The Nintendo Switch is a bit too expensive for this list at $299, but at half that price the smaller, sleeker 2DS XL is a great consolation prize for on-the-go gamers who love Nintendo's library of titles. Plus, two screens are always better than one.
The Plus-sized version of the original Echo is shorter and cloth-covered, and has improved sound quality as well as a Zigbee hub built in. The Sonos One is better overall, but maybe the smart home fan on your list really, really likes Zigbee devices.
With Google Assistant built-in and excellent sound quality, the Link 300 is the smart speaker with a bit of something extra. And being a JBL, it supports Bluetooth and works with Chromecast systems too.
Amazon's sub adds more bass to your Echo speakers, making it a great choice for Echo owners who complain about their little cylenders' weak sound. But if you want the most sonic improvement, buy a second Echo to form a stereo pair.
Perhaps your gift-ee prefers smart speakers with screens. First up is Amazon's new Echo Show, which packs Alexa behind a screen and improved on the sound, and style, or the original. And yes, it can do YouTube.
With a smaller screen and no built-in camera, Google's first smart display takes a different tack from the Echo Show. Tight integration with Google Photos and other big-G services, a slick design and most of all a lower price, could make it a more appealing gift.
The new fully backlit Paperwhite improves on its predecessor with a smoother finish, slimmer design and Bluetooth. But the biggest difference is full waterproofing, which should be music to the ears of book lovers who like to relax with a Kindle in the bath.
Does your gift recipient love their iPhone yet hate wires? Chances are they're lusting after these little 'phones, so maybe now is the time to satisfy that craving with the fully-wireless 'phones that started it all.
Wait, what? There are fully-wireless headphones on sale that aren't AirPods? Yep, quite a few good ones in fact, and our favorites are these JBLs. They're better for active users and improve the sound quality compared to Apple's versions.
Cheaper than the "Free" versions in the last slide, these Bose 'phones aren't completely wireless. Instead there's a cord that runs between the two earpieces, behind your neck -- but the connection between the 'phones and your phone doesn't require a wire. It's tough to find a better headphone for the exercise nut on your list.
Speaking of activity, and fitness, there's Fitbit. Maybe the person on your list wants a smartwatch, but you don't want to spring for an Apple Watch. The Versa is our pick for an affordable alternative.
Even less expensive, and more fitness tracker than smart watch, the Charge 3 has a smaller screen and lacks the Versa's app store, but it could be plenty. Battery life and sleep tracking are also better than the Apple Watch.
For the serious runner on your list, it's tough to beat the Forerunner 235 in this price range. It has the heart-rate monitor and GPS run tracking of the others, in a big color screen that's easy to see while you work out.
Does the fitness person on your list hate watches and fitness bands? Maybe you should put a Ring on them. The Moviv only works with iPhones, and it's more limited than a traditional watch or fitness band, but it works surprisingly well.
So what about the serious biker on your list? There's a cap for that. The Coros Linx is less about fitness tracking and more about making it easier and safer to listen to music while you ride. A set of headphones shuts out noise, but the Linx lets you listen to the tunes and keep an ear out for danger.
All that exercise and activity might make your gift recipient healthy, but does it really mean anything if he or she can't film all that fun stuff and share it with friends? The tiny Session is small enough to go just about anywhere, but packs in big features like voice control and image stabilization.
The best GoPro will cost a bit more, but for the tough-to-please action shooter on your list it's worth it. Upgrades over the Session include a removable battery and 4K resolution, for overall video quality that's among the best we've seen in an action cam.
No, you can't get an actual 4K TV for under $250 (yet), but at the small screen sizes necessitated by this price range, you won't see the difference of that extra resolution anyway. The S305 includes the best-in-class Roku Smart TV operating system to please that binge-happy TV addict on your list.
If your giftee already has a 4K TV, however, the Apple TV 4K can help them take their streaming game to the next level. With support for the highest-quality audio and video formats along with Apple's trademark slick interface, it's the best conduit yet for all those iTunes movies and TV shows.
What's that you say? Your streaming, gaming geek wouldn't be caught dead owning an Apple product? For them there's the Shield, a dyed-in-the-wool super-streamer with all of the nerdy fixing and the Google stamp of approval.
So maybe your geeky TV fan is way beyond the Shield, to the point where they've already cut the cord and use an antenna to watch a lot of live TV. The Recast, an antenna DVR that can stream live and recorded TV all around the house (and even on their phones, on the go), could be the perfect cord cutter gift.
Cheaper than Amazon's antenna DVR because it doesn't include a hard drive, the AirTV (the little black box below the white antenna in the image above) can still record if you have your own HDD hanging out somewhere. It uses the Sling TV app but your cord cutting gift recipient doesn't need to be a Sling subscriber.
Yes, you can get a Tivo DVR for less $250, and this OTA -- designed for over-the-air TV that cord cutters love -- pretty great. Sure there's that monthly fee (or a single lifetime charge) but you'll be giving the gift of TiVo's awesome interface and a box that can stream apps like Netflix, Amazon and everything else too. It can't connect to multiple TVs like the Recast and AirTV, but as a traditional antenna DVR it's way beyond the Stream+.
