Father's Day Tech Gifts
Presented by Lance Ulanoff
DJI Mavic Air
This is simply the best foldable drone on the market. It has excellent, precision control. The Mavic Air is fast (42 MPH) and offers incredible flight time (21 minutes) for such a small device. Its tracking capabilities are simply unbeatable, and you can control it with hand gestures up close or from a reasonable distance away. The video quality (up to 4K) is unmatched.
This is another foldable drone that offers the added benefit of pulling the remote and drone into one portable package. It is not as small or elegant as the Mavic Air, but it is fast and does offer 4K video and 20 minutes of flight time. It does not offer the same kind of precise control you get with the Air but can be found for as low as $675.
This attractive-looking, Siri-enabled speaker has some of the best sound you’ll find in a speaker of its size. It comes with 3 months free of Apple music ($9.99 a month after that) and, with the service, is an incredible smart DJ. You can tell it to play music “like the Police” or something for a party or let it choose based on your preferences. It’s also a smart speaker and can answer questions, control smart devices (iHome) and it lets you send emails. It does not access your calendar or make calls directly but will work as a speaker phone with your iPhone. You can control it with your voice or via touch. It is, at $349, kind of expensive. If you can afford two, you can set them up to play stereo, which sounds insane.
This speaker is smaller and a lot cheaper than the HomePod but offers music quality that’s almost as good. It connects with other Sonos speakers to fill the home with music and connects to Sonos’ excellent mobile app which lets you control playback and connect it to your various music services. The big highlight here, though, is Alexa integration. Basically, anything you can do with An Amazon Echo, you can do with the Sonos One using only your voice.
Microsoft Surface Laptop
This is an exquisitely-designed, Windows 10 touch-screen laptop with 14 hours of battery life. It weighs 2.75 lbs. and has a unique, Alcantara fabric-covered keyboard. It’s so well balanced, you can open it with a fingertip. Like the MacBook Air, it has an aluminum chassis and a non-replaceable battery.
The MacBook Air is larger (13.3-inch display) and more comparable to the Surface laptop, though it is not a touchscreen device. It’s also, at $999, more comparably priced. It has 12 hours of battery life, an aluminum chassis and, obviously, the excellent MacOS. It has more power and ports than the MacBook (including a standard USB port).
Ultra-light (2lbs) and portable Mac with all-day battery life. It has a huge Force Touch trackpad (feels like it’s moving, but it’s not) and impressive sound for such a small device. It also has 12-inch display (not touch) with butterfly keyboard. The keyboard doesn’t have as much travel as, say, a Surface Laptop (or even surface pro), but I like it. Only one USB-C port and more expensive. You’re basically paring for that ultra-portability – and the Apple design and quality.
Lenovo Mirage Solo
Self-contained Virtual Reality headset. No phone or computer necessary. Inside-out tracking so you can stand up and wear it without concern about bumping into walls (no beacons necessary). It also tracks your real-world movements, like crouching and leaning, and integrates that into the VR game. The easy-to-use remote lets you navigate games, target, shoot and more. The headset looks stilly when you’re wearing it, but the experience is truly immersive and a lot of fun.
Facebook’s more affordable VR headset also includes a remote but does not have “inside-out-tracking.” This means it can’t track your position in the real world and you must sit down to use it. Still, it’s the cheapest standalone VR headset that doesn’t require a smartphone or tethered computer. With it you gain access to the expansive Oculus library of VR content.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro + Security Cam
$199 - $249 (for Pro)
Ring, now owned by Amazon, gets credit for breaking open the home video doorbell market. The have devices ranging from the $199 basic model up to the Pro, which compares more favorably to the Nest Hello. It has motion detection and you can set specific motion zones and see and hear who’s at your front door. You can speak to them, too. It also integrates with Alexa, which means you can control it through Echo devices.
Smaller and more expensive than most Ring offerings, this is video doorbell serves as a home security device. You can check who’s ringing your doorbell from anywhere in the world and speak to them too. It will alert you to activity in front of your home. In addition to motion detection, the Nest Hello adds people and facial recognition. It integrates with the Nest App, so you can track all your Nest smart home devices in one place and works with Google Assistant, which means you can control it through your Google Assistant devices. One big caveat is that you’ll need to have enough electricity coming into the doorbell line. Check your setup before buying one.