Amazon Fire
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Under $100 tech gifts to jump start your holiday shopping

What: Cheapo tablet Price: $50 A functional tablet with good battery life for the price of some protective tablet cases? It’s true. Amazon built this entry-level Fire tablet as another gateway to its den of products and streaming video. With a 7-inch display, a 1.3-gigahertz quad-core processor, 8 gigabytes of storage (add a microSD card for up to 128 more) and dual cameras, this is a ridiculously inexpensive machine for basic browsing and email and a knockout first tablet for your technie toddler. What’s missing: The display (1024 x 600 pixels) isn’t quite HD, the 2-megapixel camera quality compares to a circa-2007 iPhone and only 5 of the 8 gigabytes are available for storage. You’ll need a lot more than that to dismiss this $50 tablet, even with ads on the lock  (
What: Cable modem Price: $99.99 Comment: Maybe a cable modem isn’t the best way to show you care at holiday time but consider the benefits: faster Internet speeds and no more monthly rental fees for the local cable company’s modem. The recipient will love the savings, too. (Comcast, which has upgraded its network to DOCSIS 3.0, charges $10 a month for a cable rental.) Information:  (Motorola)
What: Vacuum-tube headphone amplifier Price: $67.99 Comment: What’s more comforting, the sweet music or the warm glow of a vacuum-tube amplifier? The Bravo Audio V2 is among the least-expensive entries into tubes. Customize the sound, too, by changing the brand of the single 12AU7 tube. Don’t stop at the $300 headphones. Get a headphone amplifier. Information:  (Bravo)
What: Audio streamer Price: $35 Comment: Google’s new audio streamer connects to your home network and streams music to an audio system with an Android or iOS device as a remote control. This does the same thing as Apple’s venerable AirPort Express ($99, for fans of CD-quality streaming at almost a third of the price. Like any low-cost streamer, this Chromecast has a 3.5-millimeter analog output, but it’s coupled with an optical digital connection for an external digital-to-analog converter or audio-video receiver. Sure to impress the music lover in your life. Information:  (Google)
What: Transfer video (and audio) to a computer using analog S-Video or composite video connections. Price: $39.99 Comment: So Grandpa still refuses to give up the VCR and his 15-year stash of “Face the Nation” broadcasts? Bring him into the digital area — and lose the VCR — with the Diamond VC500, which will transfer his keepsake video to a computer, where it’s ready to burn to a DVD. (Don’t worry, Gramps. The grandkids can help with that part.) Information:  (Diamond Multimedia)
What: Bluetooth-connected LED bulb Price: $59.99 (A19), $69.99 (BR30) Comment: This smartbulb from the company funded by Kickstarter and a survivor of CNBC’s “Shark Tank” is also a wellness bulb that can follow the sun’s daily color changes. Your body’s natural circadian rhythm will appreciate it. Information:  (iLumi)
What: Pocket-size charger Price: $99.99 Comment: A smartphone charger is such a cute, and safe, stocking filler. The diminutive Weego, however, is a musclehead charger that doesn’t stop at refueling smartphones, laptops and tablets. It can start a car, truck, boat or motorcycle — almost anything that runs on a 12-volt battery. (The base-model JS6 Weego can jump-start a 4.6-liter gasoline engine.) Weego starters include a built-in LED flashlight and a strobe with a distress signal. Still want a standard, weak-kneed phone charger? During the holiday season, Weego is bundling its heavy-duty JS12 model — it can jump-start a 6.4-liter Chevy Ram truck — with a free mobile-device charger that weighs less than 3 ounces. Cost: $129.99. Information:  (Weego)
What: All-weather earphones with inline microphone/remote. Price: $99 Comment: One of two new earphone designs from Optoma, the video projector company that last year purchased NuForce. The lower-priced NE750M (the NE800M costs $200) has an outer shell made of aircraft-grade aluminum and a titanium-coated driver that produces a smooth, irritant-free sound lacking the signature bass accent of other earphones. Information: (Optoma)