Ah, dear old dad. Chances are, this is the guy who got you interested in gadgets in the first place, so what better time to repay the favor? Now, shopping for the old man isn't quite what it used to be -- you can't just get away with a few power tools or some Stones tickets (well, actually, those probably still work). Your dad is a pretty savvy dude, and even though he's set in his ways, we're pretty sure he'd like some new tech to toy with this holiday season. That's where we come in. Engadget makes buying a gift for your dad less of a chore and more of a pleasure, so you can leave time for the important things... like mixing that next drink. Read on for our picks, and be sure to check out all the guides right here
$0 - $50
16GB SDHC card
- Your dad is probably the guy who's always busting out the camera to capture those moments most of us are too lazy to think about. Thanks to him, you've got family photos and irreplaceable memories. Help the man out come gift giving season by throwing a hefty memory card his way. Current 16GB SDHC cards can be had plenty cheap, and with that kind of storage, he can probably snap straight through to next year's holiday bash.
From $23 - Shop for SDHC cards
Brando cooling pad / dock
- We don't know about you, but our dad loves his laptop. He's always busting it out while we're hanging for a little casual web browsing. If you're a good son / daughter, you'll want to protect the man's lap from possible burns (or worse) with this Brando cooling pad. Bonus? It doubles as a hard drive dock and USB hub, thus letting the man do more of what he likes best -- compute -- with greater ease.
$33 - Buy from Brando
Microsoft Zune Pass
- Your dad loves music, okay? You may not want to hear it, but the dude is definitely jamming out to The Dead, The Doors, or (depending on his age), some good old Frank Sinatra. Hey, for all you know, he's really into Pantera. Regardless, give him a gift that will help indulge his tastes -- just don't be surprised if your mother starts asking for a set of earplugs.
$14.99 a month - Buy from Zune
$51 - $100
Ion Audio SLIDES 2 PC
- Look, your dad isn't a young man. He knows what slides are... in fact, he probably has a few spools laying around somewhere. Why not help ease him out of those wastes of space with the Ion Audio SLIDES 2 PC -- a device that will help him convert those precious, ancient memories into a handier digital format. Trust us, he'll thank you when he can toss that mildewy box in the basement.
$79.99 - Buy from Ion Audio
Belkin FlyThrough laptop bag
- If you've got one of those fathers who's been busting his hump on business trips, here's a way to make his experience a whole lot easier. Instead of having to lug that laptop out of its case every time he hits a TSA checkpoint, he can keep the computer (and his sanity) in the same spot. Trust us, you can't miss with this if your dad is the traveling type.
$59.99 - Buy from Belkin
- Just because the old man is, well... an old man, it doesn't mean that he's not keeping in shape. You'd be hard pressed to find a better (or more useful) piece of exercise tech than the Nike+ SportBand. This should help keep track of his workouts while remaining an unobtrusive part of the process. Just be careful if he challenges you to a race -- he's faster than he looks!
$59 - Shop for Nike+ SportBand
$101 - $250
- Look, the man is attached to his DVD collection, and there's nothing wrong with that. Your father may not be so hip to getting a whole new batch of hard media at this stage in his life, so why not ease him into HD with the XD-E500. This low-price-point, upscaling DVD player should be just the thing to bridge that gap -- allowing for dad to still enjoy the collection he has, while gently nudging him towards a high-def future. He'll thank you someday.
$83-140 - Shop for XD-E500
Canon Powershot SD880 IS
- We've already established that the man likes to take photos -- but he may not be as technically inclined as some (say, yourself). In that case, the SD880IS is the perfect choice -- nice, juicy megapixels (10 of 'em!), plus a super easy interface make this a solid selection come photo-snapping time. C'mon, the kids won't hold that pose forever.
From $234 - Shop for SD880 IS
- It's a no brainer, right? If your dad is the more adventurous type, he probably likes to get out there and mix it up. What better way to handle all the photos he's taking then the Eye-Fi Explore kit. The 2GB may not be tons of storage, but the Skyhook geotagging will ensure that he not only gets the picture, but remembers where it was taken. At this price, you'd be a fool not to spring for it.
