Best tech to buy with a $25 Amazon gift card
Gift cards are the greatest thing to happen to electronics since the power outlet -- they let us shop for ourselves and pick out the exact gadgets we want.
And now that the holidays are over, it's the perfect time to take stock of any gift cards you received and find the best deals in electronics gear around.
You might be shopping because you didn't get something that was on your wishlist or because you're looking for accessories and peripherals for an electronic you did receive.
Here are a few of our favorite sub-$25 recommendations for how to best spend that Amazon gift card that's burning a hole in your pocket. Who says useful gear has to be expensive?
Get a spare pair of headphones
Sometimes it's difficult to know how much to pay for a good set of wireless headphones -- it's not hard to find a pair for under 10 bucks, but if you're looking for audiophile-quality listening, you could end up paying a few hundred dollars.
In general, more expensive headphones are worth it, but we advise keeping an inexpensive spare pair around for times when critical listening isn't required, like at the gym or at the office. These are our favorite "Plan B" options for wireless listening.
Skullcandy Jib Plus Wireless In-Ear Earbud ($15.75): If you need headphones mainly for phone calls
These are inexpensive but still bring plenty of features, like an integrated microphone, on-board volume controls, and six hours of battery life per charge. If you need a secondary set of headphones and you're looking for a balance between price and features, this is the one to go with.
Senso Bluetooth Headphones ($17.97): If you're looking for a backup pair for running or exercising
These wireless headphones are waterproof and include ear hooks, so they'll stay on your ears no matter how hard you work out. We love how lightweight they are, but the show-stealing feature here is the battery life: They can last up to eight hours on a single charge, which is well above what other headphones in the same price range offer.
Apple EarPods with Lightning Connector ($20.84): If you love your AirPods but need backup earbuds
These are exactly like your Apple AirPods, just with the inconvenience of a cord, so they're not technically wireless. Compared to your Airpods, they're also significantly more affordable, and considering that they're made by Apple, you can rely on the quality design. These are great to keep in your desk at work in case you forget your AirPods at home.
Get a wireless security camera
Whether you want to keep an eye on your home when you're away or just check in on your pets from time to time, a wireless security camera will make it easy to get a clear view from the comfort of your smartphone. And while there are dozens of pricey models, we think that budget security cameras are a worthwhile consideration, because they offer the same basic functionality for a fraction of the cost. Here are the best entry-level wireless security cameras.
Wyze Cam Indoor Wireless Smart Home Camera ($15.99): If you want to start with a stationary camera
The Wyze cam is super simple to set up, includes options for expandable storage, and is also innocuous in appearance. Our favorite part: It works with Amazon's Alexa, so you can check the video feed from Echo devices with screens, like the Echo Show.
TETHYS Wireless Security Camera ($23.99): If you're looking for a camera that can pan across an entire room
This camera sits on a fixed base but can rotate 360 degrees as well as swivel up and down, so your view is never limited. It's even got a two-way speaker, so you can chat with anyone in the room, even when you're away from home.
YI's Home Security Surveillance System ($22.99): If you're looking for a camera to use as a baby monitor
This surveillance camera records in 1080p and can record to an SD card locally or in the cloud, but best of all, it's got night vision and security alerts, so you'll be notified the moment your child gets fussy and get a clear view of what's going on, day or night.
Get a wireless charger
If your smartphone supports wireless charging, it never hurts to have an extra charger or two around -- there's really nothing more convenient than being able to lay your phone down and have it instantly start charging. If you're looking to add more wireless charging spots to your home or office or if you're trying out wireless charging for the first time, start with one of these.
CHOETECH Wireless Charger ($13.99): If you want an affordable option you can put anywhere
The simple design of this charging pad ensures it will fit in with any decor. It has an anti-slip rubber exterior that will keep your device in place while it charges, and the size is ideal so that you can put your phone on any part of it for a charge.
Yootech Wireless Charging Stand ($14.99): If you want to see your smartphone's screen while it's charging
This particular wireless charger is built with a stand that makes it easy to see your screen from far away -- and you can charge your phone horizontally or vertically. With the green light that indicates connection, you can ensure that your phone is indeed charging, giving you peace of mind.
QI-EU Fast Charger Station ($23.99): If you want to charge multiple Apple devices
This can charge an iPhone, AirPods, an Apple Pencil, and an Apple Watch -- all simultaneously. It also comes in different color options, so you can pick the one that matches your setup best.
