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Geek Girl Report: High-Tech Gifts For Low-Tech Prices – Affordable Tech Gifts For The Holidays

Matthew Lloyd, Getty Images

What’s on your Christmas list this year? A shiny new iPad or iPhone? A brand-new XBox One or PS4? How about a new flat-screen TV? It seems every year when Christmas rolls around, the latest and great high-tech gadgets and games are at the top of everyone’s lists. And sure, these are all great gifts, provided you have the $400 or more to spend on it. But not everyone can, or is willing to drop $500 on the newest console or tablet.  So if you’re a little lacking on funds this holiday season, here are some more price-friendly alternatives to the most popular high-tech gifts this holiday season.

Tablets
Believe it or not, the iPad is not the only tablet on the market. It just happens to be the most popular…and the most expensive. So if you can’t spring the $400+ to get Apple’s iPad, the Google Nexus 7 is a fine alternative. For about half the price of the iPad, you can get a 7″ tablet that has a stunningly gorgeous HD display, super smooth performance and all in a lightweight, easy to carry around package. The Nexus 7 is quite simply one of the best Android tablets on the market, and one of the most affordable.

Another solid option for affordable tablets is the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX. No longer just a E-reader, the Fire HDX is one of the most powerful tablets on the market, allowing you to play games, watch movies, and of course, read books, in record time with a beautiful display. Another nice feature of the Fire HDX is the “Mayday” button, which connects you to a customer service rep instantly on your device should you ever need a little tech support. If you have the funds, you can also spring for the larger 8.9″ version with an additional back camera.

TV Streaming
One of the more popular gadgets on people’s wish lists this year, streaming video boxes allow you to stream your mobile videos, music and apps like YouTube and Netflix directly to your TV. Best of all, most of these devices are very affordable. Take the Google Chromecast, for example. For a dirt-cheap $35, the tiny Chromecast gives you the power to stream not just the aforementioned YouTube and Netflix but Hulu, HBO Go, and even Pandora straight from your phone to your TV, plus Google Movies and TV for those who have an Android device.

For those with a little larger budget, try the Roku 3. It’s the fastest and most powerful box on the market, and gives you over 1,000 different channels of movies, music, sports and TV. It even comes with a headphone jack built into the remote so you night owls out there can watch movies and shows late at night without disturbing the rest of the house. Roku 3 is quite simply one of the best streaming video boxes you can get, and it’s surprisingly affordable at just under $100.

Music
Never underestimate the power of a good speaker, or a good set of headphones. If you’re shopping for those music lovers out there, you don’t necessarily have to spend big bucks to get the best sound quality. The Sonos Play 1, for example, is one of the smallest and cheapest speakers you can get, but it’s also one of the most powerful, whether you buy just one or pair it with some other speakers. Best of all, the Play 1 not only offers support for some of the best music services like Pandora and Spotify, but it can also be controlled with most any mobile device.

For those who aren’t so keen on sharing their music with the world, you can also get your hands on some high-quality, yet inexpensive headphones. And I’m not talking about the dime-store earbuds you find at the end of the cash register when you’re waiting in line to check out. I’m talking serious, professional quality headphones, like the Sony MDR-7506 wired headphones or the Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 wireless headphones.

Cameras
Let’s face it, as good as the camera on your smartphone may be, sometimes it’s not enough. Sometimes you just need a better zoom, or a brighter flash, or more storage for your pics. There’s still a healthy market for digital cameras, and for any aspiring photographers on your list, the Nikon Coolpix S9500 is both powerful and price-friendly. It has a powerful zoom for such a tiny camera and with the built-in WiFi, you can upload your shots directly to your iOS or Android devices for easy sharing.

For a slightly bigger budget, you may also want to check out the Canon Powershot SX280. Like the Coolpix, it also has WiFi capabilities, and offers a wide array of shooting modes for all levels of photographer, from simple point-and-shoot to more advanced feature for semi-pros. Though a quick word or warning: you’ll definitely want to buy some extra batteries, as this particular model has a tendency to eat through batteries.

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