Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Father's Day Gift Guide - Technology Edition 2016

In the Digital Age, there are two types of dads. The first is the dad who would love to get any technology-related gift on Father's Day. The second dad doesn't realize he would love to get anything techie, but when he does he's excited and eager to open the box to set it up. As Father's Day 2016 approaches, the amount of eye popping tech gadgets is overwhelming. This year will be Dad's best Father's Day ever because of the cool tech products on the market.

From security cameras, smartphone controlled drones, and audio products to fitness trackers, smart appliances, and computers, this Father's Day will be Dad's lucky day. I put together a list of some of the most impressive tech gifts for this year. In addition to high end headphones and super fast routers, I tried to include some new products that will let Dad upgrade the home to a smart home. Not only will your father or grandfather appreciate a deadbolt lock that is controlled with his smartphone or a smart kitty litter contraption, but he'll love the chance to tinker with them during setup. All of these products are available on and at local stores. Many of these products are discounted during the Father's Day shopping season so check the Web for the best prices.

Here is this year's tech gift guide for Father's Day:

Raumfeld Stereo M and Raumfeld SoundBar - The German company Raumfeld only makes serious audio equipment for the true audiofile. These elegantly designed speakers deliver the only wireless multi-room streaming solution to fill any home with true wireless high fidelity sound. I set up the Stereo M in my living room and every member of my house can stream their own music selections to these beautiful speakers. The Soundbar hangs from my mounted flat screen TV in the family room and has transformed this room into a home theater with the most impressive sound imaginable. Raumfeld's free iOS and Android apps allow Dad's smartphone or tablet to control the speakers, toggle between his personal music collection, USB, internet radio, or one of the popular streaming services that Raumfeld supports, such as Spotify.

Netgear Nighthawk X4S Gaming Router - There's a reason this was ranked #1 for Best Router Performance this year. It boasts the fastest gaming performance of any comparable router with its 160MHz, MU-MIMO and Quad Stream technology, which delivers WiFi to multiple devices simultaneously for faster speeds. Dad will enjoy ultimate WiFi speeds up to 2.53Gbps. Plus with features such as NETGEAR genie remote access and ReadyCLOUD, Dad will be able to easily manage the network, have access to a secure personal cloud, access home network remotely, and share photos stored on the storage from anywhere. Dad will love this router and the rest of the family will benefit too!

Eleven James Membership Club - Known as the Netflix of watches, Eleven James is an annual membership club that gives Dad or Grandpa unprecedented access to hundreds of the world's most exquisite watch brands and styles. A membership to Eleven James will allow your father to pick his new luxurious timepiece and enjoy it for a few months at a time. Then he'll simply return the watch and a new one will be shipped right to his door. Their Concierge Team will help complete his personal profile building upon the favorites he's selected. Eleven James members are given preferential access to a multitude of member services and events, and also build points towards a watch purchase as they continue to rotate timepieces.

Kwikset Kevo and SmartCode 915 Touchscreen Electronic Deadbolts - For Father's Day this year, consider giving Dad an upgrade to some basic household devices. The traditional lock and key has probably not changed since Dad moved into his house. Kwikset has brought door locks into the 21st century with electronic deadbolts. With Kevo, there's no more fumbling for keys. Dad can use his smartphone to unlock the door and can even keep it in his pocket. The Kevo app is available for both Apple iOS and Android devices. Installing Kevo and setting up the app take less than 30 minutes and the instructions are very clear. If there are multiple people living in the home and you don't want everyone to have to use the mobile app or have a FOB with them, the SmartCode 915 is the best touchscreen electronic deadbolt on the market. It's easy to program and looks nice. It's available in polished brass, satin nickel or venetian bronze.

Litter-Robot III Open Air  - When it comes to litter boxes for cats, the traditional model comes to mind. However, modern technology has been used to create automatic self-cleaning litter boxes. The Litter-Robot III uses a patented sifting system to automatically separate waste from clean litter, so Dad will never have to scoop litter again and it helps remove odor too.  With an expansive litter chamber and larger, upward-facing entryway, this newer model of the Litter-Robot is more comfortable for large cats. A self-adjusting weight sensor easily detects small and larger cats. An automatic night light is a nice added bonus for elderly cats

BeoPlay A1 - Give Dad this BeoPlay portable Bluetooth speaker for Father's Day and he'll thank you immediately and then again every time he provides the music at the tailgate, family BBQ, beach party or by the pool. Beoplay A1 is small, but it has ambient True 360 sound. The rounded aluminium grill is beautiful like all BeoPlay products and this lightweight speaker will be something Dad cherishes. BeoPlay is an affordable offshoot of Bang & Olufsen, who have been known as a leader in the audio industry for decades.

