With the rising cost of living putting pressure on many families – not to mention the Huge Fed rate hike (to curb inflation) likely to affect your credit card and mortgage payments – Americans are looking for ways to save.
Google Search even says there was a huge spike for words like “cheap” and affordable” in recent months, which peaked in June (so far), Colette Garcia, Global Communications and Public Affairs, Search at Google, confirmed in an email to USA TODAY.
And with gas prices to a record $5/gallon (on average) across the country, it’s no surprise that Google also says there’s been a jump in searches related to electric vehicles (EVs).
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Speaking of technology, those who still want to treat themselves or loved ones — perhaps as a gift for dads and graduates this month — don’t have to break the bank for premium products to have a premium experience.
That is, you may not hear much about cheap gadgets, but they exist, and often without much compromise.
“As consumers feel the effects of inflation in fuel and food, they are likely to look for bargains in discretionary technology purchases,” confirms Avi Groengartpresident and chief analyst at Techsponential, a company that provides research and advisory services to technology companies and retailers. “The good news is that there are deals, especially for televisions and smartphones.”
Following are five such examples of the best value-for-money tech articles.
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The only thing better than getting stuck powerful smart speaker for $38 is when a smart light bulb is included in the price.
Such is the case with the all-new Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation), bundled with the Wi-Fi enabled LIFX Smart Bulb.
Use your voice to summon Alexa, your personal assistant, to control your lights and other smart home devices (such as Wi-Fi thermostats), stream music and podcasts, shop online, set alarms or get information such as weather, news and sports scores. (Although you can do it, you may not want to ask for stock quotes until the market picks up again!).
Unlike some other smart bulbs, this dimmable LIFX bulb doesn’t require a bridge or hub.
Sky-high electricity bill? Save with smart power strips, LED bulbs, thermostats
Smart phone, smart price
For only $258, the just announced TCL Stylus 5G is a fraction of the cost of many premium smartphones, but still manages to impress for its comprehensive feature set.
The 6.8-inch Android phone features a 50 megapixel AI-Quad camera, 13 megapixel front camera and up to 26 hours of talk time.
“TCL’s Stylus 5G has a 5G chipset from MediaTek, a large screen and software features for annotation and drawing,” Greengart confirms. As the name of the product suggests, it also comes with a stylus pen.
“Are there any compromises to reach that price? Of course there are [as] this isn’t a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, but the Stylus 5G offers a lot of productivity for $1,000 less.”
Thanks for the reminding
Starting at just $11 (for 32 gigabytes), the SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive Luxury USB Type-C is a small storage solution that makes it easy to move files between your USB Type-C smartphone, tablets and Macs, and USB Type-A computers.
The rotatable design allows you to choose between the USB-A and USB-C connector.
With a capacity of up to 1 terabyte, the all-metal Ultra Dual Drive Luxe USB easily clips onto a key ring to keep it handy wherever you go this summer.
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File transfers are fast with USB 3.1 Gen 1 performance with 150MB/s read speeds.
When connected to an Android phone, the free SanDisk Memory Zone App automatically backs up photos and videos, as well as music, documents, and contacts.
(iPhone users, on the other hand, can use the iXpand Flash Drivestarting at $16 for 32 GB, with a Lightning connector on one end.)
Don’t want to spend $179 on AirPods or don’t like the look of the white stems sticking out of your ears? (Or maybe they just won’t stay in your ears, period?)
For music lovers on a budget, NexiGo’s Air T2 Earbuds ($69) are a pair of ultra-thin, lightweight, and truly wireless earbuds.
Available in black, silver or rose gold, they offer a comfortable fit, surprisingly powerful audio (with 13mm drivers) and four built-in microphones for clearer voice calls.
Although they are not powerful active noise cancellation (ANC) technology – instead it has CVC (“clear voice capture”) noise cancellation more associated with phone calls – you can’t beat the price, especially considering the impressive design and sound.
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Battery lasts up to 7 hours per charge and up to 28 hours with charging case.
“Since supply chain constraints on computer chips are slowly easing and crypto mining is less profitable, it should also be much easier to find game consoles and PC graphics cards at normal retail prices,” Greengart said.
“But for a real bargain, Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass allows you to play games on PCs and even Samsung Smart TVs – just add a controller.
Instead of paying $60 or $70 for each new video game, Xbox Game Pass is a $9.99 per month subscription service that lets you play more than 100 high-quality games on Xbox, Windows PC, or select Samsung Smart TVs (no console required) or $14.99/month for an “ultimate” subscription (both platforms).
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