The best tech gifts for under $50

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If “budget-friendly” and “high-quality” sound like oxymorons to you, you’re in for a surprise. As it turns out, you can buy a number of great gifts without completely draining your savings account, which makes it easy to pick up a present for your anniversary, a birthday party, or one of the many other gift-giving occasions strewn throughout the year.

Finding the right gift can still be tough, however, even when there is a sea of budget-friendly items for under $50 to choose from. That’s why we’ve put together a selection of techy gift ideas, all of which we’ve personally tested or have received as gifts ourselves. These range from entertaining picks like disposable cameras and wireless earbuds to more practical gifts like video doorbells and smart garage door openers. We’ve also highlighted an assortment of last-minute gifts that are more unique than your run-of-the-mill gift card — including game passes and audiobook subscriptions.

Take a look, and see how many fun gifts you can buy for very little.

Echo Dot (fifth-gen)

An all-in-one smart speaker and virtual assistant

In a way, gifting Amazon’s fifth-gen Echo Dot is like gifting multiple items at once. The spherical device makes for a great-sounding speaker, one that can fill a room surprisingly well despite its small footprint. At the same time, the latest model doubles as an Eero mesh Wi-Fi extender and a virtual assistant your loved ones can use to set alarms, check the weather, and control other smart home devices. Right now, you can buy the fifth-gen smart speaker for $49.99 at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target. Read our review.

$50

The fifth-gen Echo Dot touts a temperature sensor, better sound, and faster response time than the prior model. It can also act as an extender for your Eero Wi-Fi system.

Skullcandy Jib True 2

A pair of wireless earbuds that integrate with Tile

A great pair of wireless earbuds are the perfect gift for music lovers, and Skullcandy’s new Jib True 2 boast a nice combination of features for the price. Both earbuds work independently and feature a surprising amount of passive noise cancellation along with an IPX4 water resistance rating that helps ensure they can withstand a jaunt at the gym or the occasional downpour. Each earbud also features integrated Tile tracking, which allows you to locate the earbuds via the Tile app on your phone if you happen to misplace them. Right now, you can buy the Jib True 2 in a variety of fun colors at Amazon, Skullcandy, and Macy’s for around $28 ($10 off).

$27

The Jib True 2 offer solid performance for the price. In addition to standard features like IPX4 dust and water resistance, each earbud also sports integrated Tile tracking and the ability to function independently.

Blink Video Doorbell

A video doorbell that provides extra peace of mind while away

A Blink Video Doorbell can help keep your loved ones safe and provide them with some extra peace of mind, regardless of whether they’re home or vacationing elsewhere. The 1080p camera easily pairs with smartphones, so they can keep track of who’s knocking on their door via an app, and it offers all the basics they’ll need to feel safe, including night vision, motion-activated recording, two-way audio, and up to two years of battery life. So long as they’re okay going without smart alerts and some of the bells and whistles found on more expensive video doorbells, the Blink Video Doorbell is a good camera that’ll get the job done. Regularly $49.99, you can buy it for $39.99 at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target.

$40

The Blink Video Doorbell is a single 1080p camera that pairs with your phone, allowing you to see who is at your door, regardless of where you are.

Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

A streaming device that’s loaded with Rotten Tomatoes ratings

A streaming device like Google’s excellent Chromecast with Google TV (4K) is a welcome present, no matter the occasion. That’s because it grants your giftee access to every major streaming service while offering support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, and a wide array of apps. Unlike its rivals, however, the gadget also curates recommendations from a variety of streaming services and provides Rotten Tomatoes scores, helping your loved one quickly find something worthwhile to binge-watch. You currently can buy Google’s 4K-ready Chromecast for $49.99 from Best Buy, Target, and Google. Read our review.

$50

The Chromecast with Google TV introduces a dedicated remote and new software. It brings together recommendations from all of your streaming services and supports 4K HDR content with Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HDR10 Plus.

Google Chromecast with remote

The Chromecast with Google TV (4K) is among our favorite streaming devices, one that comes bundled with a remote.
Photo: Chris Welch / The Verge

Kodak M35 35mm film camera

A “disposable” camera that’s reusable

There’s something charming about old-school low-tech gadgets like disposable cameras. Kodak’s pocket-size M35 offers all of the charms single-use cameras do except for one thing: it can be reused again and again with 35mm rolls of film. The M35 serves as a nice introduction to analog photography and is a creative present your giftee will love, especially if they’re the nostalgic, sentimental sort. It typically retails for around $28, but you can currently buy it at B&H Photo for as low as $17.99.

