CNET: Best Tech Gifts Under $100 For Mom – Hartford Courant

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Don’t have a ton of money to spend on Mom? Fear not, there’s plenty of good tech gear available for less than $100. Here are four of our best picks.

Amazon Echo Dot

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: The Amazon Echo Dot does everything that the original Echo does for half the price. Unlike the Echo, you can plug the Echo Dot into your own speakers, or connect to them over Bluetooth. Even if you don’t, the Echo Dot’s tiny built-in speakers do more than enough to give Alexa voice in quiet environments.

The bad: The Echo Dot seems to be a little worse than the Echo at hearing its wake word during music playback, and you can’t synchronize multiple units to play at the same time.

The cost: $89.99

The bottom line: The future is here, and now it costs less than a hundred bucks. Amazon Echo Dot might currently be one of the best deals in tech.

Roku 3

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The Roku 3 has an updated remote with voice search, which works very well; as well as the unique headphone jack for private listening. The Roku platform delivers more apps than competitors, constant updates and doesn’t favor one content provider over others. Its interface is lightning-quick, fully customizable and dead simple to use. Search is the best on the market, hitting numerous services and arranging results by price.

The bad: The cheaper Streaming Stick is just as fast as Roku 3 and offers all of Roku’s platform advantages, and you can add the voice-search and headphone jack remote for $30 more. The Fire TV offers a wider list of games.

The cost: $84.97 to $99.99

The bottom line: Voice search makes the Roku 3 the best video streamer in its price class, but it’s no longer as good a value as the Streaming Stick.

JBL Flip 3

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The JBL Flip 3 is a highly portable Bluetooth speaker that’s splashproof and designed to be used horizontally or vertically. It sounds very good and plays very loud for its size, can act as a speakerphone and offers improved battery life at up to 10 hours. You can also wirelessly link multiple Flip 3 speakers using the free JBL Connect app.

The bad: Some distortion at higher volumes with certain tracks.

The cost: $99.95

The bottom line: Enhanced with better battery life and splashproof design, the Flip 3 is one of the best mini portable Bluetooth speakers available.

Jawbone Up2

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The Up2 provides simple activity and automatic sleep tracking in a slim and fashionable design. The band has good battery life and can be worn in the shower. The Jawbone mobile app includes smart coaching and can be paired with many popular third-party apps.

The bad: It doesn’t have a display to quickly check fitness progress and there’s no heart-rate tracking. The sleep tracking tends to overestimate and the band can’t be worn while swimming.

The cost: $49.99 to $99.95

The bottom line: A better fit and superior software make the redesigned Jawbone Up2 our favorite everyday fitness band.

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CNET: Best Tech Gifts Under $100 For Mom – Hartford Courant