Father's day is round the corner and the pressure's on to show your dad the appropriate level of appreciation for a lifetime of bad jokes and public embarrassment. Stuck for ideas? Here's a round-up of our favourite tech for dads of all kinds.
The adventurous dad – Skeye Nano Drone
If your dad has been droning on about getting a drone ever since he found out about the embarrassing dad who followed his daughter to school with one, the Skeye Nano Drone will put a smile on his face.
Skeye Nano is a pocket-sized drone that performs aerial acrobatics to shoot nail-biting action footage. With a 6-axis flight control system and four razor-sharp propellers, Skeye Nano will fling itself in the air at your dad’s command, flipping, rolling, and tumbling like a fearless – albeit tiny – stunt plane.
Measuring just 4cm from blade to blade, Skeye Nano is practically the size of a matchbox, and it only weighs 14 grams, so there’s no wonder it can spin like a sparrow on crack. Its onboard 300,000 megapixel camera will tirelessly capture every second of its turbulent journey, saving the footage automatically to the 2GB MicroSD card for your dad to upload and share later.
Luckily for you, the drone can only be controlled within 50 metres, and has a battery life of around 4 minutes, so your dad is only going to be able to use it for stunts – not stalking.
The cycling dad – Haize bike compass
If your dad loves heading out into the city on two wheels, he’ll love this Haize bike compass. We say compass – instead of pointing north, Haize’s LED display can point in only one direction: towards its rider’s destination. All your dad has to do is choose where he’s going in Haize’s phone app, clip the device onto any old handlebar, and simply follow the arrow.
The thing that makes Haize perfect for dads is that it’s designed for people who don’t strictly like being told what to (ring any bells?). There’s nobody telling you what to do. No “turn left”, “turn right”, or “turn round”…just an arrow for your dad to follow in any old way he likes.
Of course, it’s always nice to know how far away you are, so Haize’s main LED light will blink faster the closer your dad is to his destination. If (God forbid) he does need some extra help, he can switch to “turn-by-turn” mode in the app to get some proper directions on the Haize device.
The outdoors dad – Jackfish Survival
Is your dad the kind of risk-taking, high-octane adventurer who wouldn’t be phased stepping straight off the tube into the jungle? Jackfish Survival is a pocket card wallet secretly packed with all the survival tools he needs to make fire, fix stuff, and do crosswords.
Jackfish Survival is an 8.5mm thick card pouch made from “indestructible” hard-anodised titanium, and has four easy-slide card slots on the top. But slide back that bank card, Oyster card and ID, and it becomes the most extensive pocket survival kit for dads who work, travel, and explore.
Jackfish Survival has all the staple toolkit items you’d expect; a liquid-filled button compass, a stainless steel Spyderco Bug Knife, hex bits, and a micro screwdriver with a 0.8mm tip for fixing glasses or prising things open. There’s a telescopic utility pen in there too for taking down notes and completing emergency crosswords.
When it comes to gadgets for serious survival, though, things get exciting. A windproof match that’ll burn for five seconds in harsh winds, firesteel for lighting fires when everything else is wet, and an aluminium whistle for calling for help. There’s even a glass vial for carrying iodine to purify water.
For a different kind of survival, there’s a Kingston micro SD card reader in case your dad needs to access important documents on the go.
The green-fingered dad – Thermal Weeding Lance
Want to really do your poor dad a favour? Get him this Thermal Weeding Lance so he can finally kill all those pesky weeds that plague his every waking hour.
The Green Power Thermal Weeder is a handheld, upright device that delivers a thermal shock to pesky weeds to the tune of 600˚c, causing the plant’s cells to burst and killing the pests in seconds. For the record, 600˚c is nearly as hot as molten lava – ish. You will literally be gifting your dad a miniature volcano.
For the safety of your and all of the lovely wildlife in his garden, the weeder has a protective cone around its firing hole to give him more precise aim, so there’s no chance of accidentally replacing his lovingly-tended hyacinths with a smoking black crater.
We exaggerate though, because of course the weeder doesn’t do any damage to anything other than its parasitic victims. There’ll be no black craters. Just healthy, happy space where weeds used to be. The weeder delivers a short and relatively silent blast of heat, which is much kinder to a garden and the environment than the glyphosate or other herbicide chemicals your dad might have resorted to in the past.
The lazy Sunday dad – Smart Breakfast Master
Whether your dad’s happily retired or simply loves his lazy weekends, the Smart Breakfast Maker is a great gift to encourage him to capitalise on all that free time.
With a built-in toaster, grill, and a glorious compartment devoted entirely to the mass-cooking of eggs, the Smart Breakfast Master is an all-in-one fried breakfast wizard for your hungry, lazy dad.
Your dad can toast two pieces of lovely thick bread, grill some tomatoes or bacon, and boil half a dozen eggs or poach 3 all at once. All he has to do is load it up with ingredients, choose one of 7 browning settings for bread, and leave the rest to the machine. There’s so little to do on his part that he might as well hop back into bed and clock up some more precious minutes of kip.
