Free COVID at-home test kits Omicron vs. delta New Google Maps features Jack Reacher trailer Walmart PS5 and Xbox Series X restock Cyber Week deals
CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Best holiday gifts under $300 for 2021

From new true wireless earbuds to a mini massage gun, these are the best tech gifts in the $100 to $300 range this holiday season.

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift.

Are you fortunate enough to be able to splurge on some gifts this holiday season? Good news: We've got a bunch of CNET-approved gift ideas in our gift guide below, all of which are available for under $300 -- and have been fully reviewed or anecdotally tested by our editors. You've got lots of options in this price range, where you'll start to see more premium-grade products. From massagers and headphones, here are gifts that are perfect for Mom, Dad and other loved ones for a special occasion.

David Carnoy/CNET

No earbuds are perfect, of course, and not everybody will love the fit of the Sony WF-1000XM4 buds or be able to afford their high price. But if you're looking for great-sounding earbuds with great noise canceling, solid voice-calling capabilities and good battery life, these buds check all the boxes. As of Nov. 1, these have dropped from $278 to $248 at most retailers -- the best price to date.

Read our Sony WF-1000XM4 review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

First released in 2020, the 1.5-pound Theragun Mini massager is designed to be portable, easily fitting in a backpack or purse. While it doesn't have quite the power of one of Theragun's full-size devices, it's surprisingly powerful considering how small it is. I've tried larger massage guns in this price range, and it's just as powerful but half the size. The rechargeable battery is rated to last two-and-a-half hours, and a neoprene protective case is included. 

FIND THE PERFECT GIFT

Under $50Under $100Under $250Under $500All
allmomsdadsgrandparentsfitnesstravelersteenspreteenstechgaminghomefoodieskids
67 results
Scott Stein/CNET

If you want to jump into the world of VR, the Oculus Quest 2 is a great option and the base model now comes with 128GB instead of 64GB for the same price ($299). Oculus Quest 2 provides a sound and cinematic 3D user experience. Last year the Quest 2 was hard to get, but it seems to be readily available this year and we should see some special offers on it around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Read our Oculus Quest 2 review.

Read our Oculus Quest 2 review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

Altra shoes are known for their wide toe boxes, which makes them favorites for those with wide feet (or people who just like wide toe boxes). If you're looking to do some virtual workouts with your new Oculus Quest 2 -- or IRL workouts -- the company's Solistice XT 2 shoe is a versatile cross-trainer that can be used for gym sessions or road running. This can be a perfect birthday gift for your gym junkie boyfriend.

Altra says the "caged upper is firmer than the previous model, and the toe reinforcement promotes toe protection." They're also available in white, as well as in a women's version.

Eli Blumenthal/CNET

After nearly three years, Apple as finally given the Apple TV 4K an upgrade. The new Apple TV 4K costs $179 with 32GB storage or $199 with 64GB.

Along with an upgraded A12 Bionic processor, the biggest upgrade is the all-new Siri remote control. Silver in color instead of the original's black, it features a directional pad at the top (with gesture support), a Siri toggle on the side and a power button for controlling your TV. The new d-pad addresses a lot of the complaints users had with the original remote, with its larger touchpad and lack of directional cues.

Read our Apple TV 4K (2021) review.

 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Here's the deal: It's nearly impossible to get a PS5 or Xbox Series X, even a year after their release. But the stepdown Xbox Series S is in stock at some retailers with comparative frequency. Yes, there are caveats: There's no optical disc drive, the resolution is less than true 4K and it only has half the storage as its big brother. But it plays all of the same games, including Halo Infinite. It's a great choice for a lot of gamers.

Read our Microsoft Xbox Series X|S review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

When it launched, Bose made some bold claims about its new SoundLink Flex Bluetooth speaker, particularly its bass performance. But it mostly lives up to the hype and arguably is the best-sounding wireless speaker for its compact size. Available in three color options -- black, white smoke and stone blue (pictured) -- it's equipped with Bose's PositionIQ technology to automatically detect the speaker's orientation and deliver optimized sound based on whether upright, hanging or flat on its back. Read our SoundLink Flex review.

Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

With the arrival of the Apple Watch 7, we should see some intriguing discounts on earlier Apple Watch models, but the SE remains arguably the best value when it comes Apple smartwatches. It starts around $270 for the 40mm model with GPS and little more than $300 for the larger 44mm model. You can also get it with LTE cellular service.

While it doesn't have some of the extra health features of the Apple Watch 6 and 7, it offers decent performance for those who don't want to spend that much on an Apple Watch.

Read our Apple Watch SE review.

