Best High-Tech Gifts for Dads and Grads


Dads seem to get the short end of the stick sometime, with Father’s Day coming after mom’s, and often getting lumped together with graduations and June weddings.  But the truth is, many dads would rather not have the attention on them, and certainly don’t want their families fretting over gifts. So what can families get for the guy who usually just goes out and gets everything or wants, or doesn’t think he needs anything?  Interestingly, many are the same things that are also perfect for kids just graduating from high school – the latest high tech gadgets. Here are five of the best high-tech gifts that are sure to be well-received by both groups – we hope that you’ll find some great picks in our dads and grads gift guide for 2012 and 2013:


It’s not uncommon these days to see smartphones and other devices plugged in to outlets no matter where you go.  In fact, some airports, restaurants and other establishments have begun removing or hiding plugs to avoid customers tapping in for free.

So for dads who are on the go or grads who will be out studying without reliable access to power, consider a PowerBag, a complete charging system that’s built into a backpack, briefcase or messenger bag.  Each PowerBag is self-contained, with a battery, USB connectors of all sizes and an Apple connector.  These bags are designed to be stylish and incredibly useful.  PowerBags range from $139.99 and up and can be bought directly from the company’s website.

Gorilla Torch

Resembling a mini-handheld tripod with a powerful light on top, the Gorilla Torch has bendable legs that can be secured to nearly any surface using rubber grip rings.  Designed with outdoor adventurers in mind, they’re extremely lightweight, portable and water-resistant.  But they’re perfect for any dad or grad that needs a hands-free light source, not just campers.  Gorilla Torch’s are available in four different designs, each with different colors. They can be purchased from the company’s web site for $29.95 to $59.95.


This illuminating ball powered by BlueTooth is much more than a one-trick pony.  It’s cool enough that Sphero can be controlled via a free app for smartphones or tablets much like a remote-control car.  But there are many more free apps available which provide different ways to use and interact with Sphero.  Download one app and you can program your own Sphero routines, choosing all the precise movements and light changes.  Other apps let Sphero act as a game controller either in the palm of your hand or set on a table top.  As far as new gadgets go, Sphero is as cool as it gets for someone looking for the latest high-tech toy.   Sphero is available for $129.99 directly from the company’s website.

Syma Mini-Helicopter

Mini-helicopters are so nimble, they’re perfect for backyard barbecues, a day at the park, or even flying around indoors.  Syma creates a broad range of sizes and control schemes, including the mini Gyro Helicopter which can fit in the palm of your hand. They’re all designed to be lightweight and chargeable via USB cable, and depending on the model you get, can be controlled with your smartphone or a special controller which takes a couple AA batteries.  Check out the company’s website for helicopters starting from $29.99.

PlayStation Vita

Sony’s PlayStation Vita delivers on the promise of delivering the next generation of portable video game play.  Games are now designed so they can be played simultaneously on both the PS3 at home as well as the PS Vita, and there are other games which can remember your progress on one system and let you pick right up from the same point thanks to cloud based saves.  The Vita sports a large touch screen in the front, as well as a touch pad on the rear on the system allowing for some cool gameplay quirks in games like Little Big Planet.  There’s dual analog controls, motion-sensors and of course Wi-Fi connectivity.  The Vita is the perfect present for any gamer in your family.  You can pick up the Vita wherever video games are sold for $249.99.

Also, those shopping for Dads and Grads would do well to consider a variety of smartphones, tablet PCs and eReaders from the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab to the iPhone 4S, Motorola Droid Razr Maxx and Kindle Fire. Whichever picks you choose, expect all to enjoy their high-tech gifts!

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About author

Johner Riehl

Johner Riehl is a freelance writer focusing on families, technology and online safety. As founder and editorial director for and, sites that provide reviews and recommendations geared towards families, he examines hundreds of family-friendly games and apps every year. He’s also host of Parent Savers, a podcast aimed at helping parents of newborns, infants and toddlers. TWITTER: @FamilyTechDad

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