Who says you can't have festive fun on a budget? While a new Tesla in the drive would be nice come Christmas morning, there's plenty of good stuff out there for a whole lot less.
To prove that point, we've scoured the web for the best kit you can pick up for less than £50 this Christmas – and none of it's rubbish.
From wireless chargers to work lamps to, erm, laser blasters, there's plenty here to please without putting you in the red.
Unless you plan on dressing up as Santa, in which case you'll be very much in the red.
8Bitdo SN30 PRO (£40)
Keen to add some retro kicks to your daily gaming? You could spend a few hours wiring up your old SNES controller with a Bluetooth module, swearing at the soldering iron and cursing the cabling in consternation.
Or you could buy this throwback Bluetooth ‘pad from 8Bitdo. Inspired by all things past, it packs rumble vibration, clickable joysticks and will play nicely with everything from a Switch to a Raspberry Pi.
Nomad Ultra Rugged Universal Cable (£25)
A cable’s just a cable, right? Wrong! As anyone who’s suffered the indignity of minor electrocution by a third-party peripheral can tell you, wire selection is not to be taken lightly.
Mercifully, this happy-go-hardy number from Nomad should go the distance: lined with Kevlar and wrapped in sturdy Nylon, there’s no risk of frayed-cable meltdown, while the pop-and-swap head means it'll juice almost any device to hand – whether microUSB, USB-C or Lightning.
All-New Amazon Echo Dot (£50)
Put on a new jacket and shout a bit louder, and there’s every chance you’ll be chucked straight out of the pub and not invited back.
Seems unfair, given that Amazon’s done exactly the same thing with its updated Echo Dot, giving the pint-sized home helper a fresh fabric wrap and a bigger, 1.6-inch speaker. Sure, it’s an uncomplaining AI assistant that responds instantly to voice commands, but can it carry three pints of Ale and a plate of mince pies at the same time? Oh, the injustice of it all.
Aircharge Keyring Dual Adapter (£30)
Want to go cable free but still rocking a smartphone without wireless charging? Stick this diminutive puck on your keychain and you’ll have cordless power on tap.
Equipped with dinky micro USB and Lightning cables, simply connect the receiver to the bottom of your blower for bolt-on wireless power. Even better, it doubles up as a macaroon plate when not in use.
Sphero Mini (£50)
“What’s this? A bauble’s fallen on the floor, daft thing. Holy King’s Carols, it’s moving all on its own!”
Good for giving nan a fright, this app-connected and programmable robo-ball might claim to be educational, but it’s clearly a born mischief-maker: just pop it on the nearest pool table and see what happens.
Beyerdynamic Byron (£48)
Beyerdynamic made its name with expensive over-ear cans for studio pros, but these buds are just as capable of catering to the ears of ordinary punters walking to the shops.
They’re full of detail, offer weighty bass and a nice, evenly balanced midrange. Earphones under £50 really shouldn’t sound this good.
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (£35)
Lemon Meringue. Apple. Pumpkin. Pecan. Key lime. Cherry. Blueberry. There are many more delicious types of pie you could enjoy this Christmas, but none as smart as the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.
Faster than ever, follow one of the many online projects to create something cool with the barebones project board, or go it alone and code something nutty. New certification means you can now sell Pi-powered kit to the masses – so it’s finally time to ship that bird-scaring beer bottle synth.
Now TV 4K Box (£46)
Itching for your fix of bovine action? Connect this streaming box to your TV for countless moo-vies and sirloin series on demand – including original shows Got beef?, Game of Loins and The Milkmaiden’s Tale – all in glorious 4K.
Oh, wait. Sorry. We were talking about COW TV. Still, NOW TV isn’t bad, either.