No matter his age, every dad loves tech. It might be an affinity for high-res music, a desire to get fit with smart wearables, a love of emerging technology, or simply a penchant for gadgets and gizmos of any kind. Whatever his interests, this tech-filled guide has plenty of gift ideas for the special dad(s) in your life.
HiFiMan Edition S On-Ear Headphones
The Edition S are HifiMan's (D2MK Solutions) first on-ear headphones, allowing for both open and closed-back playback. In quiet settings, dad can remove the logo caps on the back of the earcups for maximum spaciousness and clarity. In noisy environments, he can enjoy the benefits of a closed-back design by leaving the logo caps in place, which helps seal out external noise. It's a dynamic design, employing a 50mm driver. With 113db sensitivity and 18Ω impedance, the ‘phones can be powered by portable devices such as smartphones and tablets. It ships with a 1.3-metre iOS/Android cable with inline microphone and control, and a travel case. $350 Hifiman.com
Radio, Records & Rockstars by Jeff Woods
Is dad always looking for his next great book to enjoy during downtime or long commutes? Does he love music? Check out Radio, Records & Rockstars from Jeff Woods, best known as Canada's voice for classic rock, and for the 14 years he spent as host of the radio show The Legends of Classic Rock, from 2001 to 2015. He takes you deep into the depths of the music world, recalling intimate stories not only of his own personal life, but also from his many (many!) interviews with some of the greatest classic rock musicians - from the late David Bowie, to Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Bob Seger, and more. His first work of non-fiction, it's close to 400-pages full of first-hand accounts and exclusive interviews that any music lover will appreciate. Stay tuned to our July/August summer issue for a sneak-peek into the novel...if you don't snag it up before then, that is! $40 in print, ebook, or audio book format. Jeffwoodsradio.com
Arcam MusicBOOST Headphone Amp, DAC and Battery Pack Combo
Available in Canada through Erikson Consumer, this package was designed exclusively for the iPhone 6. It includes a built-in high-quality Texas Instruments DAC and headphone amplifier from TI/Burr Brown, and can extract a digital audio signal from the iPhone's Lightning port. The player enhances sound quality for both music stored on your phone or while listening to streaming services such as Spotify or Tidal. The player accommodates FLAC and WAV files from third-party software, such as VOX. It fits over the phone as a sleeve. It's an ideal gift for the dad who is looking for better sound. $249 Arcam.co.uk
Lowepro DroneGuard Backpack 450 AW
Dad might have a laptop bag, and a camera bag; maybe even one that accommodates both. But what about his UAV gear? This backpack (Daymen Photo Marketing) can hold a quadcopter, like the DJI Phantom, and all of the necessary accessories for a day of flying. It has a FormShell exterior and modular interiors, with adjustable lined and padded dividers. The CradleFit pocket is designed to suspend and safeguard a 10" tablet, and a molded, FormShell top pocket accommodates sunglasses, headphones and other essentials. The bag's straps feature SlipLock attachment loops to expand capacity by adding pouches and cases for water bottles, memory cards and more. A Lowepro ActivZone harness provides breathable and supportive suspension targeted at shoulder blades, lumbar spine and waist, making it comfortable to wear for long treks. A built-in All-Weather AW Cover protects the pack from the elements. MSRP$300 Lowepro.ca
Apple 9.7" iPad Pro
Weighing under a pound and at 6.1mm thin, this second-generation iPad Pro tablet has a new pro Retina display, 64-bit A9X chip, four-speaker audio system, 12MP iSight camera for shooting Live Photos and 4K video, 5MP FaceTime HD camera, and faster wireless. Like its larger sister, the tablet supports Apple Pencil and a new Smart Keyboard cover. It connects wirelessly via 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO technology, and LTE. An Apple SIM is embedded directly into the device. Silver, space gray, gold, and rose gold metallic; starts at US$600 for the 32GB with Wi-Fi model and US$730 for the 32GB Wi-Fi Cellular model. Whether for work or play (or both), dad will love adding this new piece of equipment to his roster. Apple.ca
Dubgear Dubstein Bluetooth Stereo Speaker and Beverage Holder
Any dad will appreciate both portable sound and being able to keep his beer nice and cold, or coffee toasty warm. Etobicoke, ON-based Dubgear has cleverly put two key summer staples together, music and drinks, in its new Dubstein. The Bluetooth stereo speaker doubles as a BPA-free beverage holder that can hold any 375mL beverage (a standard beer bottle or can). Or, use the hot/cold insert and pour in your favourite drink. Playback controls are conveniently located at the top of the handle, in perfect reach of your thumb. It's splash-proof (IPX4-rated), offers 360-degree stereo sound and dual bass boost, and can run for up to 15 hours per charge. Plus, it has a mic for taking calls so you can invite friends over to come have a beer with you. If it's this, or a fancy new tie, chances are dad will pick a cool gadget any day. $130 Dubgear.com
