Digital Crave

10 awesome gadgets from the dollar store

Marc Saltzman
Digital Crave

Tech from the dollar store

Why break your budget at your local big box store when you can pick up a handful of tech toys on the cheap?

Like, real cheap.

Every once in a while on Yahoo Digital Crave we like to cover a few recommended gadgety products from your local dollar store (or, depending where you are in the country, the “$0.99 Cent Store”). In case you’ve missed some of our round-ups, you can find one here and here.

What’s that? You found some extra loose change in your pocket and are curious what you can get for a buck or two? The following are a handful of stingy suggestions found at various stores including Dollar Tree, Dollar King, Family Dollar, National Dollar, Buck Or Two or 99 Depot.

View gallery

.
LED Book Light
LED book light

This clamp-on product is a steal for a buck, as it does the exact same thing as the $20 versions at your local book store: it houses a bright LED (light-emitting diode) bulb to illuminate a book while reading in low-light conditions. And hey, you won’t have to turn on the night table lamp and disturb your significant other.

Available at Dollar Tree locations, this slender, silver book light attaches onto a soft- or hardcover book or ebook reader and, with a press of a button, unfolds its arm to shed a bright white light. The book light already includes three AG13 watch batteries.

Magnavox Foldable Headphones

Ideal for younger kids or for those who don’t like earbuds in their ears, the Magnavox Foldable Headband (model # MHL1600) is a pair of lightweight headphones that can be connected to any 3.5mm audio jack – be it a smartphone, iPod or other MP3 player, tablet, laptop or portable gaming system. Surprisingly, for the $2 it costs, the sound quality wasn’t so bad. As the name suggests, you can fold them up for added portability. Technical specs include a frequency response of 20Hz – 20kHz and an impedance of 32.0.

Tech-1 Retractable Mouse

Are you thinking of hitting up a big box store if you need a spare computer mouse? Instead of paying more than you need to, for $2 you can find a Retractable USB Mouse from Tech-1. Available in white or black, this small right- or left-handed mouse plugs into an available USB port on your PC or Mac – no drivers needed – and you can pull on the cord to give yourself as much space as you need. No, it’s not wireless, but this small and affordable accessory could be an invaluable travel companion.

View gallery

.
Mattel Apptivity

Sold for $14.99 elsewhere, Mattel’s Apptivity action figures are placed on a flat iPad screen and used with supported apps.

We found Batman: Riot Cannon for $2, which works with the free Apptivity Batman app. Inspired by The Dark Knight film, you’ll place Batman on the screen and move throughout the combat-heavy Story Mode (or opt for a Quick Play game). In some cases, you’re quickly twisting Batman counterclockwise to punch an enemy, pressing down slightly to descend off a building.

Electra 5-in-1 Universal Remote

While this $2 Universal Remote doesn’t have any bells and whistles, it can let you control up to five home theater components, or replace a broken remote for your TV, cable box or DVR. Requiring two AA batteries (not included), the silver wireless remote is easy to program (code book included) and offers dedicated buttons for TV, DVD, VCR, CBL/SAT and AUDIO. Plus, along with channel up and down, it features a Sleep button, Mute, DVD Menu, Picture-in-Picture, Guide, and more. We also found a 6-in-1 no-name remote with an extra button to cycle through various TV inputs.

Maplock GPS Anti-Theft Device

If you have a standalone GPS navigation device, you know it can be a pain to put it away every time you step out of your vehicle. If you don’t, though, it might give a criminal some extra incentive to break in. Instead of spending up to $30 elsewhere, you can pick up the Maplock, which clamps onto your GPS, locks it down and tethers it to your steering wheel via a security cable. Be sure to buy the correct Maplock to fit your GPS device, such as a Garmin or TomTom model.

View gallery

.
BYO Neoprene Laptop Sleeve

Available at Amazon.com for $15, a neoprene laptop sleeve was found for just $3. With multiple colors and designs to choose from (including polkadots), these BYO (“Bring Your Own”)-branded sleeves can take up to a 16-inch laptop, and protects the clamshell computer from the bumps and knocks of everyday life, thanks to its soft inner lining and stretchy outer “wetsuit” skin. Too bad there’s no handle, but this fashionable and functional accessory is well worth the small investment.

Double Headphone Adaptor (HRS-Global)

If you’re hitting the road for the holidays, siblings might want to listen to the same music, movie or game in the backseat – without disturbing mom and dad. Whether you're using a smartphone, portable media player, tablet, laptop or gaming system, split the enjoyment with the HRS-Global Double Adaptor ($1). On one end of this small black device is a male 3.5mm jack to snap into your device of choice, while on the other end are two female ports to plug in your earbuds or headphones. This adaptor drops the audio down, though, so you might want to turn up the volume to compensate.