 

HP

The HP CC200 is a mini LED projector with native 1080p resolution that offers a decent enough picture for the price. It's not the brightest projector (200 lumens), so it works best in a darkened room, but the image is pretty sharp and the projector is easy to set up, but its feet aren't adjustable so you'll have to position it correctly to get a good rectangular image. The built-in speaker provides ample sound (it's not great sound, but good enough) and the projector has a nice look to it, though it doesn't feel premium.

Note that this projector, while portable, does have to be plugged in, and does not have any built-in streaming platforms so you'll need to connect a video streaming device to its HDMI port. If you have one already, great, but HSN is selling the CC200 with a Roku Express ($29) and a simple cloth screen for $260, which is a pretty good deal.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Available in white or black for $179, the Roam is currently Sonos' smallest and most affordable speaker (if you don't count those $99 Sonos-compatible Ikea Symfonisk Wi-Fi bookshelf speakers). For its size, it sounds impressive and is equipped with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Even if Dad doesn't have a Sonos system already, this is a good starter speaker and he can use his own money to add more Sonos gear in the future. Read our Sonos Roam review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're looking for the best-sounding pair of audio glasses with the best overall performance -- that includes call quality and battery life -- the Bose Frames Tempo are the one to get. It's ostensibly a sports model designed for runners and bikers, and while it's a little bulky, it stays on your head securely. 

The Tempo offers slightly better sound and battery life than the more traditional-looking Tenor, which is a good choice for a more everyday set of audio sunglasses. The Tempo has better specs all-around, with USB-C charging and larger 22mm drivers. It also delivers up to eight hours of battery life.

Their sound is definitely improved from the original Frames. Bose says the Tempo plays "deeper and louder -- loud enough for cycling at 25 mph -- while still able to hear traffic and your training partners." They're sweat-, weather-, scratch- and shatter-resistant, according to Bose and fit under most protective helmets. (I had no problem using them with a couple of bike helmets.) They also work well for making calls, thanks to a new dual-microphone system. Optional lenses are available for $39 and you can order prescription lenses through Lensabl.

Read our Bose Frames review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

Dads secretly want an electric razor even if they've never used one. While many fathers have been spending a lot of time at home these days letting their beards grow out, dad might take more of an interest in shaving if he had a new gadget.

The Braun Series 7 isn't the top-of-the-line Braun (the $250 Series 9 is), it's still in premium territory with a price tag of $30. It can be used dry or wet -- it's fully waterproof -- and comes with beard trimmers, a cleaning dock and a carrying case. Battery life is rated at up to 50 minutes on a full charge and a quick five-minute charge will get you enough juice for a shave. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

With a full-fledged 4K HDR Roku streamer built in and a single voice remote controlling everything, this bar makes a thoughtful gift and offers a simple all-in-one audio-video system. Setup is a breeze: Plug it into a TV with a simple HDMI connection. Sound quality is very good for a single bar, and you can add Roku's optional wireless subwoofer for more punch. It also comes with the much-loved Roku remote control. (This model is basically just the Smart Soundbar with an upgraded voice remote.)

Read our Roku Smart Soundbar review.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Ember makes 10-ounce ($100) and 14-ounce versions ($130) of its temperature-controlled smart mug that keeps your hot beverage of choice hot while you sip it over a longer drinking session. While it won't keep your coffee or tea warm for hours, the idea is that you can select your ideal temp via the companion Ember app for iOS or Android and keep your beverage at a high temp during the 30 minutes or so it takes to casually drink it.

I personally prefer the larger 14-ounce version, but does cost more. A good insulated mug with a top on it will also keep your beverage hot (and they are cheaper), but this Ember mug allows you to drink a cup of joe like you normally would and not sip it through a small hole in a top.

This larger version is available in black or white while the smaller 10-ounce model is available in a variety of color options.

Amazon

Available in multiple color options, the latest version of JBL's Charge Bluetooth Speaker delivers improved sound with more bass. It's bigger than your average portable Bluetooth speaker, but it's got some good kick to it and like previous Charge speakers, it has a USB out port that allows your to charge a device like smartphone. Battery life is rated at up to 20 hours at moderate volume levels. It's fully waterproof and dust-proof.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Beats Studio Buds look a lot like the rumored stemless AirPods we've been waiting for. Geared toward both iOS and Android users, they are missing a few key features on the Apple side of things (there's no H1 or W1 chip), but they're small, lightweight buds that are comfortable to wear and offer really good sound. While their noise canceling isn't as good as the AirPods Pro's, they have a transparency mode and are decent for making calls. Ultimately, their fit and sound quality are the strongest selling points -- and they're about $50 cheaper than the AirPods Pro. Prefer full active noise cancellation? Check out the new $200 Beats Fit Pro instead.

More gift ideas