Best tech gifts for $25 or less

By Consumer ReportsLifestyle and BudgetConsumer Reports

1. Panasonic RP-TCM125 ($10)

Who says you have to pay through the nose to treat your ears to decent sound? The RP-TCM125 headphones from Panasonic cost only $10 or so, yet they offer very good sound quality, comparable to that of much higher-priced models. The earpluglike design helps to keep outside noise from interfering with your musical enjoyment, and the integrated microphone and player function controls are compatible with iPads, some iPhones and other cell phones, and some iPods. These budget headphones are a big step up from the standard-issue earbuds packaged with many devices.

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2. RCA ANT111 ($8)

Give someone the gift of free TV for less than the price of one movie ticket. An HD antenna like this one can pull in free, over-the-air local network broadcasts—such as ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS—in beautiful high definition. With any antenna, reception depends on factors such as location relative to the station's transmitters and whether there are trees or buildings blocking the signals, but at this price, it's worth a try! An antenna won't provide cable programming from networks such as CNN and Disney, but it's a great idea for a secondary TV such as a bedroom TV used mostly to watch the nightly news or morning talk shows. That's one less cable box to pay for.

You'll find plenty of great headphones—including noise-canceling models, over-the-ear studio models, wireless headphones, and more—in our headphone Ratings. Check out our Buying Guide to see which type is right for you or for that lucky person on your shopping list.  

3. SanDisk 16GB SDHC memory card ($13)

Give your snap-happy friend who never leaves home without his camera—or who will be unwrapping one this holiday season—a memory card that can hold tons of photos.

4. AmazonBasics high-speed HDMI cable ($6 for a 6.5-foot cable)

If someone on your gift list is still using a tangle of analog cables to connect their TV to a cable box or other devices, help them streamline and declutter. A single HDMI cable carries audio and video (you'd need five cables with a component-video setup) and provides top quality for both. Retailers may push brand name cables with big price tags, but in our labs, our experts have had no problems using 6-foot HDMI cables we bought online for a few dollars. Any "high speed" (Category 2) HDMI cable should be adequate for connecting to a TV, even for 3D. Monoprice is another good source for low-cost cables.

5. Kingston 32GB Data Traveller USB flash drive ($18.68)

A thumb drive may not be glamorous, but it can definitely come in handy for moving photos, videos, music, and other data from one device to another. This one comes in five fun colors.

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