Father’s Day is just around the corner. Having become a first-time dad (cats aside) last year, it’s still a bit strange to think that I’m now in that target group being marketed to as a father as opposed to just being the one shopping for my own. It’ll be some years before my daughter is asking mom if she can pick something out for me, so while I enjoy this year’s gift of drooly kisses and half chewed toast, you might enjoy a new and fun tech gadget.
This year, I enlisted the help of my own dad. While we went for a drive together, I discussed some of the hottest and most intriguing tech available right now. It turns out we have very different interests in our tech needs (a generational thing perhaps?) and our chat couldn’t have gone any better for the sake of this blog. Here are the devices we concluded would be great for our needs.
For reference sake, I’m in my early 30s and my dad just turned 60. My smartphone is central to my home and business life, and my dad’s smartphone is appless and firmly in “easy” mode.
With the warm weather approaching, I hope to head to the driving range at least 4 or 5 times a month. Golf is my summer sport of choice (although I don’t know how BBQing isn’t a sport if a spelling bee is) and I’ve peaked to the point where my drives can’t go farther. I don’t really take the sport seriously enough to want to spend hundreds on a swing coach, but Zepp is something I am willing to look at. Zepp is a multi-sport analysis device that can do (among other things) measure and analyze your golf swing and help you improve your club angle, speed and power. If your dad is a tennis savant or baseball player, no problem. There are 3 different starter kits available and if you want to take your baseball swing to the next level but have the goft starter kit, all you have to do is buy the appropriate equipment mount and off you go!
Something for My Dad: Sony Walkman Waterproof mp3 sport headphones! (NWZW273SB)
One of the perks of being a Best Buy blogger is that I get to test out some real great items. The Sony Walkman Waterproof mp3 sport headphones were something that I had in mind for my dad all throughout my review of them, and something I would buy him in a heartbeat as he hits the pool almost daily. A quick charge feature means he gets an hour of battery life in 3 minutes, and 4 GB of memory hidden into the earpieces means no messy cords and enough storage for all of his favourite music.
Something for Me: Fitbit Charge Fitness Tracker
I fully admit I’m not the most active guy on the planet but I’m always interested in seeing how much I’m walking on the weekends. I also have a lot of interest in the quality of my sleep at night because I’m not sleeping as much as I used to (the story of all parents with young children) and want to see when I’m catching the best quality Zzzs. This Fitbit Charge Fitness Tracker will solve all of those curiosities and more. I can even set a silent alarm for my wrist so that I can wake up at the best time for me and begin my day more refreshed.
Something for My Dad: Pebble Steel Smartwatch
My dad’s still very much into watches (another thing where our tastes differ greatly) and I’d very much like to get him into the idea of owning a smartwatch. I recalled the time that I came by and borrowed his truck while he was out and he went around looking for signs of forced entry in his home despite the fact that I had sent him a text and left a voicemail beforehand. I’ve found that Pebble’s watches would be an easy transition to someone looking to get into smartwatches and it would be great to get him a backup device to push him texts and voicemail notifications so he knows he doesn’t have to call the cops a lot sooner next time (he did eventually check his phone and saw my text.)
Something for Both of Us: Bios Eyewear Actioncam
Here’s a bonus pick we’d both be into. My dad likes to take his motorbike out every summer and usually does a pretty long road trip at least once a year. This would allow him to capture some of the more interesting parts of his drive. I’m constantly chasing after a one year old and want to record some of those moments outdoors when she’s rolling in the grass or screaming for joy at the splash park without holding my phone or another camera.
Home Security Tech
My Plug-In colleague Leo already did a fantastic piece on Introducing your dad to Smarthome this Father’s Day, so if you’d like more tips based on that, check out his blog.
I’m going to focus solely on something Home Security Based here because my dad and I have a mutual interest in it in general.
Something for me: Chamberlain MyQ Garage Door Opener
This one is a bit cheaty considering I already have this in my garage and use it literally every day. It pushes me alerts every time my garage door opens and shuts, and I use it to enter and exit when I go to the park next door and don’t want to take my house keys with me. The initial setup takes less than 15 minutes and when I recently had to make changes to my wireless network at home, it re-calibrated again in less than 5. Best of all, it’s a great parlour trick. I’ve let my dad and friends into my home to drop things off even though I was nowhere nearby and they were amazed every time that I could let them into my garage through my smartphone. It also works with Nest, so you can do some great interlinking things with it there too.
Something for my dad: Swann 8 Channel Surveillance System with 1TB DVR
While my dad thinks the Chamberlain MyQ is neat, it’s not really that relevant to his needs since he has a detached garage (and doesn’t have automatic openers on the doors.) My dad’s always been interested in setting up a surveillance system around his home, but we’ve not been able to quite nail down what’s best for him. This Swann system might just be it. It has its own recording PVR and can even stream directly to his smartphone or his TV. I suspect he’ll only need the 4 camera system even though he’s the type of guy that will probably want the 8 camera one. This will be great for him to have around if he ever has to go out of town on business or vacation.
Something for both of us: August Smart Lock
My dad expressed something very unexpected to me: “It would be great to have a lock on the back door that could just talk to my phone or truck that told it I was home and to unlock the door, you know?” Then I told him that I’d reviewed the August Lock and his eyes brightened. Among its base features, August can learn that you’re approaching via bluetooth and have your door ready and unlocked for by the time you get to the knob. Dad was just as impressed to find out that it took me (he knows how bad I am with these things) less than 5 minutes to install it. It takes a lot for any technology to impress my dad so if this got his attention, imagine what it will do for your dad?
Something for Me: Sennheiser Over-Ear Sound Isolating Headphones
This is another thing that’s a bit “cheaty” since I’ve had an older style of the current model since my daughter was born. We bought it so that one of us could sit and watch TV (or play video games) in peace while the baby napped in the living room. It’s easy to set up, has great battery life, carries range all over the house and docks for easy charging. Best of all, it sounds great.
Something for My Dad: Beats by Dr. Dre urBeats Earphones
Full disclosure: I’m not sure my dad knows who Dr. Dre is. At best, he probably knows who Dr. Phil is, but wouldn’t trust anything with his name on it, let alone earphones. My dad has a lot of classic rock music and none of it has been remastered. When he takes his iPod out on a run or on the bike, he’s going to need all the help he can get to get his music sounding its best. It’s all but impossible to wear headphones with a helmet on and I’ve always been a big fan of Beats’ sound quality, so these would be my go-to. He can enjoy his music clearer and better than ever, and I might even sneak a Dr. Dre track or two onto his iPod in the process.
Something for both of us: Samsung 290W Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
My dad and I agree on one thing: We’re both Samsung fans. I don’t know what led to our mutual appreciation, but both of our main TVs are Samsungs, and all of his newer home entertainment stuff is Samsung too. His surround sound could use an upgrade though, and I haven’t had one for almost 2 years and had to choose between it or a PS4 in my entertainment centre. He wants to keep it simple as do I. A Soundbar is the answer to our needs. For him, it’s the lack of trailing wiring that he finds convenient (ironic since he’s an electrician by trade.) For me, it’s Samsung’s SoundConnect allowing me to connect everything (including my phone) seamlessly and easily to the soundbar. Both of us appreciate high quality audio though, and this will definitely do the trick in both our homes.
So whether your dad is the type who embraces change and the latest tech like I do, or one who is still unsure and needs a bit of a push like my dad, there’s something out there for every taste.
Father’s Day this year falls on June 21st, 2015. Happy shopping!