Make us your home page

Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Give something special to Dads and grads


Father’s Day is next Sunday, and graduating students are collecting their diplomas. How to celebrate? Here are some gift ideas.

No more excuses

fitdesk.jpgDoes Dad say he’s too busy to exercise? (Or is he just playing solitaire on his computer?) Is your grad expecting hours writing a research paper? Help them stay active while they work with the FitDesk. This stationary exercise bike with a comfortable saddle seat lets you mount a laptop to use while pedaling, so Dad can multitask to better health. The belt-driven bike has a digital resistance meter built in. The rider can be 4 feet 10 to 6 feet 2, up to 220 pounds. It’s lightweight (33 pounds) and stores away easily by folding into an upright position. $249.99.



4G on a budget 

A 4G LTE-capable smartphone makes Web browsing and downloads much faster than with a standard 3G service. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get one. With a carrier contract, some phones are inexpensive, and sometimes free. Here are some examples (prices may change): 

AT&T’s Pantech Burst, pictured at left, is $29.99 with a two-year service contract. This Android Gingerbreak full-touch phone has a crisp 4-inch Super AMOLED screen. It has 16GB of memory, which is expandable to 32GB. 

Verizon has the Pantech Breakout, $29.99, Android Gingerbread, with 4-inch Capacitive Touchscreen TFT LCD. Or Motorola Droid Bionic Free (with online discount), with 4.3-inch  qHD display, dual-core power, and access content on your home computer. 

For T-Mobile, there’s the Samsung Exhibit II 4G with a 3.7-inch WVGA TFT touchscreen and a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. This phone is available for free after web discount through June 10. 

Sprint has the Samsung Conquer 4G, free (online when you add a new line) Android 2.3, 3.5-inch display, 2GB microSD memory card. 

4G with all the buzz

If your Dad or Grad is due for a phone upgrade, you can give him or her one of the most highly anticipated phones. Preorder the new Samsung Galaxy S III, which is due out later this month, at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless.

Motorola Roadster 2 

roadster.jpgThis device is a universal Bluetooth in-car speaker that lets you talk handsfree in the car. It automatically turns on and connects to your Bluetooth capable phone, and turns off by itself to save battery life. With the downloaded My MotospeakApp, you can listen to incoming text messages and use voice commands to text handsfree. The Roadster 2 blocks out background noise with the CrystalTalk technology and the speakerphone’s noise cancellation and echo control settings. Do you frequently forget where you parked? The Roadster 2 can mark the car’s location using GPS technology so you can find it easier. $99 at Verizon and other Motorola outlets. 

For the BBQ king 

heatshield.jpgGood tools can keep cookouts safe, stress-free and fun. The Grill Daddy Heat Shield series makes grilling easier with professional grade utensils that also has a heat-blocking panel to protect hands. The gadget has interchangeable head attachments, so you can swap out for tools you need (spatula, fork, tongs or basting brush). The shaft is extendable by an extra 5.5 inches. $24.99 for a trio of tools, $5.99-$8.99 for attachments, at

For the chef

If you're Dad likes to spend time in the kitchen inventing new recipes, here are two new products from Tupperware. Both are available at

breakfast.jpgThe Breakfast Maker helps you quickly cook a hot breakfast -- eggs, omelets, oatmeal, grits and more -- in the microwave. Instructions are engraved inside the cover so you don't have to dig around the junk drawer for the how-to sheet. The 1 3/4 cup container is dishwater safe and comes with some recipes to try. $20.

The Whip 'N Prep Chef whips up egg whites creams, sauces, dressings, and desserts without using electricity. You just turn the handle and the whisk inside does the rest. It holds 5 1/2 cups, and has a liquid-tight seal. $32.










[Last modified: Monday, June 11, 2012 8:36am]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours