Cool Smart Gadget Gifts Under $100
Maryanne: So you’re shopping for the techie in the family but you don’t want to spend too much. Well, there are several smart gifts to consider. Courtney’s standing by with our favorite, “Nerds On Call” this morning.
Courtney: The nerd is in the building. Ryan Eldridge with “Nerds On Call.” Hi, Ryan.
Courtney: Okay, so techie gifts can be expensive but you say you’ve got some under 100 bucks.
Ryan: Oh and you can throw these in stockings, you can wrap them up, do all kinds of great stuff. So let’s start way over here. We’re going to start with the Amazon Echo Dot. This is normally 39 bucks on Amazon. It’s 29 right now, but you can get the second generation for 20. How cool is that?
Ryan: And you’ve got to get one of these. You can tell jokes with it. You can play little games, like, you know Courtstune?
Ryan: They have a version of that on the Amazon Echo.
Courtney: Oh, we like that.
Ryan: And my kids play it all the time and you can play against other people around the country, totally fun.
Courtney: Oh that’s good stuff.
Ryan: The next thing is the iDevice. This is a little plug and it looks kind of like, unassuming, like “Why would I want that for Christmas?” But it’s waterproof and you can use it outside so it doesn’t trip the GFI, you know, where you’re constantly resetting everything.
Courtney: Out with your decorations, yeah.
Ryan: And then it turns it into a smart device, you can say, “Hey Alexa, turn on my Christmas Lights.” And it works. It’s only 49 bucks. It’s pretty cool.
Courtney: Okay, that’s good.
Ryan: They have an indoor version. This is 89 bucks. What I like about this is you can actually replace the actual plugs in your house with this, for 89 bucks and you can control each outlet individually.
Courtney: Okay, that’s cool
Ryan: So you can say, turn on the lava lamp and then turn off the music or whatever, just with that by itself.
Courtney: Very Jetsons.
Ryan: This is the Chromecast. That’s provided just by Verizon. This is 69 bucks. The coolest part about this is we were just talking about how difficult it is to navigate your television, like streaming services, with a little remote control. You use a phone or a tablet with this. You’re watching a YouTube video, you press a little button. That YouTube video is up on your screen, or Netflix or Spotify, just about anything you want to use. This is a really cool device, especially if you’re getting in to like cutting the cord, this is awesome. Bond. This is 99 bucks.
Ryan: The Bond. So when you’re dealing with a smart home, the hardest part is the stinking fans that are all over everybody’s house. They’ve got lights, they’ve got different speeds. You just can’t control them with a switch. Well, the Bond makes it so that you can use your fan with your smart home.
Courtney: Get out of here!
Ryan: So you can say, “Alexa, turn my ceiling fan in the master bedroom to level three,” and it’ll turn it on and set it all up for you.
Courtney: I dig it.
Ryan: And you can dim the lights and do all kinds of stuff. This is the WiseCam. This is 40 bucks. This is 1080p. It’s got night vision. You can talk to the people in the room, so if you’ve got like a baby monitor, or like we were talking about your husband…he’s is sitting there a little too much on the computer.
Courtney: “I need you to get the baby to school please.”
Ryan: “Hey, you’ve got to get up, you’ve got to go.” So you can use this, super cool, 40 bucks, so cool.
Courtney: I love it. And then real quick, who have we here?
Ryan: Last but not least, this is for Julissa. I just brought it in for her because she’s losing everything all the time. This is the Tile Mate. This is 15 bucks. Throw this in a stocking, you can put this on just about…a purse, a set of keys, whatever you need…
Courtney: Your cellphone.
Ryan: …or your cell phone. Well, it works both ways with your cell phone. So if you lose your phone, you just double-click this and it’ll ring your phone.
Ryan: On your phone, you’ve got a little app, you ring this and it’ll make a bunch of noise and you’ll find out where your keys are.
Courtney: I dig it.
Ryan: Fifteen bucks!
Courtney: All cool stuff, I’m telling you. You did good with the prices, sir. You did good.
Ryan: Oh yes.
Courtney: Are you going to stick around?
Ryan: Yes. In fact, Andrea, my wife’s going to be here later on. So we’re going to talk about subscription boxes.
Courtney: Mrs. Nerd. Yes, and you know those are my favorite.
