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, your source for the season’s best gifts and deals, hand-picked by the experts at CNET.
Did you find a gift card under the tree or by the menorah this year? That’s basically free money, so now you just need to decide what to get. Have no fear: We’ve rounded up some awesome ideas, all of them priced at $50 or less. Be sure to hit the comments and let us know what you decided to gift yourself!
Best under $50 at Amazon
An Amazon gift card is either the easiest thing to use or the hardest — because there are so many options. These are some of our favorites.
Looking for budget-priced true-wireless earbuds? What’s most impressive about the EarFun Free are the features: Bluetooth 5.0 with both USB-C and wireless charging. They’re also durable and fully waterproof (IPX7), according to the specs list. Do they sound perfect? Maybe not quite, but they sound pretty good. They don’t have the clarity of higher-end true wireless ear pods that cost $150 or more, but they do have plump bass and enough detail to avoid sounding dull. They’re also pretty solid for making calls.
If you’re looking to test out a new 4K TV (or even an old one), the Once Upon in Hollywood 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is one of the best looking — and sounding — discs of 2019. Tarantino’s ode to the glory days of Hollywood during a turbulent time in its history (and the country’s) is also highly rewatchable, particularly for the performances of Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.
The standard Blu-ray is $5 less and the digital 4K version is $15 at various streaming services, including iTunes and Vudu (it’s a Movies Anywhere title).
The Sphero Mini, the app-enabled programmable robot ball, now comes in a version that looks like a soccer ball and even comes with mini cones. You can drive the Sphero yourself or program it to perform various maneuvers using easy coding commands in the app.
There are a lot of flashlights you can buy for under $50, but the Coast HP7 is one of the better ones we’ve tried. Relatively compact and rated at 530 lumens, it’s bright for its size and has an easy slide focus that lets you shape the beam from flood to spot, and then lock the beam into whatever shape you choose. The list price of the gadget is $60, but you can get it for less than $40. It’s powered by four AAA batteries (included).
Want something to really talk about at the coffee table? CNET editor Sharon Profis says this is “a go-to gift from me for coffee lovers.” She adds that it’s fun to give with half a pound of your favorite beans. This easy to clean item is a great gift idea for someone — including yourself — who likes a good cup of pour-over.
We all spend so much time with a computer that everyone appreciates a good wireless mouse. This premium mobile model is about as comfortable as they get for a mini mouse, and it doesn’t break the bank. Thanks to Logitech Darkﬁeld Laser technology, it works on just about any surface, everything from a glass table to the Formica-style finish of my work desk. And it has an integrated rechargeable battery that’s supposed to last up to 60 days on a single battery charge. It may not be the perfect video game mouse, but you can still play a game with it.
Though its list price is $80, you can pick up the “meteorite” version for just under $50.
For several years Gunnar Optiks has been making “computer glasses” designed to block blue light and help alleviate the eyestrain you get from staring at a display or a game for long periods. The glasses come in a variety of styles and a few different tints. The core models have an amber lens, anti-reflective coatings and slight magnification.
The Vertex (pictured here in both amber and clear tints) and Riot styles are priced at less than $50. You can add prescription lenses through the Gunnar website, but those RX packages cost more.
With both a USB-C PD port and a good old-fashioned USB-A port, the RAVPower 61W Dual-Port Charger is great for charging any device from a phone to wireless headphones to a full-on laptop and most everything in between, including the Nintendo Switch, Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad. It’s also a nice value at around $36 when you apply the coupon on the product page.
It’s hard to get more practical than a portable battery pack, especially a model that uses one of the smallest and lightest 10,000-mAh batteries, with 18-watt power delivery and QuickCharge 3.0 for devices that support it. This charger has both a USC-C port along with a USB-A port and can be used with both Android and Apple phones, though no cables are included. Certain colors cost as little as $20.
If you aren’t ready to splurge on a pair of Apple AirPods (or otherwise fairly pricey totally wireless earphones), there are some easy to afford options out there, including the TaoTronics True Wireless earbuds ($32), which are pretty decent. They may not deliver perfect sound (the AirPods don’t deliver perfect sound either), but most people will find it perfectly acceptable. They have Bluetooth 5.0 and 5 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels. They’re also sweatproof, so you can use them at the gym.
Logitech’s K380 has been around for a while, but it’s still a great keyboard for the money — perfect for computers, tablets and phones. You can find it for less than $30 online.
Read more: Best keyboards for 2019
The BioLite PowerLight Mini is a handy lantern, bike light and charger kit all in one. You clip it to a pocket or strap, or mount it on your bike (mount included), and its 1,350-mAh USB rechargeable battery provides up to 52 hours of light. The kit can also give your phone a backup boost. Lighting modes include white lantern, red night vision, red and white strobe and white point light. It’s a great choice for eco-minded folks who enjoy camping or other outdoor activities.
Another candidate for best value wireless speaker, the Tribit XSound Go is one of the best ones for the money — about $33 at Amazon, depending on which color you choose. And if you’re willing to spend a little more, for around $55 you can pick up the larger MaxSound Plus, which has richer sound with more bass.
Time to kick-start your New Year’s resolution. At around $45 (minus $8 via an on-page coupon), the Eufy P1 is one of the least expensive smart scales. Beyond weight you can track body fat, BMI, bone mass, muscle mass and more for multiple users. You track everything using the EufyLife app, but the scale also ties into Apple Health, Google Fit and the Fitbit App. It’s available in two colors.
Best under $50 at Best Buy
Whether you’re heading to an a Best Buy retail store or shopping online, put these items on your short-list.
Best Buy is currently running a deal on the original UE Wonderboom for $40. That’s about the lowest we’ve seen for this waterproof portable Bluetooth speaker that puts out good sound for its compact size. The new Wonderboom 2 has some small improvements and is on sale for $60.
It usually sells for $60 to $70, but the JBL Clip 3 is currently hovering around $40 at major retailers. Despite its small size, this little wireless speaker is great for music or podcasts. It’s waterproof, it travels well, it recharges via USB and the built-in carabiner lets you clip it anywhere. It’s also available in at least a dozen stylish colors, which helps make it a great gift idea.
Guys and gals who love music love these earbuds. JLabs makes a lot of true wireless earphones. These are its least expensive and, frankly, the only ones I’d buy. This is an ideal — and affordable — gift for someone who needs something small and unobtrusive for watching videos and listening to music on all their devices, many of which no longer have a headphone jack.
Best under $50 at Walmart
There are a slew of things you can find at Walmart, many for well under $50. We rounded up some of our favorites here.
The “magic” in this officially licensed Harry Potter wand comes from computer code that kids can write and modify themselves. It’s a really cool STEM gift idea, but you’ll need an Android, iOS or Amazon Fire tablet to make it work.
We were awed by the 3Doodler back in the day, and this 3D pen works basically the same way — draw with this 3D printing pen to make your artwork come to life. It includes a filament refill for your pen, stencils for inspiration and a power adapter.
The Razer DeathAdder Elite is perfect for anyone playing a game that requires the most accurate mouse movement. It includes a 16,000 DPI sensor and has a 99.4% resolution accuracy. It’s also been tested to 50 million clicks, so it’s likely to outlast your fingers.
Read our preview of the Razer Deathadder Elite.
For just $50, you can lay claim to a smart scale that pairs with your phone and Fitbit, and shows information like weight, BMI and body fat for up to four different family members.
Originally published last month and updated with new information.