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The best gifts for new dads

Make life with a new baby a little less overwhelming.

Engadget

It’s hard to be a new parent, we know. Keeping yourself going is infinitely harder when you’re trying to nurture and care for a brand new human at the same time. Thankfully, there’s a lot of tech out there that helps ease the burden for moms and dads, from wireless earbuds and tablets, to a simple rattle that can help diffuse a potential meltdown. Tech won’t help with the mountains of dirty diapers or the sleepless nights, but it can at least help new parents stay sane.

Photo by Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Tablets are a multi-functional lifesaver for any new dad – they can distract kids during unruly mealtimes, and they can help you catch up on shows during late night feeding sessions. Apple’s 10th-generation iPad is a great gift option: It’s fast and light, it has a solid 10.9-inch screen, and its price has recently been lowered to $349. It also works with the Apple Pencil (a great option for doodling once kids are older), and there are cases like the Magic Keyboard Folio that can transform the iPad into a mini-PC. While the iPad Air is a compelling upgrade, it’s hard to beat the sheer value of the 10th-gen iPad.

$329 at Amazon
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$329 at Groupon$339 at Walmart

This relatively cheap rattle is deceptively useful. It has a light-up face to keep babies interested, multiple textures for them to explore, and a mirror on the bottom for them to learn their own faces. It was a secret weapon during my child's first-year tantrums, so much so that I've gifted it to every new parent I know. It's not high tech at all, but it's a reminder that they’re called classics for a reason.

$24 at Amazon
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$24 at Fat Brain Toys

For Android owners, or people who want an alternative to Apple’s AirPods, the Jabra Elite 10 are one of the best options around. They offer powerful active noise canceling (ANC), up to 27 hours of battery life, and support for Dolby Atmos immersive audio. And, like all of Jabra’s recent wireless headphones, they also sound great. The Elite 10 also includes six microphones (both external and internal) to deliver excellent call quality, even during windy conditions.

$250 at Amazon
Photo by Billy Steele / Engadget

The first AirPods Pro were a much-needed improvement over the original AirPods, thanks to a more secure bud design and noise canceling. The second-generation AirPod Pros are even better, with significantly improved sound and far more powerful ANC. They’re perfect for drowning out a crying infant as they’re being rocked to sleep, or quieting the cacophony of house noise while preparing dinner. Pop in one AirPod Pro, and it can help dad catch up on his podcasts while pushing a stroller around town, or chasing kids through a playground. And once the kids are asleep, they can deliver surprisingly powerful tunes. They also easily pair with Apple TVs to deliver immersive sound at night without waking the kids.

$190 at Amazon
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$250 at Verizon$239 at Staples

Keeping up with a new baby can lead to aches and pains in muscles that dad never knew he had. The Theragun Mini can give him the opportunity to get a massage without leaving the house. While there are much bigger and more powerful Theragun machines, the Mini is a good size for beginners and those who want to take its muscle relief power wherever they go. It has a single button that dad can use to change the massage gun’s speed and its ergonomic design makes it easy to reach different parts of the body. And arguably the best part is its 150-minute battery life — while that might not seem like a long time, it truly is when you consider the fact that you don’t need to use it for more than a few minutes each day to feel the results. With that schedule, dad could use the Theragun Mini every day for a month or more before needing to recharge it.

$188 at Amazon
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$199 at Lowe's

We all wish we could read more, and sometimes it’s just nice to stop staring at a phone’s bright screen. Enter the Kindle Paperwhite, one of our favorite e-readers on the market. It has a large 6.8-inch E-Ink screen that’s purpose built for reading. The backlight is easy on the eyes, and the most recent model even features warmer lighting to avoid disrupting sleep patterns. It’s also waterproof, making it a great bath, beach or pool companion. After dealing with kids for the whole day, it may be worth just locking up your notification and social media infested phone to dive into a good book. And if you're not an Amazon person, you have plenty of good e-reader options from Kobo to consider, like the Kobo Clara Colour.

$150 at Amazon
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$193 at Groupon$159 at Staples

For dads who were raised on Knight Rider and James Bond’s many wearable gadgets, the Apple Watch is a must-have. It’s a convenient way to stay on top of notifications, track your workouts and in general feel like a super-powered parent. The Apple Watch Series 9 is also a compelling upgrade for anyone who has an older model: It has a fast S9 chip, bright 2,000 nit screen (making it easy to read in bright sunlight) and support for a new double-tap finger gesture. While exercise focused wearables from Fitbit may be better at tracking workouts, Apple has turned its Watch into a true extension of your iPhone.

$299 at Amazon
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$329 at Walmart$399 at Adorama
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

A perfect gift for any gamer dads in your life, the Laugh and Learn Controller is basically a baby-proofed version of a modern gamepad. There's a joystick, directional pad, and array of buttons for kids to fiddle with. But like any good distracting toy, it also lights up and makes sounds to keep them entertained. It's not exactly complex, but it's inexpensive and effective. That's particularly true for parents of little ones who always gravitate to their expensive console controllers.

$6 at Amazon
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$7 at Walmart$8 at Kohl's