Summer is here, which usually means expensive air travel, pricey parties and rising fuel costs.
So, what's a gadget lover to do when their pockets have more coins and lint than bills and credit cards?
Here we offer a handful of great gadgets for less than $50.
LG Tone Stereo Bluetooth Headset (HBS-700)
Go cable-free while listening to your smartphone music with the LG Tone HBS-700 ($48.99). This 1.1-ounce stereo Bluetooth headset has an around-the-neck design with dedicated music and talk controls, impressive audio clarity (echo-cancellation and noise-suppression technology) and up to 10 hours of talk time between charges (and 15 days of standby). Unlike many other music-centric wireless headsets, this LG product also has a battery status check, vibrating call alert and support for the free SMS Reader app (Android) that reads your text messages to you in real time.
Power A Airflow Controller for PS3
PlayStation 3 gamers know their Call of Duty multiplayer matches can get quite heated, but now they can cool down with Power A's Airflow Controller for PS3 ($19.99) -- a gamepad that blows cool air through tiny pores to keep your hands from sweating. This USB-based controller, which houses dual analog sticks and trigger buttons, lets you choose from one of two levels of air flow intensity (or none at all). Other features include illuminated handgrips and buttons (ideal for dimly-lit rooms) and rumble motors so you can feel the action.
Duracell Rechargeable Instant USB Charger
There's nothing worse than being away from home and the gadgets you rely upon while traveling -- such as a smartphone, media player or camera -- run out of juice. And of course, it happens just when you need them, too. About the size of a small pack of gum, the Duracell Rechargeable Instant USB Charger ($29.00) is a small Lithium-Ion charger that can add about 180 minutes of talk to your mobile phone. In fact, it can power up two items at once thanks to both a USB and mini USB port. It's ideal for iPhones, Androids, MP3 players and point-and-shoot digital cameras.
Rock-It 3.0 Speaker
If you enjoy listening to music on your smartphone, tablet or iPod, but don't always feel like wearing earphones, keep OrigAudio's Rock-It 3.0 ($23.95) in your purse or pocket. When needed, this tiny device plugs into your headphone jack, while the other end unscrews and attaches to virtually any surface, like a table, window, cup or cereal box. Press play on your digital device and you won't believe how loud this vibration speaker can get. Available in multiple colors, the Rock-It 3.0 version includes a built-in rechargeable battery, and includes a charging cord and two extra sticky pads.
PNY 32GB micro SDHC Card + Adaptor
Memory cards can be used in a number of devices — from your laptop, video game system and camera to a smartphone, tablet and media player — and now you can pick up a whopping 32GB of flash for under $30. The PNY 32GB micro SDHC memory card ships with an adaptor so it can also fit in standard SD slots, and boasts transfer speeds up to 20 megabits per second. Just to put it into perspective, a 32GB card can hold more than 10,000 MP3 songs.
Pandigital Multimedia Novel 2 GB Wi-Fi Black Tablet
OK, so this is $60 instead of $50 -- but how could we not include it? While you shouldn't expect iPad-like quality or capacity, the Pandigital Multimedia Novel 2 GB Wi-Fi Black Tablet ($59.99) is a 7-inch Android slate with a color TFT-LCD touchscreen (600x800 resolution) ideal for reading ebooks, browsing the web, reading email and looking at photos or videos. If you need more memory than the bundled 2GB — and chances are you will — snap in a microSD card loaded with media and you're good to go. Along with its speaker, there's also a headphone jack for listening to music, audiobooks and podcasts in private.
While it's only a tad bigger than a pack of matches, the Apple iPod Shuffle ($49) can store more than 500 of your favorite songs. The built-in clip means you can clamp the teeny player onto your shirt, jacket, purse or pocket; press on the touch-sensitive buttons to play, pause, forward or rewind through tracks and choose between ordered play and shuffle mode. Alternatively, press the VoiceOver button and the iPod shuffle speaks the song title, playlist or artist name, or battery status in one of 29 languages. Available in five colors, you can connect it to your PC or Mac to sync songs, playlists and genius mixes from iTunes.
Cisco Valet Plus M20 Wireless N Router
Ok, so a wireless router might not be as sexy as a sleek smartphone, desirable camera or slim television — but it's one of the most important tech purchases for your home. On sale for $34.99, the Cisco Valet Plus M20 Wireless N Router creates a fast and secure wireless network in your home — but keep in mind a broadband Internet connection is required. Compared to older Wi-Fi routers, this white 802.11n box offers broader range, easier setup and support for numerous devices all at the same time. Four wired ports are also available, if needed. Cisco's installation wizard is arguably the simplest in the industry — even for terrified technophobes.
Logitech Harmony 650 Universal Remote
While a Harmony Remote from Logitech could cost you upwards of $349.99 for the 900 or 1100 models, much of the same functionality is available in the Harmony 650 model — and on sale for $34.99. Take control over your entertainment with a simple button layout, color LCD screen and easy Internet-based setup for all your home theater components; simply program the remote by connecting it to a computer's USB port and logging online to answer a few easy-to-follow questions. The remote also offers "macro" commands, therefore you can press an activity-based button, such as Watch a Movie, and the remote does the rest by automatically turning on the applicable components, selecting the correct input and pressing play on your Blu-ray player.
Microsoft Mobile Mouse 3500 Studio Series Artist Edition
What better way to add some style to your surfing at your local café than with a designer mouse for your laptop? Microsoft's Mobile Mouse 3500 Studio Series Artist Edition ($29.99) might be a mouthful but essential it's a funky-looking wireless mouse that ships with a teeny USB transceiver that snaps into an available port on your machine. Along with the fact it's designed for both left- and right-handed users, the battery (included) can last up to eight months thanks to clever power management. A non-"Artist Edition" Microsoft Mouse 3500 can be found for as low as $16.99.
- Electronics Accessories
- Technology & Electronics