Can you believe Father's Day is next weekend? On Sunday, June 15, all of the fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, husbands, and father figures will be showered with love (and gifts) to celebrate the special day that honours them. What dad, of course, doesn't like tech? Here's a selection of some cool tech gifts to consider for the dads in your life.
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon (DC) Turntable
Is dad getting into vinyl for the first time? Or perhaps reminiscing about the old days? This $380 turntable combines old technology with hip, modern design. It adds a Carbon Tube for the tonearm, which the company says increases stiffness and decreases unwanted resonance. Other improvements include an increased platter size and weight to allow for a smoother rotation, and a new belt drive design that results in a low noise motor, and no unwanted vibration. It comes in high-gloss black or red, green, blue, yellow, silver, or white. Project-audio.com
Incase EO Travel Hardshell Roller
If dad travels a lot for business, he'll appreciate this new roller for carry-on, which has a padded sleeve that can fit up to a 17" MacBook Pro, an iPad slip pocket, and multiple organizer pockets. The best part? This section employs a butterfly design that lets you reveal all of these items quickly easily for airport security screening, without having to remove them and transfer them to security bins. The case is made with a durable polycarbonate hard shell, and the main compartment can expand by 35% for those extra-long trips. The size complies with most airline carry-on size requirements. $300 Goincase.com
Laptop/iPad Cases Galore
Every dad has a laptop, an iPad (or other tablet) or both. And one can always use a new case. The market is, of course, flooded with options. The Cloud&Co for 11 Felt Case for the iPad, iPad Air, Macbook Air, or 11" Samsung Galaxy tablet is neat in that it's minimalist in design, but serves a variety of functions. First, it's a protector for your tablet or computer. Second, it also serves as an organizer, with various pockets inside for everything from cables to business cards. And the inside pocket can even double as a mousepad when you're on the go. Each case is handmade of polyester felt and polyurethane, and comes in grey with a tan inside accent. ($55 Store.leibal.com)
The Grovemade walnut backs for the MacBook or iPad ($40; Grovemade.com) are handcrafted using all-natural black Oregon walnut veneer, and each one is hand-sanded and oiled. The back adheres to the computer or tablet using 3M adhesive that doesn't leave residue when it's removed, and protects the device from scratches and scuffs. Models are available for the MacBook Air 13", MacBook Pro 13" and 15", iPad Air, iPad Mini, & iPad Mini with Retina display.
One of the most talked about keyboard cases of late is the Belkin Qode for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 or iPad Air. At $100 (Belkin.com), it connects via Bluetooth, and is integrated into a slim folio case. The Qode features TruType keys that the company says offers "superior typing accuracy, optimal tactile response and a comfortable, laptop-like feel." It has Android- and iOS specific shortcut keys, multiple viewing angles, and a handheld mode that tucks the keyboard out of the way when not in use. The idea is to allow the tablet to function as a laptop replacement.
DOD CR65W Dash Cam
Dad will think you're the coolest if you pick him up one of these new dash cams, which have long been popular in Europe, but are only picking up steam now here in North America. This entry-level model will run you $190. It sits on the car's dashboard, and records video as you drive. An embedded G-sensor will ensure that a current video recording is protected in the event of impact. Keep in mind, however, to ensure that dad continues to practice safe driving while playing around with one of these! Nvu.ca
Nikon Coolpix S810C Digicam
This 16 MP connected camera runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and has built-in Wi-Fi and GPS for easily and instantly uploading pics to social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The GPS can also be used for mapping and navigation. Additional features include a 12x Nikkor zoom lens, optical image stabilization, and a headphone jack. If dad's on the market for a new camera, this would be a great option. $370. En.nikon.ca
Ice Dot Crash Sensor
Does dad like to gather with his buddies to play a little hockey every now and then? Or is he on a team? Check out the Ice Dot crash sensor, which is placed on your helmet then sends a text message to a specified family member when there's impact. The sensor isn't just for hockey. It can be added to any helmet, regardless of the sport being played. $149 Icedot.org
Plantronics Voyager Edge Bluetooth Headset
If dad is a multi-tasker, he might find use from this headset, which has proprietary noise and wind cancellation, and comes with a charging case for keeping it powered for up to 10 hours of talk time. It has smart sensors that will direct the call to the handset or headset, and accepts voice commands; place it on your ear, and it will announce the name of the incoming caller. There's no over-the-ear component, which means it can be easily worn with glasses or sunglasses. Using the free Find MyHeadset app for Android and iOS, users can send a tone to hear the headset, or track its last usage on a map. It comes in black, grey, or white, with the charging case, for $130. Plantronics.com
If you're on a budget, this baby will only set you back $40 (Google.com/chromecast), but any entertainment-loving dad will appreciate all it can do, especially if you subscribe to a service like Netflix, or he likes to laugh it up to YouTube videos. Plug the USB thumb drive-looking device into your TV's HDMI port, run through a 10 minute setup process, including connecting it to your home's Wi-Fi network, then dad can cast audio and video content from compatible services, like Netflix, YouTube, Crackle, and Rdio, as well as from the Chrome Web browser. You can even control playback from your mobile device or computer.
