We know that it’s hard to shop for dad, but that doesn’t mean you need succomb to the temptation of a multipack of socks and undies. There’s a different tack you can take – and it doesn’t involve his favourite aftershave, the best outdoor barbie or the most convenient gift card you can find.
Get him a cool new gadget and you can transform how he spends his free time or gets important stuff done.
And while it’d be easy to suggest a range of power banks and storage devices to keep things simple, this year we thought we’d skip the boring stuff and move straight to the coolest gizmos!
We’ve selected devices at a range of different price points so you can find something not just special but useful as well.
There’s not much time to go before this year’s Father’s Day – in 2018, it falls on Sunday, September 2 – so now’s a good time to get shopping. To help you narrow down your selection, we’ve divided our gift guide into categories. Just head to the section that tickles your (or rather, your dad’s) fancy the most and you’re bound to find something suitable.
Dell XPS 13
The latest iteration of the Dell XPS 13 has everything you could want in a lightweight laptop: it’s amazingly portable, beautifully designed, comes with an optional 4K display and packs a heck of a lot of power under the hood. Plus there’s plenty of battery life to keep dad happy during a long-haul flight.
Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar 13-inch (2017)
To be honest, our dads could probably use the “touch of genius” that comes with the Touch Bar on the latest MacBook Pro range. (Sorry, dad.) The latest 13-inch model is light, thin and features a 227ppi screen at a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution. And it also packs plenty of oomph inside the chassis as well.
Lenovo X1 Yoga
It might feature just a 1080p HDR display, but this 14-inch 2-in-1 promises stellar performance and is one of the most superbly built and designed business laptops you can currently buy. And while it’s not the cheapest 2-in-1 around, there’ll be no limit to what dad can achieve with this high performer at his fingertips.
Asus Chromebook Flip
With a gorgeous screen, tactile keyboard and a classy design that’s equally as comfortable to use in tablet mode or as a traditional laptop, this Chromebook from Asus makes an amazing gift, especially since you won’t need to shell out a four-figure sum for it… although it does carry a slightly premium price tag for a Chromebook.
HP Spectre x360
If you think a good-looking machine is just all looks and no power, think again. The latest HP Spectre x360 comes with a stylus, great sounding speakers, a brilliant touchscreen and an all-day battery life that will keep dad happy even when he’s out and about. It’s beauty and brawn combined.
Apple iPhone X
When you’re on the move, the smartphone is the easiest option to get things done. And you can’t go wrong with Apple’s latest offering – especially if your dad’s a fan of the Cupertino firm. It might be pricey, but it’s fast, it’s powerful and stands out from the crowd thanks to the original notch that started the revolution.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
If your dad is more of an Android fan, then Samsung’s latest flagship is definitely worth your consideration. The Galaxy S9 Plus is arguably the best Android handset available today, with a gorgeous 6.2-inch display, powerful specs and excellent camera system.
Huawei Nova 3e
Don’t be fooled by this phone’s budget price tag – Huawei has stuffed plenty of value into this device, including a feature-packed camera system. There’s stunning craftsmanship which makes it look like a premium device, one which dad will be more than happy to show off.
Oppo R15 Pro
For an alternative that isn’t the usual Apple or Samsung device, the Oppo R15 Pro is a strong all-rounder, offering great camera performance, long battery life and plenty of power. And it’s one of the few new flagships that still sports a headphone jack.
Motorola Moto G6
Balancing features with price, the G6 is the ‘just right’ option from Motorola’s new G6 range. Now with a glass rear panel, fast charging and a significant bump in performance from its G5 predecessor, this is a great modern workhorse with just the right sprinkling of premium.
Apple iPad (2018)
This is an ‘entry-level’ 9.7-inch iPad but one that still packs in all the tablet-specific apps and games you’ll find on the larger and more expensive models. The design is sleek – both on the hardware and interface – and it offers a ton of third-party accessories and apps for your dad to lap up. And despite its lower price, it even supports the Apple Pencil for slick writing or drawing onscreen.
Microsoft Surface Pro
With a huge range of models on offer, the Surface Pro is the best Windows tablet in terms of build quality and all-round usability. Splash out for the Type Cover keyboard and it becomes a 2-in-1, although even just by itself, it still has a fabulous stylus, fantastic screen and first-class performance.
Amazon Kindle e-readers (Paperwhite & Oasis)
Kindles are an amazing investment for the bookish father, and come in a great range of models to choose from. The Paperwhite is the more affordable option, and still provides crisp text, integrated backlighting, generous battery life and a bunch of handy features. Upgrading to the Oasis might score you some browny points, however. This premium Kindle offers a higher-res E Ink display, aluminium body, waterproofing, Audible support, Bluetooth and an easy-to-grip design.
Kobo e-readers (Clara HD & Aura One)
While a Kindle will lock dad into reading ebooks in .mobi format or ones direct from the Kindle store, a Kobo will let him read a wider range of ebook files – from .mobis to .epubs, TXT files, digital comics in CBZ and CBR format and more. Kobos also support Australian library ebook lending. In other words, if your dad likes to get his reading material from lots of different sources, then a Kobo e-reader is a great option. The Kobo Clara HD is the Paperwhite’s equivalent, offering a basic and functional e-reader, but if dad would prefer a feature-packed waterproof device with more screen real estate, then the Aura One is the best out there.
This affordable device lets your dad interact with the fantastic Google Assistant, as well as control many smart home appliances with voice alone. It’s a neat little digital butler, geared more towards smarts than producing serious audio output quality – although it’s still passable when it comes to music playback.
With reliable and accurate voice recognition, your dad can call out from across the room with a request and Alexa will comply. Audio quality from the Echo speaker is reasonably good, with room-filling sound and omnidirectional output, but its real highlight is the swathe of ‘skills’ and voice commands on offer.
