Best Tech Gifts Under $150

These devices—headphones, fitness trackers, streaming players, and more—are ideal for the budget-conscious gift giver

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Trying to bring some holiday cheer to that gadget lover in your life? You don’t need to spend a fortune. These tech gift ideas—headphones, speakers, streaming media players, a fitness tracker, a printer, and a tablet—earn high marks in the tests in Consumer Reports’ labs, and they can be found for $150 or less. Each product will make a great gift; we’ve organized them by category to help you find the right option.

Need more holiday inspiration? Check out some of our other gift guides: Top Gifts Under $50, Best White Elephant Gifts for Under $35, and Top Tech Gifts for Under $100.

Go to Consumer Reports’ Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.

The Fitbit Charge 3 is a great general-purpose device, especially for people new to these kinds of products. It gets high test scores in key categories and works with Fitbit’s app to let you track your fitness progress over time and compete against family members and friends in fitness challenges. There’s no built-in GPS, though. Claimed battery life: seven days.

For more options: Best Fitness Trackers

While technically a fitness tracker, this model has more of a watchlike feel. You get a 1.3-inch monochrome display that shows your step count and real-time heart rate. The Forerunner 35 has a built-in GPS and a claimed battery life of nine days, and it made good on its water-resistance claim of 164 feet. In our testing, it received top marks for heart-rate tracking and step-count accuracy, as well as for ease of use.

For more options: Best Fitness Trackers

This over-ear wireless model from Monoprice is usually available for around $50, a steal given its superb noise-canceling performance and above-average sound quality. The BT-300ANC features integrated controls for calls, volume, and playback, and the ear cups fold in for easy storage and transport. According to Monoprice, the battery will run for 8 hours between charges with both Bluetooth and noise-canceling turned on. (CR doesn’t test battery life in headphones.) You can keep the music going even longer by switching off Bluetooth and using the detachable audio cable, which is included.

For more options: Noise-Canceling Headphones on a Budget

This wireless model from Sony is a decent choice for the more critical listener for music and movie soundtrack playback. The WI-SP600N operates for up to 6 hours and features a quick-charge function, which provides 60 minutes of playback after 15 minutes of charging, according to Sony. It’s advertised as water-resistant and has an integrated button to toggle an ambient sound monitoring mode. A free app adds functionality, like optional EQ settings. It features near field communication (NFC) Bluetooth pairing and is compatible with Siri and Google Assistant.

For more options: Best Noise-Canceling Headphones to Buy Right Now

Amazon's Echo Buds have many of the same benefits of Apple's noise-canceling AirPods Pro, but they're a lot cheaper. The Echo buds come with noise-canceling technology designed in collaboration with Bose, and feature hands-free integration with Alexa. Amazon claims the Echo Buds have 5 hours’ worth of battery life, and the included case has a built-in battery that will recharge the headphones four times on the go. (CR doesn't test battery life in headphones.) With a Very Good rating for sound quality and superb noise reduction, they're a decent choice for the more critical listener for both music and movie soundtrack playback.


For more options: Noise-Canceling Headphones on a Budget

The Grado Prestige SR80e is a perennial favorite of music fans looking for a bargain on top-notch sound. For the price, the SR80e’s outstanding audio quality is hard to beat. These on-ear home/studio-style headphones are built for the audio-focused listener, with a fairly large profile and a long, sturdy cable that limits their portability. Their open-back ear cups—a design choice intended to create an uncongested soundstage—aren’t meant to block sound from bleeding in and out, so they’re best for a quiet environment where you won’t bother any neighbors.

For more options: Best Headphones Under $200

These small, sleek 1MORE E1001 Triple Drive earphones have an earpluglike design that limits extraneous noise, and they deliver sound that's rated Excellent, beating out models that cost hundreds more. The audio cable has inline volume and smartphone controls with an integrated microphone. To ensure a proper fit, the device comes with nine pairs of earpieces in various sizes and types.