Roku Streaming Stick
The latest Streaming Stick from Roku adds a neat Hotel and Dorm Connect feature that dads who frequently travel on business will appreciate. It makes it easy to connect to wireless networks outside of the home that require sign-in through a Web browser. Connect it to the password-protected network, sign in with login credentials using the browser on your mobile device, and start streaming. Plus, there's private listening capability through the Roku Mobile App on an iOS or Android mobile device and with a pair of headphones. Cast video from Netflix and YouTube mobile apps, or control playback of personal videos, photos, and music on the TV through the Play On Roku feature of the app. Use the app as a remote, enabling voice search and an on-screen keyboard; or use the included remote. The latest OS 7.1 adds new search and discovery categories within Roku Feed. MSRP $60 Roku.com
Smanos UFO WiFi Panoramic Camera
Clearly getting its name from the design, which resembles an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO), this camera (Dream Team Canada) is the perfect option for a dad who's considering adding some home security. It captures surveillance video through the UFO's fisheye lens, including night vision and motion detection. You can mount it on the ceiling or other surface, and select bird's eye, 360-degree video, 180-degree panoramic view, and 90-degree quad view. Footage can be viewed remotely from an iPhone or Android, and stored on-site or in the cloud. It works with a smanos WiFi system. Amongst a sea of smart home security devices, the aesthetics alone help this one stand out. US$200 Smanos.com
Flexson HeadsUp Base Stand
What do you get the tech-savvy dad that has everything? Dad might already have a nice pair of headphones, and a cool case for them. This stand (Erikson Consumer) makes for a neat way to display the ‘phones while at home or the office, without having to shove them into a drawer, or fling them atop the desk. They come in black, white, red, and premium chrome, for $53 for the former three, and $125 for the chrome. There's also a chrome floor-standing version for $200. Flexson.com
Jack Spade Dipped Leather iPhone 6 Plus Case
It is probably about due time that dad upgraded his iPhone case, or at least grabbed a more fashionable option. Did you know that design brand name Kate Spade has a boyfriend (rather, ex) named Jack Spade? And there's a whole line of mobile accessories for men under his name, including the classy Dipped Leather iPhone 6 Plus case (Erikson Consumer) that features a discreet logo on the bottom, right, soft touch lining, and a spot to engrave (or write) your name, address, and contact number in the underside in case you lose the device. Add a personal touch by engraving a special message inside for dad. US$79 Jackspade.com
Logiix Piston Power Luma Portable Battery Pack
For the on-the-go dad, this battery pack (Atlantia) comes with a built-in LED flashlight. The 2,200 mAh lithium-ion battery can provide one extra charge to your mobile devices. An LED power indicator lets you know when it needs recharging, and the unit has short circuit and overage protection. Black, white, or blue. $25 Logiix.net
Kensington PowerBolt 2.4 Amp Car Charger
If dad is often on the road, this charger (Cesium) will let him immediately charge an Apple device without the need to search for a separate cable: the Lightning cable is hardwired right in! The MFi-certified charger comes with the three-foot-long cable, and indicates power via the blue LED. It features PowerWhiz Technology, which auto-detects a mobile device to ensure it charges safely. US$25 Kensington.com
Booq Saddle Pro Bag
Help dad travel to work and back, or on business trips, in style with this bag that boasts an expandable design, and quick-access pockets for holding items like passports and an iPad. Available for US$295, the exterior is made from ballistic nylon with water-repellent coating, and it includes durable materials, like oversized and rubberized genuine YKK-brand zippers. The quick access pockets can hold a tablet, books or folders, a coffee mug and documents, even in its non-expanded state. Zippered mesh side pockets are great for water bottles or an umbrella, and the bag's open-top pockets provide quick access to a smartphone or other items travelers like to keep within easy reach without having to open a zipper. Made from nylon with a smooth twill lining, the interior includes a dedicated laptop compartment with rubberized YKK zipper that can hold a 16.4" laptop. Increasing the bag via its expandable zipper adds another gallon in volume, enough for a change of clothes or another set of folders. At only 3.8 pounds, travelers can hand-carry the bag by its two genuine leather handles, or carry it over the shoulder using the adjustable, nylon seatbelt shoulder strap with slip-resistant shoulder pad and custom, lightweight aluminum buckles. It's also compatible with most luggage trolley handles.
