A standard Father’s Day gift not long ago might have been a tie, a golf hat or maybe a jazz CD.
We can do so much better.
New technologies are out there to make almost any interest or hobby a little more fun, whether the diversion is golf, music, photography or something else.
Fair warning, though: We found so many cool gifts that any of them might draw the envy of the grad you’re also shopping for.
If you want to spring for a new tablet computer but think the iPad is too commonplace, consider the VivoTab Smart from Asus. This tablet has a vivid, 10.1-inch display, gives you plenty of social networking apps and runs on the Windows 8 operating system, which will help with more demanding applications.
I’m not totally in love with Windows 8 and its new interface for regular computing, but it is slick for tablet use. The response in swiping from one application to the next is lightning-fast and intuitive.
VivoTab Smart comes with a thin, wireless keyboard and a sleeve that doubles as a stand for the tablet. It has a powerful Intel processor and Bluetooth.
One of the best features is the camera, which has an impressive F/2.2 aperture lens for low-light shooting. The sample images I took with it easily trumped my 8-megapixel smartphone photos. ($500, AsusTek Computer Inc.)
← If you’re shopping for someone with a hearty guitar habit, hand him (or her) the StompLab 2G sound effects pedal with preset sounds.
Guitar pedals can give an electric guitar a crisp jazz sound as opposed to the distortion of grunge music. But it usually takes several pedals to cover the range of styles.
StompLab offers dozens of effects with just one pedal. Press on it and use dials and knobs to choose the effect – rock, blues, metal and variations of each with the proper tone. The heavy metal overdrive effects are the best. ($90, 2G, Vox Amplification Ltd.)
↑ Shine a light where you need it most with a portable, clip-on lamp. This one has 11 LED lights, rotates and runs on AA batteries. Attach it to a keyboard, bookshelf or worktable, or use the flip-out legs. It shuts off automatically after two hours. ($24.99 from Quirky.)
HoldFast Ruck Strap
↑ These hand-crafted leather and cotton camera straps are tough and good-looking. HoldFast also sells a simple leather leash that can be affixed to the tripod screw hole in the base of most DSLRs and compact cameras. (Ruck Strap $150 and leather leash $45, HoldFast LLC.)
→ Those who are fond of tech gadgetry can benefit from having a dependable way to keep their devices powered up. The PowerFlask is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with USB ports for charging as many as three devices at a time. It’s also small enough to keep in your pocket. ($90, Digital Treasures)
→ This docking station keeps your devices handy as they recharge. The curved shape creates a storage area for cables for devices such as smartphones, which recharge from a bottom connection, and cameras, which often recharge from a side connection. The dock has four USB outlets. ($39.95 from Quirky.)
→ Clip it onto a golf glove and let it analyze your swing. It measures speed, plane and arc. The information is then transmitted with Bluetooth technology to a phone or a tablet, where the results are stored in an app that is available for Apple and Android smartphones. GolfSense’s tempo data offers a visual look at where the player’s swing is too fast and unwieldy. ($130, GolfSense Inc.)
↑ It’s a plastic iPhone 5 cover with a fold-over leather card case attached to its back. Flip open the card case and you’ve got two credit cards slots on one side and a clear window for a driver’s license or other ID card on the other side. ($34.99 from Quirky.)
→ If your dad is still using phones or point-and-shoot cameras, splurge on the Nikon D7100. You’ll be giving him an upgrade to a full-powered, interchangeable-lens camera commonly known as a DSLR, for digital single-lens reflex.
Unlike a point-and-shoot, this one has a 51-point auto-focus system and a 24-megapixel sensor. When he’s ready, the camera’s manual mode will give him a more powerful range of settings.
The D7100 also shoots high-definition video at 1,920 by 1,080 pixels. Other notable features include dual SD memory card slots, solid stereo sound recording and an HDMI-out port for viewing captured images and video on a TV or other large screen. ($1,600 with the 18-105 millimeter kit lens or $1,200 for the body only, Nikon Corp.)
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less