This year, save your dad the trouble and just return the tie yourself.
Or save yourself the trouble and get him the gift he really wants!
We rounded up the best Father's Day gift ideas from our PC Magazine Product Guides and reviews and came up with some great suggestions (if we say so ourselves) for all types of dads and budgets.
All of the products we recommend have been tested by our independent PC Labs experts, and they've received high marks.
Happy hunting, and happy Father's Day!
The Family SysAdmin Dad
This dad is a first-rate geek, managing the home network, keeping the computers and peripherals running, and making sure the whole setup is secure.
He'll love the drool-worthy gadgets we picked for him, which expand his multimedia and network capabilities.
MEDIA CENTER PC: Velocity Micro CineMagix Grand Theater
The CineMagix is aimed at HDTV fans who want to be able to record, view, and back up high-def programming. The dual internal CableCARD readers are a nice touch, as is the home-theater styling. Because of its price ($2,045 and up, depending on configuration) and learning curve, though, we'd only recommend this system as a gift for early adopters.
CELL PHONE/PDA: Cingular 8525
The 8525 ($400) includes a full flip-out QWERTY keyboard and 2.8-inch screen in a candy-bar design, and connects to HSPDA and Wi-Fi for high-speed Internet. And your geeky dad will love the stereo Bluetooth, too.
DIGITAL CAMERA: Nikon Coolpix S7c
The S7c ($300-$400) has a large 3-inch screen and takes good pictures, but its killer feature is Wi-Fi compatibility and the ability to e-mail pics directly from the camera.
MEDIA EXTENDER: MediaGate MG-350HD
Apple TV is easy to set up, but for geeks who want to get their hands dirty, the MediaGate (about $250) is a good choice for a media extender. It supports high-def video, connects to a wide range of devices, and has a good user interface.
HARD DRIVE: Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000
Your dad, if he's worth his salt as a geek, really wants more storage. The Deskstar ($400) gives him a full terabyte to play around with, which ought to be plenty.
The Young and Hip Dad
The young and hip dad puts family first, style second. This guy is comfortable using technology and expects his gadgets to look good. Stylish, full-featured gear like a sleek laptop and powerful cell phone are perfect fits.
DESKTOP PC: Acer Aspire L310
The Acer Aspire L310 is stylish, small, and affordable (about $740 at online retailers). It won't break any records for performance, but is more than adequate for the typical PC user.
LAPTOP: Apple MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro is the other end of the spectrum from the Acer Aspire L310 desktop. It's expensive ($2,500) and powerful (more so now that the MacBook Pro included Intel's Santa Rosa chipset).
DIGITAL CAMERA: Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital Elph
This tiny 7.1-megapixel camera (about $220 at online retailers) has it all: sleek looks and great performance, and it takes beautiful pictures.
HEADPHONES: Shure SE210
At $150, these earbuds aren't the cheapest around, but they're a worthy companion to a top-notch MP3 player, with great sound and isolation.
CELL PHONE: LG VX8700
This gorgeous, RAZR-thin phone isn't all looks. The VX8700 also gets good reception and boasts a 2-MP camera.
The Sporty and Outdoorsy Dad
Some tech users stay connected so they can check e-mail messages; this guy just wants to keep tabs on sports scores. Whether he's playing sports, watching sports, or taking the day off to go fishing, we've got some gift ideas that will make him smile.
LAPTOP: Panasonic Toughbook CF-W5
The CF-W5 ($1,950) isn't for everyone, but active users who need a system that can take some knocks will love its light weight, long battery life, and rugged durability.
CELL PHONE: Sony Ericsson w710i
As our review says, the W710i (about $285) "will actually help you live a more active lifestyle," due to its pedometer and Walkman-style music player. We also found it to be a tough little phone with good call quality.
DIGITAL CAMERA: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3
The DMC-TZ3 has just the right features for shooting sporting events (10X optical zoom), birds in flight (image stabilization), and caught fish (wide-angle lens). It's the perfect outdoor imaging companion!
SATELLITE RADIO: Pioneer Inno
We had the Inno (about $350) on our gift list last year, and we think it should stay on for another. The device looks great, works with NapsterTo Go, and the XM satellite radio service features tons of sports programming from the likes of MLB, ESPN, Fox Sports Radio, and NASCAR.
GPS: Mio DigiWalker C520
The C520 is thin and svelte, with a 4.3-inch screen, a deep database, and an affordable price ($400). The device also plays music, videos, and pictures, and connects to your phone or headset via Bluetooth.
The Tech Newbie Dad
This is the dad who relies on his kids to fix his PC and hook up the DVD player-not that there's any shame in that. We've got a few gift ideas that are perfectly suited to a mild case of technophobia, like an easy-to-use digicam and MP3 player, and a no-fuss desktop PC.
DESKTOP: Mac Mini
The small and relatively low-priced Mac Mini ($800) isn't the fastest desktop PC, or even the fastest small-form-factor PC, but the Apple software it comes with is dead simple to use, making it a good choice for technophobes.
CELL PHONE: Motorola RAZR V3xx
The updated RAZR ($300 unlocked) is fast and powerful, but also has great software and usability. Besides all that, clear reception and call quality make it an excellent phone for making plain ol' voice calls.
DIGITAL CAMERA: Kodak EasyShare C875
Novice digicam users can rely on the C875's ($160-200) 21 scene modes to get the camera settings just right, or use the camera's "smart" Auto Mode, which automatically picks the appropriate mode for the situation.
MP3 PLAYER: Creative ZEN Stone
The Apple iPod Shuffle gets lots of press for being cheap and easy to use, but for those who aren't wedded to Apple products, the Zen Stone is just as good and half the price ($40).
The Executive Traveler Dad
The on-the-go dad is looking for gadgets that let him work better and travel easier. A high-powered laptop is a must, but what about a portable media player for movies on the go, and a good set of headphones to complement it?
LAPTOP: Lenovo ThinkPad X60
With its great keyboard, powerful components, coast-to-coast battery life, and full network connectivity, the X60 ultraportable laptop (about $1,700) will be Dad's favorite traveling companion-at least on business trips.
HEADPHONES: Ultimate Ears triple.fi 10 Pro
Never underestimate the importance of a good pair of headphones on a long trip. The triple.fi 10 Pro are excellent (though pricey at $400), with wonderful sound quality and a comfortable design. They aren't noise-canceling, but they do boast very good isolation.
PORTABLE MEDIA PLAYER: Archos 704 WiFi Multimedia Player
This device (about $500) does literally everything you can conceive of a portable media player doing, like connecting to Wi-Fi, file streaming, TV/video recording and playback, and music playback. It's the perfect way to watch favorite movies and shows on the go.
CELL PHONE/PDA: BlackBerry 8800
Besides having the typical business features, the 8800 ($300) is the first BlackBerry to include a full keyboard, trackball, and (don't tell boss) music player. It also has one of the best screens we've seen on a portable device.
MEDIA HUB: Slingbox Pro
Is pops worried about missing out on his team's games while he's on the road? Slingbox Pro (about $250) solves the dilemma with "placeshifting," which lets him watch a virtual version of his home TV right from his PC or mobile device.
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