Make dad's day
This Father's Day, make sure dad has the latest tech toys. Add to his collection with these gift ideas by VINCENT CHANG and COLIN TAN
Published on Jun 13, 2014 5:00 AM
Dell UltraSharp 32 PremierColor Monitor UP3214Q
$4,949, from Dell Singapore
Ultra high-definition TV sets do not make a lot of sense yet because there is hardly any content available. Sure, they can upscale high-definition videos. But we would suggest you wait.
However, UHD monitors, such as the Dell UP3214Q (3,840 x 2,160 pixels), are another story. They are useful for photo and video editing, as they deliver more detail and clarity.
This Dell monitor boasts excellent colour accuracy and wide viewing angles. It also offers a wide colour gamut that meets industry standards. Pair it with a high-end camera that takes 4K images and videos - if you can afford it.
Audio Technica ATH-M50x
His Beats Audio headphones need an update. There are others available that are just as good, if not better. And more affordable, too. Take the Audio Technica ATH-M50x, a follow-up on the classic ATH-M50.
Audio Technica wisely chose not to tinker with the original, which was known for its outstanding audio performance. In fact, the two look almost identical and produce similar audio quality. But the cord is now detachable and three cables of different lengths are included in the package; the idea being that you can switch to a shorter cable if you are using the M50x with a mobile device.
The padding for the earcups has been improved for an even more comfortable listening experience.
While the set still lacks in-line controls and a microphone, the M50x is a solid choice for its price.
Oakley Scuderia Ferrari Collection
Okay, so this is not a gadget, but plenty of tech went into making it. After all, these shades are the brainchild of Oakley and F1 racing team Scuderia Ferrari.
There are eight designs in the collection, though the crown jewel is the Carbon Blade (pictured), which is made from carbon fibre and titanium. See if you can spot the laser-etched Scuderia Ferrari emblem at the corner of the lens, which is on models in the collection.
These sunglasses also carry highlights in the distinctive Ferrari red and come in their own custom cases. Prices start at $319 and go up to $879 (for the Carbon Blade).
Sony NWZ-W270S Walkman Sports MP3 Player
$129 (4GB), $159 (8GB)
If your dad is more a fitness nut than a couch potato, this all-in-one music player should serve him nicely whether he likes to jog or do laps in the swimming pool.
The waterproof Walkman Sports is lightweight and convenient, and will not get in his way.
It has a playback time of eight hours on a full charge and a nifty quick-charge feature that provides music playback of up to 60 minutes with just 3 minutes of charging, even if the battery had been completely flat.
Sony is offering a free casing for the headphones in a special promotion that ends on June 29.
Nespresso Inissia Coffee machine
Give him something to look forward to in the morning with the latest coffee machine from Nespresso.
A capsule system for fuss-free preparation and clean-up, coupled with a fast preheating time of 25 seconds, will get dad his caffeine fix quickly. The tank holds 700ml of water, enough for several cups of coffee.
The machine is small and weighs 2.4kg. It has an auto-sleep function that kicks in after 9 minutes, which is useful if dad forgets to switch it off.
It is available in black or red. A limited-edition model comes in light blue. Until June 30, a free Aeroccino3 milk frother worth $168 is given when you buy the Inissia and any 10 sleeves of Grand Crus coffee.
Philips AquaTouch AT940
Shaving is boring, but the AquaTouch AT940 shaver makes it less of a chore. Its Aquatec seal allows dad to choose between a refreshing wet shave with gel or foam, and a comfortable dry shave.
The waterproof shaver uses Philips' TripleTrack pivotal head to offer more shaving surface and reach even the smallest stubble. No nicks and cuts either, with low-friction Skin Protection heads that adjust to the curves of dad's face.
Linksys WRT1900AC Gigabit Wi-Fi Router
$399, at Challenger stores
Make it a nostalgic Father's Day with this retro-looking Linksys Wi-Fi router, which resembles an older Linksys model that was extremely popular in the early 2000s.
The new version ranks as one of the most capable routers now. It supports the latest Wi-Fi 802.11ac standard and the interface is snappy because of the router's fast dual-core processor. It even has four antennae - one more than its competitors - which will improve coverage.
But the best part is the new Network Map feature, which lets you see at a glance all the devices connected to the home network. You simply click on any device to tweak its network settings. This is both convenient and powerful.
$399 (256GB), from Sim Lim Square retailers
Chances are, your geek dad is already a convert to solid-state drives (SSDs). He is probably enjoying his sub 10-second Windows boot-up while his apps launch almost instantly on his computer.
But he probably does not have a M.2 PCIe-based SSD, such as the Plextor M6e.
This is a next-generation storage device that taps the PCIe interface on computers, the same super-fast interface used by the graphics chip. It totally blows away the Sata interface still used by most storage drives.
Just slot the M6e into a free PCIe slot on your PC and enjoy blazing fast speeds. It is not cheap, but Plextor does back it with a five-year warranty.
Let's face it, for most users, a smartphone camera is good enough. And for occasions when a phone cam is inadequate, consumers are increasingly leaving the DSLR camera at home and taking along a mirrorless camera because it is lighter and more compact.
The new a6000 is not Sony's top mirrorless camera. It is a mid-range model with a good 24.3-megapixel APS-C image sensor. It improves on the Sony NEX-6 in terms of handling and ergonomics.
Its best feature is its autofocus, which Sony claims to be the world's fastest. Near Field Communication technology has been added and it comes with Wi-Fi support.
The only feature missing may be a touchscreen. But more importantly, this camera produces great images for its class.
Logitech Folio Protective Case
It is heartbreaking when an expensive gadget gets broken. Keep dad's Apple iPad mini safe with the Folio Protective Case. Durable and water-resistant, the folio-style case will protect the tablet's front and back against bumps, spills and scratches.
A combination of clips and magnets keep the iPad firmly linked to the frame, while the case, thin and light, perfectly complements the design aesthetics of the iPad mini.
When dad wants to watch a video, the case doubles as a stand, holding the mini in several positions, from nearly flat to fully upright.
Bose SoundTrue Around-ear Headphones
If dad answers voice calls frequently, then consider this pair rather than the Audio Technica ATH-M50x.
These headphones have an inline remote and microphone, good for adjusting the volume and answering calls.
A soft cushioned headband and foam earcups provide maximum comfort, so dad can listen to his Bee Gees all day long without driving the family crazy.
The headphones are lightweight and fold easily, making them easy to pack for a trip.
HP Chromebook 11
Liberate dad from his antiquated desktop with this inexpensive and efficient computer.
The Chromebook 11 has an 11.6-inch high-definition LED-backlit display with 1,366 x 768 resolution, 2GB of RAM and a 1.7GHz dual processor.
Weighing in at just 1.22kg, with a battery life of about six hours, it means that he can use it practically anywhere at home.
A caveat: This computer uses Chrome OS, Google's own operating system and relies heavily on the Internet to power its apps.
So its offline mode is limited and it may not be suitable as a travelling laptop in places where wireless hot spots are not readily available.
This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on June 11, 2014.