Regardless of whether you're hunting for lost relics, navigating traps of lethal cunning or remembering your Charlemagne, there's one day each year when it's time to show the old man just what he means to you. And what better way to show your appreciation in a capitalist society than via the medium of presents? With Father's Day right around the corner, we've assembled a line-up of ideal gifts for the dad in your life, whether he's a great big nerd or solemnly who just badly wants to put his feet up. We've scoured the web for some of the best items, from environmentally conscious footwear to streaming accessories and even the traditional pair of slippers. And while there is a mug on this list, there's nary a 'World's Best Dad' slogan in sight.
Empire Fathers Day Gift Guide
Google Pixel 7a
If you’re looking to get dad a budget smartphone that doesn’t sacrifice on features, Google’s (very slightly) stripped down entry in the Pixel range might be just what you’re looking for. Almost identical to the Pixel 7, only a fair bit more affordable, the 7a boasts the same Tensor G2 chip and 6.3” 90Hz display, only losing out fractionally on camera resolution and limited to 128GB storage. With the same sleek design, only minor compromises on spec and three colours to choose from, while saving a cool £150, the 7a is arguably the best value Android handset on the market.
Kobo Elipsa 2E
For voracious readers, e-ink devices are an essential accessory. However, they’re also small. Not so Kobo’s Elipsa 2E. With a 10.3” screen, there’s no need to squint in frustration or hunt around for elusive reading glasses, but the Elipsa’s main selling point is its note-taking ability. With the sprawling screen and included stylus, the Elipsa is a delight to write (or even draw) on, with five different pen textures available from ballpoint to fountain pen or even a brush. The backlight has adjustable temperature settings, making it a comfortable device to read on and, as with all Kobo devices, it has a leg up on Kindle readers in terms of wide-ranging file support — from the widely supported epubs to comic book files, PDFs and beyond. With access to virtual lending library OverDrive, and you can also borrow books as well as buy them.
What better way to repay your paterfamilias for all those years of stress and worry than with the gift of calm. It may seem unconventional, but the curious-looking Sensate wearable is surprisingly effective. A practical meditation aid, you place the pebble-like device on your sternum, link it to the smartphone app via Bluetooth and, as the app plays an assortment of soothing soundscapes (10-30 minute sessions are available), the Sensate 2 vibrates in breathy, fluttering patterns designed to stimulate the vagus nerve and bring about a sense of calm. It may sound like hipster twaddle but the device works just as advertised, stress and anxiety palpably fading as the little buzzing stone does its thing and sends low frequency vibrations humming through your chest. For those who struggle with straight-up mindfulness or want to ramp up their meditation, this one is definitely worth a try.
Allbirds Tree Runners
True sneakerheads know there’s nothing more important than fashion for your feet. Seen on the end of such lauded legs as Leonardo DiCaprio’s, Allbirds are not only the pinnacle of contemporary cool, but they’re environmentally conscious, too, each pair made from recycled and sustainable materials, letting you keep control of both your carbon as well as actual footprints. Allbirds’ Tree Runners take the sleek profile and cloud-like soft tread of the brand's wool runners but remake them with breathable eucalyptus fibres to keep feet cool in even the sweatiest of summers. If your dad's looking for a pair of shoes just as comfy as his old slippers, then these are the ones to pick.
Gymproluxe Band And Bar Set 2.0
Like Thor himself, your old man can go from dad bod to god bod, and he doesn’t even need a gym membership to do it. A genuinely innovative piece of kit, the Gymproluxe gives you everything you need for a full body workout from home. The Band and Bar set 2.0 (basic and full portable gym models are also available) is deceptively simple - literally a bar and a three-band exercise belt that can be tweaked to offer different levels of tension. From deadlifts to bench presses, bicep curls and shoulder presses, there are over a hundred different exercises you can do, giving almost all your muscle groups a decent workout. While it doesn’t quite replace a full gym if you want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with The Rock, with up to 90kg of resistance it’ll go a decent way towards toning you up. Solidly made, with a premium feel, the Gymproluxe won’t give out any time soon, either — certainly not before you do.
Camden Watch Company No.29 Type II
You may be all about your smart watch, but for dads it’s still an analogue world. If you’re looking for a stately timepiece that won't cost the Earth, then Camden Watch Company’s No.29 may be just the ticket. A vintage pilot look with a modern twist, the No.29 boasts an Italian leather strap, 43mm case with two-layer dial and luminous hands. Still need convincing? Martin Freeman owns one just like it - how can Bilbo Baggins be wrong?
Nitrocharge 120 Pro
No one wants a phone with no charge. Or a tablet. Or a laptop. Luckily, the Nitrocharge 120 will happily juice up all three, and with energy to spare. With an eye-watering 20,000mAh capacity, it can charge several devices simultaneously, thanks to both USB-A and USB-C ports as well as magnetic wireless charging for your dad’s phone or smart watch. With a 120W output it will charge a smart phone to 85% in an hour or a laptop to 60% — all in the time it takes to watch a Season 3 episode of Ted Lasso. Super sleek with a fabric exterior, it may not be pocket-sized but it's not an eyesore either. It will charges to full capacity itself in just an hour, and a handy LED lets you know how much juice is left at any given time.
