Question: I need to find a gadget lover a really nice gift for under $100. Do you have any suggestions for me?
PAUL STAUDENMAIER Cranberry
Answer: The holiday season will be over soon, but great electronics buys in the $100-and-under price range are always worth talking about. Here are some of my favorites.
Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz, $69: Out of everything I tested this past year, it was the Oontz that impressed me the most. The Oontz is a portable Bluetooth speaker with speakerphone capability and a rechargeable battery offering 10 hours of life. Don't let the low price fool you. This is a well-constructed, seriously good piece of audio gear that puts much more expensive competitors to shame with its great sound, room-filling volume levels and surprising bass. The Oontz works with most any portable device, such as iPhones, iPods, laptops and Android phones. It is now available in many stylish colors. www.theoontz.com
Powerbag Messenger Bag, $50-$60: Though it lists for $119, this bag can be found online for much less. A high capacity rechargeable battery is integrated into the design. Charge the bag, and when you are on the go, use the Powerbag's various ports and connections to charge your phone, tablet, eReader or other electronic device. I have one and love it. www.mypowerbag.com
Nakamichi NK780 headphones, $20: these over-the-ear headphones sell for $20 at Sears, and they aren't just good for the money, they are good -- period. Sound is surprisingly detailed and rich, but if you play them too loudly the bass gets boomy and they distort. Stay at normal listening levels you won't believe the sound quality for the price. www.nakamichi-usa.com
Logitech Harmony 650 Remote, $60: This universal remote is easy to program using your PC and features a full color, backlit screen. It's a great buy for only $60 online and sure to satisfy for years to come. www.logitech.com
Olympus VR-340 digital camera, $99: Though it lists for $149, this compact camera can be found online for under $100. It features image stabilization, a 10x optical zoom, HD Movies, sensor-shift image stabilization, and Olympus' popular art filter options. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery is included. www.getolympus.com
Spin-Clean Record Washer, $79: Vinyl record lovers aspire to own a record cleaning machine, but high-end models that use liquid and a vacuum can be quite expensive. The Spin-Clean provides the same kind of deep cleaning action, but you dry the records by hand, providing the same end result (clean, quiet records) at a fraction of the cost. The Spin-Clean is sure to delight anyone with a record collection, and makes a great gift for new turntable owners. www.spincleanrecordwasher.com.
Monoprice 12-inch, 150-watt powered subwoofer, $104: It cracks the $100 barrier by a smidgen, but this is too good of a value to exclude from the list. Whether you are building a home theater from scratch, improving the bass of your current system, or adding a subwoofer to a small pair of bookshelf speakers, the Monoprice 12-inch powered subwoofer offers a lot of solid, well-controlled bass for not a lot of money. It works with speaker-level and line-level outputs so it can be integrated into most any system and the cabinet looks better than you would expect for $104, as well. www.monoprice.com