Tilt Top Calculator (Studio)

We all know how expensive it can be to be a student these days. So, while you’re at the dollar store picking up paper and pens, be sure to visit the electronics aisle to snag a calculator, too. We liked the solar-powered Tilt Top Calculator from Studio ($1.50), with an easy to read and adjustable 8-digit display (which can be propped up for a better view), large buttons, auto power off feature and handy palm rest for those late night cram sessions. Scientific calculators were also offered at the dollar stores we visited.

View gallery

.
4-port hub
4-Port Multi-Hub (Tech-1)

Most laptops only offer two USB ports but you can easily get four more with an inexpensive USB hub. There are hundreds of models available -- most are between $10 and $30 — but you can pick the Tech-1 Multi-Hub for $3.

With USB 2.0 speeds of up to 480 megabits per second, simply plug one end into your laptop or desktop, while on the other end you’ll find two female USB ports, a male 30-pin iOS connector and a male microUSB plug for smartphones and tablets. No external power is needed.

Digital Crave readers, are you planning to stop off at the dollar store for electronic gifts this holiday season?

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Ex-president George H.W. Bush moved to intensive care; wife hospitalized

      Bush, who at 92 is the nation's oldest living ex-president, has been at Houston Methodist Hospital since Saturday after experiencing shortness of breath, family spokesman Jim McGrath said on Wednesday. Since then, Bush experienced an "acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia" and was sedated for the unspecified procedure, his office said.

      Reuters
    • One by one, 3 utility workers descended into a manhole. One by one, they died.

      When a utility worker in Key Largo, Fla., noticed that a section of a paved street was not settling properly, he decided to remove a manhole cover and descend into the earth. Moments later on Monday morning, the 15-foot-deep hole went silent. Sensing the man was trapped, a fellow utility worker climbed into the drainage hole to rescue him. When he, too, stopped responding, a third worker entered the same hole. All three men died, overcome by poisonous fumes underground, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. A Key Largo firefighter who made a desperate attempt to save the men also became unconscious within seconds. The firefighter, Leonardo Moreno, an eight-year veteran of the

      Washington Post q
    • Things You Should Never Buy at Aldi

      Haven't shopped at an Aldi supermarket yet? After steadily expanding its footprint in the eastern part of the country over the past 40 years - the first U.S. store opened in Iowa in 1976 - Aldi is now adding locations in Southern California. There are few shelves, few employees and none of the amenities you've come to expect from the likes of Wegmans or Whole Foods.

      Kiplinger
    • Sasha Obama Catches Some Sun in Miami (61 photos)

      Following their European tour with First Lady Michelle Obama earlier last summer, the first daughters are bringing their chic sense of style to the streets of NYC for a father-daughter weekend with the President. Since moving into The White House eight years ago, Sasha and Malia Obama's style has transformed along the way. Click through for a look back at the teenagers' best fashion moments over the years. From Harper's BAZAAR

      Harper's Bazaar
    • American Airlines Unveils a Cheaper Ticket with a Big Catch: Here’s What You Need to Know

      American Airlines is offering you a cheaper ticket, but it’ll cost you. The airline announced today that it is introducing a Basic Economy fare in ten markets starting in February that will be similar to the one that United Airlines recently unveiled. While this lower price ticket offers the same in-flight services, there’s one benefit that’s notably missing: access to the overhead bin.

      People
    • 2016 NFL MVP and Offensive, Defensive Player of the Year picks are in

      Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who led the top-scoring offense in the NFL with franchise records in passing yards and touchdowns, was selected as the 2016 MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America. Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack, who had a sack in an NFL record-tying eight consecutive games, was named the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year, the PFWA announced Wednesday. Ryan, in his ninth NFL season, is the 43rd MVP honored by the PFWA. He is the first Falcons player to earn the honor and the fourth consecutive quarterback to be selected MVP. Ryan started all 16 games in 2016, and completed 373 of 534 passes

      UPI q
    • Kate Gosselin's Strict Demands: Pats Down Her Kids After They Visit Jon Gosselin (EXCLUSIVE)

      In the new issue of In Touch, sources reveal shocking new claims about how Kate Gosselin treats her eight kids. While the kids seem to be living it up during their TLC show Kate Plus 8, when the cameras aren’t rolling the fun stops. From constant surveillance and endless chores to regular pat-downs and strict edicts about what they can and can’t wear while visiting their dad, Jon Gosselin, the Gosselin children, claims an insider, “are prisoners in their own home.” (Photo Credit: Getty Images) Kate is especially unyielding when it comes to the kids visiting their father. “Kate says no clothing or belongings can be brought from her house to Jon’s house, so the kids arrive for visitation [at Jon’s]

      In Touch Weekly q
    • Giant Alligator Draws Crowds of Visitors to Florida Nature Reserve, Raises Concerns About Safety

      Crowds of visitors have been flocking to Circle B Bar Reserve near Lakeland, Florida, in the hopes of spotting "Humpback," a massive alligator that made international headlines earlier this week after a video of him went viral. Though officials for the county's natural resources division said they appreciate the newfound attention on the nature reserve, they are also concerned about the safety of visitors and wildlife.

