The best back-to-school gadgets under $30
Get some great tech without breaking the bank.
Roku Express: $25
Roku and Amazon have a boatload of video streamers available in the under-$50 price range. But if $30 is your cutoff, this entry-level Roku is your go-to choice. It delivers pretty much every video service you can think of, from Netflix to Hulu to countless more obscure apps, as well as the free-with-ads Roku Channel, too. You'll be hard-pressed to find more entertainment for your TV at this price. Read more: .
Sony SRS-XB01: $23 or less
If you don't want a smart speaker listening in on your conversations -- or just want a rechargeable speaker that travels with you -- the Sony SRS-XB01 is a great choice. It sounds great for its size, and it's splashproof, too.Read more: See our picks for the .
Wyze Cam: $26
Want to catch the roommate in the act of stealing your ice cream from the fridge? This Alexa-compatible Wyze model is a solid choice, and it only costs $26.
Anker PowerCore Fusion battery: $26
This handy Anker 5,000-mAh battery pack is about the size of a MacBook power supply, and it can charge two USB-powered devices simultaneously. Best of all, it doubles as a wall charger, and the AC prongs fold up for easy travel. It's now available in and for $30, too.Read more: See our picks for the
Amazon Echo Dot: $30
Amazon sold a zillion of these during its Prime Day sale, when the price dipped as low as $22. But now the smart speaker's price is back to its usual price of $30 (down from its list price of $50). Just make sure that you're not buying it for someone attending a school where these are . .
SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive 128GB: $23
These days, one or more (or all) of the USB ports on laptops are USB-C. But there are still plenty of old-school rectangular USB-A ports out there. The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive splits the difference perfectly, sporting both USB-C and USB-A plugs on one thumb drive. And now the 128GB model is priced below $25. (This is a great gift for anyone with a recent USB-C iPad Pro, since the autumn iPadOS upgrade will .)
Belkin WeMo Mini: $25
There are plenty of cheap smart plugs out there, but the Belkin WeMo Mini is one of the few at this price that deliver the hat trick: compatibility with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple's Siri (HomeKit). In other words, this plug convert any lamp in the dorm -- or home -- into one that's voice-controlled. .
Splurge pick: Tribit XFree Tune wireless headphones: $40
Yes, this product breaks our $30 budget by just a bit. But if you want solid sound quality in a full-size wireless headphone at a budget price, you can't do better than the Tribit. .