Give a tech gift this Father’s Day to dads who love multimedia gadgets and virtual experiences. Here are just a few ideas to make the family man happy.
D3400 (Nikon, $499.95) — One of the most trusted names in professional photographic equipment celebrates its 100-year anniversary and gives amateur shooting dads a chance to capture memories digitally with its latest DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera and lens combination package.
The compact body boasts a 3-inch monitor, onboard flash, 24.2MP sensor with no optical low-pass filter, 11-point phase detect auto-focus system, native ISO (International Standards Organization regarding measuring light sensitivity) range from 100–25,600, continuous shooting modes at 5 frames per second, images pixel sizes ranging from (6,000 x 4,000, 4,496 x 3,000 and 2,992 x 2,000) and high-definition filming (1,920 x 1,080 at 60 fps).
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The best part of the camera is the ease of use for amateurs. Enough onboard settings offer a one-click, point-and-shoot solution to nearly every environment or subject situation. Use the main dial to pick a setting that lets the camera make all of the decisions or select from portrait, landscape, sports, close-up, night portrait and landscape shots for specific results.
Shooters can even choose from 10 special effects such as night vision or selective color (a mostly black-and-white image with a solo color popping out) that will add some artistic style to the memories.
Semi-professionals also have decent selection of shot control through the camera’s manual settings to craft the perfect image by setting shutter speed, aperture and ISO.
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The slickest trick is the camera’s Bluetooth capabilities. Simply install the Snapbridge app on a smartphone (easily paired with up to five devices compatible with iOS or Android systems) and immediately share images with family or friends on email and social media.
The set includes a pair of zoom lens— 18-55mm and 70-300mm — that should cover most shooting situations, a lithium battery with extended life (reportedly 1,200 shots per charge), a charger and strap.
Now despite all of the features, the package does not include a basic SD memory card (starting at $10 for a lower end 16 gigabyte card). Gift givers will need to purchase the card with the camera to get dad quickly capturing life.
65H8C (Hisense, $899, as low as $849) — Budget-minded gift givers looking to set their patriarch up with a ultra high-definition experience will appreciate the 65-inch, H8 series flat-screen television from Hisense that offers an 3840 x 2160 screen resolution, an enveloping image size, and a decent selection of smart features at an almost too-reasonable price.
Features to this full array LED edge lit, local dimming monitor include 8.3 million pixels to appreciate, a pair of loud and clear 15 watt speakers supported by Dolby Digital and dbx-tv, 4 HDMI inputs (2 HDMI v2.0 with 60 Hz refresh rate and 2 HDMI v1.4 with 30 Hz), 3 USB ports and a headphone jack.
Apps installed through the Opera TV platform and ready to take advantage of either built-in wireless or Ethernet connectivity include Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and Vudu, to name a few, as well as web browsing.
The out-of-the-box color settings may not appeal to all, so I suggest finding the settings others are using online as a guide for crafting the sharpest picture quality, depending on the room lighting and media source, to take advantage of the ultra high-definition and high dynamic range.
Obviously not able to compete with higher end and much more expensive television choices from such brands as Samsung, Sony and LG, the 65H8C should not be a focal point for any major upgrade to a family’s home theater experience, but it’s a great, economical investment for any man cave that Dad lords over.
A trio of gritty, male-centric 4K UHD movies — “Logan” ($39.99), “Dredd” ($22.99) and “Unforgiven: 25th Anniversary Edition” ($24.98) — tested on the unit passed with vivid colors and visual sharpness and are certainly worthy of the addition to a gift package.
Nomad (Crosley, $199.95) — Let Dad relive the days when vinyl was king with this portable record player, offering a pinch of high-tech magic.
Housed in a retro-looking, 20-inch-long attaché-style case with a cloth, textured covering (available in either olive green or brown) and removable cover, the belt-driven turntable fits either 7-, 10- and 12-inch records (adapter included) and plays three speeds (33-1/3, 45 and 78 RPM) through a moving magnet cartridge containing an Audio Technica diamond stylus needle.
A pair of 3-inch, 5-watt built-in speakers covered by a woven-plastic grill of either side of the case will not impress audiophiles but certainly delivers a fairly loud, full-range sound to satisfy most folks.
However, an RCA line out jacks (cables not provided) and headphone jack offer enough options to connect superior speakers.
Better yet, the set includes the very easy-to-use Audacity recording software suite (PC or Mac compatible) that, with a computer connected via the USB port, will digitize and save vinyl tracks to the permanent digital realm.
My only gripe is it would have been nice if the included AC adapter could be stored in the case. It’s can be easily forgotten when on a road trip.
Still the Nomad provides a sturdy, all-in one solution for taking Dad on a nostalgic musical journey.
