Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
A guy opening a present

Dads in Lockdown: the 2021 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is a little different this year for much of Australia’s population, likely taking place in lockdown. So find something to put a smile on dad’s face when they wake up.

Despite 2021 being a whole new year and clearly not whatever 2020 was, the back half of it has turned into something else. If you’re living on the east coast of Australia, there’s a good chance you and your parents are in lockdown, either living together or apart, the latter of which means you’re probably not seeing them.

There are things we can all do, and regular calls and video chats can help make things a little easier, but if you want to keep your father a little happier throughout these times, a present on September 5 to let him know you care might just do it, even remotely. And those Father’s Day 2021 presents could be something he can use in lockdown, whether he’s focused on the time he can have outside exercising, the time he has inside the home, or the time he’s trying to keep entertained, like we all are.

Ideas for a fit-focused Dad

One of the things you can still do in lockdown is fitness, reserving that hour or two of your time dependent on where you are, letting you get out and exercising.

There are plenty of gadgets out there to make exercising a little nicer, whether it’s providing a way to listen to tunes while you move about, or even do some tracking of those ever important health vitals.

Ag TWS04K earphones

Price: $199

A brand neither you or your dad has probably heard of could just solve a problem for them: how do you find a pair of wireless earphones that almost always never needs a charge?

That’s what Japanese brand Ag offers in its first truly wireless earphones, the TWS04K, which has a technical name but an otherwise great sound and remarkable battery life, capable of hitting up to a week of close to non-stop use, or a month for most people. They may well be the answer to the question “how do I find earphones with a bit of sweat resistance that have the best battery life ever”.

JBL Live Pro+ noise cancelling earphones

Price: $250

There’s no shortage of ways to block out noise from the outside world — hands on your ears, turning up the sound of rain — but it can be especially useful when you’re trying to create a bubble of sound to wrap yourself in while you exercise.

If you know a dad in need of a bubble during one of his famous runs, but also one that doesn’t necessarily like a big pair of headphones to make it happen, JBL might have the answer in the Live Pro+, a pair of sweat resistant earphones built to block out the world and turn the sound up.

Bose Frames Tenor

Bose Frames Tenor

Price: $399

A pair of earphones unlike any other, the Bose Frames can feel like they’re focused specifically on people who don’t like fuss: they’re a pair of sunglasses that have earphones and speakers built directly inside.

It means your Dad can go for a run with a gadget that protects his eyes and still feeds him music very, very easily, all while keeping the phone in their pocket.

Withings ScanWatch

Price: $499

The first wearable in Australia to get an approval to use an ECG function is also one wearable that won’t feel like a smartwatch, because it doesn’t look like one at all.

Rather, the Withings ScanWatch offers a look more like a traditional analogue watch with the smarts of a smartwatch, and some really great health tech under the hood as well. It’s a great combination with a solid battery life that also happens to look nice on the wrist, too.

Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6 reviewed

Price: from $599

Set for an upgrade in the next month but still good now, if your dad owns an iPhone, the Apple Watch might be a way to get him more interested in his health as he exercises.

The wearable offers quite a bit in the way of health monitoring, including heart rate, ECG, and can work with the Apple Fitness+ app, making it possible to do a bunch of workouts at home in front on an Apple TV, iPhone, or iPad.

Ideas for Dad at home

At home, your parentals might be looking for a new gadget for the bedside or kitchen, or maybe a way to have fun with cameras. Fortunately, there are a few gadgets for home, as well.

HPM USB Charging Hub

HPM USB charger

Price: $99

One of the more unique desk-friendly gadgets we’ve seen available, HPM’s charging hub offers a quick way to charge devices over three methods: wired USB Type A (the old USB), wired USB Type C (the new one), and wireless, all in the one box.

It’ll connect to a standard figure-eight cable and is powered on and off, charging up to 60 watts at once over six devices, working with phones that handle the Qi wireless standard (which is every iPhone from the iPhone 8 onwards), plus everything else over the number of USB ports.

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock

Price: $99

Not quite an alarm clock, but not far off, if you have a dad that’s keen to keep time but wants to update to something modern, the Echo Dot might be the ticket to that.

A small speaker with voice control, the Echo Dot with Clock provides sound and the time in a tiny package, and serves as an intro to the world of the smart home.

Google Nest Hub

Google Nest Hub 2021 reviewed

Price: $149

The next step up from a smarter alarm clock might be a smart display, and the 2021 Google Nest Hub may well be one of the best approaches here.

Sitting pretty at seven inches, the Nest Hub is a smart display that can show pictures, videos, the news, weather, and even be used to track your sleep, making it ideal for the bedside, or even just brought into the kitchen as a digital photo frame.

