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5 Holiday gifts for tech dads 2010

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 18-11-2010

Here are a few ideas for tech dads you might not have thought of for techy dads. But who isn’t techy these days when grandma has an iPad and grandpa just extended his wireless network to reach out to the garage. Everything seems to have a technological component from outright electronics, to the choice of which plastics (or preferably glass or stainless) you want near your food.

Here are five things for the dad on your list, who will appreciate the thinking behind these products, whether he always wanted to be an engineer or not.

1. Frends earbuds for his iPhone. I guess there was a time when that white cord meant you had an iPod and had immediate street cred. Now, you might want to have a better set of headphones, and Frends makes a set called the Coupe. For only $30, you get a great sets of earbuds with good frequency range (16-2000Hz). But what the dad in your life will really appreciate are two fine details. One, the mic plug is custom made for a secure fit and looks over-engineered to protect against shorting on the connector side. Two, and simple and cool, is the fabric cord. That’s right, instead of plastic, these phones use a cloth cord, and that means you can throw them in their pouch and pull them out without them getting tied in knots. You have to see this to believe it, and I guarantee that once you have cloth cords, you’ll never want to go back to those tangled white ones.

Friends Coupe – $30 at Amazon.

2. Speaking of iPhones, if you have as many apps as I do finding your location all the time, I’m sure you’re recharging your phone 3-4 times per day. If you have any sort of life that takes you away from an outlet from time to time (carpool, plane rides), you owe yourself (or your dad!) a Mophie battery pack and case. Sure, it does add on a few millimeters in size, and heft, to your phone, but the Buddhistic calm that comes from knowing you can watch the rest of your movie without sacrificing the call home at the end of the plane ride is priceless.

Mophie Juice Battery Pack for iPhone 2G and 3G (also available for iTouch and iPhone 4) $59 at Amazon.

3. Kelty Connection and Platform day packs. The materials packed inside these bags says “Perfect for your next urban outing.” Perfection may be hard, but these bags combine the ruggedness Kelty is known for (we love their child carrier backpacks) with insights on how real people use backpacks now for computers and gear. These bags are not overloaded with features, but are made to haul files to and from work, as well as a 17″ laptop (most packs are built for 15″. The
Kelty Platform pack even includes a pouch specially made to handle a bicycle helmet and allows the bag to carried both on the back and as a sling.

Kelty Platform $90 at Amazon and Kelty Connections $72 at Amazon.

4. An iPad. Okay, this was top of mind already. Everyone who doesn’t have one lusts after this gadget. I don’t say this often because it sounds so shallow, but it’s one object that gives you immediate joy when you pick it up the first few times. I won mine at a show, so I don’t even have to feel guilty about owning this. And that’s precisely why it makes such a good gift. If the dad on your list finds it hard to splurge on himself, giving him this is like giving permission to enjoy.

iPad starts at $499 at Amazon (and everywhere else).

5. If the dad on your list doesn’t have a Blu-Ray DVD player yet, then this is a slam-dunk. The prices on Blu-Ray have come down to well under $100, and now there are networked Blu-Rays that function as mini computers, connecting to the Internet for video on demand such as Netflix and other services. They even connect directly to YouTube so you can waste away an evening watching goofy cat videos together as a family. The technology in these boxes isn’t made to become obsolescent in a few years. They have operating systems wired to accept upgrades and new channels as the market evolves. My kids gave me an LG 550 Blu-Ray for Father’s Day this year and we all love it. The Blu-Ray is crystal clear, but we now watch all our Netflix on-line rather than via DVD and those pesky red envelopes.   $159 at Amazon.

GreatDad.com Review Policy: We received the Mophie battery pack, the Kelty backpacks, and the Frends earphones for sampling at no cost from the manufacturer for the sole purpose of testing the products. We do not accept monetary compensation for reviewing or writing about products and we do not review products in return for free samples. We only review products that we have personally tested and used in our own homes, and all opinions expressed are our own.