Geek treats for great dads

Gift ideas that are sure to keep any guy smiling this father's day

These great gift ideas, like the Braun 760 Shaver, will be sure to please any dad this Father's Day.

Gift ideas that are sure to keep any guy smiling this father’s day

A great dad is one of the best gifts a kid could ever have, so if you count yourself among the lucky — and have

a few coins to spare — why not treat pops to something cool and decidedly geeky this year?

One of the top tools in my dad arsenal is Logitech’s Harmony One universal remote ($250; The Harmony One is so powerful it makes Harry Potter’s wand look like a stick. Plug this ergonomic and backlit beauty into your computer and the guided online setup will have you back on the couch in a matter of minutes. Once you’ve selected all the devices in your home entertainment zoo — sound, DVD, TV, game station — you can toss away your other remotes because Harmony One controls everything. With a full-colour touchscreen display, you simply touch Watch TV and everything you need switches on. Feel like a movie or a little gaming action, touch the screen again and everything switches seamlessly over. Once dad uses the Harmony One, it’ll have to be pried out of his cold, dead hand.

Shavers are always a popular item, but as a blade man from puberty, I was never sure how good an electric razor could be. Braun has changed my mind with their Series 7 760cc ($225; This handy bad boy boasts over 10,000 micro vibrations per minute with a flexing head and an automatic cleaning system that operates at the touch of a button. I’ve been using one for a few weeks now and I’m really enjoying both the convenience and the close shave. It’s definitely made me a believer. And for those days when I can’t get home before heading out to an evening event, I keep the Braun MobileShave M90 ($30) in my desk. Despite its low price, this palm-sized shaver delivers a great shave and it even runs on a pair of AA batteries. Perfect.

Another gift that gets a hi-tech overhaul is the alarm clock with iHome’s iA63 ($100; app-enhanced dock. This stereo unit has a stylish, compact design that fits easily on the nightstand and delivers surprisingly good sound. It works in conjunction with a free app for your iPhone/iPod that make setting alarms a breeze. You can choose to wake up to your own music or dial in a favourite FM station. This unit boasts a motorized, rotating dock for your iDevice, but that’s really just a gimmick that few people will ever use. I like the ability to customize the length of Snooze, but wouldn’t mind a button that could be set for 20-minute power naps at one touch.

If your dad prefers a more portable music solution with the added touch of mood lighting, iCrystal ($80; delivers stereo sound for any MP3 player, and it can run on four AA batteries. This unit definitely has a funky look and the cool blue lights make it perfect for the office. Or for a personal listening experience, I’ve found the V-Moda Remix Remote ($80; noise-isolating headphones to be a perfect fit. These fashionable metal beauties deliver optimal sound clarity and vibrant bass alongside an integrated three-button remote and microphone — perfect for an iPhone. Lightweight and comfortable with four different size fittings, plus ear hooks for the gym, these will surely make you the favourite kid for awhile.

And if dad needs portable storage for his music and movies, the Store ‘n’ Go Hard Drive ($100; delivers 500 GB in a pocket-sized drive that doesn’t make you wait for data transfers. For the Mac user, Verbatim delivers both USB 3.0 and Firewire 800 connectivity in this incredibly sleek piano-black package. Amazing.

In my last column, I mentioned how fond I was of the LunaTik ( watch band for the iPod Nano. Well, if you thought the silver aluminum wasn’t quite funky enough for dad, the design team have just released a very shiny LunaTik Red ($80; my favourite so far), all-black BlackOut ($90) and a new TakTik ($100) that comes with a unique woodland camo band.

For the camper in the family, Zippo has released a pair of great products. The Emergency Fire Starter ($30; is the size of a regular Zippo lighter, but with a water resistant seal, four tinder sticks and flint-wheel ignition. No fuel is needed. Get dunked in the water while canoeing and you’ll still be able to start a fire if you have this little orange marvel in your pocket. And if you’re heading out skiing, check out their new Hand Warmer ($20; Fill it with fuel, light it and place in its warming bag, and this pocket-sized unit pumps out heat for a continuous 12 hours.

While we’re talking about Zippo, even if you don’t smoke, Zippo lighters are always cool. Their classic windproof lighters start at around $25 (I have several and love them) and their new Zippo Blu butane lighters start at around $60 with some gorgeous finishes.

Finally, a great treat for dad is for you to sit down and watch a movie together. Twentieth Century Fox has just released some classics in high-definition Blu-Ray. The Comancheros features classic John Wayne cowboy action in this 50th Anniversary edition, complete with rare extras, while Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason still burn up the screen in the classic The Hustler. I love the special book packaging on both these titles, too. Another bonus for the mystery noir fan is MGM’s limited-edition release of Mickey Spillane’s My Gun Is Quick from 1957 on regular DVD. It’s not often you get a chance to see a film adaptation from Mike Hammer’s hardboiled glory days. M

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