As writers of the world’s greatest Australian-based Android website we often get asked for advice on tech purchases. With Father’s Day just around the corner we thought we would prepare a list of options for those looking for a Father’s Day present (and I will be sending the link to my kids).
Let’s start with what we all love, phones.
Huawei P20 Pro
This year we have had a lot of contenders for the device we would recommend at the premium level but for us there is one that stands out: the Huawei P20 Pro, in Twilight. Whether the EMUI software is for you or not you cannot go past the best smartphone camera ever created. While some can take good pictures in most settings such as the Pixel 2, the HTC U12+ and the Samsung Galaxy S9+, the Huawei P20 Pro excels at most, if not all. Add to that the stunning Twilight colour and you have an amazing-looking phone that takes the best photos ever on a smartphone. At $1099 from JB Hi-Fi you cannot go wrong.
Nokia 7 Plus
Mid-range phones are a tougher proposition given the sheer number of entries in this segment. For us Nokia’s first 18:9 aspect ratio display combined with Android One software makes the Nokia 7 Plus a winner. Available in a good looking black with copper highlights at just $649 from JB Hi-Fi or on sale this week from Harvey Norman for just $547 it would definitely make a great present.
Headphones are a very personal choice at times but there are a few we would recommend you have a look at.
Jabra Elite Active 65T
Our favourite true wireless earbuds are the Jabra Elite Active 65T. With a relatively small charging case that adds 10 hours to the five hours onboard the earbuds these small earbuds keep on and on. They sit comfortably in most ear with three different sized ear cushions to choose from and the pressing of buttons is easy, responsive and doesn’t result in it being pushed in against the eardrum. The sound they produce belies the small size of them and although the price is not cheap at $329 they are worth the investment should your budget extend that far.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The more traditional headphones were harder to separate and in the end we decided on the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. The comfort, the fit, the sound and the Google Assistant integration make them a very hard to pass up product. Add in the noise cancellation as well as the ability to change the amount it reduces the outside noise makes them nearly perfect. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II do not come cheap though at a RRP of $499.95 but they are well worth it if the budget stretches that far.
This year we have seen a lot of smart speakers arrive on our shores and to be honest it is difficult to separate the third party smart speakers from each other. We have quite a few plug in at home Google Assistant speakers available here and with any of them you cannot go wrong. We will mention those that give you something different though if you want to find something that sits apart from the pack.
JBL Link 10
JBL decided to incorporate Google Assistant into a few of their speakers and came out with the Link 10 and the Link 20. We are yet to test a Link 20 but considering the size difference between the 10 and 20 we think the Link 10 fits better for it’s use. It is a battery powered, compact portable speaker that is IPX7 waterproof and sounds great. It supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and of course Chromecast. On sale currently for $149 at JB Hi-Fi it’s usual price of $229 is still great value for a speaker that can literally be used anywhere.
Google Home Max
Google Home Max on the other hand is at the other end of the spectrum and is most definitely not portable — just ask Dan who carried one back from the US in his luggage! It’s sound is loud and strong and has a lot of enhancements to direct the sound to wherever you are. Add in Google Assistant to this amazing sound you have a top notch, premium speaker. Of course a top notch premium speaker comes at a premium price with it’s recommended price of $549. Available at many retail stores including JB Hi-Fi as well as the Google Store make sure you take along your muscles to carry this hefty speaker home.
Sonos One and Sonos Beam
Sonos are yet to join the Google Assistant camp although we are assured by them that it will happen by the end of the year. Sonos have started their smart speaker lineup with the Sonos One and the Sonos Beam. One is a standard-looking bookshelf speaker while the other is a sound bar. Both produce amazing sound and the Sonos One is my go to speaker for listening to music of any type. Their integration with one and other is one of Sonos’ strengths with their ecosystem very robust and their app is easy to use.
Software updates for the speakers are implemented through the app. At this stage they support Amazon’s Alexa as well as Airplay 2 and Audible but no Google Assistant. In my opinion, once they have full Google Assistant integration the Sonos One and the Sonos Beam will be near-perfect. Once again, this near perfection comes at a price. Both are available in black or white colours with the Sonos One priced at $299 and the Sonos Beam at $599
Ninety7 LOFT Portable Battery for Google Home
The top few speakers sound great but sometimes the budget just does not extend that far. For those Dads who already have a Google Home and don’t see the need to purchase an entire new speaker Ninety7 make the LOFT portable battery for Google Home. By unscrewing the base of your Google Home and replacing it with this battery (which is charged with the same cable as the Google Home) your Google Home can be portable with battery life of up to 8 hours (still in testing at this stage). Available in copper, carbon and snow colours it is priced at $79.95 from David Jones and other retailers including Lofty7’s own website.
