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This article was published on December 22, 2021

TNW’s favorite gadgets under $50 will make you a gifting pro

A pocket-friendly gifting guide

TNW’s favorite gadgets under $50 will make you a gifting pro
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Holidays are around the corner, so I am spending a lot of time on ecommerce websites to search for gifts.

It’s natural that you don’t want to spend too much money on everyone. You might give your partner a $700 phone, but you might want to cap that limit for a friend you meet once in a while.

So to help you out with cheap gifts, we decided to put out a list of our favorite tech purchases under $50. Don’t worry, cheap doesn’t mean bad. These are some of the best value for money choices, and your friends would thank you for ages.

Here’s what we’ve got:

The Mi Band 6 – $46 (Ivan)

The pandemic, bad mental health, and endless doom scrolling made me a couch potato in the last few months. I wasn’t really motivated to start full-blown workouts again. But I said to myself that I could at least start with walking in the neighborhood to play with cats and dogs while reaching my daily goal of steps.

So I needed a fitness band that I can rely on for step count and basic calorie tracking. Enter the Mi Band 6. I’ve used the previous generation bands in the series, including the Mi Band 5 and the Mi Band 4 — and I really liked them for the price.

The MI Band 6 is a great fitness tracker for under $50
The MI Band 6 is a great fitness tracker for under $50

The Mi Band 6 has a larger screen with better resolution and informative watch faces. What’s more, you can now track blood oxygen levels through the band.

It also has 30 workout modes, which came in handy when I started playing badminton recently. If you’re not a marathon runner or a gym aficionado, the $46 (Rs. 3,499 in India) is a great choice for someone who’s starting their workout journey.

Mi Neckband Pro wireless earphones – $24 (Abhimanyu)

I love me some cheap tech, particularly if it’s stuff that can’t really last very long, or fulfills a very specific need of mine.

These $24 wireless earphones don’t sound amazing, but they’re more than okay, offer good active noise cancellation, and last several hours on a single charge. And because they’re on a neckband, these buds are easier for me to live with than TWS buds. All these features make them a perfect choice for weekend motorcycle rides.

The Mi Neckband Pro
The Mi Neckband Pro offers basic noise cancellation for cheap

But best of all, I don’t have to fret much about breaking or losing such inexpensive earphones. That’s a huge plus for gear that will likely see a lot of wear and tear between being handled with riding gloves, worn beneath a helmet in strong winds and rain, and hurriedly and hurriedly jammed into backpacks, or strewn around after a long trip.

Sadly, Xiaomi’s Mi Neckband Pro isn’t available everywhere, so you might want to look at alternatives like Skullcandy’s Method Wireless Earbuds ($29 on Amazon US), this pair from HTC at $60, or Beats Flex at $40 if you don’t care about ANC.

Solar Power Bank 32800 with Qi wireless charger ($37) (Cate)

This charger combines two things I like: Qi wireless tech and sunshine.

While I can’t be drinking wine under the sun in Australia, this is the gift I’m sending to my Australian family members, who like sitting on the beach and camping. Qi is a form of inductive charging via magnetic, meaning you can charge a device without needing to plug it in.

Most phones, including Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy series phones, support wireless charging through this standard.

This solar bank lets you soak the sun while charging your gadgets wirelessly
This solar bank lets you soak the sun while charging your gadgets wirelessly

This solar power bank is for someone who is always replacing charging cords, this can only be a good thing. Plus, it has the capacity of charging the iPhone 13 Max’s battery 7.5 times. That’s quite a lot.

Honestly, there are quite a few folks making these, so you should be able to find a well-reviewed version in your own city. Check out the work of The Wireless Power Consortium to explore the tech more  — its use in kitchens appliances will be a game-changer.

AGPTEK Ventilated adjustable light box stand ($15) (Tristan)

I need a simple, inexpensive stand that’ll hold my gargantuan Alienware laptop from yesteryear, my tiny little tablet, my Pixel phone, or a book. That’s it. It’s not that big of an ask. Yet time and time again the stands I tried were garbage. They’re either too shaky to hold my old beast or they’re huge contraptions that take up too much space.

A cheap and study laptop stand? Put that into my cart
A cheap and sturdy laptop stand? Put that into my cart!

Enter the AGPTEK stand. It’s advertised for light boxes (I have no clue why), but it’s perfect for big laptops all the way down to actual paperback books. It folds up flat but doesn’t rely on legs or posts to secure it when unfolded.

This means it’ll support a lot of weight without being much larger than a 10-inch tablet in its own right. Best of all, it costs less than $15 on Amazon.

JBL Go 3 ($42.99) (Ioanna)

When it comes to portable speakers, the options are so many that it’s almost impossible to make a well-studied choice without needing to create a comparative spreadsheet. But being someone who’d never bother going too deep to buy a gadget, I usually go for the big brands — yeah shame on me.

If you’re following the same approach, you’ll find that the JBL Go 3 does its job pretty well and for a very reasonable price. You can find it on Amazon for $42.99.

JBL Go 3 is small, but it packs a punch
JBL Go 3 is small, but it packs a punch

It’s the size of a scrub soap, so you can carry it everywhere, it’s waterproof (crucial for me), extremely easy to use, and delivers solid wireless audio performance. Okay, it doesn’t offer a powerful bass depth, but I honestly don’t need studio-quality music when I chill at the park or take a shower.

Plus, it can play music for a straight five hours, which is more than enough for me. The only minus I can find is that it needs 2.5 hours to fully charge, but with some planning ahead this can be easily overlooked.

Well, these are our picks for the season. If you have any favorite gadgets under $50, @ us on Twitter. Happy holidays.

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