Buying a Father’s Day gift for a tech-savvy dad can be tricky if you don’t keep up with all the latest gadget and gizmo releases. To find out what techhead dads really want this year, we spoke with Kohn Liu, founder of AC Gears, and Stephen Farrell, director of merchandising at Hammacher Schlemmer. They clued us in on the best tech gifts for dads, whether they’re interested in experimenting in the kitchen or snapping photos of the fam. We also combed our archive of tech recommendations for dads who are into everything from virtual-reality headsets to fitness tracking.
For Internet of Things dads
All of dad’s smart gadgets depend on Wi-Fi, so make sure his house is free of any dead spots with the Eero system of Wi-Fi–extending “beacons,” recommended to us by former tech columnist David Pogue. “The beacons are smaller, sleeker, and less technoid-looking than the other companies’ base stations (and it has a night light, which is super cool),” said Pogue.
For amateur-photographer dads
Liu, a self-described “avid amateur iPhone photographer,” uses the Bitplay case and its interchangeable lenses for making the most of his phone’s camera: “The grip allows me to pick up the phone and just shoot, and its mechanical shutter, which is positioned just like on a camera, is exceptionally easy to use,” he said. Also available for iPhone 8.
For dads looking to branch out from smartphone photography, writer Steven John thinks this is the best digital camera for most people. “This device works great in the bright light of day or the lower light of evening or interiors, it has a high-quality 24-megapixel sensor, a lens with zoom range between 16 and 50 millimeters, and superfast autofocus abilities, so you don’t miss the moment,” he said.
If dad’s been itching for a drone, the DJI Spark has a powerful lens for capturing aerial photos and video, and it’s easily controlled by his phone or even through hand gestures. It’s a solid entry-level drone with more features than a “toy” one, but is still affordable compared to higher-end models.
For audiophile dads
Dads with a record collection will appreciate this Bluetooth turntable, a pick from Farrell, that will let them link their music to any wireless Bluetooth speaker — or headphones for private listening.
David Pogue’s favorite noise-canceling headphones are just as good for listening to music as they are for enjoying the silence. Compared to a similar pair from Bose, Pogue said the Sonys sound better. “The bass is stronger and deeper, the midrange is balanced, the highs are crisp.”
If dad’s more of an earbud guy, Liu recommends these Bluetooth earphones. “They’re small, so easy to transport, and fit in the ear quite well with different ear-tip options,” he said. “The sound quality is great with warm midrange and good bass response.”
And if he’d rather go wireless, Strategist managing editor Maxine Builder determined that these were the best truly wireless earbuds. “If you’re looking to maximize sound, style, and comfort, or want to finally upgrade your AirPods, you cannot do better than with these Sennheisers,” she said.
For gamer dads
PC-gaming dads will love this programmable mouse with more than 2,600 positive reviews on Amazon. We were won over by this one: “The software that comes with it is fantastic and makes it very easy to customize it for any game. It can even scan your computer for installed games and auto-program the buttons based on the game. I was very weary about spending so much money on a mouse, as I am a weekend-warrior FPS player; it was worth every penny.”
PlayStation’s virtual-reality headset got our vote for the best VR headset for kids under $500, but it’s also fun for dads who are kids at heart: “If you’re looking for a pretty-good VR headset for gaming that’s versatile, doesn’t require a ton of computer knowledge, and isn’t going to blow your budget, the PSVR is probably your best bet.”
For Golden Age of Television dads
Strat writer Rachel Rosenblit’s “favorite dummy-proof home-tech product,” this tiny projector can stream video from any HDMI-compatible device onto a wall for dad to watch his shows or movies on a 120-inch display.
One of the best gifts Farrell ever received was a 4K flat-screen television. Why was it his favorite? “Can you say Super Bowl?” This well-reviewed 55-inch 4K TV is a bargain at under $400 on Amazon.
If you have a little more to spend (perhaps a group gift?), this Samsung flat-screen is a favorite among industry experts for ultrahigh-definition viewing.
For culinary-tech dads
Even dads who aren’t usually into cooking will appreciate experimenting with molecular gastronomy with this high-tech sous vide cooker. The Anova can be controlled on his phone via Bluetooth.
Another Steven John favorite, the Drop smart food scale makes measuring cups a thing of the past. Simply pull up a recipe and the app will let you know when you’ve added enough of each ingredient to the bowl. Another cool feature? “The Drop Scale will even calculate how to compensate with other ingredients when you make mistakes (add too much flour, for instance, and the Drop Scale will scale up the butter and sugar so your cookies turn out just fine).”
For tinkering dads
For even more DIY tech, the Raspberry Pi is a microcomputer board that dads can use to design games, learn programming, and make websites. It won’t do much on its own, though, so buy him a kit with everything he’ll need to get started. This one has accessories for re-creating classic Nintendo games.
For fitness-tech dads
Tech toys, like this well-reviewed and affordable Bluetooth-connected scale, can make slimming down and cutting body fat slightly more enjoyable for dads into the whole quantified-self thing. One reviewer liked “that the app can connect to Apple HealthKit, so all of this data can be synced with other health and fitness applications.”
Support dad’s running habit with a GPS watch for tracking his time, speed, distance, and heart rate. City Coach co-founder and head coach Jonathan Cane said the Garmin Forerunner 35 “will certainly do the trick for a new runner, and will be adequate even for a more hard-core athlete.”
For traveling tech dads
This cool gadget is especially useful for dads who frequently travel internationally. Simply speak into the device and it will speak your words translated into one of 52 languages.
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