Holiday Gift Guide: Tech Toys For Tight Wallets - InformationWeek

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Holiday Gift Guide: Tech Toys For Tight Wallets

Here's a year-end list of our favorite mobile gear, gaming accessories, security devices, money-saving green gadgets, and a few surprises, each for under $100.

Holiday shoppers are -- predictably enough -- looking for deals. The Consumer Electronics Association found that 66% of consumers plan to devote more time and energy bargain hunting this season than in previous years. And according to the E-Tailing Group, 83% of them will base their holiday purchases primarily on price.

Kill A Watt EZ identifies which appliances are leaking cash.
(click for image gallery)

But you don't have to be a Scrooge just because tough times require you to be a tightwad. Spread good cheer by taking advantage of the fact that consumer electronics firms are slashing prices to the bone. Although you'll find deepest discounts for higher-ticket items such as MP3 players, laptops, and flat-screen televisions, you'll find bargains all over the spectrum. To help you stay within budget during what is likely to be a cash-strapped holiday season, we've put together a list of 35 high-tech gadgets under $100 to bring joy into any household.

To help you get the best deal possible, we've tried to capture the street prices of these products, some of which are substantially lower than the suggested retail price. Indeed, the price on these gifts varies considerably from store to store, so you should definitely join the crowd and shop around.

Green Gadgets

Hands-Free Lightbulb
Do your kids leave the lights on no matter how you plead with them to flip the switch? This bulb from turns on automatically when they enter a room and off automatically after they leave. The motion sensor detects movement within a 360° field of vision for up to five meters. No wiring required. And no more reminders to shut the lights -- for that alone, they'll thank you.

If they're into sustainability, they'll dig a Solio solar charger.
(click for image gallery)

Kill A Watt EZ
This one is for the frugalistas on your list. With this they can figure out where they're leaking cash. Simply plug the Kill A Watt into any electrical appliance, input the kilowatt-hour rates, and it tells not just how many kilowatts per hour are being consumed, but how much the appliances cost to operate.

P3 Kill A Watt PS
In addition to protecting valuable electronics from power surges and spikes, this strip measures how energy efficient they are, allowing users to calculate overall electrical costs. How much is that home network or home theater system costing you? The P3 will tell.

Solio Classic Charger
If they're into sustainability, they'll dig the Solio. As long as the sun is shining, (and no one is in a hurry) there will be power. Solio charges all kinds of mobile gear, from cell phones and iPods to digital cameras, game players, and GPS, the eco-friendly way. Roughly one hour of sunshine gives 20 minutes of cell phone talk time or 50 minutes of MP3 tunes. A fully charged Solio Classic will charge a typical mobile phone more than twice or allow you to listen to more than 20 hours of iPod music.

Hybrid Solar Lite
Stop buying flashlight batteries. An 8-hour charge in sunlight or room light provides 16 hours of continuous light from the Hybrid Solar Lite. Its lithium backup battery has a 7-year shelf life. Waterproof to 80 feet, and it floats.

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