Impact (Scuf Gaming, starting at $139.99) — Gifters looking to give serious, PlayStation 4-owning fathers the easiest way to conquer video game realms need only look to setting up dad with the latest rechargeable and wireless controller, built-to-order by Scuf technicians.
Shaped more in line with a beefier Xbox One than slimmer PS4 DualShock controller shell, the mighty Impact fits well in larger hands and comes loaded with customizable options that make it one of the preferred devices for professional gamers.
Specifically, if contains a quartet of paddles underneath the controller (programmed to the four action buttons with electro-magnetic, on-the-fly remapping capabilities); interchangeable thumbsticks (five size options to change in seconds); adjustable side triggers with stop and hair-trigger tension settings; side-trigger extenders; and textured as well as non-slip military grade grips.
Additionally, for those using a cable connected to the PS4 to recharge the unit, a secure cavity housing delivers a tight fit to keep the action going with little chance of cable slippage.
As far as styling, buyers can select from over 50 shell color schemes ranging from Gotham (black and white with bats) to Nebula (a purplish celestial imprint) and Venom (orangish snake skin), or the Impact can be personalized to dozens of color combination and features (starting at $189.99).
Since its Dad’s big day, also toss in the Impact Gamers Bundle ($44.95) that includes a hard case, a 10-foot braided, USB 2.0 charging and data-sync cable; four extra thumbsticks (long, regular, domed and concave); a ring and lock kit for the stick swaps; a pair of straps; a tube of Gamer Grip (to help with sweaty hands; and a Scuf beanie.
Of course, games ultimately give the new controller the greatest hands-on test, and here’s a trio of titles worth adding to the Impact package.
• Injustice 2 (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, rated Teen, $59.99) — Fans of DC Comics’ universe will embrace the latest fighting game starring over two-dozen playable heroes and villains such as Batman, Swamp Thing, Haley Quinn and Green Lantern.
Created by NetherRealm Studios, the developers behind “Mortal Kombat,”, the action offers a near lifelike quality to the 2D combatants within three-dimensional environments even assisting them in the player-versus-player matches.
Battles truly shine when characters unleash special power moves such as Superman punching an opponent into the stratosphere, or Flash taking a challenger back in time to for a bone-crushing visit with the Sphinx and dinosaurs.
Best of all, the visually stunning and well-written, single-player story plays more like a multi-hour movie and offers a narrative more potent than any Warner Bros. live-action superhero film to date.
• Call of Duty: Black Ops III Zombies Chronicles (Activision, rated Mature, $29.99) — A nostalgic homage to the first-person shooting “Call of Duty’s” Nazi undead survival mode arrives in this impressive collection of previously released, classic maps.
Specifically, Dad with up to three other pals dive into remastered, high-definition versions of Nacht der Untoten (set in an abandoned airfield); Verruckt (set in the Wittenau Sanatorium); Shi No Numa (also known as the swamp of death); Kino Der Toten (set in an abandoned theater); Ascension (set in a Soviet Cosmodrome); Shangri-la (set in a jungle shrine); Moon (set on a lunar base); and Origins (set in an excavation site).
Suffice it to report, the zombie killing is nonstop as waves of the ghouls attack and try to devour players in a game boasting plenty of gore as well as strategy.
Gift givers should note that this collection is an add-on and requires dad own the full version of “Call of Duty: Black OPS III” ($39.99).
Tekken 7: Day One Edition (Bandai Namco Games, rated Teen, $59.99) — The latest iteration of the 20-year-old, legendary third-person, three-dimensional fighting game boasts control over three dozen characters culled from the history of the franchise with nine new combatants and a surprise appearance thrown in.
That translates into player-versus-player matches filled with frenetic, often button-mashing attacks while controlling stalwarts such as Kazuya Mishima or winged Devil Jin, the cuddly but crushing Panda, and even Akuma from “Street Fighter” stopping by for bouts.
New mechanics such as Rage Art (a sleek power attack) and Power Crush (continue hitting an opponent while under attack), and a welcomed practice mode keep the fighting fresh. The use of the Unreal gaming engine makes the battles look so much more realistic.
The package also include a free download of the Eliza character, and enough action and customizable options to guarantee that Dad gets lost for days sparring with partners from around the online gaming world.
• Prey (Bethesda Softworks, rated Mature, $59.99) — Dad becomes researcher Morgan Yu stuck on a space station orbiting around the Moon and battling a powerful extraterrestrial species called the Typhon in one the best sci-fi shooters of the year.
Mr. Yu goes on an endless scavenger hunt during the adventure to keep his weapons such as the GLOO Canon upgraded and well-stocked, and finding a limited supply of food and health packs to help stay alive amid the attacks by those creepy creatures.
Offering roughly 30 hours of game play, “Prey” mixes the claustrophobic isolation of an “Alien” movie with exploration and resource management comparable to the video game “BioShock.”
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