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Ian Sherr

Our 23 Favorite Last-Minute Tech Gifts That Only Cost $50 or Less

— Photograph by Alejandro Medellin

Buying technology at a decent price is hard to do on a good day. Finding gifts that are both compatible with a given device and affordable can seem near impossible.

That's why you'll love our list of the best tech gifts for $50 and under. You simply don’t need to spend a lot of money on a good present.

And if you are feeling inspired to get a bigger gift, make sure to check out our list of the 20 best tech gifts under $200 or the 13 best handhelds to get.

23. Anker Powerline III USB-C Cord (6-Ft)

Now that this year's iPhone 15 and its many accessories come with a USB-C port, you can finally use the same cord for pretty much any modern device you own. PlayStation DualSense controller? USB-C. New laptop? USB-C. Rechargeable hand-warmers? Apparently, USB-C too. With so many USB-C devices, of course an extra cord or two would be great. Anker makes some of the most reliable ones out there, like the Powerline III, which is long enough (6 feet) to stretch across your couch and durable enough to last practically forever (Anker touts up to 25,600 bends).

Anker Powerline III USB-C Cord (6-Ft)

Amazon

22. Anker PowerPort Strip PD 2 Mini

Whether it's on a trip, or just on the way to an important meeting, I almost always end up needing to plug in more than one thing for a recharge. And for some reason, it's at the most important times that there's only one outlet available. Thankfully, power strips have gotten so small, they can fit in the palm of your hand, like this 30W power strip from Anker. The PowerPort Strip PD Mini has one USB-C port, two USB-A ports, and two AC outlets. I've carried the last generation of this device around the world, and it's never let me down.

Anker PowerPort Strip PD 2 Mini

Amazon

21. Bagsmart Electronics Organizer Pouch

Half the challenge of traveling for the holidays is carrying all those cords everywhere with you. That's why a travel organizer for electronics, like this one from Bagsmart, is an easy win. Most people already have cases for their phones, tablets, and handheld video games, but almost everyone tends to just shove the cords in a random pocket. This one has two large pockets, a handful of compartments for a mouse, cord, or charger, and even pen slots.

Bagsmart Electronics Organizer Pouch

Amazon

20. Apple EarPods

Finding good wired earbuds is tough, particularly because everyone seems to have competing opinions about them. I am a trained musician, for example, but I still appreciate the value of good, reliable earbuds that can travel in a pocket and still sound relatively solid. For that, I've been a longtime fan of Apple's EarPods, which you can buy with a 3.5 mm jack, a Lightning plug for older iPhones and iPads, or you can get it with the newly released USB-C instead. Oh, and the built-in microphone? It's secretly one of the best on any headphones.

Apple EarPods USB-C

Best Buy

Apple EarPods Lightning (older iPhones and iPads)

Best Buy

Apple EarPods 3.5 mm audio jack

Amazon

19. Casio CA53W-1CR Calculator Watch

Who needs a smartwatch made by Apple, Google, or Samsung when you can relive the last millennium in style with Casio. That's right, Casio is still alive and thriving, selling the same simple and fashionable CA53W-1 CR calculator watch for more than two decades now. The "apps" you get: dual time, an 8-digit calculator with physical buttons, a stopwatch, a calendar, and an alarm. Best of all: No software update will ever brick this quartz watch.

Casio Men's Vintage Calculator Watch

Amazon

18. TP-Link Tapo T15 Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini

There's nothing that makes you feel old like having to reach down and unplug lights or reach to turn off a lamp. Technology, to the rescue! And no, not the Clapper, but instead a Wi-Fi-powered power plug, like this set of three Tapo T15 from networking technology maker TP-Link. It works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung SmartThings. Not only can you remote control them, but you can also set up schedules and auto-off timers, too.

TP-Link - Tapo Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini 3-pack

Best Buy

17. GearLight Headlamp

The GearLight Headlamp is one of those simple, cheap, slap-your-forehead "I should have thought of that!" devices. I use mine when I go into the attic, when I'm poking around inside a computer, and even sometimes when I go on a nighttime walk. When buying, consider whether you want them to include sealed rechargeable batteries or replaceable ones. And some can even tilt up and down, which is especially useful when working on something.

