Take our word for it: your father will appreciate being remembered this Sunday, even if it’s only with a pair of socks. But if you really want to make him happy, think gadgets. Here are a few we reckon ought to be on your shortlist.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speakers – $129
We reckon that he can rarely have too many Bluetooth speakers around the house. Especially ones that belie their size with impressively loud output and respectable bass. That’s what you can expect from the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speakers.
They come in a bold range of colours and are waterproof to an IP67 rating. Even though they’re small, their solidity is attested to by their 425 gram weight. The built in battery is good for ten hours of operation.
The two 40mm drivers, supported by two passive radiators, fire sound in all directions. If you want to show Dad how much you really love him, buy two. A pair can be linked for even more sound.
Apple made a big change with its latest line of MacBook Pros. All but the entry level model had a “Touch Bar”, a kind of set of soft keys which adjust to whatever is relevant to the context. Combine that with all the other fine Apple stuff, and you have a powerhouse.
He will love the ability of the computer to drive up to four 4K monitors. And the space afforded by a 512GB sold state drive.
But what we loved above all was the touch pad. It’s massive and while the occasional Windows computer has a very good touch pad, none of them can match Apple’s for usability.
We try out a lot of headphones and earphones around here, and we’re, arguably, painfully particular about their sound quality. Some sound truly, dreadful, and we’re glad to get them out of our ears. But at the opposite end of the quality range were the Jaybird X3 wireless earphones, which proved to be one of the best sets we’ve used this year.
The best thing about them was the sound, but they were also very practical, with plenty of bits for ensuring a good match to ears, including wings (you don’t have to use them) and both silicon and memory foam tips. There is even a tiny charging cradle included.
They include support for the AAC codec, which means higher sound quality with Apple devices.
Remember when wireless keyboards first became the must-have thing for a computer? Well these days, the must have is a wired mechanical keyboard. None of those floppy, unsatisfying keys. A good mechanical keyboard remains light to the touch, but you have a sense of actually hitting the keys.
One that we like is the Logitech G413 Carbon Gaming Keyboard. Just because it’s mechanical doesn’t mean it’s primitive. Each key triggers just 1.5mm down through the travel. The keys are all backlit, generally with a wicked red glow. And it’s all highly configurable through software.
Yes, it says “Gaming”. But the characteristics that suit it to that make it great for typing too.
Sennheiser HD 4.50BTNC Wireless Active Noise Cancelling headphones – $299.95
Big brand name: check! Bluetooth: check! Noise cancelling: check! Respectable price: check! Here’s a pair of over-the-ears headphones that Dad will love, especially if he’s a traveller. Noise cancellation makes airplane travel so much more relaxing.
But these headphones also sound fine and support the aptX codec for higher quality sound from high end Android phones. You can even pair them using NFC.
Their battery is rated for 25 hours of operation. Even with noise cancellation you get 19 hours. And if the battery does run down, they’ll still work with the supplied cable.
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 mirrorless camera – $2999 + lens
How much do you love your Dad? $3000 worth? That’s the price of the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5. Oh, and you’ll need to add a lens as well.
For that he’ll be getting a superb mirrorless camera that’s as comfortable with video as it is with still photography. Indeed, it can capture full UltraHD video at the high frame rate standard of 60fps, putting it up there with professional cinematographic cameras.
It can be loaded with two SDXC cards to make there’s plenty of space, and it has a 6K mode which allows him to select frames from before he even pressed the shutter!
Ho hum, just another battery pack for his phone, huh? But this isn’t one of those wimpy little ones that might give you a couple of extra hours on your phone. It packs a mighty 10,000 mAh wallop that will fully charge three iPhones, or one iPhone three times.
And it has two outputs for charging two things at once, plus the necessary cables and a slot to carry the cable you need the most.
It has become an integral part of my travel kit, and now I’ve learned one other thing: it is protective. Leave a cable plugged in for a while with nothing plugged into the other end, and that output will be switched off to make sure nothing untoward happens.
Sadly, most laptops are noisy. With fast processors and little space for heat dissipation, they have a fan whirring half the time. Unless you get him a Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 computer. With a Core i7-7Y75 processor, there is no fan at all, so it never gets noisy.
The touch screen is amazing. Protected by Gorilla Glass, the 13.3 inches manage to pack in 3200 by 1800 pixels. We tested it to last over two hours on the battery, working very hard running an UltraHD video clip on a loop.
While you’re at it, get him the nifty $68 Dell Active Pen. Then he’ll be able to let his artistic side reign.
It may not seem like it yet, but one of the things about Father’s Day is that it gives us hope is the sense that Winter is drawing to a close. Which turns our minds – and his – to the outdoors. Another compact Bluetooth speaker to accompany him there is the JBL Flip 4.
JBL is one of the oldest names in hifi, so it wasn’t a surprise that its compact cylindrical speaker sounded so good, and much, much bigger than what it actually was.
With a big 3000mAh battery, it’s also rated to up to twelve hours of operation. And of course it’s outdoors safe with an IPX7 rating.
One thing dads like to do is keep their families safe. How about you help him keep you safe with the D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD? This is a WiFi home security camera with a full 180 degree field of view.
It’s designed to work smoothly with Apple’s “Home Kit” home control and integration system which was introduced with iOS10.
The Omna 180 works at night, thanks to built in IR lamps. If he already has Apple TV, then the security footage can be viewed from anywhere. Any intrusions will trigger automatic recording to the built in SD card.