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7 Father’s Day gifts for gadget geeks

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/05/15/55/15VuDC.Em.138.jpeg|316
    Handout - Innergie/MCT
    Innergie’s Lifehub USB charging hub has something many similar devices do not have: a cord to reach more than nine feet from its power source.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/05/15/55/11NfeZ.Em.138.jpeg|316
    Handout - MCT
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/05/15/55/yfxIk.Em.138.jpeg|177
    HANDOUT - MCT
    The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 has a 12-inch HD display and up to 8 GB of RAM.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/05/15/55/11A1TV.Em.138.jpeg|373
    Handout - Pelican/MCT
    The Pelican Watertight Hard Travel Case with Wheels boasts more than 2,000 square inches of storage space. This model also has built-in compartments for a laptop and its accompanying accessories.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/05/15/55/lwjdH.Em.138.jpeg|210
    - A2B
    The Kuo electric bike has a max speed of about 15 mph. It folds down for transport in an optional bag.

More Information

  • Choosing the right gift

    • Duct tape, cracks and other signs of a long-overdue product replacement are good clues for finding a gift that fills a need.

    • Gifts that make regular duties easier also might be appreciated. Maybe automation can help. Review your dad’s to-do list for ideas, especially if there are tasks that inspire frustration.

    • If he’s shy about technology, make a casual stop at a tech shop with your dad just to browse. You might learn more about his interests and comfort level with automation. That could help you choose the right gift.



Technology gives us lots of new options for Father’s Day gifts – so much, in fact that it can be difficult to choose. But if you’re still living in a world with flip phones and cameras that use rolls of film, you could use a quick primer before you shop.

These items fall into some of the basic categories for popular personal devices and accessories.

Power lines

Innergie’s Lifehub USB charging hub has something many similar devices do not have: a cord to reach more than 9 feet from its power source. When you add the reach of the included AC power adapter, you get another 4.9 feet, giving you a total of more than 14 feet of extended power. This enables those needing a boost of power to avoid being confined to a seat beside an AC plug.

You get three high-powered (2.1 amp) USB ports to charge any variety of portable electronic gadgets simultaneously. A cable management system is built into the hub for storage. $55 at www.myinnergie.com.

Dress up your work space with the 3-pound, solid steel Grove Dock for iPhone 4 to 5/5s. The dock has storage for your charging cable, which you can use while your phone is docked. All your phone functions are accessible when plugged in, and there are rubber bumpers on the bottom to prevent any surface scratching. The steel base comes in black or plated silver or with a wood cover that is available in bamboo, walnut or maple. $79 for bamboo or $99 for maple or walnut, at http://grovemade.com.

Smart transportation

The Kuo electric bike from A2B is for the person who wants energy-efficient transportation, especially in the city. This bike assists when you pedal, up to about 15 mph, but you can go faster without that feature. A throttle lets you cruise without pedaling. You can fold the aluminum-frame bike when you reach your destination or when you pack for travel. The bike weighs about 40 pounds. Recharge the lithium-ion battery by plugging into a standard outlet. $1,399 at www.wearea2b.com/us.

Protective shells

Pelican is known for making high-performance cases that are watertight, crush-proof and dust-proof, which has made them popular with firefighters, police and military people. The Overnight Case is one of them. Cases can be ordered with Velcro dividers for a laptop and its accompanying accessories, or you can get it with foam inserts that hold items you need to carry. Once everything is stored, close the latches, pull out the retractable extension handle and start rolling. $249 at www.pelican.com.

Chime in

Moov Mic turns your favorite headphones into a full headset by adding a flexible and positionable boom microphone. Use it for wireless calls, Skype or even gaming. You’ll need headphones with a half-inch diameter port to connect the Moov Mic’s magnet. Plug them together and you’re all set. The mic has a windscreen to help with sound clarity. $19.95 at http://headsetbuddy.com.

Is it a tablet or PC?

Microsoft hopes to change the conversation about tablets versus PCs with its new Surface 3 Pro, an extra-large tablet that’s designed to be a true laptop replacement. Designer Panos Panay noted that three years ago everyone expected tablets to replace laptops. That hasn’t happened because people still need laptops to really get any work done.

This device’s signature hinge is now variable so it can be tilted farther back, and the snap-on keyboard/cover now has a stronger magnet that more firmly locks onto the tablet when it’s used on a lap. The Surface Pro 3 has a 12-inch diagonal screen, weighs 1.76 pounds and is 0.36 inches thick. It runs on fourth-generation Intel Core processors, from models i3 to i7. Prices range from $799 to $1,949, with storage options from 64 gigabytes to 512 gigabytes. The new Type cover costs $130 and a docking station is $200.

Old-school, new-school mix

Soundfreaq’s Sound Rise wireless speaker and alarm clock is designed for your nightstand. Charge and dock any brand of wireless device using your USB cable, or plug into the USB port for bedtime reading, texting or other uses. Audio is streamed into the system with Bluetooth 4.0. There’s also an aux-in port for a wired connection and a backup battery compartment to keep the clock running in the event of a power failure. Set the time in 12- or 24-hour settings, and you’re ready to set up snoozing and the two alarms. An FM radio is built in if you want to go old school with the presets. $59 (in black or wood/taupe finishes) at www.soundfreaq.com.

Compiled with reports from Gregg Ellman (greggellman@mac.com), as well as a report from Brier Dudley of The Seattle Times.

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