Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Gadget gifts under $100

Broke? Here are a few gift ideas that won't make you much broker.
Written by Ricardo Bilton, Contributor
ZDNet 2011 Holiday Gift Guide

With the holidays approaching, attention once again has shifted to the wallet and the general emptiness therein. Wall Street's occupied, the 99% is upset, and just about everyone is broke. That's why no one can

do without this guide, which details a few compelling gadgets that sell for under $100. After all, an empty wallet is no excuse to arrive this Christmas empty handed.


Steve Jobs and company may have designed the iPad to be a more intimate experience, but device's designers forgot one thing: Using tablets is sometimes really difficult, especially in certain sitting positions. Enter the PadPivot, an ingenious little contraption that uses your thigh to hold your tablet in a comfortable position. Compatible with a variety of tablets and eReaders, the PadPivot is both useful and versatile - so much so that it's a wonder Apple didn't create it itself. $30

Fitbit Ultra

The Fitbit Ultra is the latest in a lengthening line of products aimed at tracking - and hopefully improving - your fitness. With the ability to track the number of steps you take, the number of stairs you climb, the number of calories you burn, and even how well you sleep, the Fitbit Ultra is pretty robust for a device its size. Even better, the device also wirelessly syncs your data with the Fitbit website, allowing you to visually map how far you've come and how far you intend to go. $99.


Aside from all of the enticing Kindle Fire news, the biggest move Amazon made in 2011 was dropping the price of its massively popular Kindle eReader to $79. But though it is nearly $40 cheaper than it was previously, the now-cheaper Kindle does have a few potential downsides. Not only does it lack both a physical keyboard and touch screen, but to get it to its current price Amazon had to infuse the Kindle with advertisements. But it's still a pretty great deal.

Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip

For those not of the Apple persuasion, Sandisk offers the Sansa Clip Zip, a thinner version of its Sansa Clip MP3 player. Available in multiple colors and in two memory configurations (4GB, 8GB), the Sansa Clip Zip offers 15 hours of  of battery life and supports all the major music formats. Did we mention it comes in a variety of colors? Red looks nice. Starts at $50.

Roku LT

For a chapter alternative to the Apple TV, look no further than the Roku LT. This purple box is the cheapest one Roku has ever created, and offers many of the same features found in more expensive models. Capable of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus in 720p, the Roku LT is a pretty robust offering for a product that sells for just $50.

Pogoplug Mobile

The mission of the Pogoplug Mobile is simple. Acting as a hub for all of your movies, music, and photos, the PogoPlug liberates your mobile devices from their relatively paltry storage limits. Pogoplug has even gone as far as to offer the ability to stream content from outside your home network, allowing you to access your files even when you are not at home. For $29, Pogoplug also offers PC software to takle the same task, removing the need for a dedicated Pogoplug device.


Obol Bowl

Though far less hi-tech than the other items here, the Obol Bowl solves a fundamental problem: Keeping your cereal from getting soggy. Dubbed "the original crispy cereal bowl", the Obol works by storing your milk in cereal in two separate compartment connected by a spiral slide. Users simply slide their cereal into the milk compartment to eat. Genius. $20

iPod Shuffle

The world may be slowly turning its back on dedicated MP3 players, but that doesn't make Apple's iPod shuffle any less compelling. The pitch for the Shuffle should by this point be clear: 5 colors, 15 hours of battery life, 2GB of storage. That's plenty for a device that sells for just $49.

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