Apple’s smart speaker is crammed with seven beam-forming tweeters and an upward-firing woofer, designed to project a sound tailored to the size of the room it’s placed in. It certainly packs a punch, looks attractive, works well with Apple Music, and Siri also has a long list of puns your dad will most likely appreciate. One for Apple fans.
Given the brand name, you won’t be surprised to hear that this Sonos speaker sounds fantastic, but now it incorporates Alexa smarts (with Google’s Assistant set to join the party soon). This multi-room speaker option is packed full of features and slots seamlessly in with Sonos’ other devices.
Nanoleaf Aurora Light Panels
These triangular LED panels slot together using linkers, providing your old man great flexibility in terms of creating his own desired lighting shape. Grab the companion app, pair your phone and get the party started with customised themes, colours and character.
Ring Video Doorbell
The Ring brings the old-fashioned doorbell into the 21st century, adding an HD video camera, two-way intercom and internet connectivity. You can also set up motion detection and check in on any activity through the handy app, even from the other side of the planet.
Philips Hue smart bulbs
This is one of the more sophisticated smart light offerings around and is sure to excite even the most adamant of technology-shunning folk. With the ability to preconfigure wake-up and sleep routines, a huge array of colours and white tones, it’s a massive upgrade over the usual boring bulb.
GoPro action cameras (GoPro Hero & GoPro Hero6 Black)
Got an adventurous father? Then he’d be delighted to unwrap one of these beauties. GoPro’s range of action cameras cannot be beat and offers something for everyone. The basic Hero cam is the budget-focused, novice offering, with image stabilisation, HD video, burst mode, touchscreen and voice controls. The Hero6 Black blows away the competition with silky-smooth 4K footage, inbuilt editing software, time lapse, improved low-light performance and much, much more. It’s the best out there.
Panasonic Lumix TZ220
Your snap-happy dad will love this. While it’s a pricier option, it’s also the most advanced travel zoom camera you can get your paws on right now. It boasts five-axis hybrid optical image stabilisation, quick focus speeds, minimal image noise, straightforward controls and a nice touchscreen interface.
DJI Mavic Air
Get your dad’s eyes to the skies and grab him this pocketable 4K drone this Father’s Day! With a welcome (upgradeable) 8GB of onboard storage, redesigned remote, zippy maximum speed, upgraded obstacle detection system and much, much more, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better drone at this price range.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II
This is a well-rounded camera for anyone looking for an affordable full-frame DSLR. Canon has increased the pixel count here, improved the autofocus system, bumped up the ISO range and added the latest image processor that is bound to please many a hobbyist and enthusiast.
Apple Watch 3
Apple has nailed the concept of a computer on your wrist in a stylish package. With reminders, music, calls, workouts, heart rate monitoring, Apple Pay and more, if your dad’s already part of the Apple ecosystem, he’ll love this device from the moment he pops it on.
The first real smartwatch from the world’s most popular step-tracking brand, the Ionic packs in the usual suspects in terms of fitness features, all within a nicely clean-edged design. With audio coaching, Nest support, heart rate monitor and sleep tracking, this is a fine day-to-day fitness companion.
Fitbit Alta HR
If dad doesn’t need the bells and whistles of a smartwatch, but would like something basic to make sure he doesn’t build up a dad bod, the Fitbit Alta HR is a good choice. Not only will it clock his activity, but will also let him know when his ticker goes full steam ahead.
Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro
You’ll be forgiven for not knowing about Mobvoi, but the company’s Ticwatch range are some of the best affordable smartwatches in the market, and the Pro is the best of the lot. It boasts dual-screen technology on a mid-range feature-packed device with premium looks and a much longer-lasting battery than most other smartwatches.
Samsung Gear S3
The good thing about this smartwatch is that you can pair it with both iOS and Android smartphones – so even if you switch smartphone platforms, you can keep using the Gear S3. But it’s more than just a digital timepiece, offering an intuitive interface, activity tracking and much more, on a smartwatch that actually looks like a watch.
Great sound comes at a price, but these wireless Sony cans are worth every penny. With active noise cancellation, the WH-1000XM2 can outclass any other set in the category in terms of performance and features.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
A favourite amongst many, the Bose QC 35s are a darn good pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones. Dad can use the inbuilt mic to call on Siri or Google Assistant if he needs help with something, or just use them to enjoy his favourite tunes, podcasts or audiobooks thanks to first-class noise cancelling and a long-lasting battery.
Does dad use an iPhone? Then the Apple AirPods will be a match made in heaven for him. There are no cables to think about and the charging case will give him plenty of battery life while on the move. And they don’t skimp on sound quality either.
Bose QuietControl 30
Not everyone likes a large set of cans sitting on their head. If you dad happens to be someone like that, but would still like great sound with noise cancellation, the Bose QuietControl 30 ‘buds are for him. With Bose’s signature sound and as much noise cancellation as their over-ear counterparts, these are a great set of in-ear headphones.
Jabra Elite 65t
If the Apple AirPods don’t fit your dad’s ears, as is the case with some people, or he doesn’t have an iPhone, then the Jabra Elite 65t is a great alternative. They offer reliable connection and are easy to use. They’re also one of the few true wireless ‘buds to offer excellent battery life.
UE Boom 2 & Megaboom
If dad loves his music, then get him the UE Boom 2. It’s everything a Bluetooth speaker should be – portable, durable, waterproof and with sound great! But if you’d like to get your old man something with a tad more power, then stepping up to the Megaboom will really bring the house down.
JBL Charge 3
The Charge 3 speaker from JBL is feature-packed without compromising on sound quality. It punches well above its weight, pumping out great bass distortion-free. And although JBL has some other excellent Bluetooth speakers, the Charge 3 remains one of the company’s best.