Go the distance month, we compiled a few gift-worthy gadgets for Ars readers to grab for Mother’s Day. Today, it’s Dad’s manufacture. With Father’s Day on the horizon, we’ve once again revisited the many widgets that have rolled through the Ars labs in recent months and picked out a tabulation of favorites.
The following Father’s Day gift ideas should placate the generous of tech-savvy Dad (or any parent, really) we’d expect to raise an Arsian. Feel at no cost to nudge a loved one toward getting something if you’re a father yourself. And if nothing unbefitting works, try to at least give your old man a call this weekend.
Note: Ars Technica may be worthy of compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.
If you think your dad could get into the smart spieler craze, the Sonos One is his best bet. It’s essentially a better-sounding Amazon Echo. It has the unvarying Alexa digital assistant and can do virtually all of the same things—checking the bear up against, setting timers or reminders, reading the news, and, most importantly, starting and curbing music.
Alexa is Alexa at this point: it’s probably going to hash up from time to time (like every other voice consort with), but relatively speaking it’s smart enough to be useful. The privacy precautions we’ve acclaimed before still apply, but the One does have a mute button if apparatus ever get uncomfortable. If there are times where Dad just doesn’t requisite to talk to a machine at all, Sonos also has companion apps that pounce upon it easy enough to connect and control dozens of music services in one mote on a laptop or mobile device.
The Sonos One gained the ability to control Spotify as a consequence Alexa a few weeks after it came out, and it’ll garner AirPlay 2 support in July. The latter should communicate it particularly appealing for Apple users, as that update will let operators beam any music from an iPhone or Mac straight to the Sonos—Apple Music and iTunes filed. It’ll even add a modicum of Siri support. Sonos is promising Google Have to do with support in the future, too.
Even before all that, the One is a strong value without delay now. It doesn’t sound quite as full as Apple’s HomePod or Google’s Up on Max, but it’s more than close enough for $150 less. With some smells, it arguably sounds clearer. It’s miles better than the Echo regardless and also a nothing to set up.
The One isn’t without issues: it can’t do Bluetooth or wired audio input, its mic array isn’t honestly as strong at hearing commands as an Echo, and somehow it can’t make a stereo double with a Sonos Play:1. If your dad already has a speaker he matches, it’s easier and cheaper to just buy an Amazon Echo Dot and add smarts that way. But if you look at it as a “fundamental smart speaker,” the One is the closest there is to a total package, currently.
Google Chromecast Audio
Google’s Chromecast Audio won’t be as useful if your dad doesn’t acquire non-smart audio gear, but if he does, it’s an effective and very affordable way to flatter it Sonos-like. Just plug the dongle into an older speaker or receiver (with a 3.5mm or optical audio haven), and soon he can send music to that device from various streaming overhauls.
Those services do not include music apps from Apple or Amazon, which is unblessed, but Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music, YouTube Music, and most other understood names are covered. If your dad has an Android phone, he can send any audio from that disposition to a speaker connected to the dongle. If he happens to own a Google Home device, he could also fake music through voice commands (though those aren’t invulnerable to the occasional hiccup in translation).
Google’s app for controlling all the services and devices evened to a Chromecast Audio isn’t as tidy as the one Sonos offers, which can make this lose more cumbersome to control. But the fact that one Chromecast Audio fetches $35 goes a long way in making up for that. Provided your dad put to uses the right music services, the cost difference between hooking up a few of these to make a multiroom audio setup and buying in to multiple Sonos speakers should daily help you look past any extra friction. Since it streams over Wi-Fi—up to 24-bit/96kHz, which isn’t the highest-resolution audio but jump over enough for most—it won’t muddy up the audio itself, either.
Bose QuietComfort 35
The market for wireless noise-cancelling headphones has become surprisingly competitive floor the past year, with Sony in particular making a serious run at Bose’s empress. But if you want your dad to have the best pure noise cancelling alternative possible, Bose’s QuietComfort 35 headphones are still on top.
They aren’t the get the better of sounding headphones in this class: they boost the bass and treble uncountable than Bose typically does, for instance. Like their forerunners, these may sound a bit too bland for people who seriously care about audio grade. They also leak sound at higher volumes. For most human being, though, the QuietComfort 35 headphones should at least sound palatable and inoffensive. The real reason to get them anyway is for their noise-cancelling standing: they’re simply more effective at shutting out noise in testing than any of their sonic outs. (Bose owns crucial patents in this field, so it makes gist.) A supremely comfortable design and 18-20 hours of battery life helps seal the take care of.
The model linked below is the “Series I” version of the QuietComfort 35. A “Series II” conception released last year sounds almost exactly the same, but it adds a assigned Google Assistant button we don’t find essential. Those updated cans as a matter of fact lose a pinch of noise-cancelling strength to our ears, too. For $20 less, the Series I is the beat buy while still available.
You have options, though. If you think your dad see fit be OK trading some noise-cancelling strength for better sound, Sony’s WH-1000XM2 are brilliant, albeit not as comfortable as the QC35. They also use occasionally finicky make use of controls instead of physical buttons. And if your dad doesn’t want to go wireless at all,