Fathers’ Day gift guide: Drones, homes and automobile tech

12 Jun 2015

With Fathers’ Day just around the corner and dads usually incredibly difficult to buy for, Siliconrepublic.com has some ideas for how to make everyone else in the family rather jealous, with gifts ranging from affordable drones to the best entertainment systems going.

Fathers’ Day gift guide: Home entertainment

More and more people are taking their home entertainment more seriously. With the advent of the 21st century came the beginning of TV’s finest era. Overtaking film in many areas, television series are capturing our attention more and more. So why not tap into your father’s love of TV by looking at projectors for the home.

Some may query if they have room for such a device but, considering how much bigger TVs have become, we’re past that conversation a long time ago. If you have a decent-sized wall then why not do away with the clunky machines in the corner of your living room and go for something more cinematic.

Projectors aren’t the cheapest things around but, if you’re willing to stump up a bit of cash, they can prove incredible gifts for people.

Acer K137 projector

Acer K137 projector might be a nice present

Acer K137

Take this Acer K137. It’s a couple of years old now, however, we’re choosing it for a few reasons. Available at around €440 on Pricespy, this is a mid-range projector with a couple of fine things going for it.

First off it’s HD, giving it a leg up on pretty much every projector below it. Secondly, it has a HDMI connection, which, for those who stream directly from laptops like my fine self, is key as we need as good a connection as possible to ensure the best possible showing.

Devialet's Phantom sound system

Devialet’s Phantom sound system may be bang in tune

Devialet Phantom

If you want to get even more indulgent, though, check out Devialet’s very attractive Phantom sound system.

Rated top of the bus across pretty much every review online, this pricey (€1,690) speaker set-up is only for those fathers who have been really, really good.

Fathers’ Day gift guide: Outdoor adventure

If your father is more of the outdoorsy type, perhaps you’ll have better luck honing in on the activity side of things.

If it’s standard activity he engages in, or you want him to engage in, then maybe adding the odd bit of technology will help him make the step from couch potato to MAMIL (middle-aged man in lycra).

The sky is the limit with wearable technology, with incredibly expensive Apple Watches at one end, and more affordable things like Jawbone’s Up Move at the other.

Jawbone's Up Move

Jawbone’s Up Move, a more affordable wearable

Jawbone UP Move

Available at around €50 on Pricespy, the Up Move can do enough of what any Sony, Samsung, Pebble or otherwise competitor does to make the purchase make sense.

It’s not a wristband, which is rare in this realm, attaching to your waistband instead. Hooked up to a smartphone, it does all the hits: there’s a ‘Smart Coach’, step counter, calorie burn reader and clever links to apps that already dominate the fitness sphere. Think Strava, for example.

Overall, a good, affordable wearable. If sat nav is more of a requirement – think cyclist, hiker or long-distance runner – then Garmin is usually the place to go.

Garmin Edge 500

Garmin Edge 500, via Jeremy Jenum on Flickr

Garmin Edge 500

I’m a keen cyclist, and not hugely technological when it comes to my trips, but a decent bike computer is a must. Considering this, Garmin’s Edge 500 is a nice, cheapish device that does plenty.

It comes in well under €200 on Pricespy and, despite being one of the older generations (it was released over four years ago), it can do pretty much everything you need.

It’s got a nice big display and decent mapping. As it’s satellite driven, it doesn’t need any wires on your frame or magnets on your wheel. It doesn’t read your heart rate, although you can buy additional devices to do that, but pretty much everything else is taken care of.

 Fathers’ Day gift guide: Drones galore

SKEYE Nano Drone

If you haven’t noticed, drones are rather expensive. While all those videos on YouTube of incredible scenic landscapes and events might look amazing, it might be somewhat out of the price range of the average punter given that ones produced by DJI or Phantom will set you back €1,000-plus.

So if you think your dad might want something a little smaller scaled both in terms of price and size, then you probably can’t get much smaller than the SKEYE Nano Drone.

Measuring less than 2in in both width and length, this adorable little drone won’t put out the same performance as its bigger siblings but it’s still a hell of a lot of fun.

The SKEYE Nano Drone

It’s pretty much designed for the office setting given that he’ll probably only get about seven or eight minutes of flight-time with it given it’s so small, but it can be quickly charged again through USB.

It’s very beginner friendly as well for the inevitability that he probably hasn’t flown a drone before.

More importantly, it won’t break the bank, with its producer, TRNDlabs, offering it on their website for US$59.99 (€53).

Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition

If you’re looking for something a little more beefy, though, the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition, which has much of the features of the high-spec drones, but is just that bit more affordable with prices starting online at €288.37, is the one to go for.

Most importantly, it has a camera for recording with a resolution of 720p, which again is less than the higher-end models, but more than capable of recording dad’s outdoor antics.

Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition

Fathers’ Day gift guide: Making a car a gadget fortress

Electra dashcam

If there’s one gadget that drivers have flocked to, it’s dashcams, to record what their car sees, mostly for their insurance company’s sake in the case of an accident.

But for some dads, it might just be the case that they like to record some posterity for future generations to see what driving was like ‘back in the old days’.

To do that, the internet is now awash with different options, but seeing as we’re trying to keep things affordable, maybe the Electra would be a good option.

Capable of recording in 1080p with a 148-degree wide-angle lens, it should be able to capture all of the road and can record for 1.5 hours on battery and from World of Electronics costs €82.

Who knows, he might record a near-apocalyptic meteorite crashing through the sky…

Electra dashcam

Flux Capacitor phone charger

Great Scott! If your dad is like every sane person and a fan of the Back to the Future series, then he might explode with joy if he was given a car phone charger that looks (but not acts, sadly) like the Flux Capacitor.

It just plugs into the cigarette lighter and begins charging up to 1.21 gigawatts or in real life, 12V.

It’s big and bulky sure, but it lights up and charges any USB powered devices, but it won’t bring you back in time to make sure your dad marries your mom and she doesn’t fall in love with you.

It’s currently being sold on ThinkGeek for US$24.99 (€22.20).

Fathers’ Day gift guide: Knick knacks

Of course beyond the cars, TV and drones, what about the more modest, quirky, clever gifts? Things like Swiss Army Knives. Swiss Army Knives that have USB sticks incorporated into them, because often that’s more necessary than a nail file.

Victorinox Flash

Victorinox Flash has up to 64 GB of memory and custom engraving.

Swiss army knife with USB

Keysmart 2.0

On a similar theme there’s this pretty excellent key-carrying device that’s neat as a pin.

God knows the number of keys we have these days is far, far too many, whether it’s the key to the shed, the key to your mailbox or just your plain old front-door key.

Even the act of searching through your range of keys can leave you frustrated at those precious seconds you could have spent idly browsing your phone for GIFs.

Thankfully, someone else has seen the beauty in the Swiss Army Knife model and created a keychain that puts all your keys in one.

Keysmart 2.0

The Keysmart 2.0

Known as the Keysmart 2.0, all it needs is a screwdriver to open up, and then you can stack all your keys together in one place, up to 50 in total if you’ve got a serious key problem.

There’s not much else really to it but for the dad who’s sick of jangly keys and holes in their pockets, the Keysmart 2.0 seems a safe bet.

It’s also pretty customisable so you can choose your own colour and get an additional USB memory stick, but the base model starts from US$19.98 (€17.73) from their store.

Dad with selfie stick image via Shutterstock

Reporting by Colm Gorey and Gordon Hunt