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Best for Cable Cutters: Winegard FlatWave FL-5000 at Amazon
"Some of the strongest signal reception you can find for the money."
Best for 4K TV Streamers: Roku Premiere at Amazon
"Lets you watch all of the top streaming services."
Best Headphones for Music Buffs: Sony XB950B1 at Amazon
"Passably close to a club system."
Best Speakers for Music Buffs: Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers at Amazon
"A high water mark for affordable computer speakers."
Best for Book Worms: Amazon Kindle at Amazon
"Cheap enough to preclude any buyer’s remorse."
Best for Travelers: Anker Astro E1 USB Charger at Amazon
"The best balance of power, price, and size."
Best for Music Lovers On-The-Go: JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker at Amazon
"Heart-pumping bass in the low end and crisp mids and highs."
Best for Gamers: Razer DeathAdder Elite at Amazon
"One of the most-purchased gaming mice on Amazon, and for good reason."
Best Social Camera: Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera at Amazon
"Framing up a group shot has never been easier."
Another great idea for cord-cutters who still want to be able to pick up those local sports broadcasts, the Winegard FlatWave FL-5000 is a simple antenna that plugs into any digital TV. With a simple but modern design, it offers some of the strongest signal reception you can find for the money and is built to pick up signals from towers broadcasting 35 miles away. It comes with a 15-inch coaxial cable, allowing you to position the antenna in a variety of locations. And there’s no assembly required — just plug it in and start searching for a signal.
During the past few years, interest in 4K TVs has dramatically increased. 4K TVs are much less expensive than they were previously and can offer a much better picture than regular HD TVs. If you know someone with a new 4K TV or are buying someone a 4K TV, you may want to give them a device that lets them watch 4K content, since the majority of streaming devices don’t support that yet. One of our favorite 4K streaming boxes is the Roku Premiere, which lets you watch all of the top streaming services like Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, and YouTube.
Like other Roku devices, the Premiere lets you watch content from more than 1,000 dedicated "channels" and you can control the device from either your phone (using the Roku iOS or Android apps) or through the remote that comes in the box. Another bonus is that the Premiere comes with a free HDMI cable. It does all of this for only $40, a crazy-good price for a device with these capabilities.
The XB950s sound huge and are amazingly comfortable for sizeable headphones. The sound is powered by 40mm drivers and a proprietary EXTRA BASS tech that gives these phones a low end that is passably close to a club system. The NFC-optimized, Bluetooth-connected system has a battery that lasts up to 18 hours for multiple workdays of listening.
The construction is pretty great as the earpads are ultra-thick and super comfy, and it all weighs just 280g, so even though the headphones are pretty big, they aren’t going to weigh down your bag. It comes standard with a USB-to-micro USB charging cable and a 3.5mm aux cable to wire it directly to your music player when the battery dies.
Bose is perhaps best known for its line of deceptively full-sounding tabletop speakers, but they also produce a line of headphones, as well as desktop speaker systems. The Bose Companion 2 Series III is a high watermark for affordable computer speakers, delivering that reliable Bose sound in a compact, minimalistic package. It’s a great gift idea for college students, gamers, and everyday desk dwellers.
With years of iterations under its belt, the Kindle line is synonymous with modern book reading. While there truly is no actual substitute for carrying a real, physical book around, the Kindle gets pretty close. With the newest version, you’re now getting a host of more premium features without the extra premium price tag. At the forefront, the new version now comes standard with 4 LEDs lighting the front screen—a step up from the previous-gen because you can now read this at night or out of direct sunlight.
The new version also offers modern battery life, promising around weeks of use on a single charge. This is, of course, contingent upon your use, but it should offer plenty of reading time. The screen resolution sits at 167 PPI, which is pretty crisp, giving you a solid approximation of words on a page. Arguably the best part of the Kindle is its portability. With 4GB, you can store thousands of books right on the device, and at a third of an inch thick and less than half a pound in weight, it’s perfect for a travel bag. It all comes in at a great price and is a no-brainer gift option for a book-lover.
Whether you travel once a month or once a year, a portable USB charger is an essential smartphone accessory, and Anker makes some of the best chargers and external batteries on around. With a sizable 5200mAh battery, the Astro E1 offers the best balance of power, price, and size. It downright cheap, but packs enough juice to fully charge an iPhone 6 — twice. If that’s not enough, you may want to spring for the 10,000mAh Anker PowerCore (Buy on Amazon.com).
Dozens of Bluetooth speakers can survive a dip in the water, but few do it with the style and sound of the JBL Flip 4. In this size category, most Bluetooth speakers produce a lifeless sound with disappointing bass. The opposite is true for the Flip 4. There’s heart-pumping bass in the low end and crisp mids and highs. This terrific sound emanates from dual external passive radiators that are incredible in this price range. Whether it’s for work or play, the IPX7 waterproof rating enables the speaker to withstand submersion in up to three feet of water for 30 minutes. When above water, the Bluetooth connected speakers sync up to two devices for audio playback. JBL’s Connect+ feature allows the Flip 4 to connect to more than 100 JBL Connect+ speakers for a surround sound effect.
Powered by a 3,000mAh rechargeable battery, the speaker can last for more than 12 hours of continuous music playback. Built-in noise and echo-canceling speakerphone technology add dual functionality for taking phone calls. Pressing a single button activates both Siri or Google Assistant for voice control. For a little extra personalization, the speaker is available in seven different colors including teal, black, camouflage, and white.
The Razer DeathAdder Elite is one of the most-purchased gaming mice on Amazon, and for good reason — this thing rips. It’s ergonomically designed to sit cleanly and comfortably into a gamer’s hand (perfect for those endless hours of running and gunning). It employs a 16,000 dpi optical sensor that has a tracking accuracy of 99.4 percent, which is obviously really important when they are gaming and it matters exactly where you’re pointing on the screen.
The mechanical click buttons have been durability-tested for up 50 million clicks, and the Razer Chroma lighting tech lets the player customize what color LED shows through visually with up to 16.8 million color options. It’s connected via a 7-foot, lightweight braided cable so it’ll fit into any rig set up, and it’s got 7 independently programmable Hyperesponse buttons for extra controls. It’ll be a nice addition to any gamer’s PC setup.
If you’re looking for a fun design that gets everyone talking, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9, available in six different colors, is a fool-proof pick. Though it's compact in size, the camera is big on features. With an integrated selfie mirror, framing up a group shot has never been easier. The included close-lens attachment can bring subjects as close as 35cm into focus. Easily identifiable symbols help you choose the right exposure for each shot whether you're working with lots of sun, clouds, or low indoor light. To make things simpler, the camera will help direct photographers by lighting up the suggested setting. Two double batteries ensure 100-shot capacity.
Pushing a single button extends the 60-millimeter lens from the body of the camera. Once pressed, the camera and built-in flash are ready to shoot within seconds of activation. The shutter button is located on the ergonomically comfortable camera grip. Right above the shutter button is the manual viewfinder which helps frame up each shot. Once captured, images are developed and in your hand in approximately 90 seconds.
Any decent turntable is going to cost you at least $100, but if you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of sound quality for style and convenience, then you should check out the Crosley CR8005C-BK. Built from wood and leatherette, it’s the perfect transition machine. Despite the modest price, it includes a belt-driven motor, manual return tone arm, and three play speeds. And the embedded RCA outputs and headphone jack allow you to direct the audio to some bigger, more powerful speakers. A pretty nifty gift idea.