Even if your Dad isn't a geek, we bet he'd love to get a gadget for Father's Day. After all, how many neckties can one guy wear? So we asked our experts to recommend specific electronic gifts that can meet different budgets, starting at less than $50. And of course, all of the Father's Day gift suggestions must have performed well in Consumer Reports tests.
Father's Day is coming up fast. Treat the father in your life to a cool and useful gift—a smartwatch, waterproof camera, Bluetooth speaker, headphones, action cam, or streaming media player—that will make him smile all year long.
Apple Watch Sport, $350 (38mm) and $400 (42mm)
What self-respecting techie wouldn’t love a smartwatch that puts phone and computing capability right on his wrist? One of the best we’ve tested is the Apple Watch, a top choice for generous budgets. Consider the entry-level Sport versions.
These less-expensive models have the same functionality as their pricier siblings, including fitness tracking and the ability to make phone calls when paired to an iPhone. Dad can even summon Siri, Apple's intelligent personal assistant, to handle searches and other tasks using voice commands. The Apple Watch works only with the iPhone 5 and later devices.
Other choices for other budgets
If you prefer a watch that’s easier on the budget but still big on performance, consider the LG G Watch R, $300, which resembles a scuba timepiece. (You might find the G Watch R selling for less. A brand-new model we haven't tested yet, the LG Watch Urbane, $350, has a stylish metal case but appears to offer similar functionality.)
For something with classic styling, check out the Motorola Moto 360, $250, which looks like a modern art museum’s take on a traditional analog watch.
Both the LG and Motorola watches work with devices running Android 4.3 Jellybean or higher.
Finally, there’s the Pebble watch, $100 (plastic case) and $200 (stainless steel case). It’s compatible with iPhone 4 and Android 4.1 and later gadgets.
Check out our smartwatch buying guide for more helpful advice.
Nikon Coolpix AW130, $300
The rugged, waterproof Nikon Coolpix AW130 digital camera is a great companion for any Dad who’s into the outdoor life. It’s waterproof to 98 feet, deeper than most other cameras on the market, so it's perfect for scuba adventures. It’s also designed to survive cold temperatures and hard knocks. Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC make it easy to transfer photos to a compatible smartphone for quick sharing, and the GPS feature records coordinates and geotags shots. And did we mention that it takes very good photos? It comes in four colors, including vibrant red.
Other choices for other budgets
If your Pop doesn't need a waterproof model but likes to capture closeup photos from across the field or the back of the auditorium, he’ll appreciate the Canon PowerShot SX410 IS superzoom, $250. It packs an impressive 40x zoom into a relatively light package and has an excellent image stabilizer that helps minimize blurriness due to jittery hands.
Check out our digital camera buying guide for more helpful advice.
Sony HDR-AS200V, $300
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video must be worth at least a gazillion. Help Dad capture and share his outdoor exploits by giving him the Sony HDR-AS200V action cam. This stylish, compact model stands out for its top-notch image stabilizer, which helps take smooth video even when he's careening down a bumpy mountain trail or bouncing along on a whitewater raft trip. The body is splash proof, and when used with the included waterproof housing, the camcorder can take a 15-foot dive.
Another less-expensive choice
The Kodak PixPro SP1, $180, can dive up to 33 feet without a case. Like the Sony, it has image stabilization, and it adds an LCD, but it's a bit heavier.
Check out our camcorder buying guide for more helpful advice.
TDK Life on Record Trek Max A34, $150
If your Dad spends lots of time in the backyard grilling burgers or chilling with a cold brew, give him the gift of tunes on the go with the TDK Life on Record Trek Max A34. This battery-powered speaker uses Bluetooth technology to stream music from phones, tablets, and other devices up to 30 feet away. The rugged, weather-resistant exterior should protect it from sudden cloudbursts or splashes from the pool. Its good sound quality is suitable for playing music and movie/TV soundtracks.
The Bose SoundLink Color, $130, is a great choice if your father would prefer a more compact and colorful speaker. It comes in red, green, and blue, along with basic black and white.
Check out our speaker buying guide for more helpful shopping advice.
Google Chromecast, $35
Stick it to Dad this Father's Day—in the nicest way possible—by presenting him with the Google Chromecast streaming media player. It's one of the lowest-priced streamers out there. Besides streaming Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and other content directly, it can display content from a computer or using the Chrome browser and mirror content from your Android phone or tablet.
Other choices for Dads into Amazon Prime
If Dad subscribes to Amazon Prime, consider the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku Streaming Stick, around $40 each. Both these players can mirror content from his phone or tablet. They include a remote as well as a free remote app. The Fire TV Stick also recognizes voice commands for easy searches.
Check out our streaming media players buying guide for more helpful advice.
Sennheiser CX 215, $30
Don't let Dad suffer with the cheapie earbuds that came with his phone or, worse yet, the freebies from his last plane ride! The Sennheiser CX 215 earphones offer very good sound quality and an earplug-style design that will muffle some external noise, so he can enjoy his favorite music with less distraction. (The design will also limit the amount of sound that escapes, so you won't have to listen to doo-wop when he's sitting next to you!)
These earphones, which are covered by a 24-month warranty, come in five fun colors and include three sets of earpieces of various sizes to ensure a comfy fit. There's even a storage case.
Another option for tight budgets
The Panasonic RP-TCM125 earbuds, $20, will treat him to very good sound quality. The integrated microphone and controls work with many cell phones. They come in four colors with three sets of eartips and a carrying case. You might find them selling for as little as $11 or so online.
Check out our headphones buying guide for more helpful advice.
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