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Everyone can appreciate a good value, but in the world of tech they can be hard to come by.
Unlike like a roundup of deals, the products on this list embody the idea of getting the “best bang for your buck.”
Some product categories have more options than others, but we’ll continue to update this post as better values become available.
The world of headphones is huge, and can get very, very expensive.Headphones come in all different shapes and sizes, and these days you also have to consider whether you’d prefer a wired or wireless pair. If you’re looking for a cheap pair of Bluetooth earbuds, the generically-named in-ear headphones by Panasonic may be the way to go. They’ll set you back less than $11, and have garnered over 25,000 5-star reviews on Amazon. These aren’t fancy headphones, but they seem to sound better than they should at that price.Those looking to cut the headphone cable should look into a pair of Impulse Wireless earbuds by iFrogz. They sound alright, but it’s their exceptionally smart design that makes them worth the recommendation. In fact, these are my go-to headphones when leaving the house; it’s just so convenient to wear them on a train and pop them into small shirt pocket when I get to my destination.Finally, if you don’t mind a little extra bulk, you should consider a pair of Koss PortaPros. These are on-ear headphones, with an iconic design and sound profile that have kept them on the market for over 30 years. Better yet, these headphones come with a lifetime warranty, which itself is a good value.Panasonic In-Ear Headphone, $10.86, available at AmazoniFrogz Impulse Wireless, $39.99, available at AmazonKoss PortaPro, $39.99, available at Amazon
If you’re going to start your smart home this year, there are a couple products I think you should consider. The first is the Echo Dot, which is a pretty impressive value given it’s small price tag. It’s just as smart as the full-sized Echo, but small enough to be tucked in a corner. I bought and fell in love with my Echo last year, but there’s a good chance I’d have picked one of these up instead, had it been available.A smart-home hub like the Echo Dot is nice to have, but you’ll only see its real potential if you pick up some accessories. The first accessory I picked up was a set of smart bulbs, and it’s still the best smart-home accessory I’ve come across. Being able to turn my lights on and off using my voice is a game-changer for me. Smart bulbs can get expensive, but TP-Link’s standalone bulbs are among the best values on the market. You don’t have to buy a starter pack or a standalone hub — just screw these bulbs into your current lighting fixture and follow the instructions. It seems like an unnecessary luxury, but I miss my smart bulbs any time I’m not in my apartment.Echo Dot, $49.99, available at AmazonTP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb, $34.99, available at Amazon
Bluetooth speakers have gone from a fancy luxury to a must-have, but like headphones, these can get expensive. The best budget-friendly Bluetooth speaker I’ve tried is Anker’s SoundCore Sport XL. It’s small, durable, and it’s the speaker I use almost every day. If its price tag is a little steep, though, Amazon’s house brand, AmazonBasics, has a similar model available for an even better price.Anker SoundCore Sport XL, $59.99, available at AmazonAmazonBasics Bluetooth Speaker, $34.99, available at Amazon
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