We're in the home stretch of the holiday gift buying season. Is your shopping done? For those of you on a budget -- and let's face it, we all are -- we've picked out some of the very best tech you can buy without breaking the bank.
Here are 14 of the best gadgets, gizmos, and other tech you can buy this holiday season.
Jawbone's Up2 is one of the simplest yet most effective activity and sleep trackers on the market. The tracker has about a week's worth of battery charge, and works with iPhone and Android devices. Despite its lack of display and heart-rate monitoring, it has powerful sleep tracking features. At $79.99, it's a surprisingly cheap catch for a well-rounded wearable.
There's no simple choice behind which streaming box you should buy, but you're destined to buy one if you haven't already. Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, and the Fire TV all come in at less than $200, and dominate the market for cord-cutters. With one-click streaming of your favorite shows and movies, you can't be without one of these boxes in your home. Each device streams different services, so one box may be better suited to your subscriptions than others. Sister-site CNET has a handy guide on which device you should buy.
This time last year, it was scored a "perfect 10." A year later, it's evolved into a smart home hub and all-around intelligence assistant, thanks to its various evolved controls. For many, it's not a home essential but it can control and interact with a number of smart home features and fixtures. As more apps and services become tied into the Amazon Echo experience, the smart speaker will get better, more advanced, and even more fun to play around with. At less than $200, think of it as a home improvement investment for the future.
According to sister-site CNET, the Bonavita is one of the best coffee machines on the market, making superb coffee at a low price of $139.99. It may not have the glitz and glamor of some high-end machines, but the drip coffee maker is easy to use and keeps coffee warm for hours.
Don't get your expectations up too high, but in fairness you will struggle to find a better laptop for this price. At a sub-$200 price point, the Lenovo Ideapad 100S is a sturdy notebook with a long battery life. It's a surprisingly well-rounded laptop for those on a low-budget. The Windows 10 laptop lands with an 11.6-inch display and 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor, with 2GB of memory and 32GB of solid-state storage.
For the price, these are the best sounding over-the-ear headphones. At about $149, these headphones work with most phones, tablets, and laptops thanks to its 3.5mm standard jack, and pack a powerful audio punch. CNET says these headphones are comfortable, and offer "detailed, balanced sound with tight bass." For those long subway trips to work or business trips abroad, what more could you want?
You might struggle to get the tablet you want for less than $200, but for just shy of $40 you can grab one of the best multi-device Bluetooth keyboards available on the market today. It's affordable, light and sturdy, and has the ability to toggle between almost any Bluetooth-capable device. And if you're worried about its charge, two AAA batteries will keep the keyboard kicking for more than a year.
The UE Boom 2 portable speaker is slated as one of CNET's favorite portable and waterproof wireless speakers going. Thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity, it's wire-free and allows almost any capable device to connect. Its battery will last all day -- from singing in the shower to boom-boxing down the street, to kicking back when you get home. It may be on the pricey side at $200, but it's guaranteed to last for a while.
Nothing's more important in your home tech life than your Wi-Fi network, which keeps everything online. On the pricier side, $159.95 is a lot to shell out for a wireless router but it comes with rave reviews, with speed as a priority and elegance as a close second. It's easy to use and will work in the vast majority of home configurations. And, if you thought it was a Mac-only deal, the router works effortlessly with Windows, too.
Gone are the days of complex and expensive home security systems. Thanks to the Internet of Things, it's easier (and cheaper) than ever to keep your home locked down. At a sub-$200 price point, the iSmartAlarm is a handy and expandable do-it-yourself home alarm system that connects with your phone, and doesn't break the bank.
Travel often, and carry a lot of gadgets? MyCharge Peak 6000 may have a futuristic name but its function couldn't be simpler: to keep your tech charged wherever you are in the world. The 6,000mAh battery packs a punch, and can recharge the average smartphone as much as four-times over. The compact charger gets even smaller when it's packed up. And at just $79.99, it's something you shouldn't leave for the airport without.
Virtual reality used to be a way-off game. Now it's here, and it's cheaper than anyone ever imagined. Google's Cardboard project, now in its second generation incarnation, allows 6-inch phone users to plug in their smartphone and experience life in an alternative dimension. It's the most consumer friendly virtual reality gadget out there, and it's made of cardboard. Available from a number of places, Cardboard can be as cheap as just a few dollars.
Need storage? This little guy has your back. It's cheap and stylish, allowing you to store your files, photos, music and more in a compact unit that's color-customizable. With four storage options ranging from 500GB to 3TB -- with all options at $200 or less -- now there's no excuse not to backup your files on a regular basis.
With all that gadgetry and technology, the least you can do is travel in style. The Samsonite Colombian Leather Flapover laptop case comes with a ton of storage, zippers to protect your valuable items, and dedicated pockets for your laptop (up to 15.6-inches) and other devices. And if that's not your bag (excuse the pun), CNET has you covered with a number of other bags -- even if they are slightly higher on the premium scale.