A holiday gift that impresses doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg — in fact, you can find something ideal to buy for just about everyone on your list while keeping to some semblance of a budget, like $50 or less.
Within those parameters, we present four of CNET’s favorite gift picks for less than half a C-note.
Roku Streaming Stick Plus
Rating: 5.0 stars out of 5 (spectacular).
The good: The Roku Streaming Stick Plus delivers 4K and HDR video in a compact package for an affordable price. Its dead-simple interface puts every streaming service on a level playing field. Roku’s responses are lightning fast, its video quality as good as any streamer and its remote can control your TV’s volume and power.
The bad: The menus can seem dated compared to rivals, it lags behind Fire TV for voice support and it doesn’t stream in Dolby Vision.
The cost: $44.95 to $59.99.
The bottom line: With its simple design and focus on features you’ll use, Roku’s most affordable 4K HDR streamer is one you should get.
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (outstanding).
The good: The Echo Dot with Clock brings all the best elements of 2018’s third-gen Dot and adds a smart quality-of-life upgrade in the form of an LED clock display.
The bad: The $60 price tag edges the new Dot out of the super cheap range shared by the standard Dot and Google Nest Mini. Plus, the LED display can’t adjust color or color temperature, which makes it a little annoying in a dark room.
The cost: $34.99.
The bottom line: Amazon has created another smart speaker that brings practical smarts to the kitchen counter or the bedside table. It’s not as adventurous a device as other Echo products, but it’s one of the most wallet-friendly and practical.
Tribit XSound Go
Rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (excellent).
The good: The Tribit XSound Go is a budget-priced Bluetooth speaker that sounds good for its size and price. It’s attractively designed and is waterproof.
The bad: It has trouble with complicated tracks. There’s some bass, just not a lot.
The cost: $32.99.
The bottom line: For an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker, the Tribit XSound Go is hard to beat.
TaoTronics TWS TT-BH053
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (very good).
The good: The TaoTronics TWS TT-BH053 earbuds cost less than $50 and sound better than you’d expect for a true wireless model at this price. They offer solid wireless performance and five hours of battery life, and come with a compact charging case that delivers an extra five charges.
The bad: Charging case uses standard Micro-USB, not USB-C; if you don’t get a tight seal, sound quality isn’t as good; sounds a little bright (some presence boost).
The cost: $39.99.
The bottom line: While their sound quality isn’t without issues, the TaoTronics TWS TT-BH053 are among the better sub-$50 true wireless earphones.