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High-tech gifts to update the low-tech dad on Father's Day

Father's Day gifts have morphed over the years. It used to be a tie, a golf hat or a jazz CD. But dads are more tech-savvy these days. There are plenty of new gadgets on the market to keep them busy, regardless of their interest or hobbies. There are music players for the shower, tools to help on the golf course and even a flask that doesn't hold alcohol. We know what our fathers like. Here's a guide to some tech gifts that may help them do what they like even better.

Moxie ($200, Kohler Co.)

Your dad is likely going to tilt his head to inspect this gadget, then laugh a bit at it, then love it. The Moxie is a waterproof, wireless speaker snookered into a specially designed showerhead and held in place by magnets. The showerhead mounts onto the common pipes found in most shower plumbing hardware, but similarities to a regular showerhead end there.

One button turns it on. The speaker then plays music from your smartphone or tablet via a Bluetooth wireless connection. Sound quality is exceptional, and the build and look of the Moxie are top notch.

Buy earplugs if you can't stand Dad singing along.

VivoTab Smart ($500, AsusTek Computer Inc.)

If you think the iPad is too common, you should consider the VivoTab Smart from Asus. It offers a vivid, 10.1-inch display, plenty of social networking apps and the bonus of running the Windows 8 operating system for more demanding applications. This is the full version of Microsoft's system, not the lightweight Windows RT that can run only apps specifically designed for it.

The VivoTab Smart is light and well designed. It comes with a thin, wireless keyboard and a sleeve that doubles as a stand for the tablet. It has a powerful Intel processor and Bluetooth to keep Dad connected to the Moxie, or similar wireless speakers.

One of the best features is the camera. The tablet's 8-megapixel camera boasts an impressive F/2.2 aperture lens for low-light shooting.

PowerFlask ($90, Digital Treasures)

With all of this high-tech gear, Dad needs a dependable way to keep things powered up. The PowerFlask is up to the task. It looks like a leather-bound drinking flask that fits nicely in the back pocket. But what's inside isn't booze. It's a 13,000 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery, with USB ports for charging as many as three devices at a time. Although it won't do any good for gadgets that require regular wall sockets, many devices such as smartphones, tablets, e-readers and GPS watches can be charged with USB. If Dad is on a long hike or otherwise away from an outlet, the PowerFlask has him covered in case of an emergency.

GolfSense ($130, GolfSense Inc.)

No Father's Day gift guide would be complete without something to help Dad break 100 on the golf course. GolfSense is a device that clips on to a golf glove and analyzes the player's swing. It measures the speed of the swing, the plane and arc of the swinging motion and the tempo. The information is then transmitted to a phone or a tablet, where Dad can quickly view results. Dad can use it at the driving range or during a real round of golf.

I found the swing plane analysis helpful in letting me know whether I was dipping my body too low on my downstroke. The tempo data is the gold mine. Middling golfers tend to get excited and rush their swing at the ball. GolfSense offers key visual reminders and can illustrate for Dad where his swing is getting too fast and unwieldy. The app works for both Apple and Android smartphones.

High-tech gifts to update the low-tech dad on Father's Day 06/05/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 1:58pm]
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