5 gifts to fuel dad's hobbies

Dad has enough neckties he doesn't wear. You don't need to add to the collection. For Father's Day, appeal to his hobbies with fun tech gift ideas. Here are five of our suggestions.

For the aspiring pilot: Helo TC Assault

Bring out the kid in dad. Griffin's Helo TC Assault is a toy helicopter that can launch missiles mid-flight. A free app (compatible with iOS and Android devices) helps maneuver this pint-size aircraft. Steering is done with the joystick controls on the app or by tilting the controller, which triggers the accelerometer in tablets and smartphones. The app also includes a button to fire small, plastic (and harmless) missiles.

Unless dad has a helicopter pilot's license, it might take some time to get used to the toy. I managed to crash my review unit to the point where it became inoperable within the first day. Perhaps this might be Griffin's strategy, but picking up a pair wouldn't hurt: two for dad or one for each of you to battle. The Helo TC Assault ($59.99) comes with eight missiles, a controller and replacement rotor parts.

For the adventurer: G-Shock Aviation Series watch

If dad's going to commandeer a helicopter, he should have a watch to match. Casio's G-Shock Aviation Series timepieces are designed to endure the toughest of environments, able to resist centrifugal force, drops and water up to 200 meters.

The self-charging solar-powered watch has a cockpit-inspired display and uses atomic timekeeping technology that automatically syncs the time and date via radio signals. With all these bells and whistles, it shouldn't be surprising that setting the watch can be a quite the endeavor. (The video above shows the many steps involved.) The G-Shock Aviation Series watches begin at $260.

For the tinkerer: GorillaTorch

Joby's best known for the GorillaPod, a line of sturdy tripods with flexible legs that secure cameras to poles and railings. But its GorillaTorch flashlight line is perfect for the guy who likes to tinker with his gadgets. When the fuse goes out, he'll also be glad GorillaTorch is by his side, able to get into tight spots with its flexible legs and cling onto a metal surface thanks to its magnetic feet.

There are four GorillaTorch models, but the Blade is my favorite, able to output 130 lumens. The detachable light, which is rechargeable via mini USB, is made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum. The water- and drop-resistant GorillaTorch Blade retails for $59.95.

For the grill master: Pit Boss BBQ Tool Belt

Pit Boss has the grill master covered.

The company's BBQ Tool Belt is a holster for all of dad's grilling gadgets. Made of ballistic poly material, the holster includes a number of unexpected compartments, including a bottle opener on a retractable reel for when you need a beer stat; insulated koozies to keep drinks cold; carabiners to hold grilling tools; and pockets for sauces, rubs, lighters, thermometers and other cooking miscellany.

With this belt, dad will be prepared for a summer of barbecues. The Pit Boss BBQ Tool Belt is available for $69.99 and comes with a lifetime satisfaction guarantee.

For the overprotective: Dropcam

Is dad the overprotective kind? He can rest easy with Dropcam, a secure WiFi-video monitoring camera that lets him keep an eye on the house, baby or pup while he's gone.

The video quality at 720p HD easily bests much of what's available on the market. A wide-angle lens gives consumers a large enough range to capture the entire room, with the ability to zoom and pan to specific details. Even in the dark, the camera's infrared technology can capture clear picture.

Users can turn on motion and audio detection, notifying them via email or the mobile app of changes in the home. Dropcam's cloud offering, an optional feature that includes a subscription fee, lets users DVR home activity. Dad can even chime in and say hi, thanks to the camera's two-way audio. Dropcam is currently on back order, beginning at $149.

By Alice Truong


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