24 Tech (and Tech-ish) Gifts Under $50 That You Can Buy on Amazon

Best tech gifts

Most people associate the best tech gifts with highest price tags. But there are plenty of great tech gift ideas that won’t decimate your holiday budget and can still make the most serious nerd’s life a little bit easier — like accessories for their new iPhone Xs, gadgets that’ll turn a regular home into a smart one, even an Alexa-enabled singing fish. And to make the hunt for these still-useful-but-not-too-expensive tech gifts a little easier, we found 24 of the best gadgets and gizmos to give your favorite techie this holiday season, all of which are under $50 and readily available on Amazon.

Tile Slim

Tile Slim

As thin as two credit cards, this Tile slides easily into a wallet or purse and will let them keep track of where it is through the accompanying app.

$28 at Amazon
Big Mouth Billy Bass – Compatible with Alexa

Big Mouth Billy Bass – Compatible with Alexa

America’s favorite singing fish is now a smarter than ever. This newest version of the Big Mouth Billy Bass is compatible with Alexa, able to lip-sync responses to voice commands. (But remember: They need an Amazon Echo device to make it work.)

$40 at Amazon
Eton The American Red Cross FR1 Emergency Weather Radio with Smartphone Charger

Eton The American Red Cross FR1 Emergency Weather Radio with Smartphone Charger

This hand-crank radio also has a built-in flashlight and phone charger, making it ideal to keep on hand in case the power goes out. Plus, it’s approved by the American Red Cross.


Polaris Blue Samsung Galaxy S9 will go on sale in time for the holidays

Samsung’s Polaris Blue Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will make it out of China and South Korea after all. The new color will go on sale in Germany (to start) in early December, priced at €849 and €949, respectively.

The new gradient paint job was originally announced as Ice Blue for China and subsequently South Korea.

Samsung Galaxy S9 in Polaris Blue
Samsung Galaxy S9 in Polaris Blue

The only difference we can see between the Ice Blue models for China and South Korea, and the Polaris Blue models destined for the German market are the storage options. Ice Blue was announced in a configuration with 128GB of memory, while the Germany-bound Polaris Blue are listed as 64GB.

Samsung Galaxy S9 in Polaris Blue Samsung Galaxy S9 in Polaris Blue
Samsung Galaxy S9 in Polaris Blue

Samsung Galaxy Note9 faithfuls will be quick to ask where’s the Note in Polaris Blue. Sadly, there’s no word on such a version so far.


Samsung Galaxy S10+ beats the Mate 20 Pro on AnTuTu

A Samsung Galaxy S10+ version has surfaced on AnTuTu showing a snippet of its main specs and topping the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and its 7nm Kirin 980 chipset.

According to the specs, the SM-G975F – likely to be called Galaxy S10+ – has a 6.4-inch display of 2280x1080px resolution (likely due to the software being set to a lower resolution), runs Android 9, is powered by an 8nm Exynos 9820 chipset with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of on-board storage. It posted an amazing benchmark score of 325,076.

The posted result beats the official AnTuTu score of the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro but falls short of the result captured by the Snapdragon 8150 platform.

The Galaxy S10+ reportedly clocked as high as 2.7GHz during its run. The Exynos 9820 packs two Samsung-developed Exynos M4 cores, two Cortex-A75 and two Cortext-A55 cores.

Samsung Galaxy S10+ on AnTuTu
Samsung Galaxy S10+ on AnTuTu

Analysts predict that there’s an even more powerful Galaxy S10 with 12GB of RAM in the making, one with a larger 6.7-inch screen. If we go by the Galaxy Note9, we expect at least one Galaxy S10 model to pack 8GB of RAM or even more.


Samsung Galaxy M10 shows Exynos 7870 and 3GB of RAM on Geekbench

The entry-level smartphone in Samsung’s upcoming new Galaxy M series has made its first public appearance. The Galaxy M10, model number SM-M105F, was briefly spotted (and subsequently removed) on Geekbench.

Touting an Exynos 7870 with 3GB of RAM and running on Android 8.1 Oreo, the Galaxy M10 looks like a decent entry-level package.

Samsung’s Galaxy M series is set to take over from the Galaxy On series. Just yesterday we got our first informative details about the Galaxy M lineup.

