Struggling to think of a gift? TECHGEEK.com.au is here to help with our annual Holiday Gift Guide – and we kick off with our series with our picks for gifts under $100. Previously, we only focused on products available in Australia – but we’ve slightly expanded on that to include items from the US.
Why? The Australian dollar is again on parity – at the time of writing – with the US dollar, so why not take advantage of it and shop. That being said, we’ve mostly focused on Australia just for convenience purposes.
Featured Image: Hades2k/Flickr (Creative Commons)
Let’s get this out of the way. The iPod shuffle is a brilliant gift to consider, especially for those who are starting out with their first MP3 player or as a way to easily listen to music while they run (yes, the other iPods can be used to listen to music as well, but this one is preferred because you don’t need an armband to attach it to your arm).
For AU$55, you get 2GB of storage and pretty much can only listen to music and, for some, audiobooks. But for something that is easy to use, and to clip on while you jog, it’s pretty much the best cheap MP3 player out there.
This is probably the first time we’ve actually said that you should get a multitool device for Christmas. Why? Well, the Gerber Steady adds a tripod as one of the many things it can do – meaning that you can now take steady camera shots from a camera (weighing up to 340g) or a smartphone (up to 170g) at any time and at any location.
As well, it also has a fine edge blade, a serrated blade, three screwdrivers, a bottle opener, pliers and wirecutters. The Steady is also lightweight, only weighing at 164 grams. We found it for around US$60 on ThinkGeek.
Eye-Fi 8GB SDHC Mobile X2
Avid photographers will love this gift. The Eye-Fi, which has been around in the US for a while, has finally found an Australian distributor. Basically, it is an SD card that also uploads your photos through Wi-Fi instantly to your computer, smartphone or tablet – meaning that you don’t need to have wires to transfer photos. It comes in three varieties – the one we’ve chosen is the Mobile X2, which is AU$99 (according to Ted’s Cameras). It also comes in the cheaper Connect X2, which has 4GB of storage; and the Pro X2, which has 8GB and 16GB storage capacities.
The main difference between the Connect and Mobile is basically storage; but between the Pro and Mobile versions is the ability to geotag photos based on Wi-Fi and to wirelessly upload RAW files. But if you’re a casual shooter, then you probably won’t need that feature.
If you (or you know someone) love to read, but don’t want to carry a heavy book with you, then the Amazon Kindle is probably the best thing you can get as an eBook reader. Unfortunately, the ones that are sold in America aren’t available internationally as of yet, but the one that is costs US$89 – something that you should totally take advantage of the high Australian dollar.
Woolworths currently stock the Amazon Kindle touch, which adds a touch screen – this model that Amazon is selling does not feature that. In fact, if you owned the Kindle Keyboard, then it’s basically that without the keyboard. Regardless, both still have access to the Kindle bookstore.
You can purchase the Amazon Kindle from Amazon. Again, don’t forget, this $89 price does not include delivery, shipping and any accessories that you might want to add to it.
If you like to keep track of your runs, the number of calories lost, or the number of steps that you’ve walked in a day, then you should consider the FitBit Zip. While it doesn’t have all the features as its more expensive FitBit One – like tracking your sleep – it does let you wirelessly sync the data to your mobile devices (iOS at the moment, Android coming soon) or laptop.
The FitBit app and dashboard, however, does more than simply track your runs. You can challenge your friends and log food, weight and workouts you have done. It also works with other fitness apps like RunKeeper – so if you don’t have a FitBit app, then you can always use the alternatives.
It only costs $69.95, and you can purchase it through its website.
Logitech Harmony 650
This device was released in 2010, but has now finally been reduced down to being under $100. Regardless, it is a great introductory device into the Harmony remotes – a line of universal remotes that are easy to set up because all you need to do is to connect the remote to your computer and just tell them what devices you have (on a given list – which you can check out here), and that’s it. It will do the rest. No more trying to individually map each key manually.
The Harmony 650 is only $89.95 and available through most retailers and online via Logitech; and like I said, it is a great introductory device to the Harmony line. There is of course the Harmony 700 and the Harmony One, but they are above the price range of this list.
The Bag of Holding Messenger Bag
This comes from ThinkGeek, a store known for selling really geeky items (hence it has ‘Geek’ in its name). In fact, this bag was manufactured by them. The name is taken from Dungeons and Dragons, where it is a bag that is capable of containing objects larger than its own size despite being a common cloth sack. In other words, it is sort of like the TARDIS – being bigger on the insider (just not infinitely big).
The real bag, however, does carry more than it appears. It has a padded laptop compartment that can fit a 17-inch laptop, and another five interior pockets inside that pretty much can fit a large 3-ring binder, two college textbooks, two paperback books, an Amazon Kindle, an iPod, your mobile phone, cables, pencils, business cards, spare batteries, and so much more. Well, that’s according to their page. And reading the reviews, people love it.
It comes in two varieties – the messenger bag which costs US$59.99, and a ‘Special Edition’ Backpack version for US$69.99. Of course, the prices are relatively the same in Australian dollars due to it being on parity.
Seagate Backup Plus Portable (500GB)
It may seem weird to give someone a portable hard drive, but they will probably thank you later in the long run. Why? Because people keep forgetting to back up their important files. Yes, while there is cloud storage available, a good backup strategy is to have one on your computer, one on the cloud and one on an external hard drive. And with this – at least you are getting them started in backing things up. I should know, I nearly wiped my entire USB flash drive once – and basically lost all my notes for my classes.
Of course, we’re not saying that you have to get this particular brand – we only chose this because of the good reviews given the price tag we’ve set this list, and the fact that you can interchange the connectors from USB to Thunderbolt (will cost extra, however).
The 500GB model costs $99 and can be found at your nearest electronics retailer.
We already suggested the Gerber Steady because of its multiple uses and the fact that it has a tripod, so why are we suggesting another one? Well, the GorillaPod is a really flexible tripod that lets you grip and wrap around almost any surface. And because of this, you can position the camera at any angle. And it is small – meaning that you can put this in a backpack and not carry it around a tripod everywhere.
However, that said, it can also be a negative sometimes. You could be in an area where there is nothing to attach it to that is high enough to take the picture.
It comes in a variety of sizes – most under $100. The point and shoot version (the one pictured) costs around AUD$20, while the one suitable for the DSLR without a zoom lens costs $49.95 without the ballhead, and $79.95 with one.
Belkin Power Pack 2000
Ever had that phone run out of battery, and just when you need it the most? You could get a Morphie to attach it with your phone – but if you have an Android (except for the Galaxy S III – they also make one), Windows Phone or BlackBerry device, then you are out of luck. And the Morphie can make the phone unnecessarily bulky.
The Belkin Power Pack 2000 has enough to charge a smartphone with 2000 mAh of power and will give a slight boost when using a tablet. You also get an included USB to microUSB cable that acts to recharge the Power Pack. You can also use it to charge the device from the Power Pack, but you can also use the phone’s included cables.