$129.99 - Buy from Eye-Fi
$251 - $500
- The HD DVD format is dead and HD over broadband is still in its infancy -- Blu-ray sits somewhere in between just like dear ol' dad. So if you've got the cash, why not gift the man a Sony BDP-S550 with BD-Live, 1GB of storage (and USB for more), and 7.1 channel analog outs. If he gets the hint, then you can kick back with the extra-large 1080p panel he'll likely buy before you return home for Spring Break.
$350 - Buy from Sony
Numark's TTi turntable
- Give the guy a break, it's not easy for dad to make the jump from analog to digital. This might help: Numark's TTi, a turntable that rips vinyl straight to the iPod without any kind of PC futzing up the process. It'll also rip direct from vinyl to PC/Mac if 2001 technology still makes his ears bleed.
$250 to $300 - Shop for Numark TTi
$501 - $1000
Garmin GPSMAP 620
- So, your father summers in The Hamptons and takes Christmas on Tortola? Perfect, the Garmin GPSMAP 620 is the only GPS navigator he needs. On the road, the 620 provides all the turn-by-turns, POIs, and proximity alerts you'd expect. Slip it into the marine mount, and Dad can navigate the yacht to his beach-side landing with an assist from both ariel and underwater 3D views. It also features an IPX7 waterproof rating which we assume has something to do with resistance to rum.
$1000 - Buy from Garmin
- Come on, the N85 isn't just another cellphone, it's a multimedia computer as Nokia likes to say. Hard to argue given the N85's 2.6-inch AMOLED display, GPS, 5 megapixel cam, N-Gage gaming support, 8GB of removable microSDHC storage, WiFi, and enough power to drive 28-hours of audio before needing a recharge. And if you're buying it in the US, your father is almost guaranteed the exclusivity amongst his friends and colleagues. That's worth something, right?
$552 - Buy from Nokia
- Got yourself a new half brother or sister thanks to daddy's new wife? Sweet, then pops will like nothing more than a new camcorder that matches the experience he's gained video taping the lives of a handful of kids now grown and gone from the house. The Panasonic HDC-SD100 records 1920 x 1080 video in AVCHD format while offering your old man plenty of the manual controls he now craves from a camcorder. It also features excellent low-light shooting capabilities to capture both newborn moments and whatever moments he, and his trophy wife might consider fit to record to SD cards.
~$900 to $1,300 - Shop for HDC-SD100
Canon EOS 50D
- Know what dad needs to match his mid-life crisis? A mid-range DSLR. While the gym won't work any miracles at his age, at least he can upgrade his old Canon body to a new 50D. Sure, you can give the EOS 5D Mark II instead, but everyone knows that a man with a shiny new sports car (and girlfriend to match) can't be trusted with 1080p video.
~$1,400 with kit lens - Shop for Canon EOS 50D
Ovei home theater pod
- Take a second and imagine your pops in the Ovei home theater pod. The air-conditioned capsule is meant to give him a completely immersive gaming or theater experience... for $75,000. Really though, it's the least you can do for the man after he paid your college tuition without even once demanding that you work fast food.
£50,000 - Buy from Ovei
Pioneer KURO PDP-6020FD plasma
- Look, we know it's hard. Not everyone can say "I love you" to their fathers. So why not show him that love instead with the magnificent 60-inch KURO PDP-6020FD plasma from Pioneer. Even your
heart doesn't get this black.
~$4,000 to $5,500 - Shop for KURO PDP-6020FD
Lenovo's ThinkPad X200 Tablet
- Feel free to laugh all you want in private, but in your father's company, you should at least humor his claims that the Tablet PC is the next big thing. Certainly the X200 with that stubborn ThinkPad design is the perfect gift for a man who's held onto the dream since late 2000. Just be sure to toss in the optional 12.1-inch multitouch LED panel -- who knows, by the time Windows 7 is released, your father might actually be right.
$1,844+ - Buy from Lenovo
- It's fast, it's silent, and it makes pretty, young debutantes swoon at the sight of the Silicon Valley blowhard who drives it. We're talking about the all-electric Tesla Roadster of course -- what better way to tell your mother that her marriage is over?
$109,000 - Reserve from Tesla