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CNET Holiday gift guide 2021: Best gifts under $300

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Published in Science & Technology News

Are you fortunate enough to be able to splurge on some gifts this holiday season? Good news: We've got a bunch of CNET-approved gift ideas in our gift guide [https://www.cnet.com/tech/mobile/best-holiday-gifts-under-300-for-2021/#ftag=CAD187281f], all of which are available for $300 or less -- and have been fully reviewed or anecdotally tested by our editors.

The list includes lots of options, where you'll start to see more premium-grade products, and below are three of our very favorites, any one of which is likely to make someone's holiday all the merrier and brighter. Here are gifts that are perfect for Mom, Dad and other loved ones for a special occasion.

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Sony WH-1000XM4

CNET TAKE: Sony's earlier WH-1000XM3 model was great, but its one weakness was voice calling, particularly in noisier environments. The WH-1000XM4 [https://www.cnet.com/tech/mobile/sony-wh-1000xm4-review-a-nearly-flawless-noise-canceling-headphone/] model has improved in that area and also adds multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect to two devices -- such as your phone and PC -- at the same time. That means that if a call comes in while you're using the headphones with your computer, the audio will switch to your phone when you answer the call.

The 1000XM4 headphones have some other slight improvements to noise cancellation and sound that make this model a great all-around choice. Even better: This model gets regularly discounted.

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Oculus Quest 2

CNET TAKE: If you're shopping for someone who wants to jump into the world of VR, the Oculus Quest 2 [https://www.cnet.com/tech/gaming/facebook-oculus-quest-2-vr-review-one-of-my-favorite-game-consoles/] is a great option and the base model now comes with 128GB of storage instead of 64GB for the same price ($299). Oculus Quest 2 provides a sound and cinematic 3D user experience. Last year the Quest 2 was hard to get, but it seems to be readily available this year.

 

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Apple Watch SE

CNET TAKE: With the arrival of the Apple Watch 7, we should see some intriguing discounts on earlier Apple Watch models, but the SE [https://www.cnet.com/tech/mobile/review-apple-watch-se-smartwatch-best-compromise-price-features/] remains arguably the best value when it comes Apple smartwatches. It starts around $240 for the 40mm model with GPS and right around $300 for the larger 44mm model. You can also get it with LTE cellular service.

While it doesn't have some of the extra health features of the Apple Watch 6 and 7, it offers decent performance for those who want to give an Apple Watch while keeping to a budget.

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The following CNET staff contributed to this story: Executive Editor David Carnoy, Editor-at-Large Scott Stein, former CNET staff member Vanessa Hand-Orellana and Copy Editor Jim Hoffman. For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit www.cnet.com.

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