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7 Cool (and Affordable) Gadgets and Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

Roku Inc. CEO Anthony Wood Unveils New Streaming DevicesRoku Inc. CEO Anthony Wood Unveils New Streaming Devices

You know what Dad really appreciates on his big day , other than a nice, long nap? When you buy him something cool and score a great deal. And by cool we mean a virtual reality headset, a spiffy new tablet, or comfy headphones. Click through this tech-minded gallery and you’ll find all sorts of lesser-known gadgets that hold their own against high-profile competitors—at significantly lower prices. Even better, because we’ve done all the shopping for you, you’ll have more time to kick and and do some major father-child bonding. (Yes, watching TV and sharing a beer counts, in case Mom asks.)

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A good smartwatch tells time (natch) and notifies you about important calls, messages, and appointments. Everything else: fluff. The Pebble Time ($150) for Android and iPhone features an always-on screen that requires charging only once per week. The Apple Watch Sport ($299) (AAPL) does more, but it requires daily charging and works only with iPhones.

VR Headset

There’s nothing cooler right now than virtual reality headsets. The Oculus Rift ($599) delivers dazzling experiences but requires a high-end PC and room to move around. The Samsung Gear VR ($99) delivers nearly as much dazzle for a fraction of the price. Just one catch: Make sure Dad owns a compatible Samsung smartphone.


At $199, Dell’s gorgeous, powerful Venue 8 7000 Android tablet costs half as much as the comparable iPad Mini 4 ($399), but sports a slightly larger and higher-resolution screen, expandable storage, an aggressive-for-a-tablet Intel Atom processor, and a 3D camera. Need a reason to stick with Apple? Better apps and cellular-enabled configurations.

Streaming Stick

Apple’s fourth-generation TV box ($149) features built-in Siri and some cool games, but if Dad is all about the streaming video, go for Roku’s latest streaming stick ($50). It offers way more channels, convenient shortcut buttons on the remote, and a feature Mom will love: sound that can play through the headphone jack on Dad’s phone.


Sony’s $80 over-the-ear headphones put up a good fight against the second (and much improved) iteration of entry-level Beats ($140). The MDRs produce great sound with a wider dynamic range, are sturdily built, and the pillow-like earpieces are insanely comfortable. Where Beats can’t be beat: style and a removable cord with built-in playback controls.

Mobile Charger

Mobile chargers come in all shapes, sizes—and values. The Mophie Powerstation ($80), for example, is pocket-friendly, but it’s an fairly unattractive brick that’s good for 1 or 2 phone recharges. The Solove A9 ($25) has more than twice the capacity and looks like a sleek, metallic work of art.

Activity Tracker

Looking for a basic activity tracker on the cheap? Misfit’s $20 Link offers many of the same features as Fitbit’s (FIT) $60 Zip: steps, distance, calories burned, and battery life up to six months. However, the Link adds sleep tracking and doubles as a music remote, selfie button, and presentation clicker for your phone. Where Link lacks: the Zip has an LCD screen and great online portal for tracking your weight loss.

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