The holidays are almost here and with them a rush of new gadgets hitting the market just in time for would-be gift-givers. Shopping for a techie doesn’t have to be expensive, and lately the theme seems to be all about low cost with few compromises. Here’s a look at the best of the best when it comes to great devices that won’t break the bank.
Dell Venue 8 Pro
Until now, small form-factor Windows 8 tablets have been lackluster, with the Acer Iconia W3 falling flat on its face, sporting a dim, poor display and less-than-stellar performance. Dell is attempting to take the ultra-portable handheld territory again, however, with its new 8-inch Venue 8 Pro tablet. Although the Venue 8 Pro is noticeably thicker than competition such as the iPad Mini at 9 mm, it’s packing Intel’s latest Bay Trail processor and running full Windows 8, rather than a slimmed-down mobile OS. Active stylus support and a very decent-looking HD display, plus 10 hours of battery life make this $299 tablet a fantastic deal.
Google Nexus 5
Google’s Nexus line of smartphones has always been about providing the purest, most up-to-date Android experience possible in a sleek, powerful package at an extremely competitive off-contract price. Starting at $349 unlocked, the Nexus 5, designed by Google and produced by LG, is a top-of-the-line smartphone showcasing the latest, greatest version of Android, 4.4 Kitkat. The Nexus 5 sports a stunning 1920×1080 5-inch display for showcasing video and images in beautiful detail and runs on a snappy Snapdragon 800 ARM processor, packing as much power and speed as one can get in a smartphone.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX
Amazon’s first Kindle Fire back in 2011 was a pleasant surprise–at a time when small tablets were few and far between, the Fire provided a way to access Amazon’s trove of media content all in an ultra-portable package. This year, slimmer, faster and sharper are Amazon’s goals with the new Kindle Fire HDX. Starting at $229, the 7-inch HDX’s brilliant 1920×1080 display and slim profile make it an ultimate e-reader and movie-viewer for those on the go.