You love your dad, but let's be honest: he's not the easiest guy to shop for. He loves tech, for sure, but he's particular. If he needs something, he usually buys it right away.
But 2015 also brought tons of great gadgets that he may not know he really wants. If you have yet to figure out what to buy, here are eight of the best tech gadgets to check out for dad this holiday season.
For A Smarter Home - The Nest Learning Thermostat $249
If dad likes the idea of using tech to save money on energy, it may be time to upgrade the heating controls with the Nest Learning Thermostat.
Like most heating and cooling controls, users can make on-the-fly temperature changes. But over the course of a week of use the Nest can remember exactly what temperatures you like and program its settings accordingly. When you’re not home it can automatically switch into auto-away mode, which turns itself down to help save on energy costs. Alternatively, it can also be controlled remotely by smartphone or tablet as long as it’s connected to a Wi-Fi network.
For The Shower Rock Star - Ultimate Ears Roll Portable Bluetooth Speaker $99.99
If your dad loves singing in the shower, give him some accompanying music with the UE Roll from Ultimate Ears. The Bluetooth speaker packs loud booming sound in a compact package and comes with a handy bungee to attach or hang it just about anywhere. Not to mention it’s IPX7 rated waterproof, so it can survive splashes of water and even submersion for 30 minutes at a depth of about one meter. And if he’s looking for more sound and additional UE roll can be paired via Bluetooth.
For The (Remote) Control Freak - Logitech Harmony Elite $349.99
Dads with a huge entertainment system can use a solid universal remote such as the Harmony Elite to declutter the mess of controls strewn across the coffee table. It’s easy to setup: either plug the remote into a computer to program it or connect to it with its companion Harmony iOS and Android apps. The app can also turn your smartphone into an additional remote in a pinch.
Once programmed, the Harmony Elite simplifies the power-on process through various activity shortcuts, which triggers the devices needed at any given time. Shortcuts for Netflix or dad’s favorite TV show can be accessed right from the remote’s touch screen and it also supports Bluetooth enabled devices such as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. If your dad also has connected appliances such as Nest thermostats, Philips Hue and Insteon home automation products, he can also control lighting and other home appliances from the remote as well.
For The Beer Connoisseur - Fizzics Beer System $169.99
Sure, dad can pop open a can or bottle of beer and call it a day. But if he’s the drinker that prefers the taste of beer straight from the tap, the Fizzics Beer System can nearly replicate it -- without the need for a separate carbon dioxide canister or dedicated kegerator. Just place a beer into the device, pull the tap towards you for the initial pour and push it away for the beer head created by high-frequency sound waves. Since it’s powered by AA batteries, there’s nothing to plug in and it can fit most cans and bottles -- even 64 ounce growlers.
For The Pilot In Training - Parrot Airborne Cargo MiniDrone $99.99
Dads that are looking to go airborne can get a taste of piloting the skies with a multicopter such as this Parrot MiniDrone. It comes equipped with a 640x480 camera, can perform aerobatic flips and also comes with compartments to store small objects. The Parrot MiniDrone can be controlled remotely using the FreeFlight 3 app on iOS and Android smartphones and Tablets and a 25 minute charge will typically yield nine minutes of flight time.
While a drone can be fun gift, you may also want to point your dad towards the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s website, which contains rules that cover how and where drones can legally be flown.
For The Fitness Lover - Withings Activité Steel $169.95
Feature-wise, the Activité Steel doesn't change anything from the Pop. It tracks sleep, measures steps and tells time. But this time, it's in a far more attractive package with a sleek stainless steel casing. The main appear of the Activité is the step counter permanently attached to your wrist: the dial measures up to 10,000 steps daily, the amount recommended by the World Health Organization. The watch connects via Bluetooth to the smartphone, keeping a record of every day's activity. The main benefit is being able to constantly see the current step count. Integrated with the watch face, it serves as a constant reminder to get up and actually do some walking about.
For The Cocktail Connoisseur - Perfect Drink Pro ($99.99)
Perfect Drink Pro is nothing short of genius. The app walks through various cocktail recipes step-by-step, with a Bluetooth-enabled scales measuring how much of each ingredient has been poured. Place a glass on the scales, connect an Android or iOS device and the app will ding to say when to stop pouring. The box even comes with a tablet stand and cocktail shaker for the complete cocktail experience. Guests need never find out whether or not the host can actually make cocktails, as the Perfect Drink keeps it under wraps. The name's Drink, Perfect Drink.
For the TV Addict - Apple TV 32GB $149
The new version of Apple's streaming box does it all. A new app store provides games, a new Siri remote packs in a touchpad, and optional game controllers turn this into an all-in-one gaming machine. Asking Siri mid-film "what did they say" will reverse the video a few seconds and turn on subtitles temporarily. TvOS support for Bluetooth headphones means disturbance-free watching for both listener and the rest of the house. The updated remote can even switch on the TV and control the volume, meaning no more hunting for the remote.