10 Tech Gifts Perfect for Dads This Father's Day

 

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- From smartphones and computers to smartwatches, fitness bands and high-resolution digital music players, there are many great choices when it comes to gifts for Father's Day.

Here are some of our choices for well-priced, high-quality gifts for 2015.

Microsoft Surface 3


The new Surface 3 (without the "Pro" designation) is Microsoft's (MSFT) slightly smaller, lower-priced Surface tablet/laptop.

Compared to its big brother, the Surface 3 has a 10.8-inch,, full-HD screen (4:30 ratio) compared to the Pro's 12-inch touchscreen, an Intel (INTC) Atom processor (Pros have faster i3, i5 and i7 processors) and, most importantly, prices starting at only $499 compared to the Pro's $799. Colorful snap-on keyboard/covers are optional for both devices.

Aside from the Pro offering a more flexible kickstand on the back and more storage options these two portables are quite similar. If you don't need the extra kick of horsepower the Surface 3 is a very good buy.

Don't forget, both run the latest version of Windows 8.1 and will be eligible for a free upgrade to the much more user friendly Windows 10 beginning in late July.

Apple MacBook


Apple's (AAPL) latest MacBook offering is pretty amazing when you first confront it in person. It is almost too thin (13.1 mm) and too lightweight (2 pounds) to support a full 12-inch Retina display 2304 by 1440 pixels, 226 pixels-per-inch).

The first time I saw one in person I did a double take. Not only was this an industry-leading super-svelte design but the engineers managed to squeeze in a full-sized QWERTY keyboard.

Inside there's a choice of a dual-core, Intel Core-M processosr, 8 GB of RAM and either 256 or 512 of solid-state flash memory storage. There's a lot of power inside. On the outside you have your choice of three colors.

The most interesting fact you need to know is that Apple has removed all connecting ports of previous models for one, new USB 3.0 port. That's one port to handle all connections including charging the battery. Apple offers options dongles to make more than one connection at a time.


Apple iPhone 6

You really don't have to know anything about the iPhone 6 (and its big brother the iPhone 6 Plus) except to say they have become the worldwide standard for innovative smartphone design. It is an out-and-out monster seller everywhere.

And, for good reason. I'm not going to detail the specifications (you can read about what's inside here but I will says Apple has done a magnificent job of creating a mobile eco-system built around using only 1 GB of RAM. Just think what they can do with more in future phones. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch touchscreen. The 6 Plus' measures 5.5-inches. The choice is yours.

Apple is currently working on new models for release this fall but you can be secure in the fact that giving any iPhone will be greatly appreciated by all.


Samsung Galaxy S6 edge


This was a tough choice., Not because the curvy Galaxy S6 edge doesn't deserve all the accolades it has received. Its slightly cheaper brother, Samsung's (SSNLF) plain Galaxy S6 is also a terrific phone. But it doesn't have the screen.

The regular S6 has a normal, flat 5.1-inch AMOLED display with a bezel while the S6 edge's 5.1-inch screen curves on both the left and right-hand sides. It doesn't sound like much of a difference but in person it's hard not to be impressed with the amazing screen.

But the shapely screen comes at a $100 premium. Otherwise, these phones are pretty much identical inside - including super-quick, eight-core, Samsung-made processors, amazing 16 MP cameras on the back and models with up to 64 GB of internal storage (there's no expansion slot.)

The only concern we had with either phone was the battery life. During our tests both models provided a full day's worth of power reserve only with very, very judicial battery settings.


Apple Watch


If there's any company that can get people to begin wearing wristwatches again it's the experts in Cupertino and their new device simply called Apple Watch.

There are a number of terrific smartwatches on the market running on Google's (GOOGL) Android OS and other platforms, but they now all have to measure-up to the Apple design.

The Sport model (named for it's plastic Sport band and aluminum case) starts at $349. The next step up is the Apple Watch with a stainless steel case. Prices start at $549. The Apple Watch Edition, with your choice of white, yellow or rose gold case is priced to see at $10,000 and up You also have a choice of either 38- or 42-mm case sizes.


