2014 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gadgets

Gadgets dominate our lives, and you can always start these days with dad’s phone. If he has the latest and greatest, don’t even bother. But if he’s still tied to his lame flip phone, then of course you can go with an iPhone or a new Android phone to get him into the 21st century.

If you’re looking for something a little different, however, we’ve put together some ideas for you. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

Winegard FlatWave Amped Indoor Antenna

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With cord-cutting at an all-time high, products like the Winegard FlatWave Amped are going to change the way that people consume television. This indoor HDTV antenna can pick up HD-quality channels up to 50 miles away, features dual-band reception so you won’t miss out on channels that other UHF-only antennas do, and prevents pixelation and dropouts using an ultra-low noise (1dB) amplifier. It’s lightweight and razor-thin (about the width of a plastic placemat) and can lay flat on a surface or hang on the wall or window for the best reception. Better yet, since the antenna is powered through the USB port on your TV, it only consumes power when the television is turned on. It sounds too good to be true, but within minutes of connecting the FlatWave Amped, we had 25 channels to choose from, including all of the major networks. This thing really works, and at a fraction of the cost of your annual cable bill.

Phosphor Touch Time Watch

Smartwatches are all the rage these days, but don’t let the Phosphor Touch Time digital watch fool you, because its lack of interconnectivity prevents it from competing with the more advanced models. Nevertheless, the Touch Time is still a major step up from your typical wristwatch thanks to some cool features, including a touch interface that’s incredibly easy to use, five different time displays, and custom language settings for English, French, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish and German. Some of the included apps feel a bit useless on such a small screen – particularly the calendar mode – but the time zone display is incredibly useful, astronomy geeks will love the lunar moon function, and the old-school calculator is a nice touch. One of the best things about the Touch Time is that you never have to sync or charge it because it’s powered by a replaceable battery (with up to a one-year life span), while the ability to upgrade from a silicone band to a stainless steel bracelet means that you can wear the same watch to work and the gym without anyone being the wiser.

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Cobra AirWave 360

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There are a lot of portable speakers to choose from these days, but many of them are impossible to use in the car due to their shape or size. The Cobra AirWave 360, on the other hand, is practically built for that purpose – a portable, 8-inch speaker that’s been smartly designed to look like a coffee tumbler and will fit into just about any vehicle or bicycle cup holder. You could even argue that it deters potential thieves, since no one is going to steal your mug, unless they’re really big jerks. For as functional as its design may be, however, the AirWave 360 also delivers 360-degree surround sound and features an integrated, noise-cancelling microphone that works with Siri and S Voice. There’s even a cool Gesture Control feature that enables you to pause music and answer incoming calls by simply waving your hand over the top of the speaker, and although that may not technically be considered hands-free, it’s a lot safer than the alternative.

NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Circolo

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Keurig may be the king of single-serve coffee, but don’t tell that to the folks at NESCAFÉ, whose Dolce Gusto collection of automatic brewers provides a great alternative to those who don’t require such a large variety of flavors. The company’s flagship machine, the Circolo, was voted best single-serve coffee maker by Consumer Reports three years in a row, and for good reason. Not only is it equipped with espresso technology and 15 bars of pressure, comparable to most coffee shops, but it has the ability to whip up 17 different hot and cold beverages – including gourmet-quality coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, iced drinks and more – in a matter of seconds. You can personalize the strength and blend of your brew with the easy-to-use auto scroll, while the Thermoblock heating feature guarantees that you’ll always have hot water ready to go, unlike its competitors. The Circolo is also energy efficient, with a stand-by mode that automatically powers off after 20 minutes of inactivity, and has such a unique design that it’ll look great in any kitchen.

T-fal OptiGrill

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Anyone that owns a George Foreman grill knows that while it’s certainly a convenient appliance to have around the house, your food doesn’t always come out the way you want. And just because you can’t use an outdoor grill (due to bad weather or forgetting to refill the propane tank), it doesn’t mean that you should have to miss out on some great barbeque. Thankfully, the T-Fal OptiGrill ensures you’ll never have to worry about that again, because it’s the first electric grill with Precision Grilling Technology, which cooks food to your preference using six pre-programmed settings and by measuring the thickness of the food, automatically adapting its grilling cycles to each item so that they’re evenly cooked and don’t dry out. On top of the machine, there’s a cooking level indicator that changes from yellow (rare), to orange (medium), to red (well-done) and beeps when your food has reached the desired doneness, and there’s even a defrost setting that will cook food straight from the freezer without sacrificing quality. Granted, it’s a little more expensive than the typical electric grill, but we think it’s well worth it.

BlueAnt Pump HD Sportbuds Wireless Waterproof Headphones

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We’ve reviewed plenty of wireless headphones in the past, but the Pump HD Sportbuds from BlueAnt rank pretty high on the list of our favorites. Though we’re not crazy about the bulky design, they’re surprisingly lightweight (consisting of a soft rubberized casing that prevents chafing behind the ear) and fit really well, refusing to budge during even the most intense workouts. They’re also extremely durable and waterproof, featuring a Teflon coating and Kevlar shielding that blocks water, salt, dust, sweat and any other debris from entering the headphones. Of course, none of that means anything if the sound sucks, but the Pump HD Sportbuds are more than adequate in that department, delivering deep lows and rich highs that don’t drop in quality at higher volumes. And with eight hours of battery life and the ability to stay connected via Bluetooth up to 100 feet away, you can keep the music pumping throughout your workout without fear of interruption.

Gtech AirRam Vacuum

Want to trick your gadget-loving dad into cleaning the house? Then you might want to consider the Gtech AirRam, which is one of the more tech-friendly vacuums on the market. It boasts a cool, minimalist design that is fairly lightweight at only 7.7 pounds, and is incredibly maneuverable, with such an ultra-low profile that the stick can practically touch the ground at all angles. The AirRam can be used on just about any surface (carpet, hardwood and tiled floors) and compresses dirt into convenient bales that make it easier for disposing. It’s also very energy efficient for a cordless vacuum; it runs on 22V of electricity for up to 40 minutes on a 4-hour charge and features washable filters that are guaranteed to last the lifetime of the machine. There’s even a four-stage LED battery display located on the front of the vacuum so that you know when it needs to be recharged. And if you’re wondering how many calories you’ve burned or the amount of electricity you’ve saved by using the AirRam, you can connect it to a PC via USB and find out using a Windows-based app. The only negative is that it takes a lot more effort to push around than a Dyson or comparable vacuum, so its compact size and somewhat gimmicky features really have to tickle your fancy to make it worthwhile.

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