Gifts for Less Than $200
With umpteen millions of smartphones, tablets and notebooks sold this year alone, you undoubtedly know a student, professional or coffeehouse addict who lugs their mobile gear to and fro every day. In fact, you might even know someone who carries all three devices with accessories as well as other daily "essentials," and you can bet that individual will be on a lifelong quest for the perfect bag. We won't go as far as saying it's perfect, but Hex's Academy Messenger Bag seems awfully close when it comes to tech-oriented purposes. Features include a "PadPort" for on-the-go iPad access, room for up to 15-inch notebooks, a separate compartment for documents, an organizer for pens and cards, and a large rear pocket for extra storage.
The Fitbit One is small activity monitor that you clip onto your clothing and tracks the steps you take, the distance you travel, the stairs you climb, and the calories you burn throughout the day. Come nightfall, it can also measure your sleep cycle, and wake you in the morning with a silent alarm that’ll leave your bedmate undisturbed. Recorded data is displayed on an easy to use website and mobile app where you can add other stuff that the Fitbit can’t track -- like what you eat or the weights you lift. If you or someone you love is looking for some motivation to be more active then this might be the perfect gift.
Picking the right media streaming box requires finding a balance between content and features. There are plenty of choices available, but none of them gets everything right, so chances are you’ll need to compromise. That said these are our three favorites in the $99 price point: the Roku 2 XS supports the widest array of online sources as well as limited local streaming through USB or network. The Boxee TV is limited to a few major providers like Netflix but also supports live over-the-air broadcasts and is the best choice if you want to stream downloaded content to your TV. Lastly, the Apple TV makes sense for heavy iTunes users and owners of other iDevices looking for a cheap way to enable AirPlay streaming on their TVs.
Like IPS monitors, SSDs were once limited to cash-endowed techies, but since blasting off in 2009(?), they've come back down to Earth, with many high-end units often available for as little as $0.50 per gigabyte on sale. Navigating the bottomless sea of brands and models can be a little overwhelming if you're not up to speed with the market, but on the bright side, you can't really go wrong with any of the popular solutions. Some of our top picks include Samsung's 840 Pro, OCZ's Vertex 4, Crucial's m4 and Kingston's HyperX 3K in 120GB or larger.
Although you can read e-books on tablets and other mobile devices, there's something to be said for the sharp contrast and gentle nature of the E Ink displays you'll find on most e-readers. The e-reader market is currently split between models with and without integrated LED lighting, so your pick will probably be determined by whether your recipient likes to read in the dark. Late night readers would undoubtedly prefer LED-lit units from Amazon, Kobo or Barnes & Noble, while you have more options if lighting isn't a priority. Given its established and diverse ecosystem, we'd lean toward a Kindle with an Amazon Prime membership.
There are few better companions for hardcore DIYers than a high-quality rotary tool set, and Dremel's been top dog in the business since the 1930s. Although the company has offered an overwhelming number of devices and accessories over the decades, picking something from its current lineup is fairly easy: for maximum power, you'll want the Dremel 4000, while the Dremel 8200 (or 8220) is a fine cordless alternative. Both are readily available with affordable accessory kits, ensuring your handyman will have everything he needs to get started.