The 8 Best Tech Gifts to Buy for Under $200 in 2019

Shop for your family and friends without spending a fortune

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best VR Headset: Oculus Go at Amazon

"Secures to your head with soft, adjustable straps and boasts a plush inner lining for comfort."

Best E-Reader: Kindle Paperwhite at Amazon

"The 300ppi resolution on the screen gives a clean, clear and super-legible look to the display, bolstered by a bright backlight."

Best Bluetooth Speaker: Bose SoundLink Color II at Amazon

"It features voice prompts for simple and easy control and it fits in the palm of your hand."

Best Digital Assistant: Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation) at Amazon

"Ask it to turn on lights, start the coffee maker, or adjust the temperature, all without leaving the sofa."

Best Digital Assistant for Music: Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Generation) at Amazon

"The 360-degree speakers powered by Dolby technology ensures all types of audio sounds fantastic."

Best Streaming Device: Roku 4 at Amazon

"It’s quick and easy to install, and it even features a USB drive, allowing you to play personal files from hard storage."

Best Speaker Design: Harman Kardon Soundsticks III at Amazon

"With the 3.5 mm stereo connection, you can connect the speakers to virtually any device."

Best Turntable: Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB Fully Automatic Belt-Drive at Amazon

"t offers the best of both digital and analog worlds, with both USB and RCA outputs."

Our Top Picks

Best VR Headset: Oculus Go

4

With an affordable price tag, the Oculus Go is the headset that’s going to bring virtual reality into homes and dorm rooms far and wide. The device is the standalone, wireless alternative to the Oculus Rift, and is nearly comparable to its older sibling, ideal for those who don’t want to spend the extra money or are looking for a more casual VR experience. The Oculus Go secures to your head with soft, adjustable straps and boasts a plush inner lining for comfort, although wearing it for long periods of time can be fatiguing. It comes equipped with an intuitive 3DoF controller and hidden speakers built into the straps for more immersive, dynamic audio. Expect high-quality graphics thanks to wide quad, fast-switch LCD for sharp visual clarity, and the next-generation Oculus lenses will reduce glare. The Oculus Pro is available with memory options of 32 GB and 64 GB, and while it has received some criticism for light leakage, the engaging audio and visual distract from this minor drawback, especially as you are able to dive into your favorite film, app, or game for an accessible price.

Best E-Reader: Kindle Paperwhite

4.5

There are more than a few models in the Kindle line, from affordable Fire tablets to the basic Kindle e-reader. But if you’re looking for the best option for a long-lasting e-reader as a gift that just works well with some great features, look no further than the latest gen of the Paperwhite. The 300ppi resolution on the e-ink screen gives a clean, clear and super-legible look to the display, bolstered by a bright backlight for night reading. And because the screen is just simple e-ink, Amazon promises that the device's charge will last for weeks at a time, whether it’s being read or in standby.

The newest generation of Kindle steps up the previous one by doubling the storage from 4GB to 8GB, giving you even more space for books. You can also choose a 32GB option if the reader is someone who likes to read more data-grabbing media like magazines and comics. They’ve also included an IPX8 waterproof rating, meaning the Kindle can be submerged up to two meters in freshwater for as long as 60 minutes. That makes it a great gift for the travel-enthusiast in your life because it’ll work on the beach, in the rain, and can withstand a spilled water bottle when they're on the go. Plus, with Wi-Fi or cell connectivity and a super-slim frame (only half an inch thick), it’s the perfect size to toss into a carry-on or commuter bag.

Check out our other reviews of the best e-readers​ available on the market today.

Best Bluetooth Speaker: Bose SoundLink Color II

Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker II
Courtesy of Amazon.com

The Bluetooth speaker market is clogged to the brim with cheap, low-quality devices that aren’t likely to last well into the future. If you really want to surprise the music lover in your life with something that’s sure to deliver long-lasting, high-quality sound, you need to check out the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker II. The battery offers up to eight hours of continuous play; it features voice prompts for simple and easy control; and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best bluetooth speakers

Best Digital Assistant: Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation)

3.1

Don’t let its compact size fool you: The Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation packs a punch. At a surprisingly affordable price point, this Alexa-enabled digital assistant and smart home hub makes a perfect gift that’s fit for any room in the house. Need to add something to your shopping list? Alexa can help. If you want to call or send someone a message, just ask Alexa.

If you have a friend on your list who’s always listening to music, the Echo Dot is sure to please. It has support for every popular music service including Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and more. Once they connect their service of choice, all they have to do is ask Alexa to play their favorite song, album, or genre and the Dot takes care of the rest. With speakers that are 70 percent louder than the previous generation, this diminutive tool is louder than it looks — but if your audiophile friend has their own set of speakers they swear by, the Dot can easily be connected to an external speaker over Bluetooth or with a 3.5mm cable.

