10 tech gadget stocking stuffers under $200
The way we see it, there’s two ways to go when you’re packing a Christmas stocking hanging from the mantle full of loot. You can go the traditional root and fill it with nostalgic bits of the past like clove-laden oranges, a candy cane, and a moustachioed wooden nutcracker. Or you can forget about all that crap and fill it with awesome tech gadgetry instead. It doesn’t have to break the bank to get the people on your gift list some cool technology toys – some creativity and a little bit of extra effort with online shopping can lead to great bargains on original products. Here’s 10 ideas for under $200 starting with the least expensive.
Headphone to Bluetooth adapter
An audio connoisseur that endlessly seeks the perfect pair of headphones may eventually find what they want – but are they also wireless? Probably not as Bluetooth headphones tend to be designed for utilitarian on-the-go purposes or for exercising. With a simple adapter that can cost between $15-$25 on Amazon.com or other electronic retailer websites, any pair of headphones can become a wireless pair. It’s great to use with smartphones or tablet. You can even take calls over the adapter if your headset has a mic input.
Leather touchscreen gloves
Ever since we all started carrying touch screen smartphones and tablets around with us, winter has acquired the extra inconvenience of not being able to use your device because of the huge mitts covering your fingers. Thankfully a new class of product, allowing enough heat to be conducted through the fingertips, to a touch screen gives us a number of options to keep warm and stay connected at the same time. This pair of leather gloves can be nabbed on sale at The Bay for $27.60 at the moment but regularly cost $46. A bit more fashionable than some other touchscreen gloves out there.
DeLorean / Time Machine
OK, it’s not technology or useful or anything, but seriously how cool is this toy? This DeLorean time machine Lego set will take you back in time to reminisce about Marty McFly and Doc Brown’s adventure in Back to the Future. A sure-fire pleaser for anyone on your list that remembers the ’80s or has fallen for that dumb Facebook prank that today is the future date that Marty travelled to in the movie, using the DeLorean. If the opening gull-wing doors don’t sell you, the Lego McFly and Brown will – $44.99.
Kobo Mini e-reader
For the book worm on your list, how about an e-reader that’s pocket-sized? The Kobo Mini is appealing for $49 as its size makes it an extremely portable way to read your books. The touch screen means you simply swipe through the pages and the e-ink display makes it easy on the eyes to read. Kobo’s e-books system is also a good store to use as it’s available across just about any device imaginable and it allows its users to own e-books once they buy them.
Parrot Flower Power
From the company that brought us an iPhone-controlled quadricopter, comes a way to water your plants with your Apple device. Stick the colourful branch-shaped pick in a potted plant and get reports sent to the Flower Power iOS app about sunlight levels, soil moisture, temperature, and fertilizer levels in real time. The Bluetooth sensor can be “planted” either indoors or outdoors, and you can select what type of plant it is monitoring from a library of 6,000 options. Available online for $56.23 plus shipping or in some stores for $69.99.
Everyone is on a health regime come New Year’s, so why not gift something that might help someone actually be successful? Fitbit offers several super-pedometers that can track your daily steps, stairs climbed, active minutes, and measure the quality of your sleep. Sync the device with your smartphone or tablet and track your goals towards fitness. Available online and in retail stores, the Zip is the lowest-cost device at $59.99, the clip-on One is $99.99, or the wrist-strap Force is $129.99. There’s also many competitor step and sleep trackers on the market you may want to consider.
There’s nothing cooler on the market right now than Brain Controlled Interfaces – we’ve seen EEG-reading technology be implemented into mass market games and Star Wars branded toys. NeuroSky is one company that’ s been at it for awhile and offers head sets that are easy to wear and offer a wider range of functionality. The $79.99 MindWave Education is made to monitor your attention levels as you learn, but it also comes with apps that help you meditate, and entertaining games. Plus there are other apps you can download to use with the hardware.
From ThinkGeek.com, this virtual Bluetooth keyboard projects a laser outline of a QWERTY keypad onto any surface. Not only does it solve the problem of toting around a full-sized keyboard, but you’ll be typing in style. Pair with a smartphone or tablet for a really portable tech combination. Whip it out for some typing at the coffee shop and watch a crowd gather in wonderment around you. Costs $99.99 USD. Also doubles as a multi-touch track pad.
There are so many options to hook up digital content to your TV now that cable cutting is more popular than ever. Help someone on your list improve their monthly budget by getting off traditional TV and into the modern age with an online video streaming box. Options include Apple TV, a good option for those who own other Apple devices that they can stream from, or Roku’s series of streaming players. The Roku 3, pictured, costs $109.99 and comes with a motion-sensitive remote controller that allows you to play games too. It comes pre-loaded with Angry Birds Space!
If someone on your list needs an effective and low cost surveillance system for their home or office, consider Dropcam. It combines a quality HD webcam with a Web-accessible streaming and video storage service that can be viewed from a Web browser or mobile app. In Canada, the Dropcam hardware retails for $159.99 and a Dropcam Pro model is $219.99. The Cloud Recording service will cost you an extra subscription fee. If you’re giving Dropcam to your kid, make sure to do so after Christmas Eve so he doesn’t set it up to spy on Santa putting presents under the tree.