GearLight 2Pack LED Headlamp

Amazon

16. 8BitDo Micro Bluetooth Gamepad

Look, if you're going to buy a tablet, you might as well consider a controller. One of the more popular brands recently has been 8BitDo, whose mini-sized controllers not only give you that nostalgic feel but are also well-liked by many of their users. There are a bunch of different button configurations, but the Micro Bluetooth Gamepad offers great features in a tiny enough package you can easily carry anywhere.

8Bitdo Micro Bluetooth Gamepad Pocket-sized Mini Controller

Amazon

15. JLab Go Air True Wireless Earbuds

Sure, you could spend $100, $150, $200, or more on wireless earbuds with all of the bells and whistles, but you don't have to. Reviewers broadly seem to agree that the affordable JLab Go Air earbuds are worth giving a try. They have a small design that just barely sticks out the ear, a battery case that can extend the buds' five hours of battery life to 20 hours, and the ability to connect to two different devices at the same time. And though the Go Air’s sound won’t compete against more expensive earbuds, reviewers say they offer good bass and an acceptable microphone. There's even a built-in USB-A charging cord!

JLab Go Air True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

Amazon

14. Apple AirTag

We all lose things and, typically, we lose our minds while looking for them. Thankfully, tech has an answer for that: Apple's AirTag. Apple says that it built privacy in mind alongside utility, making it so you can attach this item tracer to your keys, a bike, or whatever else, and easily find them without worrying whether someone at Apple can see where all your stuff is. Earlier this year, the company even released a software update making it easy to share an AirTag's location with a friend.

Apple AirTag

Amazon

13. JBL Go 3 Eco Portable Bluetooth Speaker

It's a gift for someone who has everything. I'm a fan of JBL's IP67-waterproof and dustproof portable Bluetooth speaker, which offers up to five hours of playtime with pretty decent sound. It comes in a bunch of different colors, including an "Eco" design that's made of up to 90 percent post-consumer recycled plastic and 100 percent recycled fabric. There's also a built-in loop for easy attachment to a keychain, backpack, or anywhere, really.

JBL Go 3 Eco

Amazon

12. Logi K585 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard

Logi (formerly, Logitech) makes excellent compact keyboards. The gloriously named K585 can connect with up to two devices by Bluetooth or a 2.4GHz USB receiver, and it has a trench to stand up a phone or tablet. However, the real reason you'll love this keyboard is that you can quickly switch between laptop/desktop and mobile (phone or tablet) connectivity with a single switch without having to fiddle with wireless settings every time.

Logitech K585 Multi-Device Slim Wireless Keyboard

Amazon

11. Pocket Tripod

We've all been there: Trying to eat your meal while also trying to watch something a friend randomly sent you along with the skull emoji. Thankfully, there’s a cottage industry of small stands you can easily carry around and set up at a moment's notice. A popular one among gadget geeks is the Pocket Tripod, which acts as a wallet-sized iPhone tripod.

Pocket Tripod

Amazon

10. Rocketbook Reusable Smart Notebook 8.5" x 11"

As a writer, I'm a sucker for new tools to get ideas out of my head and onto the page. One that I've been really enjoying lately is Rocketbook, a notebook with slightly thicker pages than you'd expect. That's because it's designed to work with erasable pens, and a free app that scans and saves your ideas in pretty much any format you want. It comes in sizes ranging from a standard spiral 8.5" x 11" to a tiny one for your back pocket. I've had the same one for several years now, and am a total fan.

Rocketbook Core Smart Reusable Notebook Lined 8.5" x 11"

Best Buy

9. Keychron C3 Pro Wired Mechanical Keyboard

If wireless keyboards aren't your jam, that's okay. Level up with Keychron's C3 Pro. The company is a trusted household name in hot-swappable mechanical keyboards, and at $37, this mechanical keyboard punches well above its weight. You can't change out the switches (available in red or brown), but you do get a 1,000Hz polling rate for low latency while gaming, 14 programmable lighting modes, and full key mapping using the QMK or VIA software configurators.

