Photo: Walt Disney Pictures
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.
Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera
One of Farrell’s picks, the smart security camera from Nest sends alerts of suspicious activity directly to the app, and includes speakers and a microphone. Farrell said it helps his family feel more secure.
Rachio WiFi Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller
Help dad save on the water bill, too, with this smart sprinkler controller that’ll automate watering the lawn. Dad can input details like sun exposure and plant type, and the Rachio also checks the weather, so it knows to skip watering on rainy days.
Etekcity WiFi Smart Plug Mini Outlet with Timer
Dad can make any device “smart” with these plugs that can be turned on and off or set to a timer from his phone. Writer Lindsey Weber told us “anything you can imagine plugging in and turning on can be controlled with an app.”
Eero Home Wi-Fi System (1 Eero + 1 Eero Beacon)
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.
Anker PowerWave Fast Wireless Charger Stand
Another Pogue pick, this wireless charger will keep dad’s phone from running out of juice. Instead of having to keep your phone flat on a charging pad, the stand makes it easy to see your screen while you’re charging.
Bitplay Snap! X Noir Black – iPhone Camera Case for iPhone X
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.
Bitplay 2 in 1 Ultra 0.39X Wide Angle + 6X Macro iPhone Camera Lens
Start dad off with a two-in-one Bitplay lens for capturing both landscape shots and details in close-up shots. And if dad upgrades his phone, he can still use his lenses since they’re retrofitted for all Bitplay cases.
Sony Alpha A6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera 24.3MP SLR Camera
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.
DJI Spark Portable Mini Drone
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.
Aura Digital Photo Frame
He’ll also want a way to show off all his photos, and with this digital frame, he can upload them straight from his phone.
Ion Audio Air LP 3-Speed Belt-Drive Bluetooth Turntable
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.
Sony Noise-Canceling Headphones WH1000XM3
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.”
JAYS A-Six Wireless In-Ear Earphones Black/Gold
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.”
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds
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.
Logitech G502 Proteus Core Tunable Gaming Mouse
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.”
RIF6 Cube Full LED Mini Projector
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.
TCL 55S425 55 inch 4K Smart LED Roku TV (2019)
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.
Samsung QN55Q6F Flat 55” QLED 4K UHD 6 Series Smart TV
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.
Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker
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.
Drop Scale Smart Kitchen Scale and Recipe App
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).”
MAKERbuino DIY Game System Standard Kit
“The MAKERbuino allows you to make your own Game Boy,” said Liu. “It’s a fun project that dads can do with their kids to get them started with robotics and gaming, and then play the games together.”
Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 Retro Arcade Gaming Kit With 2 Classic USB Gamepads
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.
Bluetooth Smart Body Fat Scale by Weight Gurus
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.”
Garmin Forerunner 35 Watch
Fitbit Ionic Watch
An all-around fitness watch, the Fitbit Ionic tracks heart rate, sleep, and steps, and even has built-in GPS for running. It can also store music for dads who want to work out to their curated playlists.
Pulomi TT Easy Trans Smart Language Translator Device
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.
Skyroam Solis Mobile WiFi Hotspot & Power Bank
When business or leisure travel takes dad off the grid, he can still use his devices with this portable Wi-Fi hot spot that works throughout most of the world. It also doubles as a charger for getting an extra boost of juice on the go.
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