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August 9, 2017

Cash burning a hole in your pocket? Here’s the best tech under $50 to spend it on

by John_A

The world of consumer electronics is enticing, but it isn’t cheap. The baseline price for a quality 4K television will still set you back a cool $1,000 and Apple’s latest iPad Air will easily cost you hundreds of dollars. Thankfully, there’s a smattering of quality tech accessories and standalone products for budget shoppers with $50 to kill. Each of the products featured below is designed for a different purpose, whether it be streaming Stranger Things or tracking your fitness goals, except without the hefty price tag often associated with more capable offerings. They certainly can’t do it all, but considering they cost less than a nice dinner in the city, they also don’t have to. We’ve combed the interweb and here is the best tech under $50 you can buy right this minute. We’ve also compiled a list of the best tech under $100 if you’re so inclined.

 ECEEN 13W 2-Port USB Universal Foldable Solar Charger

Over the past few years, the cost of solar technologies and paneling have dropped substantially and now there are plenty of affordably priced personal, portable solar options. That said, the ECEEN 13W foldable solar charger is one of our favorites. The device weighs only nine ounces and when completely folded, the entire unit is just an inch thick. There’s a small stand on the backside allowing you to easily prop and angle the solar charger towards the sun. Currently priced at just $40, the ECEEN 13W is one of the best budget solar chargers currently on the market.

Price: $40

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Raspberry PI 3 Model

The first Pi launched four years ago and the Raspberry Pi Model 3 is faster and more powerful than its predecessors. Pi is essentially a credit-card-sized PC but you don’t need to be a computer programmer to turn a Raspberry Pi into a litany of handy (or purely novelty) gadgets. We’ve covered some of our favorite Arduino projects in the past and we’ve even compiled a few projects you make right now with this Raspberry Pi model.

Price: $38

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Mophie Powerstation Mini

Daily life can be draining on more than just your body, and that’s where Mophie comes in. The company’s apt-titled Powerstation Mini is a 3,000mAh portable charger that’s designed to provide more than 10 hours of additional power to any smartphone, or five hours to your typical tablet. The compact device is even available in five distinct colors (purple, pink, blue, white, and black) and comes with an aluminum finish, rendering it the perfect companion for those looking to keep up aesthetics on the go. You can peruse our roundup of other solid power banks, however, not all of these options will be under $50.

Price: $28

Buy one now from:

Mophie Best Buy Amazon

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow Cooker

The phrase “set and forget” is music to the ears of anyone who wants to make a home-cooked meal with little hassle. Thankfully, you can program Hamilton Beach’s slow cooker to cook your dish for a specified time, and the device will automatically change the temperature to keep the contents warm once it reaches said time. You can also insert a probe into your dish and set an internal temperature for the slow cooker — the device will automatically keep your food warm when it reaches the designated temp. Cooking gadgets are rarely as easy to operate (or cheap).

Price: $42+

Buy one from:

Target Amazon Walmart

Chromecast (2015)

The second generation of Google’s Chromecast is still a powerful streaming dongle, one that can stream favorites such as Netflix and HBO Go in 1080p. The puck’s extended cable also ensures it can connect to your TV’s HDMI port even in the tightest of circumstances, while a convenient, cross-platform search function allows you to scour a multitude of streaming apps simultaneously via text or voice. The fact that Google’s flagship dongle costs half as much as its 4K counterpart is just a plus.

Read our full review here.

Price: $35+

Buy on from:

Google Target Best Buy 

Pronto Peel Universal Remote

Tired of having a zillion different remotes for all the electronics in your house? Ditch them all and start using Peel. It’s basically a little tower that you can connect to any IR, RF, or IP-controlled device, allowing you to control your speakers, TV, and a slew of other connected devices. Once set up, you can sync the device with your smartphone and control absolutely everything from directly within the accompanying app. It’s ridiculously convenient if you’ve got a lot of remote-controlled gear in your abode, and a recent price cut makes the device all the more attractive.

Price: $16+

Buy one now from:

Amazon Newegg

Misfit Flash

You don’t have to spend a fortune for a decent fitness tracker. The sporty Misfit Flash is a waterproof device that syncs with your smartphone and measures your daily activity and sleep patterns via a three-axis accelerometer, letting you monitor the amount of calories you burn, steps you take, and distance you travel each day. A ring of 12 LED lights also indicates your progress toward your daily goal — when you’re not checking the time or replacing the six-month battery, that is.

Read more here.

Price: $21+

Buy one now from:

Amazon

TP-Link LB100 Smart Light Bulb

Connected light bulbs are one of those things that you probably don’t need, but once you get a few, you can’t imagine how you lived without them. And you can’t go wrong with the TP-Link LB100. Most people seem to view connected bulbs as a luxury item designed for rich people too lazy to flip a light switch, but they’re much more than that. If used correctly, a set of smart bulbs can function as an intuitive notification system, one that allows you to set visual reminders and even alarm clocks. It all depends on what apps you use and how creative you get.

Price: $20

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Dremel 200 Rotary Tool

If there’s one power tool every person should own, it’s a Dremel. It’s basically the Swiss Army Knife of the power tool world. With the right attachments, these machines can do practically anything — cutting, sanding, polishing, carving, and everything in between. This set comes with a small assortment of attachments to get you started, and if that’s not enough, the tool is compatible with a gazillion more attachments that Dremel makes. Be careful though. Power tools are a slippery slope, and Dremel is a gateway drug. If you’re not careful, you could wake up a year from now with a table saw and a laser cutter in your garage, wondering where your life went.