$18

Kodak’s M35 works like a disposable camera but can be reused with 35mm film rolls.

An Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch gaming subscription

Because why gift one game when you can gift hundreds?

Sure, you could gift the gamer in your life a game for under $50, but a pass to one of the more prominent gaming subscriptions offers a lot more value for your money. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate grants you access to exclusive discounts, online multiplayer, and more than 100 games for PC and Xbox consoles, ranging from older titles like Doom to the newly remastered GoldenEye 007. A one-month digital subscription typically costs $15.99, though you can currently buy a three-month pass for around $25 from Eneba or $27 from CDKeys. You can also buy it for $41.66 ($3 off) on Amazon or at its full price of $44.99 at Best Buy.

The Xbox logo

$25

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate offers access to more than 100 titles, which you can play on multiple devices. The pass also gives subscribers access to exclusive deals, online multiplayer, and Microsoft’s cloud gaming service, Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Alternatively, you could also gift PlayStation Plus Essential if their primary console is the PlayStation 4 or 5. Every month, they’ll be able to download free PlayStation 4 and 5 titles while enjoying access to online multiplayer, exclusive discounts, and 100GB of cloud storage for saved games. Plus, until May 9th, PlayStation 5 owners can play games from the PlayStation Plus Collection, like the predecessor to God of War Ragnarök, The Last of Us Remastered, and other last-gen titles. PlayStation Plus Essential costs $9.99 a month, though you can currently pick up a three-month subscription for $24.99 from PlayStation.

$25

A membership to PlayStation Plus allows PlayStation 4 and PS5 owners to play games online, download free titles every month, use cloud save backups, and take advantage of discounts on the PS Store.

Finally, for gamers who prefer playing on the Nintendo Switch, there’s the Nintendo Switch Online membership. The digital subscription grants members access to over 70 titles from Nintendo’s catalog of classic NES and SNES games. That’s in addition to letting subscribers play online with friends and the ability to back up game data online. You can buy a one-year subscription for $19.99 from Amazon, Best Buy, and Target.

If you don’t mind forking out extra, there’s also the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, which cost $49.99 per year. It offers the same benefits as the Nintendo Switch Online membership but also grants access to Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 64 titles, not to mention DLC content for select games (including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe). Right now, can pick up a subscription from Nintendo, Amazon, and Best Buy.

$20

A premium online service for Nintendo Switch owners, allowing you to play online with friends and access cloud saves in addition to a slate of retro games released in the NES and SNES eras.

Anker Magnetic Wireless Charger

A magnetic wireless charger that’s cheaper than Apple’s official MagSafe puck

Anker’s Magnetic Wireless Charger is one of our favorite magnetic chargers and a useful gift to buy if your loved one uses an iPhone. It’s tiny and lightweight, so they can easily throw it in their bag while on the go, and it comes bundled with a five-foot USB-C cable. It also charges up to 7.5 watts, which is enough to fully juice a phone overnight or give it a quick top-up while out and about. Right now, it’s available for $25.99 at Amazon and Newegg.

Alternatively, if your loved one owns an Android phone, there’s Belkin’s BoostCharge Wireless Charging Stand. It’s capable of providing Qi-enabled devices with up to 10 watts of power but also doubles as a stand, allowing your giftee to view notifications with ease. You can buy it for around $34.99 at Best Buy and direct from Belkin.

$26

This Anker magnetic charging puck has a five-foot USB-C cable and wirelessly charges an iPhone at up to 7.5W.

$35

Belkin’s cradle-like BoostCharge can supply Android phones, iPhones, and other Qi-equipped devices with up to 10 watts.

JBL Go 3

A tiny waterproof speaker that’s perfect for blasting music at the beach (or in the shower)

If your giftee is an avid beachgoer or someone who is always on the move, the JBL Go 3 is worth considering. The waterproof Bluetooth speaker is tiny enough that you can easily slip it into your backpack or pocket before heading out the door, and it comes with a loop that allows you to quickly attach it to a bag. Plus, it offers up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge and comes in a vibrant red colorway, camo, and a variety of other fun hues that should stand out no matter where you set it. The JBL Go 3 is available for $49.99 at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target.

$50

Perfect for the pool or beach, the JBL Go 3 may not be quite as powerful as larger models in the JBL lineup but remains an excellent choice for a Bluetooth speaker that can fit in your pocket.

