Doesn't Dad deserve something better than a little cologne or a new tie this Father's Day? Here are some of my favorite gadgets this year that will keep Dad more than happy for the rest of the summer.
Olympus E-PL2 - $599.99 - If Dad is a shutterbug, chances are he carries a big DSLR and sometimes brings along a small point and shoot when he doesn't want to bother with the huge camera bag. With the Olympus E-PL2, however, he gets the best of both worlds. This camera has removable lenses, takes excellent still and video shots, and weighs about as much as a pro-level point and shoot.
It comes in black, red, silver, and white and includes a hotshoe connector at the top that can hold a microphone, wireless transfer device for sending photos to phones and computers over the air, or a flash. Extra lenses, including zoom and macro models, cost a few hundred each when he's ready to branch out.
Parrot A.R. Drone - $299 - This flying quadrocopter may look like a toy, but this is a serious RC flying vehicle with a twist. It can move up, down, left, and right, but you steer the thing with your iPhone or iPod Touch using onscreen buttons as well as by moving the phone around in space. There are two cameras -- one on the front and one on the bottom -- and a special sensor that doesn't let the Drone fly off into the wild blue yonder. Emergency switches shut it down when it starts tearing toward the bushes.
Kids will love watching Pop flying this thing around the yard but don't let little hands get too close to the blades.
Krups BeerTender - $80 - House parties are fun but cleaning up a case of bottles is messy and not very environmentally friendly. With the BeerTender by Krups, you can pour a full, cold, and hearty glass (or ten) of Heineken for your guests, allowing them to reuse cups or glasses all night. The BeerTender keeps things cool as well and tells you when you're about to run out of golden nectar. Replacement kegs are available at most grocery stores and each holds five liters of beer. Hubby doesn't like Heineken? Not a problem, just read on.
Barnes & Noble Nook - $139 - This ultralight e-reader focuses on one thing and one thing only -- a great reading experience. The new Nook has a 6-inch display with a touch screen and you can download new books over Wi-Fi. The battery lasts for almost two months and the e-ink screen is readable even in direct sunlight. It's one of the best e-readers I've seen since the original Kindle and, let's face it, paper books for pops are a little passé.
Samsung Infuse 4G - $199 with contract - If Dad isn't an iPhone guy, let him try the next best thing. The Android-powered Infuse 4G on AT&T is an amazing cellphone with a 4.5-inch display, touchscreen, and plenty of speed and power. It runs on AT&T's network and the screen is big and bright enough to let you watch movies and TV on the go. Battery life is strong -- about 18 hours on one charge -- and call quality is excellent.
The V-Vessel - $189.99 - If Dad is a homebrewer, he's probably been using big glass jugs or buckets to brew his beer or wine. That's fine, but the biggest problem he faces is racking -- moving the booze from one container to another to reduce the sediment. The V-Vessel, which hangs from the wall, solves that by routing all of the sediment to a small globe at the bottom where it collects and be quickly removed and thrown away. This means better and clearer beer or wine faster. The V-Vessel can hold almost any type of tipple, including oaked wines and hopped beers.