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Technology

8 fun gadget gift ideas for Father’s Day if you have a tech-loving dad

For dads on the move, at the office, in the gym or just sitting on the couch, here are some great practical gadget ideas for last-minutes shoppers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 June, 2018, 8:32pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 July, 2018, 7:26pm

Father’s Day is fast approaching and for those who have yet to get a gift, fret not – there are plenty of practical, fun and affordable gadgets on the market to suit dads of all ages. Here are eight suggestions.

The fun-loving dad: Mi Robot Builder

Help dad unwind after a stressful day at work with the Mi Robot Builder, a hi-tech toy with almost a thousand pieces that assembles into a movable robot. Courtesy of two high-speed brushless motors, the two wheels move it around while maintaining perfect balance – even when supporting up to three kilograms in weight.

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At the heart of the Mi Robot Builder is a 32-bit central controller with up to 12 hours of battery life. Four USB type-C ports let you recharge it and interface with other components. Drive the assembled robot wirelessly using your smartphone, or program it through a modular graphic programming interface using drag and drop.

The kit comes with a thick colour guide on assembling the robot, and you can access instructions to build other templates online. Xiaomi says it will offer even more in the future.

Price: HK$699

The health-conscious dad: Fitbit Versa

The Fitbit Versa is the latest fitness tracker that relies on your smartphone’s GPS for a sleeker and more refined form factor that dad will love. With a bright colour touch screen and slim anodised aluminium body, it is lightweight and looks great at the gym or the office.

As with other Fitbit products, the Versa delivers close to five days of battery life and the clock face can be changed using the Fitbit app. A new USB charging cradle grips the Versa tightly when in use, and an improved locking mechanism makes it easy to change the accessory band – the package comes with basic straps in two different sizes.

And yes, dad can also play his favourite workout songs directly from the Versa to his Bluetooth headphones.

Price: HK$1,798

The gaming dad: Razer Atheris

If occasional gaming is dad’s cup of tea, then perhaps the Razer Atheris will fit the bill.

With its high-resolution 7,200 DPI optical sensor, the mobile mouse offers extreme accuracy and control over both spreadsheets and headshots. Its pocket-sized body and light weight makes it ideal for work trips.

A hardware switch under the mouse lets you toggle between Bluetooth wireless mode or 2.4Ghz by plugging in the USB dongle stowed in the battery compartment. Razer claims that the adaptive frequency technology of the 2.4GHz mode lets your mouse maintain a solid connection even in crowded offices or venues with many wireless devices. A pair of batteries gives 300 hours of continuous use.

Price: HK$399

The clued-in dad: Google Home MiniThe capabilities offered by the Home Mini, a smart speaker with Google Assistant built in, are too many to list. But let’s just say it can handle basic arithmetic, or help check out the exchange rate before heading to the airport.

The best thing about the Home Mini is how it can be used by the whole family. Indeed, Google’s “Voice Match” technology will differentiate between users, ensuring that reminders and schedules don’t get mixed up among family members.

Google Home shines when paired with smart devices around your house, so you may want to consider getting the TP-Link Smart Plug below, too.

Price: HK$458 (Expansys)

The smart-home-obsessed dad: TP-Link Smart PlugEver stepped out of your apartment and then turned back because you couldn’t remember if you switched off some electrical appliance at home? The TP-Link Smart Plug can help take away the stress of not knowing by letting you check from your smartphone.

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The Smart Plug plugs into an existing wall socket and has its own power plug for your electrical appliances. The device connects wirelessly to your home Wi-fi network, and can be controlled using the physical button on the plug, or through TP-Link’s free Kasa app.

You don’t have to worry about lag; toggling power on and off using the app happens pretty much instantaneously.

Price: HK$248 (HKTV mall)

The dad going places: TwelveSouth AirFly

From the plane to the gym, the TwelveSouth AirFly lets your dad cut the cable for real.

The compact AirFly plugs into the wired headphone jack of an in-flight entertainment system or the treadmill at the gym. This lets dad tune in wirelessly using a pair of Bluetooth headphones or earbuds such as the Jabra Elite Active 65t.

Setting it up is simple and can be done by pressing on the “pair” button on the AirFly, before doing the same on the Bluetooth headphones. The AirFly’s built-in battery is good for eight hours of usage at a go, and the package also comes with a USB charging cable and travel pouch for convenience.

Price: US$39.99

The exercise-crazy dad: Jabra Elite Active 65t

These sports-focused earbuds have been stripped of non-essential features such as the heartbeat sensor, leaving a sleek-looking pair of wireless earbuds that sound better than most of the competition.

They are easy to align within the charging case or in your ears by touch – so you don’t wear it the wrong side up by mistake. On the left earbud are the controls for changing the volume, or to skip tracks. Tapping twice on the right earbud lets you trigger a hear-through mode to quickly tune in to the surrounding sounds. Finally, two microphones in each earbud also mean great quality audio when using for voice calls or video conferencing.

Price: US$169.99

The executive dad: WaterField Pro Executive Laptop Backpack

The newest bag from San Francisco’s WaterField is a crowdsourced backpack that the executive dad will love for its practical functionality and how good it looks. The aptly named Pro Backpack blends functionality in the form of a gadget-friendly design built to last with rugged ballistic nylon. The full-grain leather accents on the front panel will age well and look good enough for the boardroom.

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The backpack has two main compartments: one tailor-made for a laptop and a tablet, and a spacious main compartment that can easily take books and files. Strategically placed pockets on the front lets you slip in your passport or wallet, while the two large side pockets can be used for a water bottle and perhaps a small foldable umbrella. Importantly, the bag stands upright on its own, and waterproof zips all-around protect from the elements.

Price: US$349