There’s a big day coming up, and plenty of pressure on you to hand over a gift that somehow represents all of your love and appreciation. It may be called Father’s Day, but this is an event for you to say a loving thank you to whatever person held that special role in your life, irrespective of their gender. Thankfully, we’ve collated a list of the best tech gifts you can buy to at least go some small way in saying thanks for all of that parenting you did, and probably still do.
Native Union Snap 3-in-1 magnetic wireless charger
The first thing you’ll notice about Native Union’s Snap 3-in-1 Magnetic Wireless Charger is how good it looks. With a solid base and a gorgeous, slender neck that you stand your phone on, it blends retro futurism with minimalist chic. It’s the sort of charging gear you’d be proud to let other people see either on your nightstand or on your office desk.
You can magnetically attach an iPhone 12 or 13 to that swan neck, while a tabletop wireless mat is ideal for your AirPods. A charging puck for your Apple Watch is nestled behind, in such a way that you can use your watch as a clock when required. Not to mention the USB-C port ‘round back that’ll let you charge any other device you have lying around. Which, technically, makes it a 4-in-1 charger, but let’s not pick nits on Father’s Day of all days, please.
Sony’s XM series of headphones are the default option for pretty much every regular buyer these days. I’d already picked the XM4s for this guide when Sony dropped the WH-1000XM5 onto an unsuspecting world. The updated models offer a better looking design, a more comfortable fit and even better sound than its predecessor. As Billy Steele wrote in his review, if you thought the XM4s couldn’t get better, you’ll be staggered by the improvement here.
A lot of small things have been tweaked, including the fact there are twice as many noise cancellation microphones as on the XM4. That promises better high-frequency sound blocking, which should be great in crowded areas and on airplanes. For $400, they’re pricier than, say, Bose’s 700s, but that saving might be something of a false economy. If you just can’t stretch that far, then keep an eye out for the XM4, since the old flagship is remaining on sale at a discount.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung made its first worthy AirPods alternative in the Galaxy Buds+, and the company made them even better with the newer Galaxy Buds 2. They’re smaller and lighter, and most importantly, the Buds 2 have better sound quality than their predecessors. Samsung added ANC and an adjustable ambient sound mode to these buds as well, so dad can use the companion mobile app to block out exactly as much of the world as he wants. They also do a better job minimizing background noise during calls, so he can use them to take and make calls without whipping his phone out. Overall, the $150 Galaxy Buds 2 combine a lot of essential and premium features into one fairly affordable gadget. Just be aware that they work best with Samsung phones; Android users will get almost all of the same features as Galaxy phone users, but iPhone owners will be stuck with the default settings.
Withings Body Cardio smart scale
Let’s face it: You want your loved ones to stay healthy, keep an eye on their heart and generally be around for as long as possible. One way to do that is by upgrading your bathroom scales to something like Withings’ Body Cardio smart scale. Designed to look as unobtrusive as possible, but hidden inside its shell is a number of extra special features you don’t get elsewhere.
You’ll get a heart-health check, automatic person tracking and a full body composition breakdown, telling you how much fat, water and muscle you’re carrying. I’d be remiss not to mention, too, Withings’ class-leading Health Mate app, which is great for collating large chunks of health data and helping you understand it in an easy-to-digest manner.
Mackie Creator Bundle
Mackie’s range of CR-X speakers are generally excellent despite their relatively low price, and that extends to the rest of its audio gear. Its Creator Bundle is designed as a one-stop kit for wannabe podcasters looking to get decent sound quality from the get-go.
First up, you’ll get a pair of CR3-X speakers, the same pair I recommended in this very guide last year. The CR3-Xs offer great sound in a small package, with a three-quarter-inch tweeter and a three-inch woofer. With built-in Bluetooth, balanced TRS and unbalanced RCA inputs, you’ve got a wide variety of ways to get this jacked into whatever you’re doing.
Alongside, you’ll get an EM-USB Condenser microphone which connects to your computer over USB-C with on-board headphone headphone monitoring and gain control. You’ll also get a pair of MC-100 pro headphones, Waveform’s audio editing app and an extra software bundle with various useful plugins thrown in, too.