For more options: Best Headphones for Every Activity

The Samsung Galaxy Buds are one of the best-scoring portable Bluetooth headphones Consumer Reports has ever tested, beating out more popular rivals like the Apple AirPods. That’s all the more impressive given their true wireless design. The Galaxy Buds produce exemplary audio quality packed into a pair of unobtrusive earpieces, complete with easy-to-use touch controls for playback, volume, and skipping tracks. According to Samsung, they have a 6-hour battery life. They come with a powered carrying case that will recharge the earphones for up to 7 additional hours of playback on the go. The case itself can be charged with a wireless charging mat, and it’s particularly small compared with the cases that come with many true wireless models.

For more options: Best Headphones Under $200

This is the updated version of the 4K-ready Fire TV Cube, essentially a mashup of two of Amazon's popular Alexa-powered devices, the Fire TV streaming player and the Echo Dot smart speaker. Like its predecessor, it adds an interesting element into the mix: universal remote control capability.

Compared with the first generation, the new model adds a more powerful processor, a faster response time, and Dolby Vision HDR. There are buttons on top of the unit to adjust the volume and mute the microphones, but the Cube is really all about voice control. What makes the Fire TV Cube stand out, though, is that it lets you control a host of other compatible AV gear, including TVs, sound bars, receivers, and even some cable and satellite boxes.

For more options: Best 4K Streaming Media Devices

Roku’s flagship streaming player got a slight refresh last year. The updated version offers some enhancements, including faster performance, thanks to smart caching of popular streaming services to launch channels faster. It also has new programmable shortcut buttons on the enhanced voice remote and includes a microSD card slot for adding more storage.

You still get the wide assortment of channels that makes the Roku platform a top pick for many users and Roku’s agnostic approach to search across multiple streaming services. Like its predecessor, the remote has a headphone jack for private listening and a remote-finder button on the unit that causes the remote to beep if you misplace it. Like last year's model, the new Ultra comes with JBL earbuds.

For more options: Best 4K Streaming Media Devices

Amazon’s latest-generation Echo Plus pulls off a pretty neat trick. It’s smaller than its predecessor, but in a world where bigger generally means better sound quality, the newer, more petite Plus sounds significantly better. Some of the sonic improvement can be attributed to the new tone controls that allow you to tweak the speaker to match your listening room. But even if you’re a set-it-and-forget-it type, the Echo Plus is Amazon’s best-sounding screenless smart speaker, according to our testers.

For more options: Best Smart Speakers Under $200

The Sonos One SL is the company's new entry-level wireless speaker, the least expensive speaker in the Sonos line. It replaces the existing Play:1, which was similar in size and price. The One SL is essentially a Sonos One smart speaker without the microphones that allow it to listen for a wake word. The One SL is slightly less expensive than the One, its smart speaker sibling. Our testers confirmed that the One SL sounds almost identical to the Sonos One, and its sonic performance is also quite similar to the now-discontinued Play:1, which scored a single point less in its Overall Score than the new speaker.

For more options: Best Wireless Speakers

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus has an 8-inch screen that makes it a solid choice for those who enjoy reading or watching movies. It has 3GB memory and is available with 32GB storage, but you can also add a micro-SD memory card for more storage. Battery life is impressive. But our tests found that it's slower than most other tablets we tested, though it's acceptable for most everyday tasks, such as web browsing or email.

For more options: Best Tablets of 2020

This all-in-one inkjet printer sits near the top of our ratings, thanks in large part to outstanding versatility and high marks for text and graphics quality. The MFC-J895DW wastes very little ink to maintain the print heads.Based on our estimates of typical use, its yearly ink costs come to about $100, which falls in the lower range for an inkjet model. Features include scan and copy functions, an automatic document feeder, built-in faxing, WiFi networking, and wireless printing with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print.

For more options: Great Printers for Under $150