Apple AirTag / Tile Mate

A location tracker so they can speed through baggage claim faster

Whether your loved one is a frequent traveler or just the forgetful sort, they’ll appreciate a Bluetooth tracker. It’ll help them keep tabs on everything from keys to suitcases, allowing them to spot luggage and leave baggage claim a lot faster. Both an AirTag and the Tile Mate are good options; however, Apple’s location tracker may be better for those deeply embedded in Apple’s ecosystem given how well it pairs with the iPhone. You can buy an AirTag for $29 at Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart, though keep in mind your giftee will need to spend extra on an AirTag loop if they want to attach it to their keys or bag.

Alternatively, if you have no idea what type of phone your giftee uses, it may be a better idea to pick up a Tile Mate, which performs many of the same functions but works with both Android and iOS. Right now, you can buy the 2022 model for $19.99 instead of its typical retail price of $24.99 at AmazonBest Buy, and Target. Read our AirTag review.

An AirTag in an Apple keychain accessory

$29

Apple’s AirTags can help you find your lost items with UWB technology. You’ll get the best compatibility with an iPhone, though Apple released an Android app to detect an AirTag’s location if one seems to be following you.

$20

The update to the Tile Mate doesn’t change much but gives it a softer, more rounded design to make it more durable.

AirTags

AirTags can help your loved ones keep track of their stuff.
Photo: Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

8BitDo Pro 2

A terrific Nintendo Switch controller that works with other devices

8BitDo’s Pro 2 is an excellent Nintendo Switch controller, one your giftee can also connect to their PC or smartphone via Bluetooth. The Pro-like controller makes gaming just a little more fun and comfortable thanks to features like hand grips, which is something even Nintendo’s more expensive Pro Controller lacks. While it doesn’t offer support for Nintendo’s HD rumble or Amiibos, it does provide a handful of other useful features, including customizable back paddles and relatively fast charging thanks to USB-C. You can currently buy it in one of three colors for $49.99 at Amazon and Best Buy. Read our review.

$50

The 8BitDo Pro 2 offers many of the same features as the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller but at a far lower price point. It features extra triggers, hand grips, remappable buttons, and back paddles and can pair with Windows, macOS, and mobile devices via Bluetooth.

Wyze Bulb Color

A smart bulb so they don’t have to pause their movie to turn off the light

When you’re curled up on the couch watching a movie, the last thing you want to do is get up and turn off the light. With Wyze’s color Wi-Fi bulbs, however, your loved ones won’t have to. The LED bulbs are compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so all they need to do is use their voice to turn the lights off. When they do want them on, the 1,100-lumen smart bulbs will brighten up their home with an array of colorful lighting. You can buy a pack of two bulbs at Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart for $26.98.

$27

Wyze’s smart LED bulbs can turn on, off, and dim via Wi-Fi. They’re also compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa and can reach a peak brightness of 1,100 lumens.

Kasa smart plugs

A plug that can smarten up the devices in your home

Speaking of turning the lights on with just your voice, TP-Link’s Kasa smart plugs can transform traditional gadgets into smart ones. As a result, your giftee can use their voice to control a wide range of devices, including lamps, fans, and humidifiers. They don’t need to be home to do so, either, since you can set them on a schedule and control them using Kasa’s mobile app for Android and iOS. They’re also compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Right now, you can buy a four-pack of the hub-less smart plugs for $29.99 at Amazon and B&H Photo or a three-pack for $19.99 ($5 off) at Best Buy.

$30

The Kasa smart plug is a good inexpensive smart plug that’s compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and can also monitor energy use.

Chamberlain myQ smart garage controller

A smart garage door controller that helps keep packages safe

Another good gift for the forgetful sort? Chamberlain’s Bluetooth-equipped smart garage door controller. Your friend or loved one can use the useful gadget to remotely close their garage door using their smartphone, which is a capability that comes in handy when they rush out to work in the morning and forget. The controller also works with Amazon Key and Walmart’s InHome delivery service. This means they can request their Amazon and Walmart packages be dropped off inside their garage, which can help keep your giftee’s deliveries safe and secure. You can buy Chamberlain’s myQ Smart Garage Control for around $29.99 at Best Buy and Lowe’s.

$30

With Chamberlain’s smart garage door controller, you can open and close your garage door from any location using your smartphone.

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Blink Mini indoor security camera

A camera designed to keep an eye on your home when you’re away

Speaking of keeping your belongings safe, Blink’s indoor security camera is another gadget that can help put your giftee’s mind at ease. A Blink Mini allows your loved one to keep an eye on their home while they’re away and even receive alerts when activity is detected in preselected areas. The wired 1080p camera also allows for two-way audio chat, making it a good option for those who want to keep tabs on their dog or a kid from another room in their home. Normally $34.99, the Alexa-equipped camera is currently on sale for just $24.49 at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target. Read our review.

