Great Christmas gifts under $100

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TORONTO – Here’s a sampling of high-tech gift ideas in the following categories: video gaming, digital photography and video, and under $100.

VIDEO GAMING

-Consoles: Future Shop predicts a recent $100 price cut to the Sony Playstation 3 will make it the most popular console among shoppers. It’s priced at $299. The basic version of the Xbox 360 is $199, while for an extra $100, the Elite bundle includes a built-in hard drive for saving content and two games, “Lego Batman” and “Pure.” The Nintendo Wii is $209 and is a good option for families or less serious gamers who don’t need the latest and greatest technology.

-Big games: Among the hottest titles of the season are “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves” for the PS3, “Assassins Creed 2” for the PS3 and Xbox 360, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and “New Super Mario Bros.” for the Wii.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO

-Slim, compact cameras: A full-fledged digital SLR camera won’t fit into the budgets of most shoppers, but it’s incredible what even a couple hundred dollars will buy in a digital camera today. Even the most-demanding wannabe photographers can appreciate the slim and compact cameras that can go anywhere and slip in a pocket, unlike the bulkier high-performance models. You can’t really go wrong with brands like Canon, Nikon and Sony, especially when you’re paying less than $200 for an eight-to-10 megapixel camera.

-Fractions of pennies per megabyte of storage: The prices of memory cards have plummeted in recent years, making the storage media a cheap yet much-appreciated gift or stocking stuffer. A two-or four-gigabyte card is plenty of storage for a casual photographer and can be had for $15 to $30. For a budding photographer who’s getting serious about their hobby, look into an external hard drive so they can store and backup all their shots. For under $100 you can buy somewhere between 300 and 500 gigabytes of storage, enough space for tens of thousands of photos.

-HD in your pocket: Pocket-sized HD camcorders are growing popular and start around the $200 mark. The Flip brand of cameras are quickly becoming known for their convenient and easy shooting of high-quality digital video.

GIFTS FOR UNDER $100

-A non-Apple MP3 player: The iPod is still the indisputable king of MP3 players but there are cheaper options that do virtually the same job. Sony’s 8GB E Series Walkman MP3 player handles music and video just like an iPod but sells for less than $100, compared to about $160 for an iPod Nano.

-Digital picture frames: It’s getting to the point where almost everyone has a digital camera but the same can’t be said for digital frames. Now that they’ve been on the market for a few years, digital frames come in a large range of prices and sizes. Find a higher-resolution model (look for 800 x 480, 800 x 600, or 1024×600) for someone who takes care with every shot and will want to display their photos in all their glory. Lower-resolution models can be found for $50 or less and will still impress your less tech-savvy friends and family members.

-Remote control management: Juggling two remotes is a pain, when you get to four or five it’s a nightmare. It’s not uncommon for the average home entertainment setups to now have at least three remotes; one for the TV, a digital set-top box and a DVD or Blu-ray player. Logitech’s Harmony 510 is one of several universal remotes on the market that will consolidate all your remotes into one, while maintaining most if not all of the functionality of each clicker. The Harmony 510 can be found for just under $100.

-Apple Nike + iPod Sport Kit: If you know a runner or gym rat who has an iPhone, iPod Nano or iPod Touch check out the Apple Nike + iPod Sport Kit, which sells for $39 through Apple. The wireless device tracks how far and how fast you run and can upload the data online to track performance. Technically, you’re supposed to buy a special pair of Nike+ shoes to make it work but there are workarounds. For just $10, you can buy a pouch from Runningfree.com that holds the device and attaches to the laces of any running shoes. And other users have said simple packing tape might also do the job.

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