It’s June, and that means it’s time to celebrate the dads and the grads that we’re proud of. Dads do love their gadgets, and it’s hard for grads to get by without a little (or a lot) of wired help. Here are some of the year’s top gadgets to make some glad dads and grads in your family. But besides for recommending some great gifts, we’re also giving away the OnStar FMV, which is another perfect gift for the dad or grad in your life. The OnStar FMV replaces a vehicle’s rearview mirror, bringing the safety, security and connectivity services of OnStar to just about any car. You can check out our full review of OnStar FMV. And enter below to win!
The combination of portability and quality that the Sony α NEX-7 affords can be appreciated by any dad. Whether he’s always hiking up mountains or snapping pictures of the family, the Sony α NEX-7 will be dad’s new best friend. The pocket-sized camera boasts DSLR quality photo-taking capabilities, packing in a 24.3 MP sensor, 10 fps shooting, video in 1080p HD, and a sweep panorama mode. The included 18-55 mm lens will be a little less portable-friendly, but will help to make the picture quality that much crisper and clearer. It’ll be a lucky dad who gets the Sony α NEX-7, though – DSLR quality comes at a DSLR price – about $1,350, to be exact.
What’s better than a good gift for dad on Father’s Day? Getting him a gift that keeps on giving to the whole family. With the KRUPS Universal Grill and Panini Maker, you can get dad doing what he does best with ease – grilling up good food for the entire family. It’s designed for paninis in particular, but, as the name suggests, the grill is perfectly suitable for anything worth grilling. The KRUPS Universal Grill and Panini Maker is ideal if your home doesn’t have the real estate for a fully-fledged barbecue out back. About $80 makes dad the master of the kitchen in yet another way.
Wrap dad’s tablet or e-reader up in a stylish new case – after all, it’s called the Style Library. Must mean they’re lookers, right?
M-Edge’s Style Library finds strength in both quantity and quality, though. There are tons of cases to choose from, and M-Edge is making cases for multiple generations of iPads, Kindles, and Nooks. Still, if none of the designs are up to snuff for dad, you can customize your own case using M-Edge’s browser tool. You can doodle your own designs or upload images, so you can give dad a new e-reader case sporting his favorite family photo. The M-Edge Style Library Cases range from $30 to $50.
BlackBerry-toting dads can have their mobile music on demand thanks to the upcoming BlackBerry Music Gateway. The Music Gateway is a receiver that plugs into any stereo system – including car stereo systems – and pairs with BlackBerry devices using either Bluetooth or NFC. Once dad has paired device to Gateway, he’s free to listen to his tunes at his leisure. It’s unclear as of right now, but it seems like the Gateway will work with non-BlackBerry devices, as well. The BlackBerry Music Gateway will sell for about $50 when it become available – sometime in the next couple of weeks, we hope.
Dad will be the scourge of the house once he starts playing on this thing all night long. The AC/DC Pinball Machine features 12 of the classic rock band’s finest tracks, along with all the other lights and sounds you would expect from a top-notch pinball machine. Now, it can’t be said that this would be the best rock band-pinball combination (The Who, of course), but it’s hard to imagine much else topping it. Songs like Hells Bells, Thunderstruck, T.N.T., and Highway to Hell were practically made for pinball. Getting dad back in black and back to the pinball playing days of his youth will come at a price that will probably leave you thunderstruck, though – a cool $5,700.
What do you get when you mix together a pedometer, Xbox Live, and FarmVille? You get Striiv, one of the newest pedometers on the market, which differentiates itself by being the “fun” way to get people up and exercising. Dad will appreciate the accessibility of Striiv – the challenges start small and get larger once the device recognizes that the user is making progress. Striiv also hands out positive reinforcement in the form of achievements and reward points that dad can use in MyLand, which is roughly speaking a FarmVille clone, or to donate to three different charities, though I’m not clear on what the Striiv reward point to US dollar conversion rate is going to be. Striiv will make exercise fun and rewarding for dad, while keeping pace with his progress uniquely. Now he’ll really have no excuse.
Striiv is selling on Amazon now for about $100.
