Best Tech Gifts Under $100 in 2012

Buying the right tech gift for someone takes more than just knowing their general tastes. It takes knowing what they have and where their general needs are. Even the coolest gadgets to you might be totally unnecessary to the person for whom you’re shopping. Keep this in mind when you’re doing your holiday gift giving and you’ll be better armed to buy the right gift for the folks on your list.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best tech products you can buy for under $100.

Apple iPod shuffle 2 GB

Not everyone likes or has a need for a fancy music player with a touchscreen. Sometimes, they just want a device that will clip to their pocket and provide some inspirational tunes during their workout. Perhaps you’re shopping for someone who already has the latest and greatest smartphones and/or media players, but just wants something they can take with them without worrying about the bulk or costs of loss.

Enter the iPod shuffle, a small and useful portable media player that skips on the fragile glass and provides just the essentials you need to listen to music and/or podcasts while you’re out and about. At a price of $49, it’s a great gift to give someone on your list who loves music but doesn’t need another screen in their lives.

Amazon Kindle

Few relatively low-tech products have changed the way people think about reading and education more than the Kindle by Amazon. For $69, you can pick up a Kindle that has an excellent E Ink display and plenty of space to store all of your gift recipient’s favorite e-books.

The Kindle changed the publishing industry. It may not have been the first e-book reader on the market, but it was the one that many people know and trust. Amazon’s lending library is just another perk of owning a Kindle. You can enjoy many books (even new releases and popular titles) without having to pay a single cent.

Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Apple TV

Giving an Apple TV to someone does a lot more than just give them a portal to iTunes on their television. It connects their TV to a world of online media including Netflix, podcasts, and other great Web media portals. The Apple TV is very easy to use, and the sizable rental library (including very new releases) is a great way to avoid those trips to the Redbox.

You can also use Apple TV with Airplay to turn your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad into a much larger content enjoyment device. Play games on the big screen or simply stream your favorite YouTube channels without having to connect a single wire to your iPhone. This alone would make it a welcome addition to any iOS user’s home.

Logitech Harmony 650 Universal Remote

Universal remote controls have one thing almost universally in common: they all pretty much suck. Well, that’s what I believed before someone brought the Harmony 650 to my attention. A universal remote control with a screen, the Logitech Harmony 650 will control up to five multimedia devices, can be programmed using Windows or OS X, and does a lot more than just change channels and adjust the volume.

This is a remote control with a memory, and with 5000+ devices under its belt, it’s sure to be a welcome gift for any frustrated home theater owner.

Roku 2 XS

If the Apple TV isn’t quite your bag, the Roku 2 XS may well be the answer for you. Not only does it have a number of great cord-cutting apps available on it (several hundred and growing), but the motion-sensitive remote doubles as a game controller. Yeah, you can play games on the Roku 2 XS like Angry Birds and You Don’t Know Jack.

Perhaps my favorite feature of the Roku 2 XS is the USB port which reads USB flash drives. Just download your favorite online show and plug the drive in to expand the media playback capabilities of the Roku well beyond its built-in apps.

Will you be giving tech to someone on your holidays shopping list? Leave a comment and let us know about it (only if it doesn’t threaten to spoil anybody’s surprise, of course)!