Gift Guide 2008: 10 cheap but awesome tech toys

The economy is tanking and Christmas is right around the corner. Does that mean the gadget-filled holiday you were hoping for is gone, and that the only things you'll find under the tree are socks and underwear (and not the fun kind)? Hardly. As any reader of DVICE knows, cool tech toys don't always have to be pricey. Follow the Continue link our Top 10 picks for gadgets that embody the qualities of the perfect gift — cheap and awesome.

1. Instant Snow ($11.99)
Don't live in a cold enough climate for a White Christmas? Make your own snow! Get a jar of instant snow, just add water, and you'll have 2 full gallons of snow in a matter of minutes. It's a science project and instant climate change rolled into one. Up yours, mother nature!

Available at ThinkGeek

2. Magnet Tube Magnetic Field Viewer ($12.99)
Magnetic fields are pretty amazing things, but usually you can't see them due to the fact that they're, well, invisible. The solution? Toss some iron filings around a magnet and watch them make the fields visible. This sealed tube provides everything you need to make magnets dance. It's both educational and beautiful, just like that teacher you had a crush on in middle school.

Available at ThinkGeek

3. USB Traffic Light 4-Port Hub with Voice Recording ($18)
You can never have too much crazy crap on your desk at work, right? This USB stoplight provides many functions in addition to being a fun little object d'art. First, it's a streetlight that you can control, letting your coworkers when you're buckling time and when it's a good time to talk about last night's TV. It's also a USB hub, a business card holder, and a voice recorder. What more are you looking for out of a desk bauble?

Available at Brando

4. USB Warmer Glove ($26.50)
Have a cold office? Scrooge-like boss that turns the heat off at 4:55pm? Well, these gloves come with USB cables, letting you power up their built-in heaters via the USB ports on your computer. The fingers can be exposed to allow you to keep typing, ensuring that you're productive even in the chilliest of conditions. Merry Christmas?

Available at Rare Mono Shop

5. Nerf N-Strike Maverick ($14.36)
There are few things that are more satisfying than pegging someone in the face with a foam dart fired from a Nerf gun. And the Maverick is a Nerf gun small enough to keep concealed, letting you sneak around with a Nerf 6-shooter waiting for the perfect time to strike. As a bonus, it's the perfect gift for your young nieces or nephews if you're looking to annoy their parents.

Available at Amazon

6. USB Humping Dog ($9.99)
This is the infamous USB Humping Dog. It's pretty self explanatory: it's a dog, and when you plug it into your USB port, it humps. Oh, how it humps! It humps without ever growing tired, humping and humping until you finally remove it for another day. It does nothing beyond humping, but really, isn't that enough?

Available at Amazon

7. LEGO Star Wars Hailfire Droid and Spider Droid ($20.99)
Is there a combination of toys that gets geeks blood hot like Lego and Star Wars? I'd be willing to bet no. And while yeah, you could get the insanely large Millennium Falcon, who has time to spend a week building a Lego set? You can have just as much fun with a couple of droids, and if they break you won't need to take any vacation days to put them back together.

Available at Toys 'R Us

8. Yobo FC3 Game System ($49.99)
Do you have a bunch of old NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis cartridges kicking around in storage somewhere? Well, bust them out! The FC3 lets you play all three types of cartridges in one system, allowing you to keep playing your retro games without cluttering up your living room with a pile of ugly old consoles.

Available at eBay

9. USB Whack-a-Mole ($17.50)
Whack-a-Mole is fun. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it. But since you usually find it at arcades, it's kind of a money pit. Well, not this version. Simply plug it into your computer, set it on your desk, and whenever the mood strikes you to whack some moles, you can do so guilt-free. It's an everybody-wins situation.

Available at DrinkStuff

10. Eyeclops ($24.76)
The Eyeclops is part camera, part microscope, allowing you to get up close and personal with whatever you want. Want to see just how an ant is put together? Interested in checking out what your eye looks like up close? Curious about just how dirty your sweater really is? You can't go wrong with a cheap yet awesome digital microscope like the Eyeclops.

Available at Amazon