Scrooging It: 12 cheap holiday tech gifts for the miserly skinflint

Scrooging It: 12 cheap holiday tech gifts for the miserly skinflint

Summary: Looking for great, cheap holiday gifts or ones which can save you serious gelt? Ebenezer Perlow picks his dozen for each day of Christmas.

TOPICS: After Hours

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  • Jabra Halo2 Bluetooth/Wired Headphones ($100)

    Whether you use a smartphone, tablet or media player device to listen to your music, you'll want some private listening time. Jabra's folding Halo2 headset gives you extremely high-quality sound at an affordable budget, while integrating Bluetooth wireless capability, dual microphones and also wired connections for when you run out of go-juice.

  • Fitbit One ($99)

    Nothing is going to save you more money than avoiding the doctor or ending up in a hospital. And to do that you need to exercise. Why not track your performance electronically, the fun way? During the day, the Fitbit One bluetooth pedometer  tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed. At night, it measures your sleep cycle to help you see how to sleep better, and it can even wake you in the morning without waking your partner. Your stats upload wirelessly via computer, or select mobile devices. Powered by your stats, you can set goals, and track progress with charts and graphs. Stay motivated by earning badges or connecting with friends for support or friendly competitions. Log food, work-outs and more. Bring greater fitness into your life - seamlessly, socially, 24 hours a day.

  • iCarrier ($70)

    Not all of your electronic devices are miserly, but you can keep them filled up with go-juice on the road using the iCarrier, a rechargeable battery pack with over 12000mAh of reserve power. With integrated, dual 1A/2A USB ports allowing up to two devices to be charged simultaneously, this portable battery pack will charge even the most power-hungry smartphones and tablets, including the iPad 4th-generation and the iPhone 5.

Topic: After Hours


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • The Win8 upgrade is a good deal

    But as a gift it would be a tough sell in my household.

    Also I went for a 8GB refurb iPod Touch which is less than the new Nano.
    Mac Hosehead
  • Win 8 would be my choice

    But chances are if I want it, I'll have to buy it myself.
  • Wow. Your definition of cheap and my definition

    are a bit different.
  • Cheap ???

    Anything over a $100 is not cheap -- even if it's the low end product in its class.
  • Dear Jason

    I love your concept of cheap. Could you please adopt me?
  • iCarrier is a must have

    ... well obviously if, that is, you own a iPhone, Touch or iPod ... which is a lot of us - but granted not all of us. Great nonetheless. ;P
    • Works great with Androids and Windows Phones too

      The output is standard USB, so any device that can charge with a cable that plugs into a USB port is supported.
      • Thanks for the update JP

        That's just made it a surefire winner for every mobile device with USB charging - as you pointed out. Most silly season ideas are gratuitous fads or perceived rather than practical necessities. This device easily fits the latter.

        I'll have to spread the word to family and friends about it.
  • Anything over $20 is not cheap

    The Nest is cool, but it is actually an EXPENSIVE thermostat. Nice title for your piece.
    • Nest, really?

      When I bought a new furnace 8 years ago it came with a programmable thermostat. I set when everything goes on and off, heat or AC, with different times for the weekdays or weekends. I don't understand the point of this thing unless I can text it to turn on because I am coming home early.
      • Nest is WiFi and web accessible

        Part of the reason the Nest costs more is that it has built in WiFi and you can control it from just about any handheld device you might have. It has motion sensors and will determine when you are home or away and has energy usage monitoring. Like I said, cool yes, cheap no.
  • Your Cheap is expensive!

    Most of us out here in the real world can't afford much more than £20 for friends and £60 for family, often less. Steroetyping gift of this callibre as "scrooging it" is very offensive to the low paid! Don't be a jerk.
  • Miserly skinflints?

    What planet are you from? $250 for a Christmas gift and you're filing that under miserly skinflint?

    Are you insane or just totally out of touch with reality?

    This is a terribly titled article that is actually kind of offensive.
  • How about a Roku?

    Instead of the Apple TV with the iTunes lock why not go with the Roku, Costco has it for about $70...
  • Skinflint

    I can't afford any of these.
  • Wow...

    Wow, if a $250.00 notebook and a $199 Nexus 7 are scrooge-McCheapo gifts to you then I totally want to be on your Christmas gift list.

    I was thinking more along the lines of a $10.00 set of torx scredrivers.
  • Re: Chromebook

    "It's like Google is actually paying you to buy it."

    They would have to pay me to take one. And maybe not even then.

  • Jason, I am more interested in Nice

    but that is little expensive like the LED lamps. I replaced few of my lights at home with LED and I am seeing the results, but they are still expensive. Likewise Nice is also an expensive to start with but it would be a TCO thing in a long run.

    I am also planning to get Sodastream, but it is also a bit expensive. I already have Windows 8 and tablet(s), and iCarrier. Good collection if you are not on red side of the budget.
    Ram U
  • Windows 8!?

    I'd rather get a lump of coal.
  • iCarrier Customer Support is Remarkable

    I bought a similar product from the same manufacturer over a year ago and had a problem with it. I posted a feedback review on Amazon about it and they called me at home to resolve the issue. If you need a batter supply for your tablet, I don't think you can go wrong with an New Trent product.