Fathers Day is right around the corner, and if you’re anything like us and wondering how that snuck up on you, not only are you not the only one, but you also have a list of bits and bobs that’ll make your old man smile.
Does Dad enjoy time in the kitchen over everything else? Awesome, because there are a few gadgets you can whet his palette with.
Sunbeam Big Fill Toastie
Price: $45 for two sandwiches; $70 for four sandwiches;
The jaffle is about as Australian as it gets, and no one makes it like your Dad, so why not up his game with a proper modern toastie maker?
That’s what you get with the Big Fill, a large toastie maker that offers deep cavities for you to pack in large sandwiches, filled with all manner of toppings. Cheese and ham or cheese and tomato are the basic ones, but if you want to fill up and potentially burn your mouth, you can grab the canned spaghetti and go for your life.
SodaStream has been around long enough for most people to know what it is, but just in case you’ve forgotten, here’s a quick primer: bubble drinks made with tap water in the space of a few seconds.
Essentially, you’re carbonating bottles of water yourself, making soda water super fast, and then adding your own syrups afterwards, and that’s where it gets fun.
While it can be nice to make your own sparkling water, and while it’s great fun to make your own ginger beer or orange drink, you can even take fruit or spices and boil up your own cordials, mixing them with the sparkling water that has just been made.
That means Dad can experiment in the kitchen with some playful things like watermelon soda or his very own sarsaparilla, encouraging inventiveness with bubbles.
The coffee pod machine isn’t for everyone, but what about when it’s doing something that other coffee pod machines can do, like making coffee in the car?
Then the coffee pod machine is worth talking about, and that’s what you get with Lavazza’s EspressGo, a rather unorthodox take on the instant espresso machines.
For this one, you rely on a thermos-like gadget powered by your car’s cigarette lighter to make a cup of hot espresso, pouring it into a small cup that the gadget comes with.
The EspressGo relies on Lavazza’s A Modo Mio system, with the pods available from supermarkets across Australia, so you won’t have to line up for pods at a specialty store.
Sharp Slow Juicer
Ask any juice fanatic about the best kind of juice technology out there and they’ll say slow juicing or “pressure juicing” is where it’s at.
For those who have never heard of it, this is basically where you crush the juice out of fruit using large mechanically winding objects, pulverising the liquid out of the fibre instead of slicing the juice out with conventional blade-based juicers.
While the jury is still out on whether this actually leaves more vitamins in the juice, we can tell you that it definitely gets more juice out of the fruit, which one could argue in turn provides more vitamins due to there being more liquid altogether.
What we do know, however, is that Sharp’s Slow Juicer is one of the better ways to get into slow juicing, and is even more compact than some of its competitors, too.
Breville’s The Boss
Breville’s take on the everyday blender might have an unusual name, but it’s one of those things that screams its dominance on the kitchen, setting it out the moment you open the box.
“This is The Boss,” it says, “and what it will do is ideal for someone who commands their kitchen.”
As such, this isn’t your ordinary blender, offering up the ability to make nut butters, green smoothies, mayonnaise, and more thanks to a special blade and bowl system that turns any ingredient to something so small it may as well be liquid or powder and nothing in between.
For those people who can’t live without green smoothies, this is one blender that even supports that feature as a function.
Whether the parental is into a lot of fitness or none at all and you’re politely jabbing him with a stick, we’ve dug up a few gadgets for you to be inspired by when it comes to Fathers Day shopping.
Jawbone Up Move
Need to get Dad off the couch and moving, but don’t want to pay too much? Awesome, because that’s exactly what this little circular gadget is for.
It’s barely bigger than a button, and yet can be worn on the wrist, providing an easy indication as to how much your old man is moving throughout the course of a day, while also working as a wrist watch.
Better, if you have your own Up device — say a smartwatch with the Up app or another Jawbone Up gadget — you can connect with him on the Up social network and challenge him to step duels, which should encourage him to move more if only to put you in your place.
There’s a distinct possibility that your father is already part of the whole “get off of the couch” movement that fitness gadgets have helped to kick off. If he is and he’s using a Fitbit, the Aria WiFi scale might be an ideal gift.
In fairness, handing someone a scale might not be the nicest way of saying “Happy Dads Day”, but this might end up providing him and anyone else who loves him a better picture of his health than just assuming he’s good because he gets out of bed every morning.
Thanks to the modern smarts of today, you’ll find this little scale can track weight, body fat percentage, lean mass, and more, with this information available in interactive graphs, and you could even show this info to someone more knowledgable like a doctor.
Jabra Sport Coach wireless in-earphones
So your Dad might not just be lightly into fitness, but into it in a big way. No worries, that’s cool, because what if he’s into running every day, and what if he’s into training himself and keeping his body in tip-top shape?