Samsung T7 Touch SSD
If dad has a lot of files to keep track of for work or a bunch of family photos and videos he wants to save securely, he’ll welcome an SSD like Samsung’s T7 Touch. He’ll be able to move all of his important documents onto the drive quickly thanks to its support for 1,050 Mb/s read speeds and 1,000 Mb/s write rates, and it’s fairly durable with a shock- and drop-resistant body. It’s also quite compact with a palm-sized design and multiple layers of security, including AES 256-bit encryption, password protection and a fingerprint scanner. That means if dad doesn’t want to bother to remember yet another password, he can use his fingerprint to unlock the drive instead. If your father is particularly clumsy or works in a precarious environment, consider instead Samsung’s latest rugged model, the Samsung T7 Shield.
Dremel 8220 multitool
I’ve been obsessed with Dremel’s electric multi-tools ever since I watched Alexi Sayle ask “did I mention we cut?” back in the early ‘90s. And yet, despite being an adult with my own home, I’ve never needed to actually go out and buy a Dremel like the 8220 you can see here. Look at the thing, it’s like an electric Swiss Army Knife, complete with drill and screwdriver bits, sanding bits, polishing bits, metal-cutting discs, grinding stones and engraving tools! Just think about all of the things I can drill, screw, sand, polish, cut, grind and engrave if I had one of those right now.
I bet you there’s a whole host of parents and parental figures out there who are just itching to get a Dremel into their lives. But I bet they, like me, are also that little bit too scared to just go out and buy one since they probably don’t know what they’d use it for. That’s why you, as loving people, should go and buy them a Dremel much in the same way that I hope my kids, when they’re old enough to earn money, go out and buy me a Dremel. And maybe a book that will teach me how to use it.
Apple Watch Series 7
For the majority of people, the Apple Watch is the only smartwatch they need to consider if they have an iPhone. There’s only a handful of watches on the other side that can match Apple’s timepiece for versatility, usefulness and affordability. If you’re worried about your parent’s health and frailty, then the fall detection features alone justify your investment. Not to mention the general health tracking capabilities, and the fact you can keep them healthy with a Fitness+ subscription thrown in. I haven’t even mentioned the built-in ECG, which these days is table stakes for a wearable in this class. And if dad doesn’t have an iPhone, he can get many of the same features from Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4.
Withings ScanWatch Horizon
Of course, there are people who don’t want a smartwatch, or at least not one that looks like a smartwatch. It’s something that plenty of even designer smartwatches suffer from, and I get it, some parents don’t want to look like a neeeeeeeerd in their dotage. It’s for those people that I’d recommend Withings’ new ScanWatch Horizon, a hybrid smartwatch in the body of a classic diver’s watch.
The existing ScanWatch was already a best-in-class hybrid, with a digital subdial for notifications and an analog one for step counting. It offers automatic sleep and activity tracking, smartphone assisted GPS and the usual smartwatch bells and whistles. On top of that, it also offers built-in ECG and SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) tests for keeping an eye on your heart health.
But Horizon steps up with its Dad Chic styling, a chunky case, band and choice of blue or green face colors. Put it on and you’ll instantly feel like a rugged outdoors-type ready to indulge in some wood choppin’ or other Bear Grylls-adjacent nonsense. Withings is even smart enough to throw in a whole bunch of tools to help you size your band without needing to trek to a jewelry store. And that’s before I get to the 30-day battery life.
Apple iPad Air
One thing that COVID-19 rammed home for lots of people was the need for solid video calling to stay in touch with your loved ones. Keeping touch with my mom through WhatsApp calling in the early stages of lockdown was a perpetual irritant. It’s a problem that the new iPad Air, with its wide front camera and Center Stage, was born to solve.
It doesn’t hurt that the slate is also a world-class internet browsing device and doesn’t require a whole host of tech support. Plus, if your parent is of an artistic bent, you can pick up the compatible Apple Pencil and let them doodle to their heart’s content. Given that it’s packing an M1, you would hope this model iPad Air will have muscle to spare for years to come, drowning out any parental complaints about planned obsolescence before they begin.
Audio Technica ATLP120XBT turntable
There are a lot of Bluetooth turntables which are designed for the hip crowd who want to show off their ye olde-fashioned record player. But if you’re looking for something a bit more capital-S serious without shelling out for a high-end Technics unit, Audio Technica’s romantically-named ATLP120XBT might be worth a glance. The fact it could be confused for a Technics SL-1210, right down to the s-shaped tone arm is, I’m sure, just a total coincidence.