If your Dad is need of a wearable now is not the greatest time to be purchasing one, especially in the Android realm. Qualcomm have not updated their chip in years and the watches seem to suffer. This year we have not seen much in the way of smartwatches that stand out from the pack and with a rumoured Pixel Watch, hopefully running the new Snapdragon wearable chipset, around the corner it is difficult to recommend one.
Fossil Q Explorist HR
If you really must get your Dad a good looking smart watch that runs well then our team is partial to Fossil’s new release — the Fossil Q Explorist HR. This watch is a decent size but looks great in both a steel colour and a black colour but there are other colours available. If you are near a Fossil store head in and check them out — we currently have one sitting on our review bench and it is getting a lot of love from it’s wearer. At this stage Fossil Australia do not have their new smartwatch on their website so you’ll have to head instore to check it out. Priced at between $429-$469 it is not cheap but once you see it you will see why.
For the active Dad there is an abundance of fitness trackers available but our favourite is the Fitbit Versa. The Versa is Fitbit’s incarnation of the Pebble watch and as such has the beginnings of a decent wearable smartwatch. It does all the usual things you expect from a fitness tracker and most of the things a smartwatch can do. For those stuck between a dedicated fitness tracker and a smartwatch this may be the ideal hybrid. It comes with various accessories (bands) allowing you to dress it up or down depending on the requirement. Available for under $300 for the standard version and at $349 for the special edition version that includes two bands it’s price is also halfway between a smartwatch and dedicated fitness tracker. Extra bands including leather and metal bands can be purchased from the Fitbit website.
Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless SSD
Although some of us live in the cloud there are many that do not. For those who do not portable storage is often a requirement. Western Digital make a great wireless hard drive which is fast and, as it’s name suggests, wireless. The great thing about this is that it can be used anywhere with a Wi-Fi direct connection to your phone/device — it also has an SD card slot, a USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0 port. Ideal for streaming movies to multiple devices without internet access it definitely has a multitude of use cases. Available from a RRP of $429 for the 250GB version it is available in sizes up to 2TB.
This year we were lucky enough to review both a Nvidia Shield TV and the Vodafone TV. Both I can highly recommend for various use-cases.
Nvidia Shield TV
For the Dad who loves to play games then the Shield is ideal for him. Although it lacks a TV tuner for free-to-air channels it will play all games including streaming games using Nvidia’s GeForce NOW. It is more highly powered than the standard Android TV and includes the latest Android TV interface which is much better than the previous version. If you do purchase this for your Dad be sure to get the package which includes the game controller so he can play all games with ease. At $329.95 it is more expensive than the Vodafone option but includes so much more. It can be purchased from various retailers including the Nvidia website.
If gaming is not your Dad’s thing then I suggest you have a look at the Vodafone TV. Although it doe snot run the latest version of Android TV it still runs quickly and smoothly. Netflix and YouTube at the single touch of a button make this idea for so many people. The Vodafone TV includes a TV tuner and as such can be used to watch free-to-air TV as well as your online streaming material. At only $144 from Vodafone it is a relatively cheap option to enter into the Android TV space.
Deebot Ozmo 930
The Ecovacs Robotics’ DEEBOT OZMO 930 is quite frankly awesome. It’s a robot vacuum cleaner, but it’s also a mop, that uses built-in sensors automatically map your home and scurries around cleaning up after you. It automatically detects when it’s time to switch from vacuum to mopping to ensure you get a brilliant clean.
The robot vacuum is app controlled, allowing you to initiate or schedule cleaning, or if you want to get super into home automation you can use Alexa or Google Assistant to get the Ozmo 930 cleaning at any time – even when you’re out of the house – with a simple voice command.
At $1,299 from Harvey Norman it’s a bit above the usual price, but can you really put a price on love? After Dan reviewed it, he’s in love so it’s something Dad will love.
While there are quite a few options listed above let’s get serious here, although there is no doubt that most Dads would love something from the above list, all Dads will love anything you get them — because they are your Dad. Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there.