You can class up dad’s iPhone with a new hard case from Speck. The FabShell Luxe cases are form-fitting for the iPhone 4/4S, and feature top-grain leather on the back for a suave, professional look. The cases come in four colors – black, cognac, burgundy, and green. Obviously, you can’t go wrong with cognac. The Speck FabShell Luxe cases are available now for $50 each on Speck’s website.
Samsung has finally made their first speaker dock, but they, like your special graduate, decided to take the road less traveled. The DA-E750 goes retro, packing a speaker system into a glossy wooden body, with either a mahogany or a piano black finish. It’s retro on the inside, too – at least, in part. Samsung combined vacuum tube amplifier technology with digital amplifiers to create old-fashioned style sound without the distortion that often used to come along for the ride.
The DA-E750 works with iOS devices and Samsung Galaxy smartphones, offering charging docks for both. On top of that, new grads can stream their tunes to their old-school style speaker using Bluetooth. Hopefully your upcoming graduate nailed their finals, though – at $700, they’re going to need to earn this one.
Ask any upcoming grad about their problems, and you can bet sleep is going to be right up near the top of the list. You can hep your new grad get optimal shut-eye with the SleepTracker watch. The watch is developed to monitor the individual sleep patterns of the user in order to detect the best possible time to wake the person up, so that they can feel refreshed and ready to take on the world they’ll now be entering. The watch will also upload sleep statistics to an online account, where grads can view their sleep performance and tips for a better night’s sleep. All your grad will need to do now is actually get on a schedule where they have the freedom to wake up at just the right moment for their sleep health. Easier said than done.
The SleepTracker Watch is available now for $149, and comes in onyx black and pearl white.
For the lucky few grads who could be getting a new set of wheels as reward for years of hard work this month, the Ford Focus Electric looks like the ideal car. It’s part of the new wave of electric cars coming onto the market – note that I didn’t say hybrid. This car is only powered by electricity, and gets about 73 miles per charge. Your new grad will be able to cruise around town in one of the hottest new cars on the market, and help save the earth while doing it. The Ford Focus Electric starts at $39,200 MSRP.
The year’s new smartphones are becoming available one by one – including the One X from HTC. The highly touted smartphone boasts LTE support, a snappy dual-core processor, and HD picture and video options galore. Of course, considering that we’re talking about students here, we can’t neglect to mention this detail – scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass on the display. You can finally get a smartphone for your student safe in the knowledge that it won’t end up with a horrendously cracked screen two weeks later.
The HTC One X is available on AT&T’s network for $199 with a two-year contract. Just remind your grad that now that they have a fancy new phone, they should maybe actually call home once in a while.
It’s like magic. Students are notoriously low on cash, but when concert season rolls around, they always manage to scrounge up a few hundred dollars out of nowhere. You know your grad will be hitting concerts in bunches – make sure their hearing isn’t any worse for the wear. The V-Moda VIP Faders are earplugs that look a lot like earphones. They’re designed to decrease the decibel level of outside noise, rather than block sound completely. Noise is filtered down to a healthy 12 dB, and your grad won’t need to wear nasty-looking orange plugs in order to save their hearing. That’s a win-win. Here’s another win – you can pick up the V-Moda VIP Faders for just $20 per pair.
For the first time in a while, Dell is generating some much deserved excitement in the world of laptops with the XPS 13. The new ultrabook has a sleek appearance that students will love. Granted, students will probably love it more for the fact that it is very thin and lightweight – perfect for people always on the move. Rapid Start Technology offers up blazing fast start-up and resume times, because when you’re a student, time is pretty much always running short. The XPS 13 manages to stay slim while boasting top-notch technology – something any grad can appreciate. The Dell XPS 13 starts at $999.
Nothing says grad chic like a nice canvas bag. Given that we’re living in a tech-infused world, we’ll have to make that a canvas laptop bag. The Saxby Messenger Bag fits laptops up to 15” in size, and keeps its precious cargo well-protected by repelling water and dirt. Your soon-to-be graduate will never have to live in fear of a rainy day wrecking their laptop ever again. That’s peace of mind they’ll be sure to appreciate. The Saxby Messenger Bag is selling for $169 on Amazon.