Get an organizer bag to keep your cables and peripherals organized
If you've got a lot of gadgets, chances are you've got a lot of cables, plugs, and accessories, too. For anyone who carries around a small army of peripherals, we recommend getting a cable management bag -- it's not the most exciting purchase in the world, but it will save you a ton of time as you're searching for that one adapter you need in a hurry. Here are our favorites.
Jelly Comb Medium Cable Organizer Bag ($14.99): If you need a small or portable organizer
This bag only measures about 9 inches by 6.5 inches, but don't let its diminutive size fool you. It can carry plenty of gear neatly with its many pouches and elastic loops, and it even has room for extras like a mouse, pens and pencils, or plug adapters.
Jelly Comb Large Cable Organizer Bag ($21.99): If you need a medium-sized organizer
This larger cable organizer from Jelly Comb carries much more than cables -- it's got multiple layers, so you can pack gadgets like you would a suitcase. It includes a pouch for a tablet (up to 11 inches), comes in multiple colors, and is waterproof, so it's the perfect traveling companion.
BUBM Double-Layer Travel Gadget Bag ($17.99): If you need to carry larger electronics
If your electronics need their own luggage, this is your best option. It's a beast of a bag that's got room for a tablet, a portable battery, a smartphone, and a few dozen cables. If you want to take everything but the kitchen sink with you when it comes to tech accessories, look no further.
Get a new case for your smartphone
Companies will try to convince you otherwise, but there's no need to spend more than $25 on a case for your smartphone. Smartphone cases have evolved to the point where the majority of them do a solid job of keeping your phone free from scratches and dings, so if you've got a new phone or you're looking to give your current phone a change of scenery, there are hundreds of good options. Here are our favorites for a few of the most popular smartphones around.
TORRAS Slim Fit Galaxy S10 Case ($14.99): If you have a Galaxy S10
This slim-fit design is ideal for anyone who likes "barely there" phone cases -- but it's still tough and has a curved, beveled edge, so it lets you show off the S10's sleek looks while keeping your screen safe. We love it because it comes in four different colors, it's easy to install, and it's crazy affordable.
QBS Natural & Eco-Friendly iPhone 11 Case ($14.99): If you have an iPhone 11
If you're rocking an the latest and greatest iPhone, check out this eco-friendly case made from biodegradable wheat straw. Once you're done with it, you can rest easy knowing it won't take up room in a landfill forever. It's got a subtle bezel and fits the iPhone 11 like a glove.
Kitoo iPhone 11 Pro Max Case ($13.85): If you have an iPhone 11 Pro
For those who opted for the iPhone 11 Pro, we recommend Kitoo's military-grade, drop-tested case. It includes a kickstand and allows for wireless charging, so your phone is safe and easily usable.
Teelevo Wallet Case ($13.99): If you have a Google Pixel 4
If you've got Google's current flagship phone, the Pixel 4, go for a Teelevo Wallet Case. It has a built-in kickstand and space for a few credit cards. If you travel a lot and need a case that's good for watching movies on the plane or keeping your ID handy, this is the one to get.
Get a portable battery
You never know where you'll be when your phone runs out of battery, so it's best to always be prepared! Thankfully, carrying around a few extra charges is easy (and affordable) with the right portable battery. These make it easy for you to connect one or more devices and quickly charge up, no matter where you are. Here are the best battery bargains.
Anker PowerCore 5000 ($19.99): If you need an ultra-portable battery
At just over four inches long, this portable power bank from a top brand will easily fit in any bag, coat pocket, or purse. It includes an internal 5000 mAh battery, which is about one and a half times the average smartphone battery.
RAVPower Portable Charger ($16.99): If you need to charge multiple devices at once
This charger from RAVPower has a whopping 10,000 mAh battery inside as well as multiple USB ports, so it's super easy to charge two phones simultaneously -- and it'll still have power left over when it's done.
Miady 2-Pack 10000 mAh Dual USB Portable Chargers ($19.99): If you're looking for more than one portable battery
Each unit in this two-pack includes a 10,000 mAh battery, multiple ports, and best of all, a USB-C port. Portable batteries with USB-C ports can be hard to come by, so if you've got a mix of old and new devices, this is one of your best options.
Jamie Vazquez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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