Tech Gifts on a Slim Budget

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Tech gifts are rarely cheap…but it’s what everyone wants! What we need is less expensive gifts for all the wonderful people in our lives.

Here are a few options for tech gifts for your children, or anyone else for that matter. (The best part is that they don’t break the bank!)

Chromecast ($30), A Great Tech Gift for Your TV Watcher

The $30 Chromecast device looks like a flash drive. You connect it to your TV’s HDMI port and link it to your WiFi network to watch videos from YouTube, Netflix, or Google Play.

You use an Apple or Android phone or tablet as a remote. In fact, that’s how you find content. To start, simply tap YouTube or Netflix, or Google Play. Call up the video or music video. Tap a specific symbol on the touchscreen, and the video appears on your TV.

Your Mac or PC also streams Web pages to your TV with Chromecast. Simply open Chrome and navigate to the desired site. After that, click the Chromecast icon on the toolbar. The Web page now shows on your TV, replete with your favorite videos. What a great way to get the Internet on TV, and at very little cost.

Vista Explorer Tripod ($20)

Every photographer should own a tripod. A tripod allows even an inexpensive camera to capture low-light, slow-shutter, moving taillights, and other photos.

However, nobody wants to carry a tripod. Tripods are bulky, expensive, and difficult. This elegant, durable, simple tripod is made entirely of metal. It’s portable, tall, and comes with a bag. It’s $20. That’s amazing.

Charger Lifelink ($19), The Tech Gift for Literally Anyone

It’s a phone or camera charger. The twist is that it’s little. It fits in a wallet, a keychain, or even a phone case. It’s the size of a credit card, yet it splits into a 7-inch “cable.”

The USB cable has two ends. There is one for your computer and the other for your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Buy the LifeLink for Android (Micro USB), iPhone (Lightning), or earlier iPhone (30-pin). After that, never be without a charging wire again.

Shutterball (25$), The Tech Gift for the Photo Nut

It looks and acts like a toy. It’s a cheap and simple remote for your phone’s shutter. It’s made for selfies, group photographs, and photos where you don’t want to touch the phone for fear of jiggling it (i.e., a cat).

One button — the shutter — plus Bluetooth circuitry that works up to 35 feet away makes up the Shutterball. In addition, the button records video.

The Shutterball is only $25. However, it uses its own camera app. This is unfortunately inferior to the iPhone/Android camera app. Nevertheless, keep reading.

TriggerTrap ($30), For Awesome Camera Control

This amazing wire connects your smartphone to an SLR camera, like a Canon Rebel. Once linked, the phone controls the camera in a variety of ways.

Open the shutter with just a sound, like a hand clap. In addition, control it with motion (like a passing animal or a burglar) or a vibration (say, a passing train). There’s also a group-shot setting that only fires when a specified number of faces are visible.

Additionally, you can shoot time-lapse photos. You set the duration and interval between frames. Furthermore, shoot distance lapse photos (you snap frames while you drive or cycle), or star trails (time-lapse in which each exposure is, say, a minute long). In brief, this tiny wire harnesses your phone’s brain for endless photographic flexibility.

Snuglet ($20), The Tech Gift to Enhance Your Apple Device

This teeny, tiny adapter may revolutionize your life if you own a current Apple laptop. Invisible once installed, it enhances the magnetism of the MagSafe power-cord connector. Therefore, it prevents it from falling out! It’s the ultimate one-trick pony, yet it eliminates a major source of Apple laptop annoyance.

Mik Sound Case ($20), The Best Tech Gift for the Music Lover

The iPhone’s speaker isn’t powerful enough to shatter many wine glasses. However, the Mik Sound Case does something unusual. It stops the phone’s speaker grille. This forces sound up via a channel and out perforations on the back.

This rerouting somehow increases the sound by 20 dB and makes it much crisper and sharper. All this is without batteries, electronics, or other hard parts. Now that is creativity!

PT-1280SR ($16)

These have been around for years, but that doesn’t make them bad.

You enter on the tiny keyboard, and it prints your label on a strip of sticky white tape. Label your drawers, boxes, cabinets, and files. Label power cords so you know which is which behind the TV. In addition, label school lunchboxes, calculators, and notebooks. Rename your fridge leftovers. Anything!

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse ($39), The Tech Gift for the Traveller

This is the coolest travel mouse in a long time. It starts flat, like a tongue. It’s cordless, so you bend it into an arch to switch it on. It’s now on and ideally shaped for your hand.

This mouse has a touchpad between the scrolling buttons. It even works on glass-topped tables. It comes with a tiny USB receiver that fits into your laptop’s USB port and can be magnetically stored in the mouse. A mobile computing home run!

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