Lenmar ChugPlug Portable Power Pack & Battery Charger
If dad has a 13" Apple MacBook or MacBook Air that he uses often on-the-go, Lenmar's ChugPlug portable power pack and battery charger could just be a lifesaver. It provides up to four hours of additional use time while on the go. It is designed to be the same height and width of Apple's 60-Watt MagSafe power adapter, and can seamlessly connect with the MacBook power adapter. US$160 Lenmar.com
Juno Power JUMPR
This device will go right in dad's emergency trunk toolkit. The $90 (Junopower.com) gizmo can both jump start your car and give your phone a boost...or vice versa. It's an external battery with 6,000 mAh and a 12V 150-300 Amp output for giving a car battery a boost, plus a 5V 2.1 amp output for charging up smartphones and tablets. Oh, and it also has a built-in LED flashlight. It's a neat idea to keep in the car for emergencies, for powering up devices on-the-go, and use while camping or at the cottage.
Grillbots Automatic Grill Cleaner
Every man loves to bar-be-que, but rarely likes to clean the grill. In comes the Grillbots Automatic Grill Cleaner, a rechargeable automatic cleaner that dad can plop onto the grill, push the button, then relax, beer in hand, while it does all of the work for him using its replaceable wire brushes. Is dad busy chatting it up with the neighbor on the front patio? No prob. The Grillbot regulates its own speed and direction, and you can even set the alarm to go off when cleaning is done. The one downside for dad: "I can't, honey, I'm cleaning the grill" won't fly as an acceptable excuse anymore. $120 Grillbots.com
Parrot Zik by Phillipe Starck Headphones
Headphones are hot this year. And any dad could use a pair, whether it's for listening to tunes at home, enjoying some quiet time on the subway ride to work, or bringing along for those length plane rides. (Check out John Thomson's review of the headphones after 20 hours in the air.) These Bluetooth wireless ‘phones have touch controls on the right earcup, employ a sleek design, and come with technologies like active noise cancellation, and four active microphones, two internal and two external. Put the ‘phones around your neck, and the music pauses or call switches to the mobile device. At $450, they're a big investment. But can you really put a price on dad? Parrot.com
Misfit Shine Wearables
The wearables market hasn't quite taken off like many anticipated it would have just yet. But there are some stellar, and affordable, models already on the market worth looking at. One of my favourites is the Misfit Shine ($99 with clasp; check out my review) which is unisex in design, and can be worn around the wrist, as a necklace, or clasped to a shoe, shirt or wherever else you desire. It communicates with the partner iOS or Android app, and calculates number of steps, calories burned, distance traveled, lets you set goals, and even monitors sleep patterns. All of the data is plotted in a daily calendar, and charted on a graph. You can compare results each day, or log in socially and compare it to other Shine users. The unit has a clever way of also functioning as a clock: tap it and the top LED shines to indicate 12, a second LED will show the hour based on its position, and a third blinking LED displays the minute, again, based on its position. Tap twice to see your progress toward a goal based on how many of the 10 LEDs light up. It uses a coin cell battery that lasts from 4-6 months. The sport band is $19, and there's a leather option as well for $49, including a new luxe pebbled leather band. Misfitwearables.com
This might be more of a gag gift than anything else, with the hidden hope that it actually works. The $150 pillow automatically detects when dad is snoring, and nudges him to shift positions. This means mom doesn't have to do the dirty work, nor get blamed for it in the morning. How does it work? An integrated mic picks up the vibrations and inflates about 3" (up to 7") to encourage dad to move on his side. Sensitivity can be adjusted if mom is okay with heavy breathing, but lies awake during loud snoring sessions. The cover, made of polyester, can be easily removed for washing. The pillow needs to stay plugged in, but has a 68" adapter for lots of slack. Hammacher.com
Happy Father's Day!
Photo at top: photostock; freedigitalphotos.net