Thrifty tech gifts for IT geeks

These unusual gifts won't break the bank, and they'll surely please the geek in your life

Thrifty tech gifts for IT geeks
Credit: Thinkstock

Sure, it's easy to know that the best gifts this season will have an "i" in front of them (iPhone, iPad Pro, iWatch -- er, Apple Watch). And you can go with game consoles or streaming TV devices like the latest Apple TV or a TV stick like the Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, or Roku. Most techie toys will break the bank for some folks, but items like the TV sticks are reasonably priced.

In that spirit, here are my suggestions for creative, geeky presents that won't break the bank.

The $120 Air Hogs Star Wars Remote Control Ultimate Millennium Falcon Quad is awesome -- I know, because I bought one. It has four rotors and cool lights, it can fly as far as 200 feet. With practice, it's easy enough for even kids to fly. The best part is the foam material it's made from: You don't have to worry that your Falcon is going to break when the wind takes it out of the sky at 100 feet. The battery doesn't last forever, but that's the nature of these mini drones.

Check out Saber Combat DVD Training two-DVD set ($90) to help you master your lightsaber skills. If you happen to live in Silicon Valley, you can even have your own Jedi training workshop or Jedi party before the new "Star Wars" movie comes out!

Want your own Lego-ized version of your favorite geek TV show? Build a replica of Leonard and Sheldon's apartment in Lego form with the $60 Big Bang Theory Lego. In fact, has a whole array of "Big Bang Theory" paraphernalia, including a trivia game, a Monopoly game, a Clue game, a Soft Kitty plush or blanket, and even a T-shirt with the rules to Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock.

If you have a bigger budget, there are two other items I recommend.

One is the $200 Ring Video Doorbell, which my wife loves. It connects to the front door and acts as a motion sensor that alerts you when someone is outside (whether they ring the bell or not). You get an alert in your iPhone or iPad, and you can talk to the person at the door (tell them to leave the package) through the mobile device. That way, they think you're home even when you are across town or across the globe.

The other is the $180 Plastc Credit Card (plus $50-per-year subscription after the first 18 months) expected to ship by July 2016. This digital credit card lets you put all your cards onto one device. When making a purchase, you select on its screen the card you want to use, and the Plastc card transmits a magnetic signal that mimics a card swipe. The Plastc card also alerts if you are more than 100 feet away, in case you leave it behind or it is stolen. You can remote wipe the card so that you don't have to worry it will be used by someone else.