Shopping for a last-minute Valentine's Day gift for the tech lover in your life? We can help!
Last-minute gifts are usually the most thought-out and often involve some rather frugal purchases — that's just how it goes. If you're looking for an awesome, inexpensive gift for the tech lover in your life, check out these options for under $50!
- Amazon Echo Dot
- iDevices Switch
- BB-8 USB car charger
- Amazon Fire Tablet (7")
- Apple leather case for iPhone 7 or 7 Plus
- iTunes gift cards
If your Valentine is dying to stream stuff from their phone to the TV because they don't have a set top box or streaming box, then let Chromecast fill the void. Apple TV is unreal, but will more than double your $50 budget, and Chromecast is the next best thing.
It plugs into your TV's HDMI port and acts as a go-between, so you can stream whatever's on your phone to the TV. YouTube, Netflix, and all Chromecast-supported apps can be bumped up to 1080p if it's available (if you spend an extra $20, you can go for Chromecast Ultra and stream in 4K).
If your Valentine is on Android, they'll be able to mirror their phone or tablet's screen as well.
Chromecast is perfect for the streaming junkie in your life or the person who just wants Netflix on a screen larger than 4.7 inches.
Amazon Echo Dot
The Amazon Echo has quickly become one of the most popular Bluetooth speakers/personal assistants, and the Echo Dot is the smaller, hockey puck-like version that's more about Alexa than the speaker. You can connect to external speakers via Bluetooth or a 3.5mm cable.
The real point of the Dot is Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant that can pretty much do it all. You can "teach" Alexa skills and have her help you do all sorts of stuff, from turning the lights on and off to controlling your smart thermostat to ordering pizza. The Dot is always listening (kinda creepy, but useful), so you can get up and ask for the day's weather or news. There are a ton of neat tricks you can do.
If you're looking for a futuristic gifts that works right now, definitely check out the Amazon Echo Dot. It's just so cool!
According to Amazon, the Dot won't be in stock until February 28, so if you're looking for something pronto, then this may not be the best option. But if your Valentine is willing to wait a bit, it's be totally worth it!
Is your Valentine interested in a connected home? Then our own Mikah Sargent (the iMore-proclaimed king of the smart home) recommend the iDevices Switch, which turns any household power outlet into a smart outlet — no hub required!
Plug in a lamp, your TV, you know, anything you plug into a power outlet (that has an on/off setting), and you can turn it on and off with your phone. You can control the outlet from anywhere you can get a Wi-Fi signal. So if you're worried you left a lamp on or whatever, you can turn it off. The iDevices Switch also gives you energy consumption reports to help you make better energy saving decisions.
BB-8 USB car charger
Got a Star Wars fan on your hands? Perfect.
The BB-8 USB car charger delightfully sits in your car's cup holder and can simultaneously charge two devices via USB. Just plug the connector into your car's 12V outlet (cigarette lighter for those of us that remember), and away you go.
The best part? BB-8 moves and makes sounds (can be muted/turned off)! If you're grabbing a gift for someone who wants to ride in style with a droid at their side, then go for this charger. I mean, come on. It's adorable.
Amazon Fire Tablet (7")
I know what you're thinking: "A tablet? For under $50? It's gotta be $#!%." And to that I say, so long as your gift recipient isn't expecting iPad Pro-level performance, you'd be wrong.
The 8GB 7-inch Fire Tablet features a rather attractive IPS (in-plane switching) display, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, and up to 7 hours of battery life. You get access to Amazon Underground, which houses thousands of apps and games that are completely free, and Amazon Prime members get exclusive and unlimited access to a large selection of songs, books, videos, and more.
The app store is limited to Amazon's, but you can download a ton of your favorites, like Netflix, Pinterest, Twitch, Skype, and more.
If you need more than 8GB of storage, you can jump up to the 16GB version for only $20 more.
The Amazon Fire tablet comes in blue, black, magenta, and tangerine.
Apple leather case for iPhone 7 or 7 Plus
Got an iPhone lover that needs a little something Apple-y? Check out the gorgeous leather case for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus from Apple.
The textured leather is gorgeous and has a comfortable feel in-hand, and the case leaves all your ports open and easy to access. The inside is lined with microfiber to protect your phone from scratches, and the aluminum button covers match the finish on your case, while providing excellent tactile feedback.
The leather case comes in seven colors that are sure to please.
iTunes gift card
If all else fails, you can't go wrong with the tried and true and never-thoughtless iTunes gift card. You can buy them from thousands of retailers in different denominations, and they take the hassle out of worrying if your gift is the right one or not. Some folks think gift cards are impersonal, but I think that they're the perfect way to make sure that the person you're buying for gets exactly what they want.
Check 'em out at your local drugstore or grocery store!
Any other suggestions?
Got some great <$50 tech gift ideas? Let us know in the comments below!