When he wake ups, a ready-made hot breakfast will be waiting, complete with perfectly-toasted bread, expertly-grilled bacon and some juicy-hot tomatoes. Oh, and a trio of triangle eggs – an aesthetic side-effect we’re sure your dad will be happy to roll with in the name of a low-hassle fry-up.
The key-losing dad – Trackr Bravo
The tendency to lose keys and wallets is hardwired into every dad’s DNA. But if this TrackR Bravo gizmo has anything to do with it, the days of your dad rampaging through the house like a foul-mouthed bull in a china shop looking for his lost items are a thing of the past.
TrackR Bravo is a coin-size device that attaches to your dad’s most treasured possessions to make sure they never get lost. It tethers to your dad’s phone via Bluetooth, letting him know its whereabouts at all times, even if his phone is out of range. In the ten-to-one chance that your dad does misplace his item, he can simply ask the app to reveal TrackR Bravo’s last known location on a map, before making his way there sharpish for the emotional reunion.
The app will help him along the way too, with a Distance Indicator function that tells him how far away from his missing item his is. The app will also ring TrackR Bravo so that when your dad’s closing in, he’ll be able to hear it crying out to be back inside his pocket. TrackR Bravo is $29.99 (£21).
The experimental dad – Teleport VR
“I don’t want to turn our caravanning trip to Whitby into a 3D virtual reality experience I can relive again and again,” said no dad ever.
If your dad enjoys breaking free from his comfort zone and embracing all the latest tech, this Teleport VR headset is the gadget for him. Whether it’s his dog chasing a stick, a tour of his garden at its prime or the next family get together, Teleport lets your dad film and watch all of his treasured memories in VR 3D, as if he’s been teleported straight back to the moment in his very own time machine.
Teleport is a long, thin aluminium stick with two 720p cameras that see and shoot video the same way that our eyes do. When it’s clipped onto your dad’s phone, it will look like two robotic eyes peeking out. All he has to do to start capturing realistic memories is get snapping away.
To watch his memories back, he can either strap on the Teleport VR headset, or use Google Cardboard. The VR headset is another cool bit of kit, with eye-distance and focus adjustment to give your dad the best viewing experience. Autonomous, its makers, says that the 3D playback through the VR headset is so effective it’s more like “actual reality” than virtual.
The music-loving dad – Tunai Firefly
You’ve been pestering your dad to replace his low-tech old speakers for a while now, but it’s finally time to give him a break and surprise him with a clever way to upgrade them instead.
Tunai Firefly is a tiny Bluetooth connector cable that instantly equips old stereos with brand new wireless comms. All your dad has to do is plug it in, play music via his favourite apps on his smartphone, and Tunai Firefly will beam it over Bluetooth from phone to his treasured old music player. Cool, right?
The Tunai Firefly cable itself is a sturdy little copper cable with a gold-clad connector to keep its wiring safe and untouchable. Its tiny LED light glows like a firefly when it’s picking up beats, which is a nice little addition to your dad’s likely sans-LED old music box.
You’ll have to get in quick for one of these, because they ship from Taiwan. It’s 1,490 New Taiwan dollars, which converts to around £32.
The DIY dad – Black and Decker SMARTECH
Does your power tool-proud dad live in constant fear that the shady guy from number 10 is going to break into his shed and steal his pride and joy? Then he’s crying out for the Black and Decker SMARTECH battery.
It’s a 20V Lithium Ion battery designed to swap-in with your dad’s existing Black and Decker power tool’s battery, and it’s packed with sensors and tracking tech to let him track, locate and disable it from an app on his phone.
The app is also useful for your dad on a practical level, alerting him when the battery is running low to make sure his circular saw doesn’t go flat in the middle of a job. It’s also equipped with a USB port so your can plug in his phone and other gadgets to juice them up from the comfort of his shed.
The Black and Decker SMARTECH battery is US-only at the moment.
The dad who has (nearly) everything – Brewie
If your dad spends his days luxuriating in all the latest gadgets, gizmos and new tech releases under the sun, you may be stuck for a techie gift that will really shine. Luckily for you, your dad probably doesn’t have his very own Brewie smart beer maker.
Granted, you’re going to have to have some ridiculous cash to spare. This beer-brewing brute is $1,840 (£1,300). But it’s also seriously amazing. With a mashing tank, four separate hop containers, and a sophisticated heating and circulation system, Brewie lets your dad customise the brewing process at 25 different points, from when the malt goes in to when the beer comes out.
He can choose from hundreds of pre-installed beer recipes or perfect his own recipes using Brewie’s mobile, tablet, and PC app, and then remotely adjust and monitor factors like temperature and when the hops are added. Brewie is designed to be used by both beginners and serious beer connoisseurs, so the process can be as simple or as finely honed as your dad likes.