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Projector - We used to think of projectors only in terms of giving presentations at work, but Epson's Home Cinema 2045 wireless projector is designed to be a home entertainment hub. This powerful projector delivers full HD 1080p content from most devices. With 2200 lumens of color brightness and 2200 lumens of white brightness, Dad will be able to show HD movies to friends and family. He'll also be able to wirelessly stream content via Miracast and Intel WiDi or use his Blu-ray layer, gaming console, streaming device, tablet or smartphone and project up to 300".  Imagine how thrilled your father or husband will be to get this cinema projector and be able to show outdoor movies in the backyard this summer.

Aurvana Noise Canceling Headphones - There are so many high-end noise canceling headpones on the market, but many of these are over $200. Aurvana's version is under $150 and they are so lightweight that Dad will forget he's even wearing headphones. The soft leatherette earpads are very comfortable, they look stylish and the headband mirrors the contours of the head. No matter if your father is a frequent traveler or just wants to listen to his music without all of the extraneous sounds, he'll really appreciate these great headphones.

Maximus Smart Security Light - It might be your father's job to protect the family, but that doesn't mean you can't you can't give him a Father's Day gift to help him keep an eye on the house. Maximus isn't your typical porch light because it boasts an integrated 720p video camera enabling Dad to stream live surveillance video from the house to his smartphone. The mobile app receives real-time alerts when motion is detected at the door or around the house wherever the light is installed. The light also has a built-in speaker and microphone for conversations with the visitor or delivery person. The light also has a 100dB alarm that can be activated remotely using the app.

Logitech Harmony Elite - Let's face it... dads love remote controls. Even if many TVs and stereos can be controled by mobile devices these days, a powerful remote control is still the best. Logitech's Harmony Elite is an all-in-one remote control on steroids! It will control up to 15 home entertainment and connected home devices. With a full color touch screen, your father will simply swipe and tap to control channels, movies, volume, 50 favorite channels and smart home devices like Philips Hue lights. There are programmable one-touch activities like "Watch a Movie" to automatically power on and switch devices to the right settings. A nice feature is that the Harmony Hub lets you control devices in closed cabinets, or even when away from home. Best of all it works with over 270,000 devices including satellite or cable boxes, Apple TV, Roku, TiVo, Blu-ray players, game consoles, door locks, thermostats, sensors and more.

ALLie Home 360 Degree Interactive Camera - The ALLie camera will give any father or grandfather peace of mind because because he'll never miss those important moments in life. There's no more fumbling for a camera or smartphone to capture a child’s first steps or a pet's funny bloopers. ALLie isn't a security camera. Rather, it's meant to capture events in fully immersive 360° x 360° and then share them on YouTube or Facebook. He can also view what’s happening live in 4K hi-res. The cloud recordings will help your favorite guy go back in time and see what happened while you were away in the most immersive way possible.

Beastgrip Pro Wide Angle Lens and Fisheye Lens - There was a time when every Dad showed up at dance recitals, sporting events and graduations armed with an actual camera. In the modern days of phoneography, he's likely relying on the smartphone in his pocket to capture the memories. Beastgrip's products help the smartphone photographer by providing a better lens for higher resolution photography. The Beastgrip Pro is compatible with just about any smartphone and with the included Beastgrip DOF adapter, it's easy for Dad to mount SLR lenses to achieve a shallow depth-of-field and create unique photographs and videos with his camera phone. The included Beastgrip Wide angle lens lets him capture approximately 2x more of the picture in the frame than a just using a camera phone lens. The Beastgrip Fisheye lens has a 180° field-of-view allowing him to achieve unique visual effects for fun. Both lenses have a removable macro attachment that can be used separately for extreme close-up shots. Now all Dad needs for those important events are his phone and his Beastgrip Pro lens.

Parrot Jumping Race Jett MiniDrone - Drones have really come down in price over the past year, but if getting Dad a Parrot Bebop 2 is still too pricey, consider the less costly Jumping Race MiniDrone from Parrot. This agile and lightweight drone comes with an embedded mini camera that sends photos and videos directly to his smartphone or tablet plus a microphone and speaker capture and broadcast audio. This minidrone is Adapted for high speed with large racing tires and can be used both indoors and outdoors. It reaches speeds of up to 8 mph and jumps up to 2.4 feet high, always landing right back on its wheels to avoid damage. Dad will love the fact that he can record videos from the family picnic directly onto the internal memory.

