published Friday, December 7th, 2012

Tech the halls: A dozen devices for under $100

Monster iClarity Bluetooth Speaker
Monster iClarity Bluetooth Speaker

SUBSCRIPTIONS STUFFERS

Amazon Prime

* Price: $79 a year.

* Benefits: Free two-day shipping with no minimum order size. Access to Amazon Instant Video and Kindle lending library.

Hulu Plus

* Price: $8 a month.

* Benefits: Access to Hulu content on smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles as well as access to multiple seasons and complete TV series.

iTunes Match

* Price: $25 a year.

* Benefits: Up to 25,000 tracks, even those imported from CDs, are stored in Apple's iCloud, where they are accessible from any iTunes-equipped PC, iPhone or iPad.

Netflix

* Price: $8 a month/$96 a year.

* Benefits: Access to thousands of movies and TV shows on almost any smartphone, tablet, gaming console, set-top box and many Wi-Fi connected TVs.

Playstation Plus

* Price: $50 a year/$18 for three months.

* Benefits: Discounts on select games, access to early beta versions, free games and online cloud storage for game saves.

Spotify Premium

* Price: $10 a month.

* Benefits: Listen to Spotify content, ad-free, on the go through a mobile app, stream music at higher quality and pre-release access to some albums.

Xbox Live Gold

* Price: $60 a year/$25 for three months.

* Benefits: Access to multiplayer through Xbox Live, early access to games, game demos and other content.

Finding the right gift for the techie in your life doesn't have to mean downgrading your holiday budget.

Here are a dozen devices for less than $100 that should put a smile on any gadget lover's face.

$75-$100

SEAGATE GOFLEX SATELLITE WIRELESS HARD DRIVE

* Who it's for: iPad users with massive multimedia libraries who can't fit all their movies or music on their device's hard drive.

* Why they need it: At 500 gigabytes, the Satellite has eight times the storage capacity of even the largest iPad. Through the drive's private wireless network, up to three iPads or iPhones can connect and watch different content simultaneously for up to five hours per charge.

* Price: $100 on Amazon.com and Newegg.com. (Suggested list price is $200.)

* Product website: www.seagate.com

MONSTER iCLARITY BLUETOOTH SPEAKER

* Who it's for: Music and movie lovers with a bluetooth-capable device who want more sonic oomph without a lot of extra weight or the need for cords.

* Why they need it: Even with a footprint only slightly larger than a smartphone and weighing less than half a pound, the iClarity has surprisingly beefy sound, courtesy of a pair of 35-mm drivers. It also can serve as a speaker phone, an uncommon feature in most bluetooth speakers.

* Price: $100 on Amazon.com.

* Product website: www.monstercable.com

LOGITECH RECHARGEABLE WIRELESS USB TOUCHPAD

* Who it's for: Any PC user who wants to use tablet-like multi-touch gestures on their desktop or laptop.

* Why they need it: The large glass surface and build quality mimic that of Apple's Magic Track Pad. A battery allows for up to one month per charge for one- to four-finger taps, swipes and other gestures. Although it is designed for use in the recently released Windows 8 operating system, it also works with Windows 7.

* Price: $80 at Best Buy.

* Product website: www.logitech.com

$50-$75

iCADE iPAD ARCADE CABINET

* Who it's for: Fans of retro-style games who want to relive the arcade experience on their iPads without the hindrance of touch controls.

* Why they need it: Originally announced as an April Fool's prank, the idea of a miniature portable arcade cabinet with working joystick and buttons ignited so much interest, it was developed into an actual product. The iPad slides into the cabinet, connects to it via bluetooth and is compatible with a library of more than 500 game apps.

* Price: $70 on ThinkGeek.com. (Suggested list price is $100.)

* Product website: www.ionaudio.com

AMAZON KINDLE

* Who it's for: Readers who want to get in on the e-book craze without paying a premium price for a multi-function tablet.

