As part of our gift guide series, we bring you some of the best gifts under $500. Well, some of our favorites below that level, as there are a ton of products out there to consider. All of the products on this list are techie, one way or the other. We did our best to compile a diverse list, so that there’s something for everyone here. We’ll focus on 5 products here, but below them, you’ll also find some honorable mentions to check out. Another thing to note is that we’re focusing on products between $250 and $500, as we have a separate list for things under $250. Having said that, let’s get going…
Best tiny fitness tracker: Ultrahuman smart ring
A great fitness-tracking option for people who don’t like watches
There are a ton of different smartwatches on offer these days, the same goes for fitness bands. Not everyone wants to wear a smartwatch, though, and yet may want to keep track of their fitness and sleep quality. Well, there’s a solution for that. Smart rings have been on the rise for years now, and they can replace your smartwatch, to a degree. They may not be able to show you notifications, allow you to control music, and so on, but they can certainly keep track of your fitness.
When you think of smartwatches, you probably think of Oura, but there are other really compelling offerings out there Ultrahuman is actually a company that offers a very compelling product in that domain. The Ultrahuman Ring Air is the “world’s lightest sleep-tracking wearable”, says the company. This small ring packs a ton of sensors inside. It can track your heart rate and temperature, it has sleep tracking capabilities, and more. It is also water resistant up to 100m, so you can easily keep it on your finger at all times, other than the times you have to charge it.
Speaking of which, the company claims that this ring can offer 6 days of battery life, so chances are it’ll need a top-up once a week. This ring can also track calories, metabolic equivalents (METs), steps, and more. It’s impressive how many features Ultrahuman managed to stuff into a small product. This smart ring is thinner than many others we’ve seen, and it comes in four color options. Matte Black, Aster Black, Bionic Gold, and Space Silver options are on offer. The ring is, of course, available in a range of different sizes too. It is priced at $349, so it’s not exactly cheap, but it can be a great replacement for a smartwatch.
Best vertical ambient light: Philips Hue smart floor lamp
A good floor lamp can bring some life into your living space
Having great lighting at home can really liven up the living space. There are all sorts of different lights on offer in the market, for different purposes. Philips actually has a great lineup of Hue lights on offer, ranging from regular smart light bulbs, to various fancy offerings. The company actually offers a rather nice floor lamp that we’ll talk about in this article, as it fits this price bracket perfectly. This floor lamp has a base onto which a rather thin light strip is attached, and oriented vertically.
The base itself is wider, of course, to keep the balance. This is a wired floor lamp, by the way, just in case that wasn’t clear enough. It’s meant to be used indoors, and it does offer compatibility with voice assistants, including Google Assistant, Alexa, and it also works with Apple HomeKit integration. The light is available in black and white variants, depending on what color is your room/furniture. Chances are that one of these two colors will fit perfectly, as the base itself will likely be hidden either way. These are also rather base colors.
The wattage we’re looking at here is 29W, and this light is dimmable. It can be great for mood lighting in any room, pretty much. You can choose between millions of colors, or shades of colors, from warm to cool tones. All that can be customized via Philips’ app that many of you are already familiar with. It’s even possible to connect this light to other lights from the company and connect up to 10 at the same time. It’s a great gift for both minimalists, and otherwise, as it’s a type of product that fits basically anywhere. The price tag here is $289 (down from $329.99), and the link is placed below.
Best & most versatile action camera: Insta360 GO3
Action cameras have become very popular over the years. Companies are trying to trump each other with new designs, features, and so on. Well, Insta360 usually succeeds in that regard. The company released quite a few small cameras thus far, and the Insta360 GO3 is the cream of the crop. This camera is tiny, truly tiny, and yet it offers a ton of versatility, and can shoot really nice-looking content. The use cases for it are vast. This package consists of the camera itself, its down/charger/viewfinder, and some accessories that will come in quite handy.
There are various different setups with this camera offered on Amazon, with varying price tags, but we’re focusing on the ‘Travel Kit’, with 128GB of storage. This tiny camera magnetizes inside a charging case, when needed, and you can use it on its own too. When it’s on its own, it’s truly time, and can magnetize itself to metallic surfaces. In the package, you’ll also get a bracelet with some metal on it, so you can basically place it under your shirt, and then magnetize the camera over it.
In addition to that, a couple of more cases come in this particular package, that can be attached to things, or magnetized to surfaces. As if that’s not enough, a small tripod is also included here, along with a carrying case for all that. The camera on its own weighs only 35 grams, and shoots 2.7K videos. It is also waterproof up to 5m below the water surface, while the Action Pod is splashproof. Insta360 also has rather nice AI editing tools in its app, which complete the experience. If you, or someone you know, need a small camera to have on the go, for whatever purpose, the Insta360 offers great value. The ‘Travel Kit’ with 128GB of storage is priced at $479, but there are other choices available on Amazon (link below).