Ring Video Doorbell 4

Ring Video Doorbell 4

Price: $329

We probably won’t be expecting guests until well after Father’s Day, unless you’re somewhere not actually in lockdown, but when that happens, Ring’s Video Doorbell could give Dad an idea of who’s there from his phone.

It’s something we’ve checked out in the original version, the first Ring Video Doorbell, which provided a way to let you not only talk to who was in front of your door (friends, family, delivery drivers, etc), but also worked as a security system to tell you if anyone came around when you weren’t there.

In the latest model, you get a colour pre-roll video to tell you what happened before someone dropped by — so it’s always recording — with a battery pack that means you don’t have to wire the doorbell in if the home is being rented. Handy.

Dyson V15 Detect Absolute Extra

Dyson V15 Detect

Price: $1499

Buying a vacuum for a Father’s Day present might seem a little strange, but if you’re looking for a gift for someone who loves to make sure their home is properly clean, it might be hard to look past the V15 Detect.

Taking “clean” to an entirely new level, the Dyson V15 Detect includes a little sensor to count all the dust particles you’re picking up, and then tells you how much dust you’ve picked up. It’s kind of crazy, but still a form of proof to let you know that yes, the home is clean. So there.

Ideas to Entertain Dad

Keeping a dad entertained is always nice, especially if it’s something they can tell you about. Movies, music, photography, and more, if there’s a chance they can have some fun, it seems like it’ll be a good idea, and these gadgets can do just that.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

Fujifilm Instax Mini

Price: $169

Digital cameras are great, but we all have them. Fujifilm’s response to that is with a bit of fun: a camera that delivers the printed pictures almost like that from the 70s.

Your dad might recall Polaroid photos from yesteryear, and the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 delivers quick print-outs of fun occasions in much the same way, allowing for those fun moments to be recalled whenever.

Sonos Roam

Price: $279

Needing to be entertained can feel like the sort of thing that happens inside the home, but it doesn’t have to be. It could be the backyard, the verandah, and any place provided you have something you can take to those locations.

The Sonos Roam packs in a lot of sound with a waterproof design, and includes a battery good for a good eight to ten hours depending on where you use it. And if your dad already has a Sonos system, he can integrate this speaker quickly and wirelessly like the rest of the Sonos speakers.

NuraTrue earphones

NuraTrue earphones

Price: $299

Offering noise cancellation and a personal sound, Nura’s NuraTrue earphones are a taste of something a little bit different, and handy for the dad keen to listen to his own thoughts or his favourite tunes.

The NuraTrue earphones use the power of science to create a personalised sound that works for a listener’s ears best, and deliver one of the more unique earphone experiences around, and are much comfier than some of what’s come out of Nura in the past.

Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones

Sony WH-1000XM4

Price: $449

Easily the best noise cancelling headphones to date, Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones are a pair hard to go past for a dad keen to just listen to his music and drown out the world.

Sony’s efforts in noise cancellation have been growing over the past five years, but the XM4 are more or less the best you can find, while the headphones deliver some of the warmest sound you can find from a pair of thoroughly comfy headphones.

Apple AirPods Max

The back of the AirPods Max

Price: $899

Uncompromising in style and arriving with some of the most unique headphone internal design we’ve seen in years, Apple’s AirPods Max are a pair for someone who wants a benchmark pair of noise cancelling headphones to go with their iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

Apple’s take on the wireless noise cancelling headphone world is a big pair built more like a proper loudspeaker, allowing the sound to be driven so well that you won’t pick up on fuzz. In many ways, the AirPods Max can feel like they’re focused on audiophiles — specifically, people who love music immensely and want nothing more than to hear it in the best quality possible.

If that’s your dad, you may well know what to do.

TCL Nxtwear G

Price: $899

One of the more unusual gadgets this year, TCL’s Nxtwear G is ideal for a dad keen to escape, something that may well be especially useful this year.

The gadget looks like a pair of sunglasses, but it throws two small LED screens next to the eyes to trick the brain into seeing a 140 inch cinema screen, meaning the big screen can come to a single head, all from a pair of sunnies.

The downside of the Nxtwear G is that it’s not built for iPhone owners as it needs a device with a USB Type C connection, so you might want to bundle it with an Android phone, iPad Pro, or check if your dad has a recent laptop, too.

Logitech G923 TrueForce Racing Wheel

Logitech G923

Price: $599

We’re not exactly going anywhere at the moment — thanks, coronavirus — but if your dad has a game console and misses the feel of driving in the outside, you can get him halfway there with a controller that fills in the blanks.

They’ll need an Xbox or PlayStation (or a Windows PC), but with the Logitech G923, there’s an aluminium, steel, and leather steering wheel and pedal system, plus force-feedback to feel the bumps on the road and the crash when they hopefully don’t spin out. There’s a massive assortment of games the controller is compatible with, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get dad driving on a virtual road using this one.

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