You think TiVo is old-school, how about an actual Blu-ray player? OK fine, this one plays 4K Blu-rays with HDR and peak audio quality, but if the 4K TV-owning film buff on your list doesn't have one yet, the X7000 is a great choice.
It's safe to say that every other device on this list pales in comparison to the value of this Vizio. Honest-to-goodness good sound quality, complete with a wireless subwoofer, will have your recipient thanking you every time they blast a movie. Your wallet will thank you for the price.
So what does spending more for a sound bar give your gift recipient? For starters, improved sound quality over the Vizio. The icing on the cake -- or maybe the main selling point -- is built-in Alexa voice control, which makes the Command Bar the affordable, better-sounding alternative to the Sonos Beam.
What's that you say? You want even BETTER sound quality? For less than $250 the conversation begins and ends with a pair of Debut 2.0 bookshelf speakers. If your gift recipient is looking for an upgrade and already owns a receiver or audio system, these speakers will rock their world.
For the dude or dudette with a bunch of audio video gear, nothing beats a universal remote. And despite some innovations in this space recently, like the $99 Caavo Control Center or the Amazon Fire TV Cube (see a couple of slides from now), the basic Harmony clicker is still a great choice for most AV systems.
The best Harmony is the Elite thanks to its screen and improved ergonomics, and after a couple years on the market it's finally cheap enough to make this list. It's probably overkill for most people, but if the person on your list is looking for a truly awesome remote, this is it.
A wacky mashup of universal remote, Fire TV streamer and Alexa speaker, the Fire TV Cube does a lot of things right. If your gift recipient likes talking into thin air rather than pressing buttons, it could bring more, er, Harmony to his or her living room.
Let's switch gears a bit and talk about...printers. No, wait, hear me out. Buying one is a necessary evil for some people, but not all of them look like Kinko's refugees. The Tango X is a printer that could blend into a modernist decor and is designed to print from phones as well as PCs.
Then again, maybe your gift recipient just wants a basic, affordable laser printer / scanner that gets the job done. They'll thank you for this Brother, and you'll appreciate not having to play tech support all the time.
Maybe your headphone fanatic marches to a different drum (n bass). These V-Moda's look and sound so sweet, they basically beat Beats at its own game. The newer Crossfade 2 is $280 so it's just out of this price range, but the original Crossfade is still a great headphone at $200.
A storied name among headphone 'heads, Sennheiser's full-sized wireless headphones exude " street audiophile" yet still manage to clip the wires. If you just can't hack the sticker price of Bose, these are an excellent noise-cancelling alternative.
If your gift recipient is willing to put up with wires, the sound quality goes up...a lot. These Sennheisers sound as good as anything you'll get in this price range, and are comfortable enough for those hours-long home listening sessions.
Old-school in-home headphones are cool and all, but maybe you'd like to give something a bit more modern, something that can keep your recipient warm this winter yet still save on those heating bills. The Ecobee 4 is our favorite smart thermostat, beating out Nest, and includes an actual Alexa speaker built-in.
OK, not everyone wants Alexa in everything. Google-owned Nest wrote the book on stylish smart thermostats, and the latest version adds a temperature sensor to its winning mix. And yes, it too works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
This alternative to Ecobee and Nest might not have the same awesome-gift appeal, but costs a lot less and still delivers all the smart features you expect, including geofencing and Alexa and Siri integration.
Maybe the gift recipient on your list is looking for a bit more security. Here's our favorite all-in-one kit in this price range. It's affordable and simple to use, and really, what more do you want in a security system?
With more features than Ring for a higher price, maybe Abode demonstrates what more you can actually want. The system can easily expand to add more modules and cameras, including third-party Zigbee and Z-wave devices, and unlike Ring it works with Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT.
So maybe that security nut has Panopticon ambitions but doesn't have a power wire handy. Enter the Arlo Pro 2, designed to observe anything in their yard or elsewhere, anytime. Santa, you've been warned.
Another bit of security for your recipient's smart home, this version of the August lock is our favorite overall because it works with Apple's Homekit system. But if you want additional systems to work with it, get the Pro.
The Pro is actually a bundle that includes an accessory that connects the lock to other smart home systems, including Amazon Alexa, the Google Home, Apple HomeKit and Nest. It's expensive, but could be the perfect gift for that security-obsessed person on your list.
Smart bulbs are a dime a dozen, and cheaper than the scope of this list, but if your giftee wants to do smart lighting right, he or she needs smart wall switches. This Lutron is the best way to get them started.
So your gift recipient's smart lighting tastes run toward the less...conventional. These crazy panels can be configured into different shapes and programmed six ways from Sunday, and yes, they even work with Alexa and Siri.
If you've made it this far and still haven't seen a good tech gift between $100 and $250, I don't know what to tell you. Maybe you should just get them this pair of Snapchat sunglasses and call it a day.