One gadget comes to mind in this situation, and it’s a pair of in-earphones from Jabra.
These are the Sport Coach, a pair of Bluetooth in-earphones meant to tell you how you’re going as you run, while also providing you a bit of an in-ear coach while you work out, assisting with cross training and other activities that generally require a little bit of blood, sweat, and occasionally tears.
Sony Smart Tennis Sensor
Price: $249 (compatible tennis racket not included)
Perhaps your Dad is not only off the couch, but an avid tennis player. What then? What sort of technology caters to your father’s love for a game where one is supposed to hit a ball with a tennis racket?
Fortunately there is something, with Sony’s Smart Tennis Sensor, an unusual little gadget that sits at the bottom of a compatible tennis racket and is used to track the game of anyone using it.
You can use it with an iPhone or an Android phone, and this little gadget relies on a combination of technologies to work out strike zone, ball spin, where the racket hit the ball, and the speed the ball was careening at you and then the speed for your swing.
All of this can be stored for later, and you can even use the smartphone to record video of when you’re hitting, using this data to work on your game, which might be exactly what Dad wanted to get better at this year.
Entertainment comes in so many forms these days, and whether your father (or husband) wants to read a book or listen to his favourite record by himself or with others, we’re throwing out a few suggestions.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2015)
Price: $179 for WiFi model; $249 for 3G/WiFi model;
The eBook reader isn’t exactly a new concept, but the latest incarnation of the tech shows that it has room to move.
Sitting in the middle of the range, the Paperwhite brings one of Amazon’s super-sharp screens that puts it on par with the actual printed word, not just the emulation of it.
Front-lighting completes the package, making this Kindle readable in any environment, from the very bright sunny day out and about to the dark why-are-you-still-awake reading environment of in bed when you can’t put that book down.
Sonos multi-room audio system
Price: from $299 for one Play:1 speaker;
Multi-room audio is the next audio frontier, allowing speakers to be set up around the house and played simultaneously, synchronising sound across the entire home.
It’s an area everyone is getting into lately, from Samsung to Sony to LG and Bose, but the originals in this area were Sonos, with its Play speakers communicating to each other for synchronised audio.
The speakers don’t change very often and are very good, with the Play:1 ($329) offering a small speaker for the bathroom or kitchen, the Play:3 ($499) for a bigger space, the Play:5 for a bigger room again ($649), and a soundbar — the Playbar — delivering both a home theatre experience and synchronised sound for $1099.
Astell & Kern AK Jr
A media player made for people who love audio — and we mean love it — this isn’t your same old same old iPod.
Rather, this is the MacBook Pro of media players, featuring a light weight in a body made of metal and glass, and offering some of the best sound around and support for high-resolution audio.
That’s essentially the Rolls Royce of MP3s, with an equivalence to vinyl, except digital, and if your dad is someone who gets the importance of high quality audio, he’ll get the importance of this.
He’ll just probably use it to listen to music when he’s alone, because being a media player, you’ll want to bring a pair of decent headphones.
Did someone say “a pair of decent headphones”?
Easily one of the more impressive pairs of headphones that has landed on our desk, this is a pair of cans unlike any other.
Built with liquid wood after the company tore apart over 100 headphones, and with a design that will fit anyone’s head without problems, these are the headphones that will make you fall in love with.
Granted, your Dad won’t be sharing his records this way, but at least he can revisit them and recall the sound the way it was meant to be heard.
LG 55 inch 4K OLED curved TV
Pretty much the best TV you can buy today, LG’s 4K OLED display doesn’t just bring that super high resolution Ultra HD display, but it does so with OLED, a technology many expect will drive the future of televisions.
In case the term is drawing a blank, OLED stands for “Organic Light Emitting Diodes”, and this is essentially the next generation of LCD technology, providing panels with bits that are actually grown in labs, providing organic colour with real blacks that switch off when black needs to be seen. No emulated black for these bad boys!
The nature for how these TVs are made means the colour is so real you want to put your hand through the TV just to pull out the objects you’re seeing, with a vibrancy unlike anything else out there, while keeping the thickness of the TV down.
It really is something amazing, and you can just see this technology taking over.
If Dad doesn’t like to be bothered while he’s getting his entertainment on, but knows all too well that there’s a chance he’ll have to relinquish the TV because someone else has to use it, because they have to watch their programs, consider a combination of products, or if they have the console already, a side-device to let them keep gaming.
Microsoft Xbox One / Microsoft Surface 3
Price: Xbox One ($499); Microsoft Surface 3 ($699)
Gamers with an Xbox One can always play games in front of the telly, but what happens when the TV is being used by someone else?
