It's the thought that counts when gifting for Father's Day, not the amount. Here are my picks, from smart media and computing accessories to clever gadgets for any budget.
If Dad shoots a lot with his smartphone, this gadget is for him. The Adonit PhotoGrip ($39) magically frees up your creative horizons by converting any phone to a real camera feel with a photo grip and shutter button. No more screen tapping. Just hold the phone up securely with one hand and shoot. You are dependant on the phone's autofocus, but your left hand is free to tap more settings while you shoot, including selective focus. Perfect! The rechargeable Bluetooth shutter is removable for taking pictures remotely from creative venues. Your phone with PhotoGrip can stand on its side at a slight backward tilt, perfect for selfies. It comes with an attached mini version of Adonit's Precision Stylus for more accurate screen tapping, especially handy for photo applications. A shoulder camera pouch is also included, along with a tripod. A bulkier version, the Adonit PhotoGrip Qi ($80) has a larger handle and a built-in 3,000mAh battery for keeping your phone charged.
Plugable SSD USB Stick Case
There are USB sticks and then there's Plugable's USB-C NVMe SSD Enclosure ($80) with unlimited storage capacities, even Terabytes. Slightly longer than a cigarette lighter, the Plugable is a small case that takes tiny NVMe M.2 form factor SSD stick gum-size memory sticks, commonly used inside today's desktop and laptop PCs. These SSDs come in 128GB to 8TB (yes, Terabytes) capacities. You can easily switch capacities by inserting any make NVMe SSD M.2 stick with exceptional speed performance from USB-C ports on Windows or Mac PCs with the included USB cables. Unlike other makes, the Plugable has advanced thermal management to maximize performance and device lifespan, keeping temperatures down during extensive reads/writes. It's also tool-free, featuring a spring load design for inserting and removing the thin SSD stick. As memory gets cheaper, you can grow capacities to meet your needs. For example, the Crucial 500GB 3D NAND NVMe ($86) or XPGSX6000 Pro NVMe 1TB ($150) bring computer storage capacities via USB that fit in your shirt pocket.
Logitech Craft Keyboard
The Logitech Craft Keyboard ($200) impresses right out of the box with special features like the tactile aluminum Crown dial. It let's you get more out of applications by tapping the dial to change a function and turning to select each function's values (a download of Logitech Options on Mac OS X or Windows is required.) Customize the Crown for use with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premium Pro, InDesign, and Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and more. The matte surface keys have a large area and spherical dishing for quiet precision typing. Backlit keys light up automatically when your hands are near and adjust to suit changing lighting conditions, with Bluetooth and USB connectivity options.
Logitech MX Master 2S Mouse
Accuracy, functionality and looks define the Logitech MX Master 2S ($100) with a 4,000 DPI Darkfield high precision sensor with impeccable control on practically anything, from a glass table to a high-gloss surface (4mm minimum thickness.) The hand-sculpted contour supports your hand and wrist comfortably and is easy to grip, while well-positioned buttons and wheels are easy to get to. The smart speed-adaptive scroll wheel allows for fast scrolling through long documents and webpages and auto-shifts from click-to-click to hyper-fast scroll. You can scroll from side-to-side with a stroke of your thumb. Now this is cool: Logitech FLOW technology lets you seamlessly control up to three computers with one mouse and copy/paste text, images and files among them. Quickly power your mouse for a full day's work in just three minutes, or enjoy up to 70 days battery life on a full charge.
SOUL ST-XS2 True Wireless Earphones
The first thing dad will notice on the second generation SOUL ST-XS2 true wireless earphones (US$100) is the amazing sound, from rich bass to clear highs. The second thing dad will like is the five-hour playtime and a total 25 hours with the compact travel charge case. The third thing dad will appreciate is the seamless, no-fuss Bluetooth v5.0 pairing with his phone. With time, dad will notice the ST-XS2 durability boasting IPX7 waterproof rating, during any and all workouts and activities, maintaining durability in up to three feet of water. Available in four vibrant colors - matte black, pure white, navy blue, and sakura pink - they all feature a comfortably snug C-shaped ear hook design by Freebit with interchangeable ear tips. The ST-XS2 uses USB-C technology, enabling faster charging. A transparent audio option mode allows background sounds to penetrate through the earbuds, providing increased awareness of surroundings for safe listening no matter where dad is. The ST-XS2 also ties in with your phone functions.
