Unless you live in a garden commune that accepts soil as a surrogate currency, Christmas doesn’t have to cost you the earth.
In the market for gifts plucked from the vine of affordability? Put down your pitchfork and drop that bag of mulch: we’ve toiled the field of festive tech and harvested a crop of a cracking gifts that all cost £100 or less.
From power banks and dash cams to earphones and smart home assistants, put any one of these treats beneath the tree this Christmas and you’re sure to reap a smile – without emptying the silo of cash.
Native Union Jump+ Wireless Power Bank (£85)
What’s worse than being stuck on a packed train that’s delayed by leaves, rain and a little bit of wind? Being stuck on that same train and unable to reach a plug socket. Don’t add a flat battery to your list of Christmas woes: with this 12,000mAh battery pack in your back pocket you’ll be able to boost your blower in half the time, courtesy of USB-C Power Delivery.
Feeling compassionate towards your fellow commuters? You can juice two further phones at the same time thanks to a USB-A port and wireless charging output. Talk about festive generosity.
Amazon Echo (£90)
From recipe advice to festive playlists, there are many reasons why you might invite Alexa into your home this Christmas. And there are many reasons why you might do so via Amazon’s new third-generation Echo, complete with sweeter speakers and a fresh fabric shade of Twilight Blue.
Really, though, it’s all about one thing: the Santa Tracker skill – also available on the more compact, clock-equipped Echo Dot, if you don’t need a subwoofer to find out that the man in red is currently flying somewhere over Lake Bled.
SoundMagic P55 v3.0 (£90)
Finding decent sound for ninety pounds is no mean feat. Sure, SoundMagic’s folding ‘phones won’t trouble premium cans for outright audio quality, but with memory foam cups, a sleek metal shell and decent 40mm drivers – plus an optional in-line remote and mic for easy noise control – they’re more than good enough to keep your ears entertained on the nine-hour bus to see your in-laws in Inverness.
Urbanista Brisbane (£99)
Beleaguered by ice balls and trapped in your snow trench, the only option is to wait it out until reinforcements arrive. Or until your mum calls you in for hot chocolate. For now, you need something that’ll entertain you without giving away your situation – like this Bluetooth speaker, for example.
IPX5 protected, it should survive a direct hit from a soft ball of fall, while its off-white jacket shouldn’t reveal your position in the powder. Unless, you know, your opponents have ears. Note: also available in black, in case the volleys continue into darkness.
Amazon All-new Kindle (£80)
Besides a hug from your nan, there’s little cosier at Christmas than lighting a fire, curling up in an armchair and trying to stay awake while you tuck into a good tome. And if the festive break for you means feasting on enough paperbacks to stock a small library, Amazon’s latest e-reader is your perfect page-turner.
Built for book lovers, its glare-free screen is easy on the eyes and an integrated front light lets you keep reading long after lights out. And with capacity for thousands of novels, even the speediest readers shouldn’t exhaust their literary options.
Wacaco Nanopresso Orange Patrol (£60)
Boxing Day walks might be family tradition, but after all that Buck’s Fizz you knocked back on the 25th you might need more than Christmas spirit to get you over them hills. Thankfully, this lightweight cylinder can pump out proper espresso wherever you go.
Simply tamp in your grounds of choice, brim the 80ml tank and build pressure with the built-in piston. Once you’re done pumping, you’ll have steaming brew to move you. And with its bright orange jacket, even your bleary eyes won’t have trouble finding it when the caffeine cravings turn critical.
Ikea Symonfisk Wi-Fi Bookshelf Speaker (£99)
Want a soundbox for your flat-packed shelf? Find the smart home aisle and bag yourself a Symonfisk. Fully assembled and ready to play, IKEA’s Wi-Fi speaker makes connected audio affordable – and, as you’d expect from the Swedish maker, there’s more to it than a silly name.
A collaboration with Sonos, it supports all sorts of streaming services and can integrate with your multi-room system. Disappointed by the lack of DIY? You can always wall-mount it sideways for a tuneful bedside table.
Amazon Echo Show 5 (£80)
By rights, you’ve every reason not to speak to your sibling this Christmas. If they’d rather ditch drizzly Dulwich in favour of sunny Fiji, then they’ve made their beachy bed. Alas, your parents aren’t so judgemental, so crowd the crew around the Echo Show and say a festive hello to your faraway family.
Once everyone’s said their merry piece, slide the shutter across the camera, ask Alexa to show you the weather in Suva and feel immensely smug as you see it’s set to rain every day. What a shame.