The lineup will consist of the Galaxy M10 (SM-M105), the Galaxy M20 (SM-M205) and the Galaxy M30 (SM-M305). The M10 will come in 16GB and 32GB storage configurations, the M20 in 32GB and 64GB and the M30 in 64GB and 128GB – all three will launch in Blue and Dark Gray colors.


Fortnite gets 60fps support on iOS

Epic Games has released an update for Fortnite for iOS, which has added the option to run the game at 60 frames per second. This option is currently only available on the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XR.

Previously, Fortnite was limited to running at either 30fps or 20fps on mobile. The frame rate option can be found in the same place as before, except it now goes all the way up to 60.

The interesting thing to note here is that the 60fps option is available across all graphics presets. In comparison, PUBG enables the 60fps option only on its lowest graphics setting.

However, it seems that may be for a good reason. I tested Fortnite on the iPhone XR at three presets, low, medium and high (epic is not available). I first started the game high setting and predictably the game looked really nice, especially with the 60fps frame rate. Just by eyeballing, it seems that the game was hitting its 60fps target at this preset, and everything seemed fine at first.

Then things started heating up, and I mean that literally. The iPhone XR got incredibly hot while running Fortnite, which after a few minutes of playing caused the chipset to throttle and drop the frame rate. After that, it seemed as if the frame rate was back to being close to 30fps most of the time.

Dropping down to medium setting solved this issue. The phone still gets hot but sticks to the target 60fps frame rate. Dropping down to low resulted in the phone running a bit cooler and again sticking to the target frame rate.

This is different from PUBG. For starters, the iPhone XR doesn’t get hot at all while playing PUBG regardless of preset or frame rate. Second, PUBG only lets you play at 60fps on its lowest preset, so there isn’t a lot of load on the device to begin with. Lastly, PUBG keeps the rendering resolution the same across all graphical presets while Fortnite drops the resolution at medium compared to high with low setting basically looking like Minecraft.

In my experience, it’s best to stick to the medium preset if you wish to play at 60fps on these devices, as it’s the most balanced in terms of performance and visual quality. I hope Epic Games optimizes the game further, as this level of device heating is unacceptable for a game that looks as simplistic as Fortnite. Not to mention, it tends to burn through your battery.

Having said that, 60fps option is a literal game changer. With higher frame rate comes reduced input latency, which translates into direct competitive advantage. Owners of XS, XS Max and XR now have an actual advantage over other iPhone owners and Android users. You even get more fluidity over the Switch version, as Nintendo’s console only runs Fortnite at 30fps, although it does have physical controls to make up for that.

So a good update in terms of gameplay performance but definitely needs more optimization to reduce heating and battery consumption. As for an Android update, no word on that yet.


Samsung and Niantic reportedly working on a Harry Potter game

Samsung scored a timed exclusivity on Fortnite and plans to continue featuring games as a marketing tactic. The smartphone giant is reportedly close to investing $40 million in Niantic, the maker of the highly popular Pokemon Go location-based game. But Niantic wouldn’t share Pokemon.

Instead, a Harry Potter game is planned, which will turn the S Pen into a magic wand. It’s not clear if this will be an addition to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (set to release in 2019) or a separate title. Reworking the existing game may the only way if Samsung wants it in time for the Galaxy Note10 (the Galaxy S10 will launch first, but it lacks the “wand”).

Niantic’s original game, Ingress, will also be part of the deal. Speaking of, the deal may be announced before the end of this year, though it sounds like neither company is in a hurry – insiders report that they want to see a bit more progress in the technical collaboration before making an official announcement.


HMD Global is holding an event in India on December 6, Nokia 7.1 might be the star

HMD Global has just announced an event in India on December 6, for which it’s already started sending out media invites. The event comes just one day after another one that the company is hosting in Dubai, where it’s expected to unveil three smartphones.

At least one of those will probably also be introduced in India the following day. Rumor has it that it will be the Nokia 7.1, but the Nokia 7.1 Plus was also seemingly teased by HMD’s Indian arm, so both could be in the mix. Note that the Nokia 7.1 Plus is supposedly going to be the global version of the China-only X7, but may end up being called Nokia 8.1 just to make things even more confusing.

