Looking for tech gifts on a tight budget?
What I think is one of the funnest tech gifts this Christmas is Google Cardboard… and it’s cheap!
Google Cardboard is a 3-D, virtual-world, viewer – powered by your average smartphone.
When you look through it, not only do you see in 3-D, but your views change as you move your head around. You can turn 360° and see things all around you. There’s a growing number of free and paid apps that include games and tours. There are even apps that turn existing photos and videos into a virtual reality world.
Cardboard comes in a variety of prices and configurations on Amazon.com. Stock is running low on some versions, but quite a few still say they can be shipped for delivery by Christmas Eve. I’ve covered Google Cardboard more extensively here. It’s a fun and amazing toy for all ages that can be found for under $20.
Another fun toy from Google is Chromecast.
Chromecast comes in two versions. There’s one for TV and another for audio.
The TV version of Chromecast plugs into the back of your TV set (assuming an HDMI port is available, which pretty much all modern TVs have). After setting it up, you can display YouTube videos, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, websites, or just about anything from your computer, to your TV set.
The audio version of Chromecast plugs into the back of speakers. Honestly, when I was given Chromecast audio a few months ago, my first thought was “I’ll probably never use this”. After sitting in the box for a few weeks, I broke it open out of curiosity, plugged it into a cheap pair of computer speakers that had sat unused for years. Then I used my smart phone to pick out a free Google Play streaming radio station and started it up.
Wow, it sounded great! I patted myself on the back for keeping those old cheap speakers for so long!
Google Play has an extensive list of genre focused playlists available for free, from classical to disco. You can just pick one out and stream it to the speakers using Chromecast. Of course, you can also play your own music.
There’s no physical radio player, stereo, audio “system”. Just this little circular thing plugged into an electrical outlet and the speakers. Then any music playable on your smartphone can be streamed to the speakers.
Both versions of Chromecast are available at Best Buy, Walmart, Staples and Target stores. Online it can be found at the Google Store.
This gift idea is limited to those of you that subscribe to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 cable TV service. But hey, it’s free… with $5 shipping. The Comcast Xfinity X1 voice remote control.
The voice remote is very easy to use. You push and hold a button and say what TV show, channel, even genre of shows or movies you would like to see. It will deliver up those choices. You can say “what’s trending tonight” to get the most popular shows of the evening. Or say “Weather” for current temps and the forecast.
Again, its only available to those currently on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 cable TV service. You will need access to the user’s online Comcast account to order it for free (plus shipping) from Comcast. However, it’s also available on Amazon for under $10 with delivery by Christmas.
What tech head wouldn’t like to hit the theaters this Christmas for the new Star Wars movie?
Fandango has Star Wars themed gift cards, both physical and digital email versions, available in amounts ranging from $15 to $100.
It’s running a bit late to get a physical Star Wars gift card from Fandango delivered by Christmas. They say on their site that processing takes up to three days and then shipping takes seven to ten days.
However, the digital version can be emailed either right away or scheduled for delivery on Christmas morning.
What are your favorite tech gifts for $35 and less?
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They’ll appreciate the last minute gift ideas!