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The 7 Best Gadgets Under $100 in 2021 [The Tools You Need But Didn’t Know Existed]

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Back in the days when work required us to be road warriors, there was nothing better than discovering a new device that made the hours of Ubers and airports and hotels a little more tolerable. But the same things designed to make life on the road a little more comfortable often can work for us during our personal time, even if that personal time is chewed up with Zoom meetings. Here are our choices for some of the year’s best gadgets, all for a target price of $100 or less. 

1. The CHAMP Pro Portable Charger

The CHAMP Pro Portable Charger

Whether you are waiting at the D gates at the Atlanta airport, stuck in a boardroom with no access to a power outlet, or taking your laptop outside for a change of pace, we’ve all faced the limits of laptop batteries. And while most road warriors have a battery pack to charge their phone, what are the best choices for one to give your laptop that extra power boost when needed? 

A solid choice for laptop charging on the road is from Nimble. The CHAMP Pro Portable Charger, at just over 13 ounces, is compact, lightweight, portable and packs a surprising amount of power, able to boost a 13-inch laptop to an 80 percent charge in just 30 minutes. It’s an affordable travel necessity that comes in handy in nearly any work situation. 

2. Sony SRS-XB13 Portable Speaker

Sony SRS-XB13 Portable Speaker

Whether it’s dancing around your hotel room before a night out in a new city or listening to your favorite podcast at the beach or poolside, the Sony SRS-XB13 portable speaker offers some powerful bass, a surprising amount of volume, and meets the IP67 waterproofing standard.

This device can be dropped into a meter of water for 30 minutes without damage. That’s a lot of features for under $60, making this unit a perfect choice for the poolside or the beach; its 16-hour charging time means the music can go all day. Available in four colors, it’s a nice accessory as well.  

3. Roku Streambar

Roku Streambar

If you’re looking for a way to upgrade your sound and stream using an older TV, the best choice is the Roku Streambar, which offers great sound and 4k streaming from all the usual services, as well as a few options that make it a solid investment. 

Its four internal speakers offer high-end Dolby audio performance, while its easy-to-use interface means that within minutes, you can be streaming in HD, 4K, and HDR, with colors optimized for any TV. Rolling Stone magazine called the Roku Streambar “the best soundbar in its price range. The competition doesn’t even come close,” and we agree. Even better, the Streambar can be paired with Roku’s equally solid Wireless Speakers and Wireless Subwoofer for a completely wireless out-of-the-box surround sound setup that rivals systems costing hundreds more. 

Related: The 9 Best Laptops Under $400 [For School And WFH]

4. Anker PowerConf S3 Bluetooth Speakerphone

Whether it’s navigating the new realities of work or joining your partner for a parent-teacher conference, we’ve all run headlong into the limits of teleconferencing apps. I’ve been on numerous Zoom calls where team members on the same call create a feedback loop when noise from their speakers cycles through an open microphone. One solution is a simple yet elegant method from our past, the conference all.

The Anker PowerConf S3 Bluetooth Speakerphone is compatible with all popular online conferencing platforms and connects easily to your phone via Bluetooth or computer with the USB-C cable. With six built-in microphones, the PowerConf can pick up your voice from 360 degrees around the room or focus clearly on the voices of your colleagues. And its extended battery life (up to 24 hours on a single charge) means that your speakerphone can also be a battery pack, able to charge your other devices when necessary. 

5. Razer Seiren Mini

A similarly versatile microphone is the Razer Seiren Mini. The Seiren series has long been a favorite for gamers who livestream their play, but the Mini does most of the work at a budget-friendly price of under $50. Available in three colors, the Mini is an ultra-condenser mic that works well for streaming, conferencing, and any application where better quality audio is required.

Engineered with a precise ultra-cardioid pickup pattern, the Mini manages to focus on the voice while blocking out ambient and background noises. With its flat frequency response, it offers a truer reproduction of the spoken voice than many other more expensive microphones, and the Mini is ready to use out of the box, with a simple USB-powered plug and play setup. 

6. Wemo SmartPlug

Wemo SmartPlug

Security-conscious consumers already use Wifi-powered tech to help secure their homes and workplaces, but industry stalwart Belkin makes it a lot easier with its suite of Wemo SmartHome devices. Offering switches, dimmers, and our favorite, the Wemo SmartPlug, these budget-friendly devices use your existing Wifi network and the Wemo app to provide wireless control of lamps, fans, and more—with no subscription or hub required.

Simply plug the Smart Plug into an electrical outlet, plug in your device, and control it using the free Wemo app; your devices can also be controlled using your voice by pairing the Wemo products with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant. 

7. Self Cleaning UV Water Bottle

Self Cleaning UV Water Bottle

And finally, if you’re like me, you’ve got a stainless steel water bottle for your daily hydration. Mine goes from home to office to tennis court to beach pretty regularly, but it doesn’t hit the dishwasher often enough. According to Global WakeCup, a company devoted to ending single-use plastics, I’m not alone.

That’s why they created the Self Cleaning UV Water Bottle, featuring a built-in UV-C light in the bottle’s lid. Activate the light, and it cleans the inner surfaces of the bottle, eliminating bacteria, viruses and mold. While it’s useful tech for daily use, it’s also particularly useful for outdoor enthusiasts uncertain of water quality. And its capacity, at 550ml, is enough for a day-long expedition. And that self-cleaning function operates for up to a month on a single charge. 

Life Just Got Better

While technology comes with its share of challenges, it undoubtedly comes with some real advantages too. With this pandemic still underway, these gadgets are here to help you keep up with zoom meetings, work remotely and kill germs. Hand sanitizer not included. 

You might also be interested in: The 8 Best Soundbars Available For Under $200 [2021 Edition]

 7 Best Tech Gadgets Under $100:

  1. The CHAMP Pro Portable Charger
  2. Sony SRS-XB13 Portable Speaker
  3. Roku Streambar
  4. Anker PowerConf S3 Bluetooth Speakerphone
  5. Razer Seiren Mini
  6. Wemo SmartPlug
  7. Self Cleaning UV Water Bottle

Steve Kistulentz

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