Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $50 or le - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $50 or less

By Will Nicol

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Fifty bucks might not sound like a whole lot, but you’d be surprised what you can get for such a small sum of money. We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $25, and thousands of movies for a mere $10 a month, so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $50.

In this article, we’ve rounded up all the best tech under $50 for your perusal. Enjoy!

Chromecast Audio ($35)

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Do you have an older stereo that isn’t compatible with all this newfangled streaming tech? Are you fed up with leaving your phone tethered to an auxiliary port? Not to worry — Chromecast Audio is here to save the day. Just plug it into the aforementioned auxiliary port on your stereo, and connect it to your home Wi-Fi network. Once set up, you’ll be able to sling audio to your speakers using just about any app on your phone. Read more.

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Hubsan x4 Cam Plus Quadcopter ($50)

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Looking for a way to dip your toes into the wonderful world of drones, but don’t want to spend a small fortune on an expensive toy you might crash? Check out Hubsan’s x4 Plus Quadcopter. Small in both size and price, this drone is perfect for anyone wanting to break into the UAV scene and learn the basics of piloting a quadcopter. Packing a 1080p HD camera, pre-programed tricks, multiple flight modes, and a huge selection of replacement parts, this little guy will keep you soaring for a long time.

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Anker Wireless Qi Phone Charger ($22)

Still charging your phone with a cable like a caveman? Get with the times, brother! Snag yourself a Qi wireless charger and you’ll be free from the shackles of cord-carrying life. Put one of these suckers on your bedside table and just plop your phone on it before you go to sleep. When you wake up, you’ll have a fully-juiced phone that you can just grab and slip in your pocket — no unplugging necessary. Seriously, though, wireless charging is one of those little things that makes life slightly easier, and you don’t realize how awesome it is until you don’t have it anymore.

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Wemo Wi-Fi Smart Light Switch ($42)

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In an age of constant change, one thing that hasn’t changed much is the light switch. Belkin, however, is trying to change that with its Wemo Smart Light Switch. Once hooked up, the switch allows you to control your home lighting via a smartphone or tablet. With the ability to set a lighting schedule, Alexa compatibility, and pairing options for most connected home systems, your analog flip switches pale in comparison.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Belkin

Universal Foldable Solar Charger ($40)

ECEEN 13W 2-Port USB, best tech under $50

Over the past few years, the cost of solar technologies and paneling have dropped to the point where there are now plenty of affordable solar options for those on the go. That said, the ECEEN 13W foldable solar charger is one of our favorite models in existence. The device weighs a mere 9 ounces, and when completely folded, the entire unit measures just an inch thick. There’s a small stand on the backside, too, allowing you to easily prop up and angle the solar charger toward the sun. Now, let’s just pray you don’t encounter cloud cover.

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Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ ($35)

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The first Pi launched six years ago and the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is faster and more powerful than its predecessors. The Pi is essentially a credit-card-sized PC that sports a quad-core processor, dual-band wireless LAN, and Bluetooth, but you don’t need to be a computer programmer in order to turn the device into a litany of handy (or novelty) gadgets. We’ve even compiled a few projects you make with this Raspberry Pi model right now.

Buy one now from:

Pi Shop

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow Cooker ($50)

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow Cooker

The phrase “set and forget” is music to the ears of anyone who wants to make a home-cooked meal with little hassle. Thankfully, you can program Hamilton Beach’s slow cooker to cook your dish for a specified time, and the device will automatically change the temperature to keep the contents warm once it reaches said time. You can also insert a probe into your dish and set an internal temperature for the slow cooker — the device will automatically keep your food warm when it reaches the designated temp. Cooking gadgets are rarely as easy to operate (or cheap).

