Great presents that don't cost the earth
There may be less than two weeks to go but that’s plenty of time to pick up a gift for a loved one, in these days of internet shopping.
But there can be a LOT of loved ones to keep happy at Christmas so you don’t want too much earth, yet you don’t want to offend with something crappy. We get hundreds of products in every year to review, although few fall below the fifty pound price barrier. Yet we have still managed to wheedle out five top gift ideas for under fifty quid and one that’s even less than a tenner! So, be quick, and you can grab a friend or family member something they won’t stick in a draw and forget on Boxing Day.
You might have seen the Chromecast advertised on national TV but we think this little HDMI streaming stick offers a wider choice of entertainment. It might only qualify for this list by virtue of being just a penny below the entry criteria but we still think that’s excellent value for what you get. The Roku stick simply plugs in to a HDMI port of your TV and can be mains or USB powered. It comes with a proper remote – unlike the Chromecast – which communicates with the stick wirelessly and the interface is so simple a child can use it (I know because mine do). You get many big hitting services including iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, 4OD, ITV Player, Demand 5 & Spotify and, in fact, the list goes on and on. With more than 1,000 channels now available to UK Roku users, they’ll never be short of something to watch. Currently the best serviced and easiest to use streaming stick on the market.
The original high-end in-ear manufacturers boldly went budget with the SE112 earphones. When it comes to Shure products, you are normally looking at £200 and above but these little crackers are widely available for under £50. Shure supplies the SE112 with three rubber domes (the largest of which is huge) and these are good quality and allow for an excellent seal to the outside world. There is an underlying honesty to the way that the Shure goes about making music. The performance is consistent from top to bottom and there is a sense that the SE112 is doing all it can to provide an accurate and uncoloured representation of what you are listening to which, at this price, is nothing short of astonishing.
There are loads of streaming products available this Christmas
This handy little two-in-one device can both improve WiFi blackspots around the home as well as provide you with an internet solution when you’re away from it. As the world is changing to streaming its media, so are the demands increasing on your home WiFi network. You can get great results over WiFi and be able to stream HD video and audio but many homes have rooms where reception is flaky. Plug this baby in, spend a few seconds configuring it to do what you want and off you go. Performance is good for the price and this is one to consider for those that travel a lot but want to keep their home internet comforts as they do.
It’s s not what you’d call a looker but the SP3 is top value, priced under £40. The build quality is better than the appearance, however, and the little Tosh has an enviable battery life from a full charge of around 10 hours. Naturally, you can hook it up via Bluetooth but there’s a 3.5mm jack, as well, for devices lacking that option. The sound which comes out of the TY-SP3 is very clear and easily capable of filling a small room. It’s especially impressive with the spoken word, so if you’re a big podcast or radio listener, it makes an ideal budget option. You can’t expect the earth for under forty quid but anyone that doesn’t consider this good value has unusually high expectations.
If you’re looking to smarten up a TV for a loved one, this is a very simple solution, not to mention a cheap one. You can pick up a NOW TV Box for between £10 and £15 and when you consider you get a HDMI cable in with the box and remote, it’s actually a bit of a steal. Being a Sky branded product, the user interface is heavily geared towards pushing their subscription-free NOW TV entertainment, movie and sports services but you also get access to BBC iPlayer, 4OD, Demand 5, ITV Player and more. You can even install the PLEX app on to the box, giving you a fully-fledged media player as well as access to the extensive range of plug-ins available on the platform – there’s even one for AVForums!
You can smarten up a TV for around ten pounds.
So that's five ideas to save you the bother of thinking but we'd love to know what bargain gift ideas you have in the comments below. And don't fret about the timescales, it's what Amazon Prime was invented for!
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