Is dad looking to get fit? Or just better monitor his health and wellness? Under Armour and HTC have smartly packaged everything he would need to get started on a quest to get fit, lose weight, or improve overall health in the UA HealthBox. Inside of the beautifully-packaged box is a UA Band for tracking activities, sleep, and resting heart rate; a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled UA Scale for logging your weight and body fat; and the UA Heart Rate chest strap for keeping tabs on your heart rate as you workout. Keep track of everything through the UA Record app, plus a free subscription to MapMyFitness, and integration with other apps, like MyFitnessPal, for logging your daily food diaries. No more excuses! For the dad looking for an all-in, "for dummies" fitness solution (or the child looking to encourage dad to get fit), this is literally fitness tech in a box. Check out our in-depth review of the system. http://www.wifihifi.ca/content/index/page?pid=4356 $549 Underarmour.com
Doro PhoneEasy 620 Flip Phone
For the dad, or grandpa, who actually isn't tech-savvy, consider getting him a seniors-friendly mobile like this phone. Made specifically for seniors, it has minimal menu options for things like call logs, oversized text on the small screen, and the ability to easily pre-program numbers. Take it out of the box, load grandpa's contacts for him, set family members numbers for one-touch dialling, and hand it over to him, ready to go. It should work with any standard Rogers SIM card.
Netflix, shomi, or CraveTV Subscription
A year's worth of binge-watching? Who wouldn't want such a gift. In Canada, you have three main services from which to choose, each of which will cost about $100 for the full year. If you know dad already has a Netflix subscription, why not add shomi to the list? This will afford access to some additional cool shows that aren't on Netflix, like The Blacklist and Black Mirror. Or, go all out and get him a year's worth of CraveTV as well, so he can immerse himself in great programming, like BBC's Orphan Black, or full seasons of Seinfeld. For the dad who has recently cut the cord, he'll love being able to get back into the TV game. (Just make sure he has an ample Internet package to support all of the streaming!)
Star Wars Lightsaber BBQ Tongs
Available through online retailers like Amazon (I've also seen them in Toys R Us), there's no dad on earth who likes both Star Wars and barbecuing who wouldn't absolutely love these. They're large BBQ tongs that come with a red storage case that looks like a dark side lightsaber. It even has classic lightsaber sound effects, so you can pretend you're Kylo Ren, shifting it around at your guests before turning your back on them to flip the burgers and steaks. Officially licensed, the tongs include a heatproof plastic handle.
HTC Vive Virtual Reality Headset
If dad is a true tech geek who loves adopting emerging technology early in the game, and wants to show off to his friends, consider forking over the $1,150 for the consumer version of the HTC Vive virtual reality (VR) headset. Requiring a connection to a computer versus the need to slot in a smartphone, they will come with three VR experiences right out of the box: Tilt Brush by Google, which allows users to paint in 3D space with virtual reality, using three-dimensional brush strokes, stars, light, and fire; Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives by Owlchemy Labs, you enter a world where robots have replaced all human jobs; and Fantastic Contraption by Northway Games in collaboration with Radial Games, which lets you walk around a grassy island floating in the sky, build a machine the size of a horse with your own hands, and watch it roll out into the world. The headset comes with two wireless VR controllers, room scale movement sensors, and an HMD featuring a built-in camera and phone services, plus the three aforementioned VR titles. Set dad up in the basement, and let him explore, game, and have fun on his special day and beyond.
Panasonic 3 in 1 Precision Trimmer
What is Father's Day without a small appliance of some sort that can help him freshen up his look? With today's resurgence of the lumberjack beard among dads both young and old, a trimmer might come in handy. With attachments for the hair, as well as face and body, this one comes with a 45-degree stainless steel blade, and quick-adjust dial that features 39 settings. Plus, it can operate wirelessly as well as while plugged in. MSRP $140
Bakerstone Pizza Oven Box
If dad really loves to barbecue, chances are he may have already upgraded to a rotisserie attachment; and maybe even gone all-out for a smoker. So what's the next step? How about a dedicated pizza oven? This patent-pending attachment can raise the temperature of a standard outdoor grill to that which is necessary to make the perfect pie. The chamber is made of cordierite stones with an enamelled steel housing that the company says helps to create a unique airflow system. That means within 2-4 minutes, plus prep time to create your ideally-topped pizza, you'll have a piping hot pie to serve up for dinner. $130
Kenneth Cole Connect
Get dad smarted on the smartwatch train with a basic, yet fashion-forward, device like the Kenneth Cole Connect. The simple and sporty watch can display standard smartphone alerts, and be used to control music and snap selfies. It operates on a coin-cell battery, and is water-resistant. The "Don't Leave Me" alert advises if a Bluetooth connection is broken, so it can help make sure forgetful dads don't accidentally leave their phones behind. Starting at just US$135, the styling reflects the watch's affordable price point, and casual styling. But that also makes them great for everyday wear, whether dad is heading to work, the gym, or relaxing at home.