Buy one from:

Target Amazon Walmart

Dremel 200 Rotary Tool ($49)

Dremel 200 Rotary Tool

If there’s one power tool every person should own, it’s a Dremel. It’s basically the Swiss army knife of the power tool world. With the right attachments, these machines can do practically anything — cutting, sanding, polishing, carving, and everything in between. This set comes with a small assortment of attachments to get you started, and if that’s not enough, the tool is compatible with a gazillion more attachments that Dremel makes. Be careful, though. Power tools are a slippery slope, and Dremel is a gateway drug. If you’re not careful, you could wake up a year from now with a table saw and a laser cutter in your garage, wondering where your life went.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Home Depot

Shure SE112 Earphones ($49)

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The market for budget headphones is steadily growing, with decent offerings from the likes of Panasonic and Audiofly at the forefront. Nonetheless, Shure’s SE112 earbuds remain one of our favorites for the price. They produce an admirable level of detail and benefit from respectable passive noise cancellation, while sporting solid construction nearly everyone can stand behind. Subtle textures and instrumental separation are far more clear than one might expect, too, even if the upper registry proves a bit too snappy at times. The fact that they’re relatively comfortable is just a plus.

Read our full Shure SE112 review

Buy one now from:

Amazon B&H Walmart

Amazon Echo Dot ($49)

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We’d be remiss not to include Amazon’s Echo Dot in our list. It does everything its bigger (and more expensive) brother does, only it’s slightly larger than a hockey puck. It’s not as loud as the Echo, but the third-gen device still emits decent sound for its size. It can also connect to any audio system, is capable of far-field voice recognition, and boasts a wide range of features and functions. This gizmo is compatible with dozens of different smart home devices as well, which means that if you get one, you’ll potentially be able to control your connected fixtures via voice commands.

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Tile Pro ($35)

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Phones and keys are two objects that we can’t help but misplace from time to time. Fortunately, the Tile Pro is specifically designed for such occasions. The small, squarish device attaches to your key ring, and using a mobile app, users can ping the device and cause it to emit a loud sound from up to 300 feet away. If you misplace your phone, you can also double press the button on the Pro to make it ring (even if it’s on silent). The newest model even features a replaceable CR2032 battery, which can be swapped out in a matter of seconds.

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Black Diamond Spot Headlamp ($29)

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Whether you’re tending to livestock in the early morning, venturing deep underground on your latest spelunking expedition, or heading out on your favorite trail for a nighttime jog; this 300-lumen headlight has the guff to get you through the stuff. In addition to multiple light modes, the Spot boasts a memory feature, so when you turn the headband back on, it’ll be at the same setting you left it on. Even up against more expensive headlamps, this waterproof offering is still one of the best ones on the market right now.

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Anker PowerCore 20100 ($50)

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Do you hate that mounting feeling of anxiety that sets in when your phone battery starts to get low? Always need a charge and never near a charger? The Anker PowerCore 20100 may be your new best friend. Despite its pocket-friendly size and lightweight build, this little beast packs some serious heat (not in an explosive way, though). It also boasts enough power to fully charge your smartphone six times over, as well as multiple charging ports, rendering it one of the best chargers you can currently get your hands on.

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Oontz Angle 3 Ultra Bluetooth Speaker ($40)

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Looking to jam out while you’re on the move? The Oontz Angle 3 has the power and portability to make that happen. This slick, triangular boombox boasts a beastly 20-hour battery life, water resistance, and a built-in mic for making hands-free calls. If you like it enough to get two, you’ll be delighted to know that you can use them together by utilizing the “Dual Stereo” functionality, which will allow you to play music through both, simultaneously, from up to 100 feet away.

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Rocketbook Everlast ($34)

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Most writing might be done in word processors these days, but many people still prefer the feel of pen and paper. Writing by hand is a more personal experience, but, sadly, inconvenient if you need to share your notes with coworkers, classmates, or others. Rocketbook’s Everlast is a bridge between the old world and the new, a physical notebook you can write in and then quickly scan with a smartphone app. Once you’ve installed the Rocketbook app on your phone, just open the app, aim your camera at the page, and once it is fully inside of the viewfinder, allow the app to scan it. At the bottom of each page are seven symbols, and when you set up the app, you can assign each symbol to a particular cloud service (Google Drive, for example). If you mark any of those symbols, the app will automatically upload your page to that particular service when scanned.

The Everlast has 32 or 36 pages, depending on the size you get, but you won’t have to worry about running out of space, since you can wipe away the ink with a cloth and a dash of water. In our time using the Everlast, we found it did an accurate job scanning pages, with various styles of handwriting and drawing showing up clearly in the scans. Read more.

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