The days are getting shorter and cold weather is rapidly approaching. That means we will be spending even more time in our homes if that’s possible to imagine. To help you prepare for the Fall months I’ve shared my favorite Fall 2020 gadgets for the home that I’ve found so far. Some of these gadgets are helpful throughout the year, but all are nice to have around when the weather is colder.

Top Fall 2020 Gadgets

Backyard Fire Pits

Something about that smell of wood burning just screams Fall to me. While I don’t go camping as much as I’d like to these days, a backyard fire pit can be a good substitute. When it comes to fire pits you have a few options. Some, like the Bali Outdoors wood burning fire pit, is good to gather around and can be used to cook. Nothing like burgers cooked over an open wood flame!

Bali Outdoor Wood Burning Fire Pit

Other fire pits are more for social gatherings. Take the propane fire pit and dining round from Fleur De Lis Living. This is great for gathering the entire family around to enjoy an outdoor dinner. The flame will keep you warm, but isn’t for cooking.

I really like this style of backyard pit because is encourages family time. If you have felt recently that technology may have a negative impact on family communication then this pit might be just the thing to get everyone to put down their devices for a while.

Outdoor Lighting

If the fire pits above piqued your interest you may need some outdoor lighting for your backyard hangouts.

Here at Nerdy Dads you know we like to geek out. This even extends to our selection of outdoor lighting options. I’m a fan of the Philips Hue Calla Bollard. This outdoor light looks amazing and can even work with various colors. That will turn a backyard BBQ into even more fun as the sun drops and the colors come to life. The sleek design and LED can be set to match any mood or backyard design. Best of all the light is compatible with Amazon Alexa so you can use your voice to turn the lights on and off or change colors. It also works with Apple homekit or Google assistance so you aren’t locked into using just Alexa.

Philips Hue Calla Bollard Outdoor LED Light

Meural WiFi Photo Frame

I can’t speak for others, but at least 70% of my annual photos are taken in the last two months of the year. With family visiting and the Holiday excitement I get click happy with my camera. This year will likely be different since travel plans have been put on hold. That doesn’t mean that family around the country still can’t enjoy some pictures.

The Meural WiFi Photo Frame is great for your home and as a gift for loved ones. Here’s what you do. Get one Merual for your home. Link the photos from your smartphone to the digital frame and enjoy the memories. Send one to a family member and they can do the same. You might not physically be in the same room, but pictures of friends and family from across the country can rotate through the Meural.

Canon Ivy Camera

Canon Ivy Outdoor Camera

The Canon Ivy Camera is an exciting pocket camera great for hiking through the beautiful fall foliage. The camera even has a carabiner built-in that can easily attach to a backback or belt. Just like you’d expect from an outdoor device the camera is waterproof and shockproof.

The Canon Ivy comes in three different colors and conveniently syncs to your smartphone to transfer photos. With 1080p high-def video capabilities and the ability to capture images with the 13 megapixel sensor this is an excellent gadget to pair with the Meural WiFi Photo Frame.

Coming in at $79.99 this little camera packs a punch in features, but not in price. Great for kids looking to explore the outdoors and take some photos. The best part for parents is that it doesn’t connect to the internet like a smartphone. If you want your kids to capture the beauty of the outdoors and not spend time on social media, this solves both problems.

TikiTunes Portable Outdoor Speakers

We’ve already covered a few of the interesting Fall 2020 gadgets. Now we meet the TikiTunes outdoor speaker. These portable Bluetooth speakers come with LED lights and can be in a small handheld format or on a pole. The portable version is great if you want to take it when visiting family. The pole option is great for those looking to have the ultimate backyard. Gather everyone around the fire pit and let TikiTunes keep everyone entertained with good music and light show. It’s the best way to spend time with family and enjoy the fall weather.

TikiTunes Bluetooth Speaker

The Trunkster

For those of you who will be queueing up at airports this Holiday season the Trunkster is going to be your travel gadget of choice. Traditional suitcases aren’t comfortable, stylish, and certainly don’t scratch your techie itch. The Trunkster changes all that. It comes with USB charging capabilities, zipperless entry, location tracking (great for those of us who have lost bags before!) and even weights itself. It’s pretty much everything you’d want in a travel bag. The only way it could be better is if it allowed us to skip the TSA lines.

The fall is a magical time of year. It is a great time to sit in the backyard and do a non-Nerdy Dad activity. No gaming or coding. Just time spent enjoying the outdoors with family. Hopefully one of the Fall 2020 gadgets I’ve listed above makes your fall even more enjoyable!

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2020 has been a crazy year and we still have the holiday season in front of us. For you dads looking to get ahead of the madness this article is for you. We’ve searched online and asked friends for input. What we’ve come up with is a list of the best 2020 holiday tech gifts for everyone on your list. Kids, spouse, parents, and friends alike will all be happy to receive one of the many items we highlight.

Grab some cookies and milk and dig in as we highlight some gadgets so cool you might even pick up an extra one for yourself.

Best 2020 Holiday Tech Gifts

Snap & Steam

Nothing good on TV these days? The Snap & Stream makes it easy to share your photos right to the TV. This device will be extra helpful this year as many families won’t be able to travel and see loved ones. For you dads with foresight this gift will be a winner for distant family members.