And of course, the Echo Dot is an obvious choice for a smart home hub. Need a gift for someone with a Nest thermostat, Ring doorbell, or another popular smart home device? The Dot consolidates control for all kinds of devices using Alexa. Ask it to turn on lights, start the coffee maker, or adjust the temperature, all without leaving the sofa. 

Best Digital Assistant for Music: Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Generation)

3.8

If you need for the ideal tech gift that keeps on giving, there’s nothing better than the Amazon Echo Plus 2nd Generation. It stands out with a built-in Zigbee hub that can control any compatible smart home device. Connecting your coffee maker, light bulbs, lamps or thermostat are all done with ease. When you need to activate any smart device, just ask Alexa. Voice control makes it easy. With seven microphones, the Echo Plus can hear you from across the room.

Taking control of smart devices is just one aspect of the Echo Plus. Alexa is always on and ready to answer questions. Want to know the weekend weather forecast? Just ask Alexa. If you want to set an alarm or add an appointment the calendar, Alexa can help. The same goes for music. Just ask Alexa to play your favorite artist or song and it pulls from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora and more. The 360-degree speakers powered by Dolby technology ensures all types of audio sounds fantastic.

Throw in three available colors and a mesh design that blends easily in any room and you’ve discovered the only gift you need to give.  

Best Streaming Device: Roku 4

Roku 4
Courtesy of Amazon.com

The first thing you need to do when you decide to finally and permanently cut your cable TV subscription is to choose a streaming media device. Your best bet is to go with a set-top box, like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV or Roku. We recommend Roku. The newest generation Roku 4 connects seamlessly with all your favorite apps (Netflix, Amazon, HBO GO, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, etc.). It’s quick and easy to install, and it even features a USB drive, allowing you to play personal files from hard storage. An awesome gift for anyone who is just about fed up with their cable company.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best streaming devices

Best Speaker Design: Harman Kardon Soundsticks III

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III
Courtesy of Amazon.com

These are some speakers out of Minority Report or something — they look more like chemistry equipment rather than computer speakers. But don’t be too distracted by the futuristic look. The Harman Kardon SoundSticks are some awesome-sounding speakers. They include four, 1-inch full-range transducers per channel powered by a 10-watt amplifier, as well as a one 6-inch low-frequency transducer with a 20 watt amp for room-filling bass response. With the 3.5 mm stereo connection, you can connect the speakers to virtually any device. This is a great gift idea for design-conscious music nerds.

Best Turntable: Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB Fully Automatic Belt-Drive

Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Turntable
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Vinyl is back, and it’s better than ever. Audio-Technica is most often associated with headphones, but the company has actually been producing turntables for decades. And there are few better options than the AT-LP60. It offers the best of both digital and analog worlds, with both USB and RCA outputs, a die-cast aluminum platter, a Dual Magnet phono cartridge, as well as Mac- and PC-compatible Audacity software for digitizing your vinyl records. This is a great turntable for any vinyl enthusiast — whether they’re old school or new school.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best turntables

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent six hours testing one of our readers’ favorite tech gifts. To get the most comprehensive results, they used it several times over the course of two weeks. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this gift, from its design to its sound quality. We've outlined the key points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in Tech Gifts Under $200

Smart devices - When you’re buying a gift for someone who’s really into tech, there’s a good chance that they’ve already jumped into the world of smart devices. If they haven’t, look for a starter kit that includes a hub and a few devices like switches and light bulbs. If they already have a hub, look for smart devices that work with that hub.

Gifts for audiophiles - If the person you’re buying a gift for loves music, then look at high-tech speakers. Smart speakers come with integrated virtual assistants, but they can also stream music and do a whole lot more. For a more portable option, look for a Bluetooth speaker.

Readers - The best gift for a tech-lover who also loves to read is an e-reader. If the person you’re buying a gift for already has one, look for an upgrade with features like a backlight, higher resolution, and more storage that’s compatible with the e-books they already own.

Test Results: Oculus Go (Best VR Headset)

4

What We Like

  • Very portable

  • Immersive experience

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like

  • Headset can get hot and stuffy

  • Display isn't crisp

Oculus Go
Oculus Go remote
Oculus Go headset
Oculus Go set up

Our testers loved the simple setup, selection of games and experiences, and high level of immersion of the Oculus Go. “I didn't know I needed this product, but I do,” one reviewer revealed. Testers said the headset was a great option for anyone looking to get into VR. Plus, like its name suggests, reviewers thought the standalone device was perfect for travel. According to a tester, the one minor drawback was the fact that the headset started to get warm and felt stuffy after wearing it for more than an hour.