Nokia 7.1

The Nokia 7.1 was initially announced last month, and it’s already available in some international markets. It has a 5.84-inch 19:9 touchscreen with 1080×2280 resolution and a notch, the Snapdragon 636 chipset at the helm, 3/4GB of RAM, 32/64GB of expandable storage, and a 3,060 mAh battery. There’s a 12 MP camera on the back paired with a 5 MP depth sensor, while on the front you get an 8 MP shooter for selfies. The Nokia 7.1 runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box but the update to Android 9 Pie is out now.

On the other hand, the Nokia X7 has a larger 6.18″ display with the same resolution, is powered by the Snapdragon 710, and has a bigger 3,500 mAh battery. It has 4/6GB of RAM and 64/128GB of storage, a 12 MP + 13 MP dual rear camera system, and a 20 MP selfie snapper. It runs Android 8.1 Oreo.


Some apps won’t work on iOS 11 — here’s how to check which ones

iOS 11 is almost here, and it’ll bring a host of new features to your iPhone or iPad. Also coming in the new update is the final switch for Apple from 32-bit apps to 64-bit apps, meaning that if an app you’ve been using hasn’t been updated for the more modern software architecture, it won’t work at all on iOS 11.

Apple has built a handy tool into iOS 11 that can show you all the apps on your device that won’t work with the coming update. To do that, navigate to Settings -> General -> About -> Applications on your iPhone, and you’ll get a list of the apps currently installed on your phone that haven’t been updated for iOS 11. (You can also access this on iOS 11, but at that point it will be too late.)

Fortunately, Apple’s been getting developers to start switching their apps over to 64-bit for years now, so chances are most, if not all, of your applications are already good to go. In recent iOS 10 updates, Apple added a prompt informing users when launching apps that haven’t been updated that they won’t work on iOS 11. So, chances are you’ve gotten some warning, too.

Before you update, however, it’s probably worth checking to make sure that there’s nothing mission critical getting messed up on your device. Although at this point, unless you get very lucky, odds are that most things that haven’t been updated for 64-bit probably won’t be, so it might be time to just give them up.


Reply is working on bringing Smart Reply to all messaging apps (Update: download now!)

Reply is still in testing, but you can download an early version today! The APK has shown up on APKMirror, which you can download at the link below.

Original article (02/13/18): If you happen to use Gmail, Inbox, Google Allo, or Android Messages on Project Fi, you no doubt know (and love!) Smart Reply. You know those boxes that pop up when you are composing a reply to a message and make suggestions what to say? That’s Smart Reply in action, and it’s going to start rolling out to chat platforms in the future.Smart Reply is an AI-based feature that runs within the app. It scans the message you are replying to and takes into account other factors like your current location, what’s in your Google Calendar, the time of day, and even the weather, and then suggests applicable replies that you can tap and automatically fill in.

For example, if you are replying to an email that includes the phrase “Is Tuesday good for you?” Smart Reply will scan your calendar, see that Tuesday is totally open, and then make suggested replies, like, “Tuesday works for me,” or “Let me get back to you.”

Google’s internal incubator, Area 120, is working hard to incorporate this functionality into chat apps such as Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Android Messages (for all carriers), Skype, Twitter DMs, and Slack. The newly announced project is simply called “Reply” and will be initially available to Android users. You can fill out this form for a chance to beta test Reply once it’s available.

Area 120’s vision is to have Reply take over all the busy work when it comes to responding to messages of all kinds. An example would be receiving messages while driving; using your phone’s GPS and Bluetooth sensors, Smart Reply would know you are in your car. When a text comes during your trip, it would mute the notification and automatically respond with, “I am driving right now and will respond to you when I get to my destination,” or something along those lines.

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There would also be a vacation responder that would automatically reply while you are in an area without cell service for an extended period. Smart Reply would even be able to break out of your phone’s silent mode if a message came in that seemed urgent, such as, “We’re all here, where are you?” or “I am in the dungeon of the castle, my name is Zelda, please help me.”

Smart Reply first appeared in the mobile app Inbox two years ago. While the Inbox app is still available in the Google Play Store, many of its features have been rolled into the official Gmail app.

Google oversees the Area 120 incubator team, but its work is not actually under Google’s control. As such, Google confirmed Reply experimentation is ongoing, but wouldn’t give any details such as who is on the Area 120 team or when the product might start to launch. But get excited: replying to messages will eventually get a whole lot easier.