It's the thought behind the gift that matters, but the coolness factor means a lot, too, especially for Father's Day gifts. Check my hand-picked selection below.
Projectors are getting better in design and function. For the most deserving dad who craves the newest projector technology, the Epson Home Cinema LS100 Full HD 3LCD ultra short-throw laser projector ($4,000), is impressive. The ultra short-throw lens makes it unique in that unlike standard noisy projectors that sit in the back of the room on a high shelf or ceiling, the LS00 can sit mere inches away from the screen or wall above it, resting preferably on a low tabletop. Its dark outer shell blends well in the room, and you won't need long cables or worry about shadows or glares across the room. Using Epson laser technology, it features a bright 4,000 lumens of equal colour/white brightness, plus a deep black contrast ratio of up to 2,500,000:1. It projects a Full HD picture up to 10' diagonal, and delivers bright, vivid images, with or without a screen. You have to see the LS100 to appreciate its uniqueness.
If dad travels a lot or likes to switch rooms for his TV viewing, the little ultra-portable LED M1 250 lumens projector from ViewSonic is perfect. He can watch his favourite videos via USB, microSD card, or USB Type C ports, or from the built-in 16GB storage, which can hold up to four hours of movies. The six-hour battery, rated for more than 30,000 hours, and the dual Harman-Kardon speakers pump out good sound. The 854 x 480 resolution works in smaller rooms thanks to the short-throw lens system that projects from one metre. The integrated 360-degree smart stand makes it easy to set up. Weighing less than two pounds, it also sports a headphone jack and remote control. It sells for about $418.55.
On a budget for well-priced quality media products? Check out Scarborough, ON-based Rockstone Audio. The Rockpods True Wireless Earphones ($150) are Bluetooth 4.2, can play three hours of music per charge, and can be recharged using the included carry cradle up to six times per charge to provide 24 hours of audio bliss. They have dual microphones for making and taking calls, are Siri and Google Assistant compatible, and use CVC noise cancelation. With support for HDP, HFP, and A2DP, they are rain- and sweat-resistant. They sound clear with depth and descent bass. They sure look and sound like the more expensive Apple AirPods, and are not only cheaper, but also work with Android phones as well.
The Rockstone Orbit True Wireless Speakers ($70) are very impressive for their size. Encased in a heavy-duty aluminum spherical body, the surprisingly clear and loud 3W speakers have dual microphones for accepting or making calls. The compact charging dock charges both your speakers at the same time, and the included carry pouch is a nice touch. Just picking them up and slowly swinging them around when playing music makes for a cool special audio effect.
For dads with lots of devices to charge in a small space, the NOMAD Wireless Hub ($99.95) is a clean, circular tabletop charger with one wireless charger on top and four ports hidden discretely underneath (three USB A and one USB Type C), accessible through a smartly designed flexible cable routing pass-through. The top wireless charger handles today's fast charging phones while the bottom USB ports handle a wide range of wattage. Five tiny LED lights on the top rim light orange for charging or white when fully charged for each port. They dim automatically in a dark room, making them ideal for bedside charging. They work worldwide.
This next-gen Wireless Chargestand from Ventev ($70) has an adjustable back for all phone sizes in vertical or horizontal mode. The super-fast 15W charger features two inductive wireless charging technologies in one: Qi and Fast Wireless Charging making it compatible for most wireless charging-compatible devices, including the latest iPhones. It also adjusts to older wireless charging phones. Charging is optimal when the adjustable puck aligns with the centre of the back of the phone. The charge puck comes off the stand and can lie flat for minimal space. Smart.
The Olympus Tough TG-5 ($509.99) adventure 4K camera has a 4X wide optical fast zoom 4.5-180mm 1:2.0-4.9 lens that is built to last. Waterproof to 15m, crushproof to 100 kgf, shockproof from 2.1 m, freezeproof to -10°C, and dustproof, its impressive stats include extreme macro mode and GPS tracking of your trips, the information of which can later be attached with each photo you share. When combined with the optional telephoto Tough lens TCON-T01 ($129.98), fisheye Tough lens FCON-T01 ($139.98), and ring light LG-1 ($35), it becomes the equivalent of a 13X zoom lens that will survive any photo adventure.
Ventev makes a great selection of car phone chargers to meet dad's needs while on the go, accommodating Lightning, USB C and micro-USB. I like the dashport r2400c, which features a permanent Type C coiled cable up to 3A (15W) and a standard 1A (5W) USB port for older phones.
The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean electric-toothbrush ($289) adds a level of sophistication to dad's teeth cleaning apparatus with a sleek black finish that will potentially match with other personal care items he might have, like his hairbrush and shaver. Using Bluetooth technology, the companion app gives dad real-time feedback and personalized coaching, helping him to identify problem areas, and set oral healthcare goals. It'll even allow dad to send data straight to his dentist! Brush heads feature intelligent microchip recognition technology, setting the right speed and time automatically when inserted. A pressure sensor will visually alert dad when too much pressure is applied, to help protect his gums and enamel.