$24

The Blink Mini includes a ball-and-socket mount, a USB-C cable for powering it, and a power adapter.

An Audible Premium Plus or Kindle Unlimited subscription

A subscription fit for even the pickiest of bibliophiles

Gifting a bookworm something that grants them access to thousands of books is obviously a good idea. A Kindle Unlimited subscription costs $9.99 a month and provides access to more than 3 million digital titles, including bestsellers and classics. Alternatively, if your loved one is more into audiobooks than traditional reading, you can gift them a $14.95 per month Audible Premium Plus subscription. That way, they’ll be able to enjoy thousands of audiobooks and podcasts as well as one premium audiobook every month.

$10

Kindle Unlimited grants access to millions of digital titles, from bestsellers to classics, for $9.99 a month.

$15

An Audible Premium Plus subscription grants instant access to thousands of audiobooks, podcasts, and one premium audiobook a month.

Rocketbook Core

A reusable notebook saves them money on paper

If your giftee takes a lot of notes for school or work, Rocketbook’s smart notebooks will surely come in handy. The notebooks are erasable and, thus, reusable, so they don’t have to keep buying (and wasting) paper. Plus, they can use Rocketbook’s companion app to store their notes in all the major cloud-based services, including Google Drive, Slack, and iCloud.

There is a wide range of Rocketbook notebooks currently available, with some offering lined or dot grid paper and even preexisting templates like calendars. Right now, for instance, buy the 8.5-by-11-inch Rocketbook Core with 32 dot grid pages, a microfiber cloth, and a Pilot Frixion erasable pen for $23.03 ($11 off) on Amazon, $24.49 ($10 off) at Target, or from Rocketbook for $36.99.

$23

The Rocketbook Core is an erasable, reusable notebook that you can use to quickly store your notes in the cloud. 

Razer DeathAdder V2 Mini

A mouse that makes gaming (and working) more comfortable

If your giftee uses a PC, Razer’s DeathAdder V2 Mini can make gaming (and working) more enjoyable. The wired mouse is the smaller version of one of our favorite models, which we praised for being exceptionally comfortable and supportive. It shares a similar design with an 8,500 DPI sensor and a relatively straightforward button layout; however, the lightweight gaming mouse only features a single button for switching the DPI as opposed to two. The Mini is currently available for $49.99 at Razer and Best Buy, though we’ve seen the price drop to as low as $14.99 in recent months.

$50

Razer’s right-handed DeathAdder V2 Mini features an 8,500 DPI optical sensor and six buttons. The wired gaming mouse is also incredibly lightweight at just 62 grams.

Daniel Craig returns as Benoit Blanc in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

With a Netflix subscription, your giftee can stream hits like Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.
Image: Netflix

A gift card for Netflix or Disney Plus

A gift card that opens the door to endless entertainment

You can’t go wrong with a gift card for one of the major streaming services, which can be used to binge countless hours of entertainment. The most notable is Netflix, which grants access to popular shows and movies like Wednesday, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, and Stranger Things and starts at $6.99 a month. Right now, you can buy a digital Netflix gift card at Target, Best Buy, and Amazon or order a physical gift card from Best Buy.

$30

The well-known streaming service offers individual subscriptions starting at $6.99 per month as well as more premium tiers that allow for 4K resolution and additional users.

Alternatively, you can gift multiple streaming services in the form of a Disney Bundle subscription. The three-in-one package caters to a wide range of interests, from family-friendly content like The Mandalorian to sports, as it includes Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus. The ad-supported plan starts at $12.99 a month, and you can subscribe here.

$13

For $12.99 a month, you’ll get ad-supported access to Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus, which is cheaper than you’d otherwise pay if you purchased each subscription separately.

ElevationLab’s under-desk headphone mount

A dual hanger that declutters your desk quickly and easily

Noise-canceling headphones can help you focus while working, but their sheer size can clutter your desk and make it harder to concentrate when you’re not using them. ElevationLab’s Anchor Pro takes care of that problem by acting as a headphone “hanger” that attaches underneath your desk and keeps cables out of the way. The handy contraption is sturdy enough that it can feasibly hold two gaming headsets or pairs of headphones, no matter their size or weight, with a hook that’s also suitable for hanging your keys. Right now, you can buy the Anchor Pro hanger for $15.95 on Amazon and direct from ElevationLab.

$16

An under-desk headphone hanger that uses 3M adhesive for mounting and includes a Velcro strap to anchor a headphone cable.


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