2015 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gadgets

Gadgets dominate our lives, so you can start your shopping with dad’s phone. If he has the latest and greatest, don’t bother. But if he’s still tied to his lame flip phone, then 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.

Fitbit Charge HR


There’s an ungodly number of fitness trackers these days, but after testing out some of the other major players in the game, the Fitbit Charge HR (available at Walmart) is hands-down the best of the bunch. The “HR” refers to the included heart rate monitor located on the underside of the band, which provides additional data like your daily resting heart rate the time spent in different heart rate zones (peak, cardio and fat burn) during exercise. The tracker is housed in a rubber watch band that’s a lot more comfortable than the bangle-styled Jawbone and Nike Fuelband, and it contains a small display screen that lets you cycle through the following data: clock, steps, heart rate, distance, calories burned and floors climbed. When used in conjunction with the mobile app or online dashboard, you can track specific workout sessions and monitor your sleeping habits (including time spent awake or in a restless state), and when paired with your phone via Bluetooth, the display shows Caller ID notifications. The Fitbit Charge HR also has pretty great battery life, so you can spend more time using it instead of waiting for it to charge, which is the whole point of the product in the first place.

SOUL Run Free Pro Headphones


We’ve reviewed some of SOUL’s on-ear headphones in the past, and while they proved to be a solid alternative to the more popular brands on the market, they never really wowed us in any way. However, that’s not the case with their latest in-ear model, the Run Free Pro, which improves upon other likeminded wireless headphones by getting rid of that cumbersome earhook and utilizing an interchangeable ear lock system that provides a custom fit guaranteed to stay put no matter how active your lifestyle. The Run Free Pro is comfortable enough to be worn for long periods, and features wind noise reduction technology that allows runners to listen to music outdoors without interference. They’re also waterproof and sweat-resistant, while the sporty design smartly hides the mini USB charging port inside the buds. The integrated remote control can be a little difficult to operate blindly, but that’s a minor complaint about an otherwise great pair of in-ear headphones perfect for the dad who frequents the gym or marathon circuit.


Portable speakers are becoming a must-have gadget now that everyone can carry their entire music library and thousands of on-demand radio stations everywhere they go. And now that most of these speakers feature Bluetooth, they’re even more convenient, allowing people to actually listen to music together more often as opposed to just popping on headphones. This slick and rugged Bluetooth speaker is a great gift idea for dads who like to be outside. It incorporates waterproof capabilities and a screw mount option for all traveling needs. It features IPX7 waterproof certification that ensures dependable peace of mind from rain, beaches and lakes, and is engineered with stereo 3.5” speaker drivers for clear sound. The rear-mounted subwoofer delivers heavy bass and loud tunes for entertaining in groups and the screw mount option lets you connect it to a variety of surfaces. Check it out at Ecoxgear.com.


Electrohome Signature Retro Hi-Fi Stereo System


Chances are your dad kept most of his old vinyl record collection and he’d love to pull them out of the attic and actually listen to them. Now that vinyl is making a comeback, you can get him the ultimate gift so he can enjoy those old records. Electrohome’s Hi-Fi Stereo System features a high-quality vinyl record, CD and MP3 player with AM/FM radio and four high-performance speakers that produce great sound. Better yet, it features a classic, retro design, as it’s made with real wood and rich walnut finish, amber lighting on the tuning dial and antiqued patina faceplate to personify a truly vintage system. It also has modern features like a USB port and AUX input for any music playing device, including iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. We also love the built-in MP3 encoder that allows you to record MP3s to any USB storage device without the use of a computer.

Nomad Phone Cables and Batteries

Most people carry around at least one mobile device on a daily basis, and we’d wager that more than half of them run out of juice before the end of the day, which is why Nomad’s range of charger cables are so cool. Not only are they extremely portable – whether attaching the carabiner NomadClip (which includes a hidden Apple Lightning or MicroUSB cable) to your pants or bag, or adding the NomadKey (also available in both versions) to your keychain – but they’re durable as well, made with an engineering-grade polycarbonate and high-grade, scratch-resistant steel. And as long as you have a USB port nearby, you can charge from your car, computer or even the company’s own NomadPlus, a rechargeable 1800 mAh battery that works in conjunction with a standard Apple wall plug or any other USB-based charger for an extra boost of power. All three products can be purchased for under $40 each, which makes them a great option for just about any budget.


Grovemade iPhone Dock


Grovemade produces some of the best-looking wooden iPhone accessories on the market, and their new docks are no exception, immediately classing up any desk, nightstand or table with its elegant but simple design. Though deceptively heavy at three pounds, the dock is not only extremely durable, but guaranteed to stay put whether you’re trying to unplug your phone one-handed or use your device while docked, like making calls on FaceTime. The wooden portion is made from domestically sourced Oregon walnut or Eastern Hardrock maple (depending on which version you purchase), and then hand-sanded and finished with a natural oil and wax blend. You can also remove the wooden cap if you’d rather showcase the steel base underneath, but it isn’t as stylish, and it kind of defeats the purpose of buying a Grovemade dock. Our only major issue with the product is that, although it’s compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, it isn’t universal, meaning you’ll have to buy additional docks if you have different models in your household or plan on upgrading in the future.