updated 06:56 pm EDT, Fri June 7, 2013
Tech is so much better than ties and 'Oh, the Places You'll Go!'
If you're not a father -- or a future or recent graduate -- you've got a bit of a conundrum coming up: you're likely to soon need to buy a gift for a dad or grad. In the middle of graduation season, and with just over a week left before Father's Day, Electronista has got your back. Our Dads 'n' Grads Buyer's Guide is going to show you which gadgets to get, because tech gifts are immeasurably better than ties and copies of Oh, the Places You'll Go!
For the iPad Fan
Is Dad constantly trying to beat his best Dots score? Or maybe always finding a reason to bring work home? Or maybe your Grad needs something to make sure that forthcoming dissertation gets done. Apple's iPad is one of the most popular tech gadgets on the planet, so you're in luck: there are a range of accessories and add-ons you can get to extend the use of the device.
If your Dad isn't just using the iPad for play, then you may want to pick up the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover from Logitech. Logitech makes a version for the iPad mini as well as the full-size iPad. Both pack a full keyboard into a really sleek cover package, giving Dad or Grad a much better text entry option than the iPad's current touchscreen.
But maybe your Grad doesn't want to use the tablet for text entry; maybe she just likes it as a second screen for reference or movie watching. In that case, you could go with Cooler Master's Cube tablet stand. The Cube tablet stand features a really solid metal and rubber design. It's also very easily foldable, with a slim profile. Best of all, it's very easily adjusted, opening to 135 degrees and sporting adjustable rubber holders. Set Dad's tablet up in the Cube and he may find all new ways of loving the device.
For the Music Fan
Everybody likes music, but if your Grad loves his or her tunes, you might want to check out the UE Boom. It's a portable Bluetooth speaker that plays sound in every direction. It's got a touch-, water- and stain-resistant acoustic skin, and once paired with a mobile device you've got a range of up to 50 feet before you'll start losing signal.
Best of all, the UE Boom can pair with two Bluetooth-enabled devices simultaneously, so your Grad and maybe his Dad can bond over Carry On Wayward Son. Or be unable to bridge the generational divide. One of the two.
For the Seasoned Couch Potato
Let's be honest -- your Grad, having just crossed the finish line, is really just looking to plop down on the couch and power binge on Game of Thrones and Veep. If that's the case, hook him or her up with a Harmony Smart Control from Logitech. Paired with a Harmony Hub, the Smart Control allows you to control home theater devices from a smartphone -- no messy "line of sight" infrared required. Just download the Smart Control app to an Android device or iPhone and your Grad has access to smooth, intuitive touchscreen controls, as well as an array of other features right at hand.
Speaking of television, you could take this Father's Day to show Dad why you've always been his favorite -- or why his judgment has been flawed until now. To do that, you may want to consider picking up Toshiba's Cloud LED TV. The Cloud TV connects to an array of online services, allowing Dad to browse and socialize as well as stream music, shows, and media. Available in 50-, 58-, and 65-inch class screen sizes, this connected TV will turn any room into one of the best rooms of the house.
For the Computer Lover
You could also get your Dad a new computer. Thin is in nowadays, and you really can't go wrong if you take a look at Toshiba's new Kirabook Ultrabook. Ultrabooks are the line of Intel-powered, super-slim PCs that you may have seen in a few places here and there, and the Kirabook is among the best of those. It's slim, magnesium-alloyed frame holds a 13.3-inch, 22ippi, 2560x1440 PixelPure Display. If you don't have your calculator handy, that's a pixel density 90 percent higher than standard HD.
Also, you've got the option to go with a touchscreen, meaning Dad can interact with the vivid material that's displayed on that beautiful screen. The standard Kirabooks run Windows 8 on an Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM, with the top model running Windows 8 Pro on a Core i7 processor with 8GB of RAM. Basically, Dad's going to have a powerful little machine that's both sleek and tough.
If your Grad, though, is going to make their way out in the world -- maybe check out Europe, really find him or herself -- then you might want to pick up the Canvio Connect Portable hard drive. The Canvio Connect comes packaged with the Kirabook, so Dad will already have it. If you're just getting the drive for a Grad, though, know that you can present him or her with up to 2TB of storage space. The drives also come with 10GB of free cloud storage, so even if they leave the drive at home, they can access files over the Internet. You also have the option of a Canvio Slim, a more portable option with 500GB of storage.
Then there are the little things one needs. Say your Dad or Grad already has enough actual tech, and just needs something to carry it all in. In that case, you'll want to consider Kensington's Contour Overnight Backpack. One of the best features of the Contour is its ability to zip open and lay completely flat. That's just about essential when it comes to going through airport security. It's also got a built-in pouch for liquids, too.
Inside, the Contour has space enough to hold clothes, media players, and a 15.6-inch laptop. All of this is packed into a durable Ballistic Nylon case that protects against tears and punctures.
If your gift recipient is more fitness-minded, you could fit them out with a BodyMedia Fit Armband. BodyMedia's offerings come in two types: the Core Armband and the Link Armband. Both allow you to accurately track your daily activity and to log that in a handy tracking program. The result is a clearer picture of what's working and what's not working when trying to keep off that Freshman 15.