It’s that time of year again — the time when we take a moment to appreciate our dads or the father figures in our lives and bestow them with a token of our appreciation for raising us, teaching us and always telling the worst jokes imaginable.
If you can’t decided what to get for your father this holiday, MobileSyrup has put together a collection of all the best buys for a tech-inclined dad, from speakers to smart home devices. Check out our staff writers’ picks below.
By Ian Hardy
I have two children, Elliott who is almost seven and Avery who is three. Both are wonderful gifts to this glorious earth and each have unique personalities. We laugh, we smile, we cry… and when we cry, I crank the music, specifically ACDC’s Thunderstruck, which appears in one of Elliott’s favourite movies, Planes.
The Sonos PLAY:1 provides great sound and you can stream all the music directly from your smartphone, tablet or computer over Wi-Fi. For the size of the speaker (6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 in.), it’s affordable at $249 CAD, or at $429 for a ‘2 Room Starter Set,’ currently on sale.
If you choose the two speaker starter option you’ll be able to play different songs in different rooms — or just blast TSwift in every room.
By Igor Bonifacic
While Nest gets most of the love when it comes smart thermostats, most Canadians would be better served getting the ecobee3. Not only is this smart thermostat developed by a Toronto-based company, it has also been the subject of many glowing reviews.
In a piece my colleague Patrick published last summer, he documents how the ecobee3 helps him save $20 to $30 a month on his utility bill. If a gift like that doesn’t make your pa happy, then it may be time to look for a new dad.
If you do decide to go the ecobee route this Father’s Day, just make sure your dad lives in a home with a common wire connection, as it will make the process of wiring the ecobee3 a lot less complicated.
As an added bonus, until June 21st Canadian consumers can get two room sensors free, normally priced $89 CAD, when they buy the either the ecobee3 or ecobee3 Lite via an online retailer. The added sensors help the ecobee3 do its job even better.\
NHL Premium app
By Rose Behar
Hockey season is every season for my dad. He’s the type of guy who wakes up at 4am on a weekday in order to go play recreational hockey — a level of passion that I don’t know if I can muster for pretty much anything.
He’s an avid spectator as well, feeling every heartbreak for the Leafs as keenly as he did when he grew up a young immigrant in the suburbs of Toronto. In this respect, there’s been far too much disappointment in his life. But while I can’t give my dad the Leafs championship he deserves, I can give him the gift of access to all the hockey action he wants handy at his fingertips.
The NHL Premium app costs $19.99 CAD per year and allows users to watch two minutes of action in every regulation period in every regular season game live with no blackout restrictions; watch the final minutes, including 3-on-3 OT and shootouts, of every live out-of-market game and get access to all in-game highlights.
Additionally, users can customize their app to feature their favorite team, watch free ‘Games of the Week,’ listen to home and away radio broadcasts live and access a video archive library, searchable by player, team or keyword.
Beats EP on-ear headphones
By Sameer Chhabra
Does your dad love music? Does he love listening to music on-the-go? If he does, then the Beats EP on-ear headphones might just be the perfect fit.
Not only are these on-ear headphones sleek and stylish, they also come with the added benefit of sounding great. Whether listening to the smooth sounds of Warren Zevon, jamming out to the cool rhythms of Steely Dan, or rocking out to rock-funk stylings of Jimi Hendrix, you can be sure that your dad is going to love these headphones.
The Beats EP headphones also come with a mic and in-line controls, meaning your pops will be able to control his music, phone calls, or talk radio podcasts at the touch of a button. A quick word of caution though, the in-line controls only work on Apple devices. On the bright side, that means the controls also work on iMacs, MacBooks, and iPads.
In terms of style, the leather earcups are surprisingly comfortable, while the matte and rubber trimmings bring a softness that makes the headphone feel soft to the touch. The Beats EP also come in four colours — blue, red, black, and white — and are available online or at most electronic retailers.
By Zach Gilbert
“Hey, where’s the remote? Can you out that movie on the TV?” I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve probably heard your dad tell you to do that. But why not give him the ability to do all of that himself and with his voice? No more searching for the remote to tune to that movie or YouTube video!
Introducing Google Home.
Google home is a smart home assistant encapsulated in a visually appealing device. Google home works with most smart home accessories, like Nest products, Phillips HUE, LIFX, Logitech smart remote and a whole bunch more. You can find the full list of compatible services and products here.
Your dad can also ask Google home questions, like how old is Beta Max, or how tall is the CN Tower and Google Home will reply. Or he can ask it to play some music. The best thing is, Google Home will continue to get better and better over time as Google updates the software.
Currently Google Home isn’t in Canada, but you can place a pre-order at Best Buy for $179. Currently Best Buy is offering a free Google Chromecast for free, a $45 value.
No longer will you be the one searching for the remote, or playing your dad’s favourite movie. He can do it all himself, as if it was a futuristic world in which we all play nicely to T-1000 robots. If not, let’s hope your dad’s name is John Connor.
Roku Premiere Streaming Player
By Bradly Shankar
If your dad doesn’t have a smart TV, then the Roku Premiere Streaming Player might be for him. The small device plugs into a TV via an HDMI cable (sold separately) and has built-in Wi-Fi, effectively giving your device smart functionality.
After a simple setup and connection to your internet, you’ll be able to stream the latest shows, movies and more, all in 1080p resolution on HDTVs and 4K UHD at 60fps on 4K UHD TVs. The Roku player gives you access to over 100,000 movies and TV episodes across more than 2,500 free or paid channels, including Netflix, NHL, Google Play, YouTube and Cineplex.
A powerful quad-core processor keeps everything running smoothly. What’s more, navigation is made simple through an included wireless remote or through smartphones and tablets via the free Roku app on the App Store and Google Play Store.
Whether your dad wants to watch the latest season of House of Cards (exclusively on Netflix) or catch highlights of the latest sports games on YouTube, the Roku’s got him covered
The Roku Premiere Media Streaming Player is available for $80 at Amazon, Best Buy, The Source and Walmart.
A $100, HDR-supported Premiere+ is also available.
BBQ Recipes app
By Dean Daley
Can’t afford anything for your father this year? Try the gift of grilling together. Introduce him to the BBQ Recipes app and he’ll still love you more than his other children.
The BBQ Recipes app has a large assortment of recipes to choose from so your father can feel like the ultimate BBQ king. Users can browse between skewers, meats, burger, fish and side dishes. In total, BBQ Recipes offers 154 recipes laid out in a card-tile formation found within the categories.
The cards show ingredients, instructions and how long it should take to make, though the heat of the grill is up to individual grill masters. Fathers can also bookmark their favourite recipes and find them later, with a click of a button. Find this app on the Google Play Store. For iOS users, try BBQ Recipes by BBQ Kings Club or Barbecue and Grilling.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, or those who played that role in our lives. Feel free to add your own gift ideas in the comments.