* Why they need it: Five years ago, the first-generation Kindle became one of the first massively successful e-readers when it debuted for $400. The release of the $200 Kindle Fire tablet in 2011 dropped the price of the non-touch, ad-supported Kindle into the basement, but it still can access the same library of more than 1 million books via a Wi-Fi connection.

* Price: $70 at various retailers, including Amazon.com and Best Buy.

* Product website: www.amazon.com/kindle

OLLOCLIP 3-IN-1 iPHONE PHOTO LENS

* Who it's for: iPhone shutterbugs who want more options for shooting than would be possible with the native lens.

* Why they need it: Since they are always close at hand, smartphones have increasingly become the photo equipment du jour, but with its fixed lens, shooting options are limited. This all-in-one solution slides on securely and offers macro, wide-angle and fisheye lenses in one device. Two varieties are available for iPhone 4/4s and 5.

* Price: $58 on eCost.com. (Suggested list price is $70.)

* Product website: www.olloclip.com

$25-$50

ROKU LT

* Who it's for: Subscribers to Netflix or other multimedia streaming services who want to access them on the cheap through a standard or high-def TV.

* Why they need it: The Roku LT is extremely simple to operate and, for the price, few set-top boxes can compete with its access to 600 services ranging from Hulu to HBO Go and CNET. Although it only streams at 720p resolution, the difference is unnoticeable on smaller screens and, because it has analog connections, the LT will even work on standard-def TVs.

* Price: $50.

* Product website: www.roku.com/lt

LOGITECH K310 WASHABLE USB KEYBOARD

* Who it's for: Households with children who want to sanitize or accident-proof the most-touched component of their computer.

* Why they need it: Unlike most keyboards, the K310 is completely submersible in up to 11 inches of water and can be handwashed with dishwashing liquid. Drainage holes help speed drying, and the keys are UV coated and laser printed to be durable and scratch resistant.

* Price: $30 on Amazon.com. (Suggested list price is $40.)

* Product website: www.logitech.com

QUIRKY PIVOT POWER

* Who it's for: Anyone with too many gadgets who wants a power strip that can accommodate several large AC adapters at once.

* Why they need it: On normal power strips, plugs are placed closely together, causing large adapters to limit a strip's use by covering multiple plugs. The Pivot Power's bendable design flexes into curves, allowing it to fit six bulky power adapters at once.

* Price: $27.25 on Amazon.com. (Suggested list price is $40.)

* Product website: www.quirky.com

$25 or less

FLING MINI DUAL PACK

* Who it's for: Gamers with smartphones or tablets who want a cheap, lightweight control alternative to their fingers when playing mobile games.

* Why they need it: As smartphones become more powerful, game developers are offering increasingly sophisticated gaming apps that can be difficult to control with fingers alone. The Fling adheres to the screen by suction cups and simulates the feel of a console controller with a clear design that doesn't obscure the action.

* Price: $20.62 on Amazon.com, includes a pair of joysticks. (Suggested list price is $25.)

* Product website: www.tenonedesign.com

DURACELL INSTANT USB CHARGER

* Who it's for: The techie whose devices usually run out of power when a power plug or charger is nowhere in sight.

* Why they need it: Continuous use can empty the batteries in smart tech at an alarming rate. To provide emergency juice, Duracell offers this rechargeable, three-ounce backup. Plug it into almost any USB-powered gadget through the included adapter and, on full charge, it will partially refill the batteries in most smartphones and equivalent devices.

* Price: $21. (Suggested list price is $25.)

* Product website: www.duracell.com/instant-charger

ZAGG INVISIBLESHIELD SCREEN PROTECTOR

* Who it's for: Smartphone and tablet users who want to keep their device's touchscreen pristine.

* Why they need it: Replacing a scratched screen can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if it means sending it back to the manufacturer. Zagg's clear protectors are made from a durable, self-healing military-grade material that is designed to withstand even the most extreme abrasion. Each one comes with a 45-day money back guarantee and lifetime replacement policy.

* Price: $7.80-$25 on Amazon.com, depending on device model. Tablet models are more expensive.

* Product website: www.zagg.com

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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