perfect choice for you creative types who like using the iPad as a sketchbook. And the sub-$80 price won't sting.

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JBL Flip 2

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.)

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Beyerdynamic DTX 350p

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.)

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Sony MDR-7506

An oldie, but a goodie. Despite being first released in the 1990s, the Sony MDR-7506s may well be the best-sounding headphones you can get for under $100.

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Garmin Vivofit

Looking for a low-maintenance step counter? The Garmin Vivofit is waterproof and has a one-year battery life, despite its always-on screen. Not bad for about $100.

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Jawbone Up24

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.)

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18 of 23 Logitech

Logitech Harmony 650

It's a few years old, but the Logitech Harmony 650 is still the best universal remote you can get for under $80 -- just be ready to invest some time and effort into programming it on your Mac or PC.

Logitech Harmony Home Control
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Logitech Harmony Home Control

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.

Jawbone Mini Jambox
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Jawbone Mini Jambox

The Jambox Mini initially retailed for $179, but has steadily dropped in price and now can be had for a couple of bucks north of $100. It's available in a variety colors.

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LG Tone Infinim Bluetooth headphone

LG's Tone Infinim can be had online for a little more than $100, but with its retractable earbud design, it's arguably the best of LG's popular around-the-neck style headphones.

Bose SoundLink Color
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Bose SoundLink Color

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.

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Kindle Paperwhite

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.

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