The sound is good, and you’ll get adjustable pitch control alongside the belt-driven turntable (sorry, no scratching on this unit). And connectivity-wise, it’s well-stocked, with Dual RCA-out, USB or Bluetooth 5.0, with support for aptX. It’s a unit I’m thinking about getting for my mum, since it’ll enable her to digitize her stack of 78rpm records over that USB connection.
LG C2 OLED TV
LG’s C1 was one of the best TVs of 2021, and so you shouldn’t be surprised that its successor is even better. I could simply say “this is an LG OLED” and you could probably let its reputation walk you over to your TV store of choice. With a skinny body and almost non-existent bezels, the C2 is close to that perfect idea of a magic window for everything you’re watching, or playing.
But let’s drill down into the specifics: The C2 gets a faster processor which LG pledges will improve dynamic tone mapping, as well as improving webOS performance. Similarly, the screen’s brightness is a little higher than the C1, and contrast has been improved overall. LG’s focus this year was also on quality-of-life features beyond the picture quality, including an easier UI, new voice remote and the ability to add user profiles. Let’s also talk gaming, since if your beloved parent likes to play, you’ll find the C2 supports GeForce Now and, uh, Stadia.
(As an aside, the C2 is very much a luxury television for the sort of kids who really appreciate your parental figures. If your budget won’t stretch that far, you should look out for the C1 which is currently massively, almost stupidly discounted and still beats the pants off much of the TV market.)
Ember Smart Mug 2
Everyone, no matter their age, is going to set a cup of warm drink down somewhere and then forget about it. Maybe it’s on a shelf, or beyond peripheral vision on a desk, but that feeling when you suddenly wonder why you’re thirsty and find cold tea in front of you is the worst. It’s the reason Ember’s smart temperature-controlling mug exists, to help prevent you suffering from a sip of something unpleasantly cold ever again. A built-in battery will keep things running for 1.5 hours at a time, but the bundled charging coaster will give you a day’s worth of use. Not that we’d recommend drinking a latte that you made at 9am in the late afternoon, of course.
BenQ HT2050A projector
Projectors are a minefield, aren’t they? It’s a big investment for something you might not be sure you’ll use on a very regular basis unless you’ve got your own cinema room. I’ve always fancied building something in my backyard so I can run an outdoor theater in the warmer months. But I don’t know how much I’d actually use the thing after spending a hefty chunk on the initial investment.
Thankfully, if I ever do, I’ll likely buy BenQ’s HT2050A, which my colleague (and projector nerd) Steve Dent says is one of the best for performance and affordability. Coming in fairly cheap, it’s bright, has a 1.3x zoom and vertical lens shift, making it easy to place in tricky spots and easy to get the best picture quality out of its small body. It’s HD-only, of course, but then I’m not yet sold on the benefits of a 4K projector if you’re mostly watching live sports or old movies, or even your parent’s pictures of their most recent holiday.
Dopesick by Beth Macy
Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America is a book by Beth Macy which was adapted into the Hulu series of the same name. It charts the history, effect and battle against OxyContin, a slow-release painkiller that’s at the heart of the US’ opioid epidemic. The book takes you through the history of the drug, its chemical bases, and how it was handled before Purdue Pharma created a slow-release version. Of course, a combination of over-prescription, the hyper-addictive nature of the drug and a lot of incentives from Purdue helped destroy so many lives. It’s the sort of book that you feel it’s your duty to read just to understand what is, and has, been going on for so long.
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou is a similarly unbelievable true story of medical malpractice, this time centering on blood testing. Theranos promised to revolutionize the way the world tested for disease, and hoodwinked plenty of people who knew nothing about medicine. The book is in two rough halves, with the first covering the startup’s meteoric rise and the backstory of its enigmatic founder, Elizabeth Holmes.
The second, meanwhile, focuses on Carreyrou’s own part in the story, as he investigated and reported on the unfolding scandal. This is, by now, well-trodden ground – the book is due to be adapted into a movie for Netflix, while a Hulu miniseries was based on an ABC Podcast. But Carreyrou’s authoritative, I-was-there take is still the authoritative version of the story, at least until the dust settles and we get some even juicier stories out of this particular saga.