Edifier W860NB ANC Noise Canceling Headphones
If dad is looking to escape noises - at home or travel - the Edifier W860NB ($236) offers great bang for your buck. The round-the-ear noise cancelling with ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) ‘phones have a great bass response tapering off to a flat line all the way to the top. Bluetooth 4.1 ensures no interruptions from nearby phones, and you get up to 25 hours of playback with ANC (45 hours without ANC). I particularly like the smart touch controls on the entire side of the shell, making it easy to change volume and adjust playback. In addition to the Bluetooth, the NFC connection makes pairing with NFC-compatible devices painless. The sturdy clamshell features a sealed zipper. One cool option: you have the choice of choosing phone call options using the multifunction press key or the touch screen.
Epson Home Cinema 1060 1080p 3LCD Projector
If dad likes the big screen at home, check out the Home Cinema 1060 1080p 3LCD Projector ($800). With a wide screen Full HD display, it's compatible with smartphones and streaming sticks. It's surprisingly bright, on any wall and features horizontal image correction and built-in speaker making it a one piece portable big-screen media playback centre. These projection numbers impress: the Full HD resolution displays up to the equivalent of a 300" screen, with life-sized images up to 25X larger than a 60" flat panel using 3LCD 3-chip technology. That's a huge man cave for dad!
Huawei P30 Smartphone
The newest Huawei P30 Pro got all the publicity, but if $1,190 is over your Father's Day gift budget, then check out its sibling, the P30, for $940, a $250 saving. You still get most of the P30 Pro DNA, including partner Leica's photography smarts like just as clear pictures from the Super Wide 16mm equiv. to near optical zoom 5X quality and beyond. The incredibly sharp f1.8 40MP standard wide-angle lens is there too, as is the best Night Mode in the industry. The P30 also has Huawei's most powerful processing chips. The FHD + 2340 X 1080 OLED 6.1" screen actually has a higher DPI and the fast in-screen fingerprint scanner is still there. What makes the P30 more affordable? It's secondary stuff like 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, a NanoSD card slot and the 22.5W SuperCharge 3650mAh battery...more bragging rights than competitor devices that sell for under $1,000 phones. The P30 has an Ingress protection of IP53 compared to the P30 Pro's 68. This means it can handle water spray but no dunking in three feet of water.
Nite Ize Steelie Orbiter Windshield-Mount Kit
If dad likes to mount his phone on any smooth flat surface including windshields, then the Nite Ize Steelie Orbiter Windshield-Mount Kit ($52.50) is perfect and built to last. It features a large, but dependable cam-operated suction cup at the base of the 4-1/2" aluminum arm. A simple lever and a locking hinge adjusts the arm's projection above the mounting surface. A steel ball at the tip of the arm provides a secure attachment point for a magnetic socket, which clings to a thin steel disc mounted on the back of your device (or its rigid case) using a strong peel-and-stick backing. Despite my erratic driving on country roads, the phone never dislodged.
Nite Ize Wraptor Smartphone Holder
The Nite Ize Wraptor Smartphone Holder ($25) keeps mobile devices close at hand while you're on the go, mounting securely to any bar or post from 5/8" to 1-1/2" in diameter, such as on a shopping cart, stroller, or bicycle. Its long elastomer bands stretch to hold the device securely without restricting your view of the screen. The holder's rigid mount rotates 360° so you can view your screen in portrait or landscape orientation. Smart!
Check out more gift ideas for dad in our Ultimate Father's Day Gift Guide.