OneOdio Monitor 60 Headphones
It’s all but mandatory for middle-aged men to start a podcast at some point, but to do that you need the right gear and first port of call is a pair of studio-quality cans. OneOdio’s Studio 60s not only provide high resolution audio via their 50mm drivers, but are reasonably priced with it. With super soft foam ear cups, rich highs and full bass, these are a perfect pair of podding ‘phones, regardless of whether or not your dad wrote a porno…
Sonos One SL
The world of streaming might be intimidating but nothing simplifies music quite so much as Sonos' seamless multi-room setup. The entry level One SL might not have all the bells and whistles of its more expensive siblings, but it packs a sonic punch well above its size and is a breeze to set up. With clean highs and gratifyingly rumbly lows, it can hold its own solo or be paired with a twin for a more immersive stereo sound field. As a replacement for Dad's ailing seventies hi-fi, the One SL is a welcome upgrade.
Belkin Boost Charge Pro
No one needs a rats' nest of tangled cables cluttering up their home and no dad needs to hunt around for the correct type of lead when charging their devices. If your dad is invested in the Apple ecosystem then Belkin's Boost Charge Pro 3-in-1 might be the ideal solution, juicing up his iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch simultaneously one a single charger. It's compatible with the Apple Watch 7's fast charging too, minimising downtime, and uses MagSafe to keep his devices firmly in place.
Mahabis Curve Slippers
It might seem far too obvious to give your dad slippers on Father's Day, but these are far from your average foot-warmers. The Lamborghinis of indoor footwear, Mahabis Curve slippers not only come in a variety of funky colours and look super slick, but they're wool-lined and ultra comfy to keep things toasty in the winter months.
A Song Of Ice And Fire – Folio Edition
Folio Society books are never less than stunning and this gorgeous double-volume edition of A Clash Of Kings is no exception. For the Thrones-loving dad, this is the best edition of George RR Martin's Ice & Fire series you can buy (even if George has yet to finish it). Still, imagine how good it'll look on his bookshelf, and how grateful he'll be to receive it. A Lannister always pays his debts.
LEGO Optimus Prime
Proof positive that you can never, ever grow out of LEGO, this glorious recreation of Autobot MVP Optimus Prime is not only a hugely enjoyable build but actually transforms from robot to semi truck in the same way as the original eighties toy. Autobots, ROLL OUT!
Sam Mendes' intense, powerful war movie became largely famous for being a single, continuous shot (kind of), but there's far more to this gruelling WWI drama than a simple gimmick. This is the perfect gift for war-obsessed dads looking to relive their youth this Father's Day!
Ember Smart Mug 2
If there's one thing Twin Peaks taught us, it's that you can put up with almost anything as long as it comes with some damn fine coffee. Combining smart tech with the joy of a maintained cup of joe, the Ember is one of the best ways on the market to keep your beverage bubbling away. And as a gadget, it's part convenience, part toy.
Top Gun 4K Ultra HD
Does dad feel the need... the need for speed? If he's already got a copy of Top Gun: Maverick, have him head for the danger zone with this HDR release of the 1986 original, featuring fast planes, quick quips and more bar singing than you might remember. One of the best 4K remasters out there, this is a reference-quality disc, with the glowing sunset, soaring jets and sweaty volleyball players all but popping off your screen. There's also brand new bonus content and an immersive Dolby Atmos soundtrack that really comes into its own when, to quote Tom Skerritt, there are bogeys like fireflies all over the sky.
Mini Smart Phone Projector
Sure you can enjoy a movie on your phone or tablet but when it comes to cinematic entertainment, bigger is always better. For those not wanting pops to have to crowd around a small screen, a home projector is the ideal alternative and this handy budget one will take the contents of his smart phone screen and hurl it onto the nearest wall for maximum viewing size, allowing those repeats of Dad's Army to be finally seen the way the creators intended.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Soundtrack
Quentin Tarantino has a habit of stuffing his movies full of amazing music, and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is no exception, boasting cuts from Paul Revere & The Raiders, Deep Purple, and Neil Diamond. Not only is the film top quality cinema with a solid shot of nostalgia, this soundtrack offering is sure to hit the spot and also includes the classic radio adverts from the film. Dad'll love it.
Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots
Got a dad who fondly remembers childhood? Or just one that loves nostalgic toys? This classic piece of techno-pugilism could be just the thing to bring the memories flooding back. If your father is too young to have the game? He'll enjoy it anyway.
Quint's Shark Fishing T-Shirt
Jaws is as much a classic now as it was when first released, so why not have Dad celebrate that with this shirt from the team at Last Exit To Nowhere. He'll find it for three, but catch and kill it for 10...
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