Father's Day gift guide 2011: Gadgets for every dad

Digital Trends
Sony Xperia Play, for the gamer dads

Get Dad the gadgets he’s been waiting for all year with our Father’s Day Gift Guide for 2011.

Of all the holidays, Father’s Day is the one when Dad expects to get something he actually wants. And let’s face it: What he wants is some sweet new tech. But with all the great gadgets out there, narrowing down the possibilities to a solid short list can prove daunting, even for the most prepared gift givers amongst us. Luckily for you, we’ve already done most of the work.

Here are the 9 best tech-centric gifts for every type of dad.

iGrill digital thermometer & iOS app

iGrill digital thermometer & iOS app, $99

For dads who love to cook

The iGrill turns pop’s BBQ into a veritable space ship of outdoor cuisine creation. Used as a stand-alone device, iGrill serves as a digital thermometer that adds a splash of 21st Century style to the grilling operation. But fire up the Bluetooth-connected iGrill app on an iPhone or iPad, and a world of useful features reveals itself. The multiple-meat temperature monitoring system allows the chef to cook everyone’s cut to his or her exact specifications. A highly handy “estimated time to completion” function makes serving all the food hot at the same time a breeze. And if your old man gets caught up in an exaggerated fishing story, an alarm will sound through both the app and the iGrill device, just to make sure he doesn’t have to deal with an over-done T-bone.

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Scottevest SeV Revolution
Plus gadget jacket

Scottevest SeV Revolution Plus gadget jacket, $200

For dads who travel

One of the few bad things about the wealth of spectacular gadgets now available to the modern man is lugging the dang things around. The SeV Revolution Plus gadget vest from Scottevest just makes that problem go away. Packing a whopping 26 various-sized pockets, the SeV Revolution Plus’ meticulous design lets dad carry everything from car keys to a water bottle to an iPad 2, all without looking ridiculously bulgy or uncomfortably weighed down. The waterproof and breathable jacket is insulated enough for a snowboard trip to the Rockies. And the zip-off sleeves enable it to quickly transform into a vest for warmer conditions. The jacket’s “Personal Area Network” hides all his pesky wires, and the collar loops make it simple to stow away his headphones. In short: This is the only jacket dad will ever need.

Dyson DC35 Digital Slim cordless vacuum cleaner

Dyson DC35 Digital Slim cordless vacuum cleaner, $299

For tidy dads

Dyson vacuums are the Ferraris of the cleaning world. Even the laziest of fathers will be clamoring to do some neatening up once they bask in the awesomeness of the Dyson Digital Slim. At the heart of this cordless vacuum is a digital motor that Dyson says “spins up to 3 times faster than a conventional motor,” which keeps the power usage down for longer battery life. The patented “Root Cyclone” technology creates a vortex of suction for the ultimate clean. And the versatile design makes the Digital Slim the perfect cleansing tool for the living room or the garage. Just don’t let mom find out he has one, or he’ll never see it again.

View photo

GL1 vehicle diagnostics cable

GL1 vehicle diagnostics cable, $100

For DIY dads

Back when dad was in his fun-having years, regular human beings could actually work on cars themselves. These days, with the addition of on-board computers that run and monitor every aspect of an engine, it takes tools that cost more than the car itself just to figure out what’s gone wrong. With the GL1 vehicle diagnostics cable for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch devices, Senior gets the power of a modern garage right on his mobile device. Simply plug the GL1 into the iOS gadget on one end, and into the computer of any US model car made after 1996, and the mystery of the “check engine” light is solved in an instant.

Apple iPad 2 16GB Wi-Fi-only

Apple iPad 2 16GB Wi-Fi-only version, $499

For dads who have everything

There are a lot of tablets out there, but none of them offer the ease of use and massive array of apps provided by Apple’s iPad 2. And let’s face it: Apps are what make tablets worth having. Lovers of Google’s Android operating system might say that the Motorola Xoom is a better choice. For some, it most certainly is. But at only $499, the 16GB Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad 2 delivers more bells, whistles and battery life than anyone can shake a stick at. Plus, with the upcoming iOS 5 update, dad can do everything from back up files to share pictures to listen to his favorite oldies stress-free with the iPad 2. Want to give him a little extra? Upgrade to a 3G model — but be warned: The added connectivity will cost pops a hefty bundle in the long run. And besides, he’s probably just going to use it on the couch, anyway. We say don’t bother coughing up the extra cash.

Sony Xperia Play

Sony Xperia Play, $200

For gamer dads

Armed with the versatile Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system, Sony’s game-centric smartphone packs all the punch of a professional device with a hidden layer of gaming goodness beneath its 4-inch touchscreen exterior. Inside, the phone sports a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and a powerful Adreno 205 GPU. In place of a standard QWERTY keyboard, however, the Xperia Play has a dedicated D-pad good enough for even serious gamers. The phone comes loaded with a number of games, including Tetris. But there are still relatively few PlayStation titles available — a downside that’s sure to quickly change, at which point dad will thank you that he’s not still stuck playing Angry Birds for the 10,000th time.

Logitech Z906 surround-sound speakers system

Logitech Z906 surround-sound speakers system, $400

For audiophile dads

Few forces in life more quickly make a man weak in the knees than a mind-blowing sound system. There’s just something visceral about the sweet vibrations coming out of a nice set of speakers that does something to the male mind. And with the superior sound of the THX-certified, 500-watt Z906 surround sound speaker setup from Logitech, dad won’t even be able to stand up due to ground-shaking bombardment of sheer awesomeness. The speakers’ digital decoding technology means Pop will catch even the faintest audible details. And the simple setup and easy-to-read console makes fine-tuning the system to his specifications easier than making a bowl of popcorn.

Verbatim 640GB Wallet Drive

Verbatim 640GB Wallet Drive, $90

For dads who hide their geeky side

While carting around a standard external hard drive might be fine for most of us, the overtly nerdy look of those devices might not fit every dad’s style — especially fathers who wear three-piece suits and Italian dress shoes to the office every day. Fortunately, the Verbatim Wallet Drive looks just like a regular men's wallet. But instead of credit card pockets and money slots, the Wallet Drive packs 640GB of storage capacity and a handy USB connection into an easy-to-carry package. Verbatim also offers customers a bonus Norton Online Backup and a seven-year limited warranty.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 camera, $400

For dads who like to live dangerously — and remember it

Unlike those pansy point-and-shoots that crack if you smile at them the wrong way, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 can take a beating better than a mixed martial arts champ. Armed with built-in GPS, an altimeter, barometer and a compass, the TS3 is like the Swiss Army knife of digital cameras. The rugged casing stays waterproof up to 12 meters, can withstand a 6.6-foot drop onto solid ground, and is freezeproof down to a frigid 14 degrees Fahrenheit. It can snap 12.1-megapixel still images, capture 1920 x 1080 HD video, and even shoot 3D pictures. Basically, the TS3 is so hardcore, it’ll make dad feel young again just by having it in his hands.



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