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

 |  Image 3 of 12

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • Thumbnail 11
  • Thumbnail 12
  • Windows 8 Upgrade ($40)

    Microsoft's Windows 8 Professional operating system can give a big boost in performance to your aging PC running on Windows 7, Windows Vista or even Windows XP. At $40, this is the cheapest Windows OS upgrade in history, and is packed with a multitude of new features, including integrated antivirus and antimalware, superior power managment, lower memory resource utilization, support for SSD drives, faster boot time and improved networking and video performance.

    For a list of new features and performance improvements in the new version of Microsoft Windows, check out Jason Perlow's article.

  • Logitech T650 Multitouch Trackpad for Windows 8 ($79)

    If you're going to buy a Windows 8 upgrade, you want to have the latest multi-touch capabilities on your PC as well to take advantage of the OS's new touch features. Look no further than Logitech's line of multi-touch enabled trackpads and mice, all of which are priced affordably.

    Jason Perlow has reviewed Logitech's T400 and T650 products here.

  • Amazon Kindle ($69)

    Amazon's Kindle with Wi-Fi and Special Offers is now so cheap that it's practically a no-brainer purchase nowadays if you're looking for a basic E-Ink reader device. With the largest choice of titles avaliable, and when combined with Amazon's Prime program which gives you free access to the Kindle Lending Library, as well as the ability to borrow books from your local library system electronically, there's no better e-book reader on the market for the money.

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.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • 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.