Ryan: Oh yes.
Courtney: All right, that’s coming up. Maryanne, back over to you.
Maryanne: All right, thanks Courtney.
There’s an art to purchasing the perfect nerd gift. A geek gift is easy. Anything with a blue telephone box on it will pretty much do. But a nerd gift? That’s a telephone box of an entirely different color.
Sure, you can pick up a gadget on Amazon—grab something that goes beep and bloop and hope for the best. But you’ve gotta ask yourself, is that really what Christmas is all about?
And is it not written that Nerds shall not live by bloop alone?
So in the true spirit of Christmas, here’s our list of Grade A primo gadgety goodness you can buy for under $100.
Amazon Echo Dot ($39.99)
The Amazon Echo Dot is what’s known as a smart speaker. Equipped with a remarkably robust artificial intelligence, this device can do a bit of everything: tell goofy jokes, regale you with trivia or tell you the atomic weight of aluminum to name but three.
On top of all the entertainment and knowing-stuff options though, the Amazon Echo Dot is a deeply practical device. Hook this up to electronics in your house and it becomes a voice-controlled backbone for all your smart devices.
Oh and if you’re thinking about this gift for a nerdling (aka a tech-savvy kid) you can set the Dot up with full parental controls and even set an evening deactivation time.
iDevice Outdoor Switch ($49.95)
Christmas decorating is fun but outdoor lighting can be a headache. The iDevice Outdoor Switch can change all that though. This handy, smart switch solves three big outdoor decorating problems.
First, you can activate it using your smartphone. This means you can turn your lights on or off at night without having to brave the cold. Or, if you prefer, you can just set a schedule!
It’s also safe. Built to be waterproof, the nerd in your life won’t have to worry about water seeping into the outlet and creating electrical havoc.
Finally, it’s fully compatible with Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. Just say “Alexa, turn on my outdoor lights,” and you’re good to go.
Google Chromecast ($69.99)
If you want to spoil a nerd with amazing entertainment options, the Google Chromecast has to be one of the best gadget options going.
This device supports over 1000 video streaming services, including the big three: Netflix, Youtube, and Spotify. If they’re picky about their audiovisuals, don’t worry! It supports the true nerdvana that is 4K resolution.
… And watch your nerd’s eyes light up when they realize they can use their smartphone or tablet as a remote.
The cool thing about this gadget is it’s not quite as well known as some of these other items. There’s a reasonable chance the nerd in your life hasn’t even heard of Bond and what it can do.
The slogan for this product is “Connect The Things You Couldn’t Before”—and that just about sums it up.
Bond connects to your local WiFi and provides a solid link to a bunch of home devices. Ceiling fans, air conditioning units, even motorized shades and garage doors can all be securely connected through Bond and then controlled via an app.
It’s next level nerdy cool and it has to be one of the least expensive ways to bring comprehensive smart home functionality into your home.
WYZE Cam Pan Camera ($40)
Picture a smart, Internet-enabled camera. Now add object tracking artificial intelligence. Now make it capable of rotating 360 degrees in just over 3 seconds. Then give it night vision. Now make it look cool.
Congratulations, your brain just invented the WYZE Cam Pan Camera.
To get all that nerdy tech coolness for less than $50 is, frankly, one heck of a good deal if you’ll pardon my French.
Tile Mate ($15)
Research reveals that an average Christmas stocking is going to include a bag of nuts, lip balm, a bit of popcorn accidentally left there from last year and a candy dispensing novelty plastic reindeer. All great gifts, don’t get me wrong.
But what if there was a stocking-sized, almost shockingly awesome nerd gift you could shove right down into the toe of that stocking, just to mess with a nerd’s head?
Enter Tile Mate.
This beautiful little doohicky can be attached to anything—keys, luggage, purse, your cat … you name it. Then if ever you lose said item, just fire up an app, press the Find button and it’ll ring! Better yet, the battery lasts about a year. That’s 12 months of hassle-free cat finding in one tiny, elegant device.
It’s practical. It’s cool. It’ll fit in the toe of a festive sock. That’s literally three things for the price of a couple of cups of coffee and a seasonal cake pop. You can’t go wrong.
Do you want a nerd to kiss ya this Christmas?
Because buying one of these here gadgets is how you get nerd-kissed this Christmas.
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