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Top tech gifts for $300 or less

(BPT) - If visions of smartphones have replaced the sugarplums in your holiday dreams, you’re not alone.

More than 35 percent of Americans include consumer electronics on the list of gifts they want to receive for the holidays, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). With the NRF predicting consumer spending this holiday season will increase 4 percent over 2011, it seems likely demand for tech gifts will keep pace.

High-tech gifts don’t have to be high cost, too. You can find a variety of useful and fun, user-friendly and elegant tech gifts for less than $300. So when you’re making your holiday shopping list, keep these ideas in mind:

Home theater for a song – While LG suggests a price of $329 for the BH6720S – 3D-Capable Blu-Ray Disc Home Theater System with Smart TV and built-in Wi-Fi, you can find it only for $250 to $300. The 5.1 channel speaker system includes four satellite speakers, a center channel speaker and a subwoofer to give you a real theater experience in the comfort of your own living room. ”Connected” players like this access to a variety of content and services from the Internet, including movies and music from providers such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, VUDU, CinemaNow, YouTube, Pandora, MOG and more. All online content can be accessed via a home network using the player’s built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.

They’ve got you covered – Even if you love your iPad (and who doesn’t?), there are times when you yearn for an actual keyboard. The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover attaches to your iPad with magnets and functions as a keyboard. A leading product review site called it “the best keyboard accessory ever made for the iPad.” Prices range around $100, depending on where you buy.

Great tunes cubed – From serving as a dock for your iPod, iPhone or iPad to functioning as a good old-fashioned alarm clock with FM radio, LG’s ND8520 does it all. The unique cube design delivers premium sound with its 2.1 Channel speaker system and built-in subwoofer. It’s also Airplay compatible, so you can easily stream your favorite tunes wirelessly. Android phone users can wirelessly stream their music via Bluetooth. The suggested retail price is $299, but you can probably find deals online.

All charged up – Who hasn’t been caught with a low cellphone battery and no place to plug it in? Duracell’s Instant USB Charger makes it easy to keep any mini-USB powered device powered up on the go. With a lithium-ion battery and universal cable, the charger provides up to three hours of backup power for your cell phone. MSRP is around $40 but you can likely find it for less online.

Web-cams move you – The whole concept of web cameras is amazing; they allow you to see and communicate remotely via your PC with people on the other side of the world or just across the street. But most web cameras require you to sit in one spot, in front of your PC, at a certain distance for optimum resolution. The Logitech Quickcam Orbit AF (around $175 on Amazon) solves both those problems. A motorized lens and intelligent face-tracking helps keep the camera on you, even if you move. And, the camera can handle even extreme close-ups.

Gamers Rejoice – Call of Duty: Black Ops II, the most highly-anticipated video game of the year, is available just in time for the holidays. Set in the year 2025, the game propels players into global conflict featuring advanced weaponry, robotics, and drone warfare in a new Cold War scenario whose seeds are being sown in today’s headlines.  For an even more visceral gameplay experience, Call of Duty: Black Ops II is also playable in 3D!  It’ll be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC for roughly $60.

Great tech gifts will be welcome under almost any tree, and with some careful shopping and creative thinking you can find deals that ensure you’re not paying for those gifts well into the new year.

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