June 12, 2008
| by Gordon Jones
If your dad is anything like mine, “cheap” is a badge worn with honor. In fact, if we got a deal on a gift for Dad, it usually resulted in a double celebration and a trip to Dairy Queen.
Unfortunately, some offspring (hint, hint) use the guise of frugality to justify questionable gifts including generic golf balls and Homer Simpson bottle openers. (Actually, the opener is kinda cool).
With this in mind, I’ve selected 20 relatively cool gifts (especially when compared to golf balls) for your Dad. Note that many of these items are on sale with no guarantees they’ll last, and some are merely the lowest price found. Feel free to suggest your own cool deals/wants in our comments section.
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Deal #1 - All Blu-ray Players - $100 Off
Yep, that’s right. ALL Blu-ray players including the PS3 and, even better, the new Metal Gear Solid 4 PS3 bundle. Simply enter your zip into Wal-Marts “Advertised Values” page and you’ll be presented with an online circular of their advertised deals. Page one (may differ in your region) shows both an stand alone Blu-ray player (a Panasonic) and a PlayStation 3, both with a $100 Gift Card included. The opposing page lists 12 Blu-ray titles priced at $15 a pop. Heck, dad will be so distracted you could probably keep the $100 for yourself! Buy now: www.walmart.com
Deal #2 - Sony Noise Canceling Headphones - $32.99
If ever a product was made for dads… Sony’s MDR-NC6 over-the ear headphones can reduce “perceived” outside noise by more than 70 percent (up to 10 dB at 300 Hz). The concept is the same as the more expensive versions, a circuit senses outside noise via the built-in microphones and sends an equal-but-opposite canceling signal to the speaker. Light, foldable, and now even cheaper, these make a great commuter accessory. Powered by one AAA battery, they will do their job for approximately 30 hours. This year, give dad what he’s been asking for, some %&$#@ peace and quiet. Buy now: www.compusa.com
Deal #3 - Lawnbott Robotic Lawn Mower - $2,749.00
What dad wouldn’t love passing the weed whacking to someone (anyone) else. And let’s face it, if it’s not the robot, it’ll probably be you out there in the 90 degree plus temps. Lawnbott’s Evolution Model LB3200 is packed with Adaptive Programming Technology, meaning its learning computer actually reprograms itself to adapt to the cutting requirements of your yard. What could possibly go wrong with that? The Advanced Spiral Cut programming also allows the Evolution to concentrate, by spiraling outwards, from any area where it senses higher grass. Check out the video. Buy now: www.atrendyhome.com
Deal #4 - Cambridge SoundWorks i765 Entertainment System - $299.99
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Cambridge Soundworks radios are the definition of “bang for buck”. And just in time for Father’s Day, their top-o-the-line model, the i765 is now $200 off list. Dad can put one in his office, bedroom, or even basement workshop and enjoy great sound and video via the built in radio, cd, dvd player and built-in ipod dock. It also has an aux port if he wants to stream other sources (think networked pc/mac). The unit includes a sleek remote and video out ports for his tv. Dad may never leave the basement again. Buy now: www.cambridgesoundworks.com
Deal #5 - Bushnell Night VisionScope w/ Boom Microphone - $239.94
Let’s not dwell on why dad would want night vision, but just assume it would be used for good (gopher hunting, hilarious pranks, neighborhood “crime watch”). The scope uses 2 AA batteries and sports a 2.5x42 (magnification x objective) lens with a range of up to 600 feet. It also has a directional microphone with a state of the art noise reduction system and recording capability. To be honest, I would think through the ramifications of giving something like this to dad if dating is something you enjoy. Buy now: www.opticsplanet.net
Deal #6 - Grace Digital Aqua Sounder Wireless Speaker System - $135.15
If you have a pool (or huge jacuzzi) this deal will make a splash - literally. Toss a Grace Aqua Speaker into the water, plop your iPod into the docking station and enjoy hours of skin-wrinkling fun. Better yet, expand the system to up to 10 speakers and hit every nook and cranny of your backyard. The dock/transmitter has a range of 150 feet and each speaker has two LED “mood lights” for added night time ambiance. The system uses the 900Mhz spectrum, so you may want to check your cordless phones before buying. Buy now: www.ctsproducts.com
Deal #7 - Sony Handycam High Def DV Camcorder - $764.99
Dell Small Business is offering the Sony Handycam HDR-TG1 Memory Stick DV Camcorder for almost $100 off the next lowest price. The miniscule HD camera is housed in titanium and features a 2.7” touchscreen LCD, Carl Zeiss lens with 10x optical zoom, 4-megapixel still images, USB 2.0 connectivity, Memory Stick PRO Duo slot, Face Detection technology, and more. Small enough to slide into any pocket, this relatively new offering shoots video in full 1920x1080 resolution and easily hooks up to any (modern) TV or computer. The only downside is the Memory Stick PRO Duo media, which tends to cost more than the SD cards and such. Regardless, Dad will never miss a “kodak” moment again. Buy now: www.dell.com
Deal #8 - Deluxe Inflatable Outdoor Movie Screen - $198.00
Back on sale, WallyWorld once again has the ultimate summer entertainment accessory. This deal popped up (sorry) earlier this year and had a lot of people talking, and I suspect buying. At 144” diagonal (12’ wide, 12’ tall) the inflatable screen is perfect for 16:9 shows and comes with an integrated pump, stakes, tethers, storage bag and even an extra fuse in case the kids try it out in the pool (our lawyers are gonna love that line). The frame is made from weatherproof/fade-resistant nylon and weighs about 25lbs in all. Setup and breakdown time is minimal and storing the entire screen is at most one shelf in your garage. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a night in your own backyard. Buy now: www.walmart.com
Deal #9 - Audioengine A5 Powered Speaker System - $325.00
Not your ordinary set of bookshelf speakers, Audioengine’s A5s bring a whole new set of options and versatility to the genre. A quick look to the back of the cabinets will be your first clue with ports for a subwoofer and aux power being the most obvious. Drop a pair of these in your library, add an Airport Express (juiced from the aux port) and you’re streaming music. Reviews are thumbs up with many claiming the speakers to be of audiophile quality. Other niceties include 2 audio inputs, built-in power amplifier, front panel volume control, Kevlar woofers, Silk dome tweeters, and magnetic shielding to protect your other electronics. Buy now: www.onecall.com
Deal #10 - zBoost Cell Phone Signal Booster - $205.98
If dad has issues (don’t they/we all) with his cellphone coverage, adding an extender/booster like the YX500-CEL may be the ticket to better calls and lower blood pressure. The zBoost takes an existing signal, even if slight, and both strengthens and expands it, often increasing the bars by 2-3 depending on environment. You will need to mount the booster somewhere high, like the attic, but with a little tweaking, the payoff is worth it. This model is designed for the 824 - 894 MHz range, which is Cingular, Verizon and Alltel cellular wireless phones. Other versions are available at similar prices. Buy now: www.amazon.com