Olympus PEN E-P5 ($1,500)
Face it: Dad is old. When he first started shooting pictures, he was using film in a camera that more than likely looked like the old Olympus PEN F. That old school classic (that, incidentally, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year) could make even a blind man feel like he was an intrepid photo journalist or adventure photographer because … well, mostly because it had leather on the body, which is what we associate with old school photo journalists and adventure photographers. But despite the retro styling, there’s nothing old school about the E-P5: a 16-megapixel sensor, fast autofocusing, Wi-Fi pairing with smartphones, bright LCD, and a Micro Four-Thirds interchangeable lens mount. So give good old Dad a camera that reminds him of the glory days, when his imagination was a little more vivid.
When it comes to … pretty much everything, guys need to be able to measure their efforts so that they can track their progress and cache some bragging rights. Golf is no different, which is why there’s the GolfSense. A 3D golf swing analyzer with some pretty amazing capabilities, the system consists of a lightweight sensor, which attaches to the Velcro strap of a golf glove. The sensor beams swing data wirelessly via Bluetooth to iOS and Android-based smartphones and tablets. From there, the GolfSense app processes the data and comes back with a 3D rendering of the user’s golf swing along with a bevy of interesting swing data, including club head speed. That’s right, not only can the golfing dad in your life now boast about their shooting distance, but they can add swing speed to their list of merits. Oh, and if they want to address that nasty slice of theirs, GolfSense can help with that too.
Garmin Oregon 550T ($500)
In addition to being named after Digital Trends’ home state, the Oregon is versatile, accurate, and pretty much bomb-proof. It’s also small enough to slip in a pocket and Pops can use it to take 3.2 megapixel shots of his encounter with Sasquatch – or just the Sasquatch Music Festival. If it’s the latter, Dad will know just how high … his elevation is, because the 550T includes topographical maps and a barometric altimeter as well. It’s easy enough to use for the tech-challenged, waterproof, has a compass, 850 megs of memory, runs on AA’s or NiMHs and communicates wirelessly with smartphones to easily communicate to everyone how lost – or high – your dad really is.
Remote control bald eagle ($360)
The bald eagle might be a somewhat cowardly predator, mostly hunting defenseless creatures much smaller than itself, but it’s still majestic looking, and – damn it – it’s a symbol of this great nation. So don’t think twice about dropping more than 350 bucks on this thing. It has a bio-accurate(ish) 6.5 foot wingspan and a cleverly-placed motor that is hidden from view to anyone (except maybe other bald eagles flying above it), so no one will know that they’re not being attacked by a real bald eagle. That’s right, this year, give Dad the gift that keeps on giving: the ability to dive bomb the neighbor’s kids. Plus, it’s from the Sharper Image, so you know it’s good.
Speaking of the Sharper Image, they’re kinda on a roll this year, as proven by this nifty little bit of slight-of-club to save Dad the cost of the beer cart on his local 18. Have you seen the prices at your average country club? Dad just wants an ice cold Coors Light while he’s golfing without mortgaging the house or catching flack from the fancy pants teetotalers waiting for him to slice it into the drink. Should Dad have to worry about that? Not with you as a child, he shouldn’t. You’re welcome.
From the geniuses behind the corkcicle comes the slightly more manly Chillsner, which is scientifically proven to keep beers frosty. How does this remarkable device work? Basically, it’s a reusable ice cube that doesn’t melt and also maintains carbonation, but don’t let that keep you from crowing to Dad about how science has solved all his problems in the form of a steel cork that will … get this … make your beer consistently awesome even if he’s drinking really slowly on the hottest day of the year. He’ll be sizing you up for a World’s Greatest Child blazer in no time.
Logitech K400 keyboard ($40)
A keyboard doesn’t have to be attached to the desk, and Logitech knows it. The perfect size for the couch, the Logitech K400 keyboard is a lightweight solution for cord-cutters who want to enjoy content in the living room and on a big screen, and the built-in touchpad increases versatility. The best part? The K400 gives you bang for your buck: it has a list price of $40, but you can find it at online retailers or at Target for just $30.
Case-Mate folding wallet ($80)
A few years ago, we might have recommended a nice leather wallet for Dad, but hey, it’s 2013. If he doesn’t have a smartphone by now, buy him one, and then get him the Case-Mate folding wallet to hold it. It has all your standard wallet-type stuff, like three credit card slots and a space big enough for a wad of cash and receipts. But it can also fit the iPhone you’re going to buy Dad, which means the wallet’s really the wrapping paper for the phone. And that means you just trumped your sister who thought she won World’s Greatest Child with the aforementioned Chillsner.