Keychron C3 Pro Keyboard

Amazon

8. Wacom Intuos Small Graphics Drawing Tablet

Aspiring artists, this one's for you: a Wacom Tablet. Wacom tablets are typically the go-to for creatives because the company’s digital pens offer pressure sensitivity and accuracy that replicate analog art tools. But whereas most Wacom tablets typically cost hundreds of dollars, the Intuos Small Graphics Drawing Tablet is often on sale for below $40. It lacks more advanced features, but basics like a pressure-sensitive pen with 15 hours of battery life make it a great drawing tablet for beginners.

Wacom Intuos Small Graphics Drawing Tablet

Amazon

7. Anker 735 Charger (Nano II 65W)

Chargers used to be bulky and annoying to carry around, but that's changing thanks to the proliferation of GaN technology, which uses gallium nitride semiconductors that are both more efficient and faster than older charging technologies. The end result is that charging plugs are often small and relatively cheap now too. Wins all around. I've been using this Anker 735 Nano II 65W charger for a couple of years now, and it's got the right mix of power along with USB-C and USB-A ports, all in a compact size that barely takes up any space in a laptop bag.

Anker USB C Charger, 735 Charger Nano II 65W

Amazon

6. GorillaPod 3K Smart Vlogging Tripod

Whether you're trying to level up your camerawork, or are maybe looking for an easy way to set up your phone for a video call, a good tripod can do wonders. And GorillaPod is one of the best. Its 3K Smart Vlogging Tripod has flexible legs that make it easy to contort into whatever shape you need, including the ability to wrap around a tree limb, hang off the back of a chair, and many other wacky things.

Joby GorillaPod 3K Smart Vlogging Tripod

Best Buy

5. Amazon Fire Tablet 7 (Refurbished)

Amazon's Fire Tablet 7 is no iPad — the software is inflexible and hard to modify and it's not the fastest — but as long as you're comfortable with those tradeoffs, it works fine as a consumption device. The Fire Tablet 7 goes for $59.99 brand new, but you can snag a "Certified Refurbished" one for under $50. I like Fire tablets in our house because their relatively low cost means we don't have a heart attack when our young ones mistreat them. They also make for great loaner devices when people visit.

Amazon Fire 7 tablet Certified Refurbished

Amazon

4. Belkin USB-C 4-in-1 Multiport Adapter

I know many techies cringe at the thought of a multi-port dongle hanging off their laptop, but if your laptop is simply lacking essential ports, aesthetics should be the least of your concerns. This USB-C 4-in-1 Multiport Adapter from Belkin is a really good choice. It offers USB-C, USB-A, HDMI video out, audio out, and an SD/microSD card reader.

Belkin USB-C 4-in-1 Multiport Adapter

Amazon

3. Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda

You'd be forgiven for forgetting that Nintendo sells more than just its popular Switch console. It also makes well-regarded retro devices, called Game & Watch. The Super Mario Bros. version includes the original Super Mario Bros. game, Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, a special version of Game & Watch: Ball, and a digital clock styled as Super Mario Bros. Did I mention it also charges by USB-C? More of a Zelda fan? Lucky for you Nintendo also makes a Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda version.

Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros

Amazon

Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda

Best Buy

2. Mophie Powerstation XL Battery Pack

A battery might seem obvious, but it's saved the day more times than I can count. They come in all shapes and sizes, and there are even ones as small as a credit card. One of my go-to companies is Mophie. Its Powerstation XL packs a 20,000 mAh battery for recharging most phones about three or four times, has three USB ports (one USB-C PD port capable of delivering up to 20W and two USB-A), and battery level indicator lights on the side.

Mophie Powerstation XL Battery Pack

Best Buy

1. Lexon Nomaday Fingerprint Padlock

We've all gotten used to unlocking our phones, tablets, and computers with our fingerprints or faces, so it was only a matter of time before the technology expanded. Lexon's Nomaday Lock is a biometric fingerprint padlock that works on luggage or a locker. There's no need to carry another key or remember combinations. It can store up to 10 different fingerprints and unlock in 0.5 seconds. The company says the lock's battery can last through 3,000 unlocks, or about an average of a year. Afterward, recharge it with — you guessed it! — USB-C.

Lexon - Nomaday Lock Biometric Fingerprints Padlock

Amazon
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