With Father’s Day right around the corner, here are our top picks for the best cool gadgets you can buy as gifts for dad. If you’ve been stumped for Father’s Day gift ideas, these techie gifts will definitely please your old man. You might also want to read our guide to the best gifts for dad, which has over 100 cool and unique gift ideas.
1. Black & Decker BDL170 Bullseye Auto-Leveling Laser With AnglePro
If your dad loves DIY, this auto-leveling laser would be a big help while making shelves, painting, or hanging pictures. This particular Black & Deck laser level projects both horizontal and vertical lines. The wall mount makes this level extremely easy to use.
Learn more about this DIY tool from the Black & Decker website.
- Projects both horizontal and vertical lines
- Includes a back light for better visibility of the angle reference points
- Rugged design
- Comes with batteries and wall mount
- Two-year limited warranty
- Can be slightly off when working in the corners
- May be slightly tricky to learn how to use
- Not contractor grade
- Somewhat hard to use when holding above your line of sight
- Laser light may appear dim in bright rooms
2. Lifeproof Fre iPhone 5 & 5s Case
Check out PhoneArena’s in-depth look at the LifeProof Fre case in the video above.
If your dad is retired and plans to spend a good chunk of his summer at the beach or out on his boat, a waterproof phone case is a smart investment. The Fre is one of the more expensive case models out there, but that premium cost ensures that you get a rugged case that protects an iPhone very well. You can pair this case with an optional flotation device, which makes it great for use near the water.
Not a fan of the Fre? Check out our list of other waterproof iPhone cases.
- Multiple colors available
- Water-safe at depths of nearly seven feet
- Supports Touch ID
- Also provides impact protection and dustproofing
- Somewhat cheaper than other LifeProof cases
- Has a screen protector (unlike the LifeProof Nuud), so touch sensitivity may be slightly reduced
- To opt-in and get the device damage warranty, you need to pay an extra fee
- Time-consuming to remove and apply
- Screen protector “rainbows” the screen
- Camera functionality may be slightly impaired when shooting at night
3. The Geek Dad’s Guide to Weekend Fun: Cool Hacks, Cutting-Edge Games, and More Awesome Projects for the Whole Family
Check out the book trailer in the video above.
A sequel to the original Geek Dad book, The Geek Dad’s Guide to Weekend Fun: Cool Hacks, Cutting-Edge Games, and More Awesome Projects for the Whole Family is a guidebook to getting the most out of your weekends with dad.
The book is chock-full of techie project ideas that will help kids bond with their dad. You’ll learn how to build robots, hack toys, and create stop-motion movies. The best gift you can give you dad is the gift of spending time with him, and this book has tons of suggestions on stuff you two can build together.
- Tons of cool ideas
- Great way to spend quality time with dad
- Wide array of activities
- Good ratio of build time to play time
- Includes guest projects from “geek” celebs
- Book may seem too short to some
- Regular followers of the GeekDad podcast or blog may already be familiar with some activities
- Other two Geek Dad books may have activities more in line with your dad’s interests
- Projects are somewhat short, some people may want longer project suggestions
- Some projects can cost over $100 in materials
4. Roku 2 Streaming Media Player
Check out CNET’s take on the bargain Roku streaming units in the video above.
If your parents are considering cutting the cord, then your dad might really like a Roku player. If your dad is still rocking a standard def TV, he’ll need the Roku 2. If your dad already has an HDTV, you might want to consider the Roku 3 instead (which, incidentally, is also featured on our list of best set top boxes.)
Both the Roku 2 and Roku 3 are solid units, but the Roku 2 has a couple of advantages over the newer model: it’s cheaper, relies less on M-Go, and it works with both SD and HDTV.
- Uses very little energy
- Remote does not require direct line of sight
- Less expensive than Amazon Fire TV, Roku 3, or Apple TV
- Great array of streaming channels and movie rental options
- Works with older TVs, great for parents or grandparents who haven’t upgraded to an HDTV
- Somewhat prone to crashing after prolonged use
- Takes a while to reboot
- No YouTube channel (at least, not an official one) on Roku 2
- Also no support for iTunes or Google Play
- Sometimes, users will experience laggy video
5. Samsung 32-Inch 1080p Smart LED HDTV
Check out a review of this Samsung smart TV in the video above.
For under $300, this flat screen TV is sure to put a smile on your dad’s face…and a smile on your face, because of its low price. While it may not fill an entire wall in your dad’s living room, this TV is perfect for the bedroom, kitchen, or exercise room.
- Includes smart hub and built-in Wi-Fi
- Also available in 40-, 46-, and 50-inch screens
- Energy Star-certified
- Huge list of integrated apps, including Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, Hulu Plus, and Twitter
- No 3D support
- Somewhat low refresh rate (60 Hz)
- Samsung Smart TV’s Fitness features require video-on-demand service
- No micro-dimming technology
- Not Skype compatible
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