Holiday Gift Guide 2012: For Dad

Holiday time is time to make everyone feel appreciated. That includes the big guy. Dads come in all shapes and sizes, with all kinds of zany hobbies that children desperately try to keep hidden from their social circles. Luckily for you, holiday gifts come in all shapes and sizes, too. Poking around Amazon is bound to result in smiles when it comes time to open up gifts. We’re here to help give you that initial push with some of the best tech gifts for dads this holiday season. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find that perfect something. If not, happy trails on your wanderings through the Amazon retail forest.

Swingbyte Golf Training Device

Dad slices the Thanksgiving turkey? Awesome! Dad slices your birthday cake? Everyone’s happy! Dad slices his drive for the umpteenth time? Fewer smiles. The Swingbyte Golf Training Device is a small sensor that can be attached to a golf club while (critically) not adding too much additional weight – wouldn’t want dad’s new toy to be part of the problem. Instead, it can be the solution to what ails dad’s golf game, by sending data to a smartphone app, which is broken down by analytics programs. The device and app also keep track of swing tendencies over the long term, to give dad a better idea of what parts of his swing he needs to tweak. With any luck, dad’s handicap (and blood pressure) will start falling in no time. The Swingbyte Golf Training Device can be purchased at AT&T stores for about $149.

Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset

“Great.” you might be thinking. “Another Bluetooth headset.” Well, the Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset manages to be a little bit more than the average headset. Calls can be answered or sent to voicemail using voice commands, and the triple mic amplifies the wearer’s voice while minimizing background noise. The more-than-meets-the-eye status of this headset is secured by the Vocalyst service, which comes free for the first year with the purchase of the headset. Vocalyst allows users to post to Facebook, check email, or record reminders all by using voice commands and hearing the results through the headset. The Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset is available now for a little under $100 and it can be purchased at AT&T stores.

Western Digital TV Live Hub Media Center

Smart TVs are expensive. That, and you know what, your old television probably still works. It’d be a waste to get rid of it. Instead, improve your television’s IQ with the Western Digital TV Live Hub Media Center. Like Roku or Apple TV, this device is a set-top box that brings Internet-based media onto your not-so-smart television, although you will have to connect this one to the Internet with an ethernet cord, or buy a separate Wi-Fi adapter. Once you have it set up, you can enjoy all the serivces you would access on a smart TV, like Netflix and Blockbuster on Demand, along with your own personal media – the device manages to pack in a 1 TB hard drive just for that purpose. What does all that mean for dad? It means that he can kick back with his old, familiar TV, and watch whatever he wants to watch, whenever he wants to watch it. Not a bad deal. The Western Digital TV Live Hub Media Center can be homeward bound for about $170.

iRobot Looj Gutter Cleaning Robot

All you need to say is robot, and you probably have dad sold on whatever it is. Tell him that it will save him from the job of gutter cleaning, and he’s going to be jumping all over the place like the Nintendo 64 kid. The latest robot helper from iRobot is the outdoors type. The Looj Gutter Cleaning Robot is a small robot with a large rotating brush designed to fit in most gutters. The robot can be carried on a belt hook while dad ascends the ladder. Then, dad can stick the Looj in the gutter, detach the handle, and use the handle as a remote control – Looj can be used in automatic or manual modes. The Looj then powers through the leaves, bugs, and who knows what lurking in gutters, reducing a nightmarish, day-long job involving many trips up and down the ladder into something that will maybe take a half hour. Given how awful the job of cleaning gutters is, this is about as close to a sure thing as you’re going to get when it comes to holiday gifts for dads. Dad’s robot savior, the tough, waterproof iRobot Looj Gutter Cleaning Robot, can start powering through your home’s dingy gutters for $300 off the iRobot website.

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