The Tech-pert: Holiday Gift Guide 2011 – 5 Super Cool Gadgets Priced Under $25


It’s that time of year! The holiday lights are up, the snow is falling (here in Michigan, anyway), and gift  shopping season is officially under way.

I know what you’re thinking: “I want to get something awesome for that guy who writes that awesome tech blog, but I’m on a limited budget.”

Have no fear, shoppers–I’ve rounded up five great gift options for the gadget lover in your life, all of them priced under $25. Digits (see image above)

Gloves and smartphones don’t mix. That’s because smartphone screens require skin contact, and gloves, by design, keep your fingertips insulated.

Digits are little conductive silicone pads you can pin to the fingertips of just about any gloves. That means you don’t have to abandon your favorite pair just to keep using your phone in the cold.

A four-pack of Digits sells for $11.99. That would give you a fingertip and thumb-tip Digit for each hand. Great stocking-stuffer!



Nothing ruins a desk like cord clutter. I don’t care if it’s a custom-carved mahogany antique–if it has sync cables and charging cords snaking all over it, it’ll look terrible. Oh, and don’t get me started on cords that are constantly getting pulled to the floor.

Cordies keeps your cables neat and organized, while also keeping them from sliding off your desk. It’s a simple rubber gizmo (available in four colors) with four slots, each of which can hold multiple cord ends.

This newly updated Cordies (which is more compact than its predecessor) sells for $12.99. Another great stocking-stuffer!


Desk Pets TankBot

What’s cooler than a cute little robot tank controlled by your smartphone? Nothing! The Desk Pets TankBot can scuttle across a floor or desk without bumping into anything, meaning you can just sit and watch it roll around.

Of course, the real fun lies in plugging the included iDeskPet Universal Remote into your Android phone, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Thanks to a free app, you can use your device to steer your TankBot.

The TankBot comes in your choice of colors and runs on a battery that gets recharged via a built-in USB connector (another crazy-cool feature). It normally sells for $24.99, but Radio Shack currently has the TankBot for $19.99.

Kingston DataTraveler 109

Kingston DataTraveler 109 8GB Flash Drive

Nothing says “I love you” like eight gigabytes of storage that can ride on a keychain. The DataTraveler 109 is one of the tiniest flash drives I’ve ever seen. In fact, forget the old “thumb drive” moniker–the 109 measures about half the length of your pinky finger, and not even as wide. “Pinky drive,” anyone?

The drive is available in seven color combinations and comes preloaded with Kingston‘s urDrive software, which offers nice amenities like a file browser, photo viewer, and cloud-based backup utility (with 6GB of online storage included with your purchase).

You can pick up the DataTraveler 109 from outlets like Amazon and Newegg for just $8.99.

Portal Turret

Portal Turret LED Flashlight

I rank Valve’s Portal and Portal 2 among my top computer games of all time. Thanks why I went ga-ga when I saw this ThinkGeek-exclusive Portal Turret, an awesome desktop bauble that doubles as an LED flashlight.

The turret looks exactly like its in-game namesake, and even features sound effects and speech from the two games. It’s priced at $24.99.

Okay, shoppers, those are my top sub-$25 picks. Now let’s hear yours. By the way, if your budget can stretch a bit, I continue to consider the Roku LT the altogether best gift of the 2011 holiday season.

Self-proclaimed cheapskate Rick Broida has been a technology writer for over 20 years. He has authored over a dozen books, including, most recently, “How to Do Everything: Palm Pre.” Currently he writes the Cheapskate blog.

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  1. SavingsIQ

    3 years ago

    I need to get the Digits for myself! Great idea.

  2. ChuckG

    3 years ago

    I liked the gloves. Very cool.

  3. AlanBaker

    3 years ago

    The portal turret is a must have.

  4. Rick.Broida

    3 years ago

    @AlanBaker: I know, right? I want one in the worst way. :)

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