      Good Morning America
    • Entertainment Tonight
    • Senate panel overwhelmingly approves Trump Pentagon pick

      The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to recommend President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of Defense, retired Marine General James Mattis. The committee voted 26-1 to back Mattis' nomination when it is received by the full Senate from Trump after he is sworn in as president. As a result, Mattis' nomination will be sent directly to the Senate for a vote without referral to the committee.

      Reuters
    • Toddler who died of brain injuries had ‘thug life’ written on his stomach, authorities say

      Eighteen-month-old Ares Baroz had been bleeding in his brain and had fractures on his skull, legs and shoulder area when he died the day before Thanksgiving, court records say. Last week, prosecutors revealed new information that they say could shed some light into the boy’s life at home. A picture found on his mother’s cellphone shows Ares with the words “thug life” scribbled in black Sharpie across his tiny stomach, Assistant District Attorney Susan Stinson told The Washington Post. A fake tattoo and the word “loco” can be seen on his forehead. It’s unclear when the pictures were taken or whether they were somehow connected to the boy’s injuries. But his mother, 27-year-old Miranda Rabago,

      Washington Post q
    • Take a peek inside the most expensive home for sale in the US

      A 38,000-square-foot mansion in Bel Air, California, is poised to become the most expensive home for sale in the U.S. at $250 million.

      CNBC
    • Fox News' Tucker Carlson perfectly exposed a guest trying to spread a hoax on air

      Fox News host Tucker Carlson began his interview Tuesday night with an unusual demand: "Tell me what your real name is." While the man Carlson was talking to claimed to be Dom Tullipso, director of operations for a business called Demand Protest, Carlson said a "law enforcement-level background check" revealed that name "does not exist" — and Carlson wasn't convinced Tullipso's business did either. The man never exactly admitted that the whole business is, in fact, a hoax, but he does give a pretty good display of what Carlson dubs "performance art." At one point, Tullipso (if that's really his name) claims his support for "national treasures such as Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Peyton Manning." Yes, football-playing, Super Bowl-winning Peyton Manning.

      The Week q
    • American Airlines is banning carry-on bags and overhead bin use for basic-economy passengers

      Flying American Airlines just got a bit more affordable. On Wednesday, the world's largest...

      Business Insider
    • How Long-Simmering Tensions Between Aaron Rodgers and His Brother Jordan Ended in a ‘Blow-Up’ Fight and a Family Torn Apart

      Like many brothers, Aaron and Jordan Rodgers have had a lifelong rivalry. “ have always been competitive, and they’re always trying to one-up each other,” says a source close to the Green Bay Packers quarterback. While competing on JoJo Fletcher‘s season of The Bachelorette, Jordan, 28, revealed that Aaron, 33, is estranged from the family.

      People
    • Teen abducted as newborn still loves only mom she's known

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — An 18-year-old woman abducted as a newborn from a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, says she still loves the only mother she has known.

      Associated Press
    • Teacher Pregnant by Student Gets 10 Years in Jail

      Alexandria Vera, 24, pleaded guilty last year to aggravated sexual assault of a child and was hoping to avoid prison and just get probation.

      Cosmopolitan
    • George H.W. Bush now in intensive care; Barbara Bush also hospitalized

      Former President George H.W. Bush has been moved to the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital, while former First Lady Barbara Bush is now also in the hospital.

      WPVI – Philadelphia
    • Donald Trump Tells Democrats Boycotting His Inauguration: Give Me Your Tickets

      'I don't want the celebrities there. I want the people there,' Trump spouted.

      Inside Edition
    • Sasha Obama and Joe Biden's granddaughter Maisy go on vacation together in Miami

      First daughter Sasha Obama got some serious R&R over the weekend during a trip to Miami. President Obama and Michelle Obama's 15-year-old daughter and a group of friends, including Vice President Joe Biden's granddaughter, Maisy Biden, soaked up the sun and hit up some of the city's hotspots. On Saturday night, Sasha and Maisy were spotted at Miami restaurant STK in South Beach.

      hello!