No worries, because Windows 10 makes it possible to stream the video games.
To do this, take one Xbox One and one Windows 10 device like a Microsoft Surface 3 and connect them over the same network, grabbing a USB-equipped controller and plugging it straight into the computer.
The next time the TV is being used, you can tell Dad to sit in the other room with a pair of headphones and the game pad and keep gaming, even when the TV is already being watched by someone else.
Sony PlayStation 4 / Sony Z3 Tablet Compact
Price: PlayStation 4 ($499); Sony Z3 Compact Tablet ($499)
That whole situation with the Xbox is also one that can happen to gamers with the PlayStation 4, but if you have the right setup, you can deal with it appropriately.
For instance, if Dad wants to play GTA V on the PlayStation 4, but the kids are watching an example of reality TV that he’d just sooner fall asleep through, he can grab the Sony Z3 Compact Tablet and log on to his PlayStation 4 from another room in the house.
Unlike the Xbox and Windows 10 solution where you need to plug in a controller, it’s optional with Sony’s Remote Play app on Sony’s Android devices, and he can either play with on-screen controls or bring the Bluetooth Sony PS4 controller and play that way.
Either way, he can share the TV with the rest of the family and still get his game on.
Samsung Gear VR / Gear VR for S6
Price: $299 (phone not included)
The next step for gaming will be virtual reality, but if you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or Galaxy S6/S6 Edge phone, you can be there already. If you know your Dad has one of these, he can be there, too.
This jump in gaming is more immersive and allows the wearer of the virtual reality headset to go to new worlds, to tour our planet, and to see virtual environments as if they were in them, throwing up the screen of their phone to their face and allowing their brain to be transported somewhere else.
It’s one of those experiences that is hard to describe, but it’s here now if you already have one of the prerequisite devices, like the Galaxy Note 4 with its Gear VR or the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge with its equivalent.
Ultimately, if you’re stuck for ideas, giving Dad a taste of the future of gaming in this way will totally throw him a curve.
The man around the house
Some gadgets go beyond the basic needs of entreatment and food, and go to grooming and fixing bits and bobs around the house, so if none of the ideas have really matched what you’re going for thus far, try these.
If losing things is a real and genuine problem for the dad in your life, perhaps a bit of tracking for the important things is what the doctor ordered.
This can be served with a TrackR, a little sticker, keyring, or slip-in for a wallet that will talk to either an iPhone or an Android phone or tablet to call out where it is.
Did you leave your wallet in the bedroom or the car? Did you leave your keys outside?
TrackR will talk to a phone or tablet to point this out, telling the phone’s owner where the device last was.
Laser Portable Power Bank and Car Starter
We live in a world where our devices constantly need charging, usually because they run out of charge so quickly. As a result, some of us carry around portable power banks to always make sure the batteries are topped up, which has become a fairly normal practice, now that batteries are for the most part no longer removable.
But what about your car? Do you keep one for that in case that battery goes dead?
Laser has come up with a gadget that presents the best of both worlds, ideal for the glove box in an “in case of emergency” situation.
This is the Laser Portable Power Bank and Car Jump Starter, a product name that just sort of says it all for what it’s going to do, providing a battery supply for your gadgets, while also including jumper cables for your car.
There’s also an added bonus of a torch being built into the unit, making it handy if the lights ever go out and your phone is running out of charge, because this will kill two birds with one stone.
Philips Cordless Hairclipper 9000 (HC9450)
We all need haircuts, and if you can do it at home, even better.
A new Philips trimmer has grabbed our attention for this purpose, and it includes a rather simple feature: it memorises the length you used last.
Call us simple, but that is one of those features that makes so much sense, with the ability to save three other lengths dependent on the comb you’re using.
Beyond this, you’ll find over 400 lengths digitally controlled from 1mm all the way up to 42mm, a swipe interface to let you dial this in with a flick of your finger, and a two-way cutting system meant to cut your hair faster so you won’t have to go over and over and over and over that spot.
Oral-B Pro 5000 Power Toothbrush
It might seem like an odd gesture to give your dad a toothbrush, but when that brush is one able to recreate the pleasant part about going to see a dentist — look, no drills! — it makes sense.
Oral-B’s Pro 5000 isn’t your ordinary toothbrush, either, and aside for the cross action bristle head, aside for the specifically set 16 degree angle to get in those crevices, aside for the five different cleaning modes, this brush has Bluetooth.
That is to say it won’t give you blue teeth, but it will connect to your phone over Bluetooth 4.0 to record your daily brushing and analyse your routine.
We’re not sure how many people need this, mind you, but if your dad has ever wanted a greater understanding as to what goes on when he brushes inside his mouth, this just might fill the gaps, so to speak.