DLink AC3200 Ultra WiFi Router - With so many tech gadgets in our homes, today’s families require an extremely fast router to support laptops, tablets, phones, Smart TVs and game consoles that are often all connected at the same time. DLink's AC3200 has Tri-Band technology and boasts speeds up to 3.2Gbps. There's no question this is the router to handle high-bandwidth activities like HD streaming and gaming. The best part about this router is that the entire family will be connected to high speeds even in the farthest corners of the house. Using Smart Connect Technology, the router chooses from the 3 Wi-Fi bands and automatically connects each device on your network to the best, clearest band available for the best connection every time.

Logi ZeroTouch Dashboard and ZeroTouch Air Vent - It might have only been a few years back that you taught your dad to text, but now he's a text messaging machine and that means you want him to put safety first when he's driving. These two gadgets from Logitech together give any driver a true hands-free, in-car experience that can provide the best features of a connected car. The mobile app is automatically triggered when Dad docks his phone to the magnetic air vent or dashboard mount, allowing him to use voice controls to text back and forth, place phone calls, and share his location with friends and family in real-time with Glympse. He can also stream his music using Spotify and navigate with Google Maps or Waze.

Audeze SINE Headphones - If your father or grandpa is an audiophile, you'll definitely make this a Father's Day to remember with a pair of Audeze Sine headphones. These are a high end, premium pair of headphones with serious sound quality. Planar magnetic headphones, like the SINE, combine acoustic engineering with beautiful craftsmanship. They are light, comfortable and will transform Dad's listening experience for music and movies. There's very low distortion, good bass, a seductive mid-range and crisp extended high frequencies. At $499 these are not inexpensive headphones, but if siblings are pooling their money for an extravagant gift, you'll want to order a pair of the SINE headphones before Father's Day.

Lima - What started as a Kickstarter project is now one of the best Father's Day gifts for under $100. Lima lets Dad build a personal cloud in just seconds. He'll install the Lima device by plugging it to his router and to an external hard drive. In the blink of an eye, it will enable him to access all of his files from any device. He'll never complain that there's no more space on his computer or smartphone to take photos or download big files. If he's worried about security, Lima uses Military-grade privacy, it syncs quickly and there are never any fees.

Ballistic Case - So, Dad finally came around and got a new smartphone. Now, he needs a sturdy and fashionable case to protect it. Ballistic makes some of the best phone cases around. They offer inexpensive models like the Jewel for iPhones, which are under $20, and they also sell more durable options like their Hard Core Tactical which retail for $100 and have even better drop test certification. All of Ballistic's cases have reinforced corner and six-sided drop protection, but for the most protective option go for a case with screen protection too.

HUDWAY Glass HeadsUp Display -
 Driving has certainly become more dangerous as drivers are moving their eyes from the road to their GPS device, in-dash navigation or a smartphone running Google Maps or Waze. In an effort to bring more safety to drivers by freeing them from these navigational distractions, HUDWAY has created a new HeadsUp Display. It projects navigation information off of a smartphone screen directly in the driver’s line of sight, so that drivers can focus on the road ahead without being distracted.  The glass is semi-transparent and allows the driver to see both the navigation information and the actual road at the same time, just like the HUD screen in luxury vehicles. After installation, your dad would need to download any HUD-based app of his choice. A Kickstarter project, HUDWAY Glass will be released on the market this August, but a pre-order would make a wonderful Father's Day gift, plus pre-orders are still available at the discounted price of $49 instead of the eventual retail price of $79.95.

Rowkin Mini - The Rowkin Mini is the world's smallest, wireless earbud on the market making it easy to fit into the ear. If your dad loves listening to music, but hates the cord or even having a band connecting the left from the right earbud, he'll love the Rowkin Mini. They look and feel like two small dots in your ears and are virtually invisible. Using Bluetooth 4.1 technology the Rowkin Mini connects to any smart device and the tiny earbud has a built-in mic to easily make phone calls. They come with a portable charging case. If your father is the type who loves the latest technology available, he'll go crazy when he unwraps his new Rowkin Mini earbuds.

Vitrima VR Lens - If Dad got a GoPro for last Father's Day, you'll want to up his game this year. Vitrima's VR Lens transforms his GoPro. It's a 3D action camera lens that requires no additional processing to capture 3D video. After shooting video with Vitrima, it can be viewed in immersive 3D using a virtual reality headset or viewer like Google Cardboard. A waterproof is pre-attached to a standard housing so it's ready to be mounted to standard accessories. A lightweight version quickly snaps onto the front of the GoPro camera for easy filming of video without a housing. The price is $129 for the waterproof version and $99 for the lightweight version. I couldn't believe how easy it became to shoot 3D video with Vitrima and I'm sure your dad will love this inexpensive upgrade to his GoPro.

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