We review hundreds of gadgets each year at PC Advisor and, while some are the best of their type, they’re not necessarily the most affordable. Here, we’ve rounded up the best smartphones, tablets and other gadgets that have wowed us with their features and performance at surprisingly low prices.
Whether you want to treat yourself or someone else, you need look no further.
1. Motorola Moto G: best-value Android smartphone
£130 inc VAT
When Google launched the Nexus 5, plenty of people thought Christmas had come early. However, Motorola quickly trumped that smartphone in the value stakes with the fantastic Moto G.
Ok, it doesn’t have all the toys, but as long as you don’t need 4G or expandable storage and can live with a 720p screen, it’s an absolute steal at just £130.
Thanks to a recent software update, it’s now on the latest version of Android – KitKat – and we think the 4.5in screen strikes a good balance between size and portability.
2. B&N Nook HD: best-value tablet with Google Play
£80 inc VAT
It’s easy to dismiss the Nook HD as an ereader, but this Android-based 7in tablet is much more than that. It runs a highly customised version of Google’s operating system which was originally locked into Barnes & Noble’s world. However, since it launched, the price has tumbled to a faintly ridiculous £80 and it also gained the Google Play store.
With support for user profiles, it’s an ideal family tablet. Just bear in mind that it doesn’t have any cameras so you can’t take photos or videos, nor chat on Skype.
3. Google Nexus 7 (2013): best-value 7in tablet
£199 inc VAT
At almost £200, Google’s 7in tablet may seem expensive compared to the Nook HD, but in the great scheme of things, it’s still relatively cheap. The cheapest iPad mini 2 will set you back an extra £120, for example.
The Nexus 7 is simply a brilliant all-round tablet. It has an excellent 1920x1200-pixel IPS screen, great build quality and lasts over 10 hours. It’s also extremely powerful and, being a Google device, will be among the first to get any Android updates.
4. Nokia Lumia 1320: best-value phablet
£230 inc VAT
Love them or hate them, phablets strike a great balance between a smartphone and tablet. This 6in smartphone can be picked up for just £200 if you shop around. It may not have a Full HD screen, but most people will be happy with its 720p resolution at this price. It supports 4G, and runs Windows Phone 8 which is soon to be updated with some really useful new features.
It’s certainly not the best handset on the market, but if you want a Windows Phone with a big screen, and you can’t or don’t want to stretch up to the faster 1520, you won’t regret buying the Lumia 1320. The camera is basic, storage limited and performance average, but the battery life is brilliant and - in terms of value for money - it's a great deal.
5. Google Chromecast: best-value media streamer
£30 inc VAT
The Chromecast is by no means Google’s first attempt to conquer your TV, and it certainly won’t be the last (Android TV is on the way). It is, however, the best-value TV gadget around at the moment.
If you have a TV that doesn’t already offer BBC iPlayer, YouTube and other internet video services, the Chromecast could be for you. As long as there’s a free HDMI input on the TV and you own an iPhone or Android smartphone, you can use a Chromecast.
Presently, there aren’t yet many apps which support ‘casting’ but this will change soon (BT Sport has just jumped on board, for example). Essentially, your smartphone acts as a remote control, using an app such as iPlayer or YouTube to tell the Chromecast which video to stream.
You can also show photos and videos from your smartphone on your TV, but that’s currently done via third-party apps – we’re hoping Google will add Chromecast support to the native Android apps.
6. Fitbit Zip: best-value activity tracker
£40 inc VAT
Being able to see how active you are each day can be a real eye-opener for many people. As well as tracking how many steps you take and – therefore – how far you walk, the Fitbit Zip can help you to improve your fitness, and maybe even lose weight.
The ability to compete with other Fitbit users via a smartphone or web app provides extra motivation.
The Zip has its own dot-matrix display, but also synchs its data wirelessly via Bluetooth and has a battery that lasts for months at a time. At this price, it’s a bargain.
7. HP Chromebook 11: best-value laptop
£230 inc VAT
This laptop costs little more than many tablets. It’s a stylish, lightweight machine running Google’s Chrome OS (instead of Windows). It relies on an internet connection for most tasks, but since Wi-Fi is so prevalent, this won’t be a problem for most people.
The battery lasts around six hours, and it has a decent IPS screen, meaning image quality and viewing angles are better than virtually any other laptop at this price.
If you prefer to have a keyboard and touchpad (or USB mouse) rather than a touchscreen, this could be a better choice than a tablet. Just bear in mind that it's not the fastest laptop around - it's fine for undemanding tasks, though.