Price: $49+

Buy one now from:

Amazon Home Depot

Shure SE112 Earphones

The market for budget headphones is steadily growing, with decent offerings from the likes of Panasonic and Audiofly at the forefront. Nonetheless, Shure’s SE112 headphones remain one of our favorites despite the price tag (which pushes the edge of our roundup). They produce an admirable level of detail and respectable passive noise cancellation within solid construction nearly everyone can stand behind. Subtle textures and instrumental separation are far more clear than one might expect — even if upper registry proves a bit too snappy at times — with a decent comfort level and a 50-inch cable featuring a slide clip-piece for cable management.

Read our full review here.

Price: $49

Buy one now from:

Amazon B&H Walmart

Roku Streaming Stick

Your high-definition TV set may look great on your living room wall, but not with all those wires dangling about. Thankfully, the Roku Streaming Stick plugs directly into the USB port on your HDTV, allowing for 1080p video without extra cordage. And while it’s on the expensive side when it comes to streaming sticks, it’s the only one currently on the market with a quad-core processor, which makes it substantially quicker than the competition.

Read our full review here.

Price: $40

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Amazon Echo Dot

We’d be remiss not to include Amazon’s Echo Dot in our list. It does everything its bigger (and more expensive) brother does, only it’s slightly larger than a hockey puck. It’s not as loud as the Echo, but it still emits decent sound for its size. It can also connect to any audio system, is capable of far-field voice recognition, and boasts a host of functionality that’s only becoming more advanced with time. If you’ve already bought the aforementioned TP-Link bulb — and you have some extra money to spare — you should pick up the Echo Dot as well.

Read our full review here.

Price: $50

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Amazon FireTV Stick

This definitely isn’t the only streaming stick you can get for under $50, but it’s arguably one of the best options. Why? Because it touts four times the memory and twice as much storage as Chromecast 2 and the Roku stick. The latest version even features voice control functionality, something once reserved for higher-end versions of the FireTV Stick.

Read more here.

Price: $40

Buy one now from:

Amazon

PNY 64GB SD Card

It’s crazy how cheap external memory devices have become in the past couple years. Pop one of these bad boys into your DSLR, and you can shoot every photo in RAW, or even record multiple hours of HD video without ever worrying about filling your memory card.

Price: $30

Buy one now from:

Amazon B&H Newegg

Belkin SongStream Bluetooth Audio Receiver

Belkin’s SongStream Bluetooth Audio Receiver is designed to make older stereo equipment compatible with modern wireless devices (i.e. smartphones and tablets). The boxy receiver plugs into your home stereo or standalone speaker via either an RCA or AUX cable, allowing you to wirelessly stream content from your iPhone, Nexus tablet, or any other Bluetooh-enabled device with ease. The jet-black device remembers up to six different devices at any given moment, too, meaning everyone can take turns playing the latest Prince tracks from up to 33 feet away.

Price: $31

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Anker MP141 Bluetooth Speaker

Anker’s MP141 Bluetooth Speaker isn’t the most rugged or high-quality offering on the market. However, it puts out rich and natural sound within a good-looking design from up to 33 feet away. The Bluetooth speaker also doubles as a speakerphone when use in conjunction with the integrated microphone, allowing you to take calls in addition to streaming your favorite tunes. The best part? The cube-like device boasts an unparalleled battery life of up to 20 hours and features an auto-off feature that kills power to the device after prolonged periods of time. The dead-simple operation and pairing are only a plus.

Read our full review here.

Price: $28

Buy one now from:

Amazon

GoolRC CX-10G Quadcopter

Drones are one of the coolest toys in existence — and often one of the most expensive. Thankfully, for those looking to patrol the skies on a budget, there’s the CX-10G. This miniature quadcopter isn’t much larger than a quarter, yet it still handles like a dream (it can even do flips). It’s also equipped with a 0.3-megapixel camera, rendering it one of the most advanced drones for the price.

Price: $26

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Tile Mate

Phones and keys are two objects that we can’t help but misplace from time to time. Fortunately, the Tile Mate is specifically designed for such occasions. The small, squarish device attaches to your key ring, and using a mobile app, users can ping the device and cause it to emit a loud sound. If you misplace your phone, you can also double press the button on the Mate to make it ring (even if it’s on silent). Just try not to misplace both.

Read more here.

Price: $25

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Voltnow Riverfi Bluetooth Speaker and Battery Bank

How many times have you been hiking out amidst the glory of nature and felt a need to listen to your favorite summer jams, only to find that not only did you not bring speakers, but your phone is also dead? Never again. The Riverfi doubles as both a Bluetooth speaker and battery, so you can charge your devices and listen to music wherever you are. With a capacity of 2600mAh, the Riverfi is capable of fully charging a phone and still having energy leftover for music.

Price: $35

Buy one now from:

VoltNow Amazon

LuminAID Inflatable Solar Pack

Among the many hazards of camping is the overwhelming darkness of natural night. When away from the ever present glow of the city, it’s important to have some sort of light source. The LuminAID inflatable light provides a lightweight, foldable lantern that is fueled by solar power, making it easy to charge. The device provides anywhere between 8 and 16 hours of light depending on how intense users set it to be, and recharges in just under 7 or so. It’s also waterproof, so it can survive even a river crossing.

Price: $17+

Buy one now from:

DT Shop Amazon

This article was originally published on October 4, 2014, and updated on August 3, 2017 by Dallon Adams to include the ECEEN solar charger and the Raspberry Pi Model 3.




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