Best wireless microphones: DJI wireless mic pack
Good wireless microphones go a long way, especially if they come in pairs
Built-in microphones on smartphones are usually plenty good for voice calls, but for video recording, not so much. You usually need something better if you plan on recording videos with your phone, at least if you want them to sound professional. That is especially true if you’re not right next to your phone when you do it. That’s where wireless microphones can be of great use, but some of them can be quite finicky. So, if you’re looking for actually good wireless microphones, for yourself or for a gift, DJI has something to offer.
DJI offers wireless lavalier microphones in an all-in-one package. Not only will you find two wireless microphones here, which are really good, but a receiver as well. All that is placed into a charging/carrying case, which will keep them both safe and charged when you’re not using them. The design of these mics is really nice too, and both of them come with a clasp, so that you can attach them to a piece of clothing. They have a range of up to 250m (820ft), which is also one of the advantages here.
This setup is ideal for vlogging, interviews, outdoor recording, and so on. The transmitters will offer 5.5 hours of battery life, while the receiver offer 5 hours of battery life. That goes up to 15 hours with the charging case. All in all, that should be plenty for regular video-shooting scenarios. There’s also a magnetic attachment included in the package, so you can magnetize the transmitters, if you want. The receiver also comes with a built-in OLED touchscreen for added control. This package can record 48kHz 24-bit audio without compression, and it’s priced at $249 (down from $329).
Best mixed reality headset: Meta Quest 3
Dive into the virtual world with one of the most advanced mixed reality headsets
Mixed reality headsets are getting more and more traction these days. They can change your perspective on gaming, basically, and could end up having more uses down the line. Nowadays, however, they’re mostly focused on gaming. That being said, the Meta Quest 3 is one of the best offerings on the market and it just fits in our price bracket here at $499. This offering on Amazon brings not only the headset itself, but also the Asgard’s Wrath 2 game with it. Other bundles are available too, however, and you can check them out on Amazon.
The Meta Quest 3 has double the processing power the Quest 2 offered, which offered a lot of new doors for the gadget. The 4K+ Infinite Display is set right in front of you, and proper audio too. Touch Plus controllers provide a lot more control, and a better feeling than ever before. There are also over 500 apps available for the device as we speak, ranging from games, fitness apps, entertainment ones, wellness apps, and so on. That library keeps on growing by the day, by the way.
The Meta Quest 3 offers up to 2.2 hours of usage on average, though you can extend that if you fire up the Battery Saver mode. Plenty of interesting games are available for this thing, and chances are most of you will opt to get it because of that factor. That’s why it can be a great gift for someone who wants to dabble in mixed reality headsets. This is one of the best on the market, and some games are really next level. Things will only get better from this point on. Games like Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR will really push things forward, and chances are many more like it will arrive in the next couple of years. Follow the link below to check out this bundle, and see what else is on offer, if this one doesn’t suit you.
Here are a couple of more products in this price bracket that you may like…
Sony PlayStation 5
One of the easiest recommendations at this price tier is the PlayStation 5. It’s a rather obvious one, so we’ve pushed it down to the ‘honorable mentions’ category. This console grants access to a ton of games, if whoever is using it is willing to pay for those games, of course. It’s the most popular gaming console in the market, and it comes with a single gamepad. As many of you know, the device comes in a standard white color with black accents, and includes rather powerful internals as well. You’ll get all the necessary cables here too. Sony’s gaming console costs $499.99.
If you know someone who needs a really great pair of truly wireless earbuds, the Sony WF-1000XM5 earphones fit the bill. These are some of the best truly wireless earbuds on the market, and they are now available for $298. They come in black and white colors, and do include noise cancelling too. Sony’s AI-based noise cancelling algorithm is great, and the ‘Speak-to-Chat’ option is also quite useful. Needless to say, these earbuds also offer quality build, and are a full package, basically.
The Cubii Go is the least techy product on this list, and yet it can be immensely useful for some. This is an under-desk elliptical. Why would anyone need it? Well, sitting at a desk for longer periods of time is not healthy, so if you can get your feet moving while you work on something, that is welcomed. Getting this elliptical, plus perhaps a standing desk, and a proper ergonomic chair can save you a lot of hassle down the road. The Cubii Go comes with an illuminated LCD display, and offers adjustable push resistance. It has built-in wheels too, and the same goes for a handle. The Cubii Go is priced at $279.99.