LG Watch Urbane


You may disagree, but for us, the best-looking of all the smartwatches at this point in time is the brand-new LG Watch Urbane.

The Urbane's fully-round watch face (the one they show in the photos) looks a lot like a real, mechanical wristwatch. That's something that Motorola, Samsung, Asus or any of the others -- and even Apple -- can't claim. It's the best-looking smartwatch on the market - at least so far.

It comes with a real leather band, all the latest Wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity you can think of, runs on Google's Android Wear OS and claims a full day's battery life on an overnight charge.

The great-looking LG Watch Urbane's is listed for sale on Amazon for $349.


Xiaomi Mi Band


Xiaomi has become a big player when it comes to producing incredible products at amazingly low prices. A year ago the company didn't even register on the worldwide wearables sales charts. Now, according to the latest IDC figures Xiaomi is holding down second place right behind Fitbit, in first quarter of 2015 when it comes to global shipments.

That is due mostly to Xiaomi's fitness band simply called Mi Band. It's a tiny device with three LED to impart basic some information, a black plastic strap and a smartphone app (versions for both Android and iOS) to track your movements (counting steps) as well as your sleep habits. Data is automatically transferred and synced via Bluetooth. You can buy one for as little as $13 and change online (from Amazon and others).

I've been wearing one for months and love it. I find myself walking a little bit earlier each day to make sure I reach my goal of (at least for now) 8,000 steps. It seems to do its job flawlessly and is priced so that everyone can afford one Seems like the perfect gift for someone you care about. Or yourself.

The rechargeable battery is said to last at least 30 days on a charge. The battery is my Mi Band consistently lasts a full two months before I need to plug in.


Fitbit Surge


The Fitbit Surge is not only a good-looking fitness band and time keeper but it also is a wearable GPS device that keeps track of your movements.

Unlike the super-inexpensive Xiaomi Mi Band the Surge also measures your heart rate, link wirelessly to your smartphone or computer and display phone and text messages and also play music from your portable devices. Syncing is accomplished wirelessly.

Of course, the Surge costs more than the Xiaomi device as well. Think in terms of $249 for the Fitbit. Surge comes in three colors and three different wrist band sizes


Fiio X3 Second Generation


Fiio is making a name for itself in portable, hi-rez music reproduction.

Its newest product is the second generation X3 portable. It looks somewhat like an older iPod but sounds a whole lot better. This little device stores and plays back high-resolution digital music up to and including 24/192 as well as DSD music files.

Unlike similar portables such as the $300 Sony MWZ-A17 (no DSD) and the $400 Pono the Fiio X3 comes with no internal storage. You need to buy a micro-SD card for that. A high-quality, 64 GB SanDisk (SNDK) storage card sells for less than $30 on Amazon.

On the other hand, this second-generation Fiio X3 costs only $200. If that sounds like too much the Fiio X1 (without DSD playback capabilities) is only $100.


Astell & Kern AK Jr.

At the other end of the price scale are all of the offerings from Astell & Kern. The Korean company once known as iRiver has been making high-quality digital music portables even longer that Apple was producing iPods.

A&K's current line includes a number of models including the new, top-of-the-line AK380 which retails for a mind-numbing $3,499.

The new $500 AK Jr is an absolutely beautiful designed little slab of aluminum wit maxh a great-looking touchscreen and great battery life. There's 64 GB of storage built-in and a microSD card slot (for an additional 64 GB) for expansion. It handles up to 24/192 as well as some DSD encoded files and easily accommodates over-the-ear headphones (cheap to very expensive) we tried as well as IEMs (high-quality in-ear monitors). Battery life (1450 mAh built-in rechargeable) was good for nearly a day of listening. Love the 3.1-inch touchscreen too

Overall, the sound quality is top-notch (like the entire line of A&K's products) and surprisingly quite close to that of the $1,200 Sony (SNE) NW-ZX2. The Sony is much larger and bulkier but runs on the Android OS (so you can listen to Spotify or Tidal, etc. via Wi-fi).

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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