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.

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Stanley FatMax Portable Tripod Light

Stanley FatMax Portable Tripod LightHaving enough light is often an issue when you’re trying to get work done, whether it’s in your garage, basement, back yard or driveway. With the new Stanley FatMax Portable Tripod Light. you can have a flexible option that provides 360-degree lighting for large and small jobs, along with a reliable light source for power outages and outdoor events.

The Portable Tripod light is corded, cordless and rechargeable for maximum flexibility. You can adjust it in multiple ways to light up a large or small work area. It features three detachable cordless lights that easily slide off and offer a great option for smaller jobs while being perfect for tighter spaces.

With 45 watts of ultra-bright LEDs, the rechargeable light reaches up to 2400 lumens. The 90-degree adjustable hinges and 360° pivoting base allow for multi-directional positioning to cover larger areas.

Each separate light runs for up to 10 hours and features Lithium Ion technology to stay charged for up to 12 months. This makes it ideal as an emergency light source or for an outdoor activity where you don’t have an easy power source.

The portability is also a nice feature, as it’s lightweight with a convenient shoulder strap for easy carrying. The tripod stand collapses for easy transport and storage as well, so it’s easy to pack for your trip.

With Father’s Day around the corner, this can make a great gift for dad, while many of you will want to consider it for your garage as well.

  

Waterproof PowerPak Ultra

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Portable power sources are becoming more and more popular as gadgets keep dominating our lives. Also, some gadgets like smartphones seems to have more trouble holding their charge these days.

We tried the new Trent PowerPak Ultra which can help you keep your USB-based devices juiced while in the most extreme environments. You’ll immediately notice the rugged exterior when you pull it out of the box. It also features an IP-67 rating and it’s built to survive most drops and can be temporarily submerged in water for up to 30 minutes without damage.

The PowerPak Ultra features 14,000 mAh of power, meaning it is powerful enough to store 700% of the average smartphone’s battery life. If you’re spending lots of time outdoors this can be a very handy gadget for the group. It features two USB ports able to simultaneously charge any combination of smartphones, tablets or other USB-based device.

  

Securing Your Mobile Device

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Sorry to break it to you, but your mobile device has a bull’s eye on it! Researchers are devising ways to hack into your device using hardware that is easy to mistake as legitimate. Imagine that you are at the home of an acquaintance, when your phone suddenly runs out of batteries. That spare charger your acquaintance gives you to charge your device could be a tool for injecting malware on your phone. Increasingly clever hacks that take advantage of our trust in others have create opportunities for hackers to steal the personal information we keep on our devices.
Software that tracks our device from remote locations can help us recover a lost phone, but that’s only the beginning of security measures that should become standard to anyone with a smartphone.

Recovery

Applications like “Prey” put a tracking system on your device. It uses geo-location and Wi-Fi positioning to locate your phone and provide remote functions like shutting it down or wiping the device. You can also program the device to take a picture of the thief. Samsung and Apple each offer similar services of their own through security pages you can access once you have your device connected to the network.

Just like a computer, network security protection is important to mobile users. Apps that watch your browsing habits in real-time and inspect files for integrity will keep your device safe from malware designed to leech your information.

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Kobalt 40V Max Outdoor Power Equipment introduces Bullz-Eye to manhood!

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When I was a kid, I used to think the old guys who took care of their yards were losers. While I was zooming around the neighborhood smoking bowls in my car listening to Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, I thought it was pathetic how homeowners genuinely took pride in their lawns. Surely there was more to life than a new mower, hedge trimmer or edger, I surmised.

But now that I’m in my 30s and have become one of those losers, I’m here to tell you that there isn’t more to life than that.

In fact, it feels awesome to manicure your lawn, tend your garden, and then blow the clippings off of your driveway with a leaf blower upon completion. It makes the iced tea I enjoy in my folding lawn chair post-yardwork taste that much more crisp, the AM talk radio that bellows out of my open garage that much more insightful, and the episodes of “Wheel of Fortune” that I have on DVR for post-lawn enjoyment that much more stirring.

But do you know what does suck about lawn maintenance? Inadequate, cumbersome tools.

I’m not a scientist and the ever-tender 40:1 gas to oil ratio on certain power tools intimidates me. Refilling the fly wheel on a trimmer or edger? Uh, how about I just not use it instead? Mower won’t start after 50-some pulls? I’ll do it tomorrow. As a result, my lawn looked like my bathroom in college; a loose “conflaguration” of unfulfilled good intentions, drowning in questionable, unnamed chunks and fluids.

What if outdoor power equipment (OPE) tools were easy to use? What if they were actually enjoyable? What if when you were done, you felt good about yourself and your yard?

The engineers at Kobalt have not only delivered a ground-breaking collection of OPEs, but they’ve done it with empathy in mind.

At their super-secret space bunker facility in North Carolina, Kobalt engineers have tirelessly simulated the plight of the average homeowner in an isolated, controlled environment straight out of the Hunger Games. Unless the design and function of these tools was done to the Kobalt standard, they weren’t allowed to see their families, or use the bathroom. Some were simply killed with the same tools they had a hand in creating.

The entire 40-volt OPE collection was made with the user in mind.

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