When dads are awesome, they're so very awesome. They tend to love gadgets just like you -- they totally get it. Hell, your dad is probably reading Engadget right now (at least we hope so). So maybe he won't be as surprised when he gets something off this list, but that won't make it any less enjoyable when the both of you unpack it together, set it up, and fight over who gets to use it first.
See also: for him, for her, for son, for daughter.
$0 - $100
Logitech Harmony 520 Advanced Universal Remote - Sure, you could try to get Dad off the couch by buying him some fancy exercise equipment, but since that'll end up in the attic by New Year's anyway, why not just bite the bullet and make his sedentary lifestyle a little more enjoyable instead? Logitech's Harmony 550 remote can control up to 15 of his favorite A/V gadgets through simple macros and on-screen prompts, and the online device database makes punching in those frustrating codes a thing of the past.
$87 - Shop for Harmony 520
LoggerHead Bionic Wrench - If your dad is anything like ours, his workbench is cluttered with rusty old tools, and he can be heard cussing up a blue streak every time he's looking for that damn 5/16 wrench; why not do him and the neighbors a favor and pick up one of LoggerHead's Bionic Wrenches? Available in three sizes and one attractive color, each of these little wonders can handle several different bolts of almost any size, and grip tightly on all six sides. He'll still probably lose it, but at least you can say you tried.
$33 - Buy from Smarthome
Coleco Sonic Handheld - Even if all these "next-gen" consoles are too confusing for dear old dad, surely he can get down with a single D-pad and two measly buttons. The Coleco Sonic Handheld offers up 20 old-school Sega games that anyone can master, and at only $50, it's a cheap way to distract him from telling his boring stories at yet another family event.
$50 - Buy from Target
$101 - $250
Bluetake i-PHONO mini + transmitter - Cut dad's cables, man. He doesn't want no wires to his headphones -- except on his audiophile headphones -- so make sure his iPod (or A2DP compliant cellphone) is Bluetooth and proud with a Bluetake iPhono mini and transmitter.
~$130 for both - Buy from Blue Essentials
LG enV - He wants the full qwerty keyboard, but none of the hassle of a smartphone OS -- and we can't blame him. Point him towards Verizon's enV. It's by no means perfect, but it strikes a good balance of 3G and multimedia features with QWERTY flavor and a dedicated numeric keypad to boot.
$150 with contract - Buy from Verizon
Gateway FPD1975W - Poor dad, his eyesight is already going and he's having an ever-harder time reading your IMs. He may not need a 30-incher, but you'd do him right to snag him Gateway's FPD1975W, one of the least expensive large widescreens on the market today.
$230 - Buy from Gateway
$251 - $500
Sony Ericsson MBW-100 - Every guy secretly wants to lead the James Bond lifestyle, and while it's probably not a good idea to retrofit his BMW with surface-to-air missles, you can still hook him up with a high-tech watch. Sony Ericsson's MBW-100 Bluetooth model should fit the bill: it'll help him impress his buddies every time a call comes in, and it looks way snazzier than past attempts at merging wrist with CallerID.
$280 - Shop for MBW-100
Logitech Harmony 1000 Advance Universal Remote - Does your Dad like to be king of the living room, making sure that only his shows are on TV and his music is piping out of the stereo at any given time? Well there's only the king of remotes that is fit for true household rulers, and that's the Logitech Harmony 1000 Advanced Universal touchscreen remote. Seriously though, $500 is a small price to pay for that kind of power trip.
$500 - Buy from Logitech
Sirius Stiletto - This new sat radio, in case you haven't heard, is one of the smallest and sleekest big-ticket gadgets out there right now. Coming in at just $350, the Stiletto will let your Dad listen to Howard Stern, NBA games and/or NPR from pretty much anywhere. Just don't be surprised if he decides to ditch the fam and take long walks by himself after holiday dinners.
$350 - Shop for Sirius Stiletto
A Living Picture Momento 100 - Sure you could get your Dad an analog picture frame, or even one of those generic digital frames that we've eyed over the last few months. But A Living Picture's Momento WiFi photo frame is something else. Even if you Dad isn't a geek, he can appreciate it once you have it set up on his desk and he can check out streaming photos from the last family vacation at his leisure.
$300 - Shop for A Living Picture Momento 100
Notable mention: Wave TV
$501 - $1000
PlayStation 3 - Assuming you didn't get one on launch day and store it away, you're probably going to have to resort to some desperate measures (i.e. eBay) if you want to score a PS3 for your dad this holiday season. Although, providing he wasn't secretly pining for a Wii, we're sure he'll appreciate your effort, especially since even if he's not going to play games he can still appreciate it as the cheapest Blu-ray player on the market. Before you go hunting for one, however, remember what your mom always told you -- if something looks too good to be true, it probablyis.
<$1,000 (maybe) - Shop for PlayStation 3
Vizio 42-inch Plasma - With only a 1024 x 768 native resolution, this set may not have the highest HD resolution around, but it's got enough sheer size (42 inches) to impress in any living room and the price (around $1,000) certainly makes it a more reasonable gift than the 1080p alternatives.
~$1,000 - Buy from Vizio
Canon PowerShot G7 - Always a popular choice for the amatuer or not-so-amatuer photographer, Canon's latest G-Series camera, the PowerShot G7, should please any dad that's not still clinging to film -- and even many that are. Just don't forget to get an extra SD card or two to go along with it, the camera may suddenly seem less impressive when he realizes he can't take more than three pictures at a time.
$600 or less - Shop for Canon G7
Garmin nuvi 660 - It's not the cheapest GPS unit around, or the most expensive, but Garmin's nuvi 660 should hit the right sweet spot to please dad whether he's a casual traveler or a dedicated road warrior. And, unlike some less expensive GPS units, it shouldn't look too out of place on his (or any) dashboard.
~$800 - Shop for Garmin nuvi 660
- Every dad has to get away from it all once in a while, but only a select few dads will have the luxury of getting away at nearly 130mph (in near-total silence, no less). True, the lawn may not get mowed and the leaky faucet may not get fixed while he's cruising the countryside in the all-electric Tesla Roadster, but he will be doing his little part to save the environment and reduce dependence on crude oil. Unfortunately, with Tesla excitement having reached a fever pitch this year, this is one gift that'll require the most patient of fathers -- deliveries for new orders could come as late as the end of '08.
$92,950 and up - Reserve with Tesla
Singapore Airlines first class ticket
- Getting there is supposed to be half the fun, but you can help make sure it's about 80-90% of the fun for pops on his next trip by booking with Singapore Airlines. First class accomodations on the carrier's latest Boeing 777s appear to rival those offered by your average New York City apartment, including a 23-inch LCD, noise-reducing headset, and all manner of wizardry for watching on-demand video or getting work done. The only problem, of course, is that the sheer quantity of cash for a single first class ticket might mean the rest of the family stays home.
Price varies by booking - Book with Singapore Airlines
Philips Pronto TSU9600
- We know it's our third universal remote, but we know dads love their home theaters, and if it takes dad 15 frickin' minutes to configure his AV setup to play a DVD, and another 15 to get it back to watching TiVo, it's about time for some serious remote consolidation. Philips' Pronto TSU9600 pretty much sits atop the hill, featuring far-out goodies (for a remote, anyway) like WiFi, a 3.7-inch touch screen with a stylus, home automation integration, and media server control. At $1,300, total control doesn't come cheap, but he may never have to throw it at the TV in frustration again.
$1,300 - Search for a retailer