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Review: Great tech gifts under $100

CNET has picked Amazon Echo Dot as one

CNET has picked Amazon Echo Dot as one of the best tech gifts for less than $100. Credit: CBS Interactive

A C-note is all the budget you need to buy a great tech gift. Here are some of our favorites for less than $100.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: executive editors David Carnoy and John Falcone, associate editor Ry Crist, section editor David Katzmaier and senior editor Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit cnet.com.

AMAZON ECHO DOT

CNET RATING (Out of 5)

5 stars (spectacular)

THE GOOD The second-generation, mini-sized Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker is just as smart as the first at nearly half the cost, and it’s better at hearing you, too. It’s also the only Echo product you can connect to an existing audio setup.

THE BAD Audio doesn’t sync across multiple devices in multiple rooms.

THE COST $49.99

BOTTOM LINE The new and improved Echo Dot takes Amazon’s best-in-class smart home speaker and wraps it in an ultra-affordable package.

ROKU PREMIERE +

CNET RATING (Out of 5)

4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD This streaming media player can access more TV shows and movies in 4K and high dynamic range than most rival devices. Unlike the Chromecast Ultra, it includes a remote (and an Amazon Video app). Roku’s ecosystem offers more apps, better search and more customization than similar products.

THE BAD Content in 4K and HDR is still uncommon.

THE COST $97.92

BOTTOM LINE For 4K HDR TV owners fed up with using built-in smart TV apps, you can’t do better than the Roku Premiere+.

AMAZON KINDLE PAPERWHITE

CNET RATING (Out of 5)

4 stars (excellent)

THE GOOD Amazon has improved on its excellent Paperwhite e-reader with the sharper, higher-resolution screen found in the step-up Kindle Voyage. A smattering of new features enhance Amazon’s already best-in-class content ecosystem.

THE BAD The HD screen is an upgrade but doesn’t make a huge difference; an AC adapter isn’t included; the ad-free version costs $20 more.

THE COST $99.99 to $149.96

BOTTOM LINE The HD screen is a welcome addition, incrementally enhancing the Kindle reading experience.

UE ROLL 2

CNET RATING (Out of 5)

4 stars (excellent)

THE GOOD This compact, waterproof Bluetooth speaker boasts a unique design, fine sound for its size and decent battery life. It has an integrated bungee cord and an included inflatable life preserver that allows it to float in water. The new version has better wireless range and plays a little louder.

THE BAD It has no speakerphone capabilities.

THE COST $95 to $99.99

BOTTOM LINE This is clearly one of the top mini Bluetooth speakers on the market.

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