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Best tech gifts under $100 for grads

Need a good graduation gift? Here's the coolest tech you can get for under $100.

John Falcone
1 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics BackBeat 500

The ideal gift for someone graduating high school or college is a new pair of wireless headphones -- and there are now plenty of great choices in this under-$100 range. The Plantronics BackBeat 500 is one of our recent favorites, and it costs just $80.

2 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics Backbeat Sense

The older BackBeat Sense wireless headphones have also dipped just south of the $100 mark.

3 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Skullcandy Grind Wireless

The $65 Skullcandy Grind Wireless headphones are a good value for the price, too.

4 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics BackBeat Fit

If you're buying for a runner or an athlete, the sporty BackBeat Fit wireless headphones may be just the ticket.

5 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Monster Adidas Sport Adistar

Monster's Adidas-branded Sport Adistar In-Ear Wireless ($100) is one of the better fitting in-ear wireless sports headphones -- and it also sounds decent for the money. Another good choice for anyone with an active lifestyle.

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If your gifting budget is limited to around $60, the Sony MDR-XB50BS wireless in-ear headphones are a worthy choice.

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Jabra Halo

Jabra Halo Smart is a wireless "neckband" model. Its stereo earbuds magnetically hold together around the neck when not in use.

Sony MDR-7506
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Sony MDR-7506

Moving from wireless to wired headphones: The Sony MDR-7506 headphones are invariably older than the grad you're buying them for -- they first debuted in 1991 -- but they're also the best-sounding headphones you can get for under $100.

9 of 29 David Carnoy/CNET

Beats EP

With its stainless steel build, the $99 Beats EP may be the best value in the Beats line. It comes in black, white, red and blue.

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Bose SoundSport

This in-ear headphone is an older model, but it delivers solid sound -- and the comfy eartips will keep the buds in place during workouts.

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1More Triple Driver

If you're buying for someone who cares more about sound quality than familiar brands, consider the 1More Triple Driver. It's one of the best sounding in-ear headphones under $100.

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UE Wonderboom

The $99 Wonderboom is the latest wireless speaker from Ultimate Ears. It sounds great, and even floats -- making it the perfect speaker for summers around the pool.

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UE Roll 2

The Wonderboom's predecessor, the UE Roll 2, is also fully water-resistant -- and can be found for as low as $55.

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JBL Flip 4

The $99 JBL Flip 4 is also waterproof, and delivers similarly great sound.

JBL Flip 3
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JBL Flip 3

The Flip 4's predecessor, the Flip 3, is still pretty great, and you can find it on sale for closer to $80.

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Amazon Fire HD 8

At just $90, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is the best ultracheap tablet you can buy -- and a pretty great gift to boot.

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Kindle Paperwhite

Amazingly, Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite e-reader is actually more expensive than the Fire tablet. But this $119 unit is often discounted to $99. It's a good choice for bookworms who enjoy distraction-free reading.

Roku 3_2015
18 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku Premiere+

Turning to video streaming: There are plenty of Roku models at $50 or less. But in the $100 range you'll find the Roku Premiere+. It's worth the extra cash if you're buying for someone who has a 4K TV with high dynamic range (HDR) video compatibility. But even if they don't, they'll like the Wi-Fi remote (no pointing needed) with a headphone jack for private listening.

Amazon Fire TV_2015
19 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Amazon Fire TV (2015)

The best alternative to Roku at this price point is the Amazon Fire TV. The core Fire TV bundle is now $90, the antenna bundle is $100 and the gaming edition bundle (with gamepad) is down to $130.

20 of 29 James Martin/CNET

Google Chromecast Ultra

Young grads are obsessed with their smartphones. And the Chromecast Ultra lets them beam most video apps (except for Amazon prime) from the phone to a TV, with 4K and HDR compatibility.

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Fitbit Flex 2

The Fitbit Charge 2 and Alta 2 will cost you around $150, but you can gift the more minimalist Flex 2 fitness tracker for closer to $90.

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Logitech MX Master

If you're buying for someone who spends all day on a Mac or Windows PC, a top-notch mouse like the Logitech MX Master is just the ticket.

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Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Wireless Mobile Mouse

The MX Anywhere 2 mouse is basically a downsized, portable version of the MX Master.

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Biolite SolarPanel 5+

Another good gift for outdoorsy grads: Biolite's $80 SolarPanel 5+ is equipped with an internal battery that stores energy from the sun, which means it will keep a charge in reserve for phones and other devices, although tablets will take longer to charge.

25 of 29 David Carnoy/CNET

Mophie PowerStation Plus

If your giftee is heading off to a post-graduation vacation, the Mophie PowerStation Plus is a good travel companion. The $60 external battery charger has an integrated Lightning cable with a micro USB adapter, so it can juice up most mobile devices.

26 of 29 Ry Crist/CNET

Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit

Is your grad moving into a new place? Get it smart home-ready with the Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit. The Alexa-compatible lighting kit includes two dimmable bulbs and a control bridge.

27 of 29 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Samsung Gear VR with Controller

Does your grad have a recent Samsung Galaxy phone? The latest Gear VR headset will turn it into a full-fledged virtual reality headset, with a cool new controller to boot.

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Google Daydream View

The same goes for owners of Google's new phones. The $79 Daydream View turns the Pixel and Pixel XL into VR viewers -- and it includes a small controller as well.

29 of 29 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Amazon Echo Dot (second generation)

If $100 is outside your budget, don't worry: We have a whole separate list of great graduation gift ideas for under $50, too.

See CNET's complete grad tech gift guide

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