GIFT SHOPPING on a budget this year? Try Gizmo Guy's affordable stocking stuffers for gadget and electronic entertainment lovers.
VIDEO GAMES: When new game systems (PS4, Xbox One) are introduced, prices invariably drop on older-format consoles and software. Nab classic PS3 and Xbox 360 titles in the "Grand Theft Auto," "Batman Arkham City," "Madden NFL" and "Call of Duty" franchises in "Greatest Hits" editions that list for $20 to $25 and discount as low as $15!
Alongside its relatively new, sophisticated Wii U system, Nintendo is courting younger gamers with stripped-down hardware that works with old-school games. We're talking a downsized Wii Mini console that's just $99 and the sturdy, two-screen Nintendo 2DS portable game system for $129.99. Heritage game titles are reduced as "Nintendo Selects" in 2-for-$20 bundles spotted at Walmart.com.
ELMOPALOOZA: Earlier animatronic versions of the fuzzy red monster don't wrap arms around you or make snoozing sounds like 2013's hit, "Big Hugs Elmo" ($59.95). But there's lots of fun left in Playskool/Sesame Street's earlier "Let's Rock Elmo," seen online for as little as $32.99.
STREAMING DREAMS: The Wi-Fi Internet-connected Google Chromecast dongle that plugs into flat-panel TVs to stream Netflix, YouTube and more has earned love with its $35 price tag. Also consider latest-edition streaming video devices from Roku, starting at $49.95 (with remote control!) and delivering hundreds of more choices, many free, to your connected TV.
NO COMPETITION: Beats by Dr. Dre headphones are not worth feuding over. Better-sounding, more comfortable and reasonably priced headphones from Audio-Technica, Grado, Sony and Panasonic make a smarter gift and more discrete statement. GG's partial to the Sony MDR-10R, finely crafted and discounted 25 percent to $149 at store.sony.com.
FEELING BLUISH: Stuff a stocking with one of this year's mighty-mite Bluetooth wireless portable speakers. The palm-sized Divoom Bluetune-Bean ($29.99, divoomusa.com) is super cute, sonically sweet and comes in colors. A UE Mini Boom ($78-$100) cranks well and pairs up for stereo. Bose SoundLink Mini ($199.95) earns the "best of breed" ribbon.
OLD PHONES, NEW DEALS: An 8GB iPhone 4S was a super phone at $199 in 2011. Now it's even better, for free, with a two-year contract from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. Gizmo Guy's also spotted deals on new, lower-profile smartphones like the Nokia Lumia 925, $49 at AT&T with contract. Boasts a very fine Zeiss lens camera and the Windows Mobile operating system - surprisingly fun and useful. Microsoft aims to buy your love with this bargain. Let it.