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June 15th is Reserved for Dads

Category: Hardware Published on Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Okay mom, move over. It's dad's turn.

Father's Day is on Sunday (June 15) and we know you've probably already bought the annual T-shirt, cap or tie saying "World's Greatest Dad," but are you reaching the inner tech dad?

We've been playing with a few items that may make Sunday a bit more memorable.

You can't go wrong with power tools (just ask Tim Allen) and the folks at Black+Decker may have found a way for you to drill down to the core of your dad's desires.

The 20V MAX Lithium Drill Driver ($122.24 but discounted to $49.97 at most stores) uses an 11-position clutch to prevent dad from stripping screws. It actually senses when the screw is flush with a surface and stops. Generally we don't like Black+Decker tools, especially for big jobs. But this one amazed us and, since it has a 20 volt power supply, it has a lot more driving power than many of its competitors. Of course, it can also be used as a drill.

If dad's a bit of a technonerd (like us) you may want to get him the Casio GB-6900B Bluetooth watch ($200). We played with the GB-X6900B, which is a bit larger than the original, but is sold for the same price. We tested the watch with a Samsung Galaxy S4 and it performed as advertised. Once is was paired with our smartphone, we began to receive notifications of emails, messages and phone calls. Although it isn't as versatile as the Samsung Galaxy Gear ($249), it performs well as a generic Bluetooth device and can link to a slew of Android phones. It can also link to iPhones, but that is limited to the 4S or 5S at this point.

Of course the Casio GB-6900B also functions as a watch, providing everything we've come to expect from the company's G-Shock watches. This includes shock and water resistance (up to 200 feet), five alarms, world time capability (35 time zones in 100 cities), a stopwatch, a full calendar up to 2099 and an approximately two-year battery.

Is dad constantly losing the remote control? Or maybe he needs one remote to operate all of his devices - - - TV, blue ray player, audio system, etc. The folks at Flyover Innovations have developed a device that turns his smartphone into a remote control, offering connectivity to more than 200,000 devices. Blumoo ($129.99) is a relatively small device that communicates with a smartphone or other mobile device via Bluetooth technology and mimics every task offered by the original remotes.

We used it with a Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone, a Samsung TV and a Directv network box and it worked perfectly. All we had to do was download the app to our phone, plug in the Blumoo device, place it near our TV, etc. and find the devices we wanted to control using the app.

We generally don't like "As Seen on TV" items, but the MicroTouch Switchblade ($19.99) is a small grooming tool that will trim everything from mustaches and beards to the hair on dad's head. The hairiest of us took it for a test drive and we were impressed by how easy it was to use. The Switchblade comes with four snap-on guides to control how much hair is trimmed, a full-size trimmer for sideburns and a built-in light.

If dad is into streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix, Amazon and other services, the new Roku Streaming Stick ($49.99) may be the way to go. This small device plugs into the HDMI port on your TV or hub and, once connected to dad's WI-FI network, gives him access to more than 1,000 channels, many of which are in 1080p high definition. We've been using Roku players for a few years and discovered that the streaming stick performed as well as the Roku boxes we're used to seeing.

Finally, if dad likes to keep all of his devices shiny and clean, we have the Hans Swipe-Clean ($15 and $7 for refills). This is a two-sided tool that cleans using one side and polishes using the other. We've been using it on a ton of devices that get covered in fingerprints and dust and have basically tossed away our old micro-fiber cloths. The Swipe-Clean can hold enough cleaning solution for about 500 jobs and the refills last for about 6,000 swipes.



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