Simply download an app, plug a small brick into the TV and you’re ready to stream photos. The remote even has a small, red hear that illuminates when new content is added. Now family all over the country can share pictures of their holiday festivities and share with those closest to them, even though they are physically far apart.

Last I saw these are going for $89 on uncommongoods.com.

Snap and Stream photo sharing device

Karaoke…No Strings Attached

You and the family love karaoke, but hate the tangle of wires? Sounds like you need a wireless Bluetooth karaoke microphone. Your typical at-home karaoke machine can easily cost hundreds of dollars. What I like about the Banaok device is that you just need to buy the mic. It connects to your phone allowing you to use any karaoke app you like. Easy to use, portable, and wallet-friendly make this a Nerdy Dads favorite. No promises that it will make you sound good though.

Last seen for $30.99 on Amazon with 11 colors to select from.

Bluetooth Beanie

Winters can be cold so having a warm beanie will come in handy. Wouldn’t it be great if you could also listen to music while braving the elements? Well, this Bluetooth beanie from FULLLIGHT TECH is just what you need.

Boasting a 16-20 hours of continuous music this beanie will be perfect for your music loving friends and family. Made from knit cotton this beanie is soft to the touch, but will keep your head warm in the winter. You can also make phone calls using the Bluetooth so you are set for those commutes to school or work and trips to the store.

Pick up this warm gift for the music fan in your life for less than $20 on Amazon.

Bluetooth Sleeping Mask

If you’re a frequently well-rested dad please get in touch and tell us how you do it! For the rest of us, this Bluetooth sleeping mask will help you get those much needed zzz’s.

This mask from Joseche has built-in Bluetooth so you can put on some relaxing music and drift away at the end of a busy day. Perfect for drowning out the sounds of a full-house. With play time of 9+ hours you will be lucky to ever fully wear down the battery. The mask is adjustable to fit various head sizes. If the Bluetooth module is a bit uncomfortable it can be easily removed when sleeping and replaced when you just need to give the appearance your asleep for a little at home R&R.

Currently going for $22.99 on Amazon and seems to be popular with a 4.4/5 rating from 3,889 shoppers.

Bluetooth sleeping mask

Charging Bracelet

Looking for something that is functional and stylish for the fashionista techie in your life? This fashionable bracelet doubles as a phone charger. Great if you find yourself short on battery while on the go.

Pick your style with either black of the white/rose gold.

We’ve found some cool items in our searches that will make for excellent 2020 holiday tech gifts. As the holiday season approaches we will share more lists of some of the coolest items we can find. If you’re looking for some dad-specific items check out of list of top gadgets for dads that you never knew you needed.

Staying safe online can be easier said than done. From creating strong passwords to developing proper cyber security habits, it can seem like a daunting task to keep your kids safe online. Thankfully, multiple family tech safety gadgets exist to help us all stay safe and enjoy the web.

Let’s get into a few of my favorite gadgets for keeping you and your family safe online.

Family Tech Safety Gadgets

WiFi Parental Controls

You likely know you can set parental controls for your smart TV and mobile devices. But did you know you can also set controls for your home WiFi?

Circle is a solution that helps parents monitor kids online activities and set boundaries. The parental controls allow you to monitor screen time and all the apps/websites your child accesses. With the ability to set rules for home-based and mobile devices you are covered no matter where you or your child go.

The ease of use is a key benefit of Circle. Parents can use one app to set screen time limits, manage access to specific online sites, such as social media, and filter content. The app’s UI is intuitive and easy to use right from the start.

The only issue I have with Circle is that it requires a subscription. A 1-year subscription is $129, so if you have young kids and envision using this for years to come it could get expensive. Circle seems to have a solution for this. They offer a lifetime subscription for $299. While it’s more upfront, if you use the app for more than 2 years it’s a net gain.

Kid-Friendly Smartwatch

I don’t think any young child needs a full-blown smartwatch. They probably don’t even need a smartphone (though substitutes are available). However, a kid-friendly smartwatch with basic functionality can be helpful. Kid-friendly watches have been designed that allow for GPS tracking, messaging, calls, and WiFi. Some even have a camera if that is something important to you.

These smartwatches are a good alternative to a smartphone, which many kids don’t need and many parents don’t want to drop the bucks on. The watch ensures that you and your child remain in contact, but doesn’t open up the world like a smartphone or more advanced watch would. Ideally, these entry level smartwatches are designed for kids age 4-12, so this probably isn’t something you’d get your teenager.

Family Safety Apps

How many of the parents reading this don’t have a smartphone? I’d imagine not too many hands going up. Smartphones permeate our daily lives unlike anything else. While downsides do exist to the high-frequency with which we use our phones, upsides do exist. Enter family safety apps.

Apps, such as Life360, allow family members to form their own group (Circle in Life360 lingo). Family groups allow for chat features, the ability to share location and check crime reports in a specific area. Advanced apps even allow for driver safety features such as roadside assistance and emergency response. These features can be especially helpful for parents who have a teenager jumping behind the wheel for the first time.

Other apps, such as Picniic, add in additional features such as event management. With the ability to create and update calendars no one in the family (you too, dad) will have an excuse to miss an event. Picniic is also fun since it allows members to share news and photos. It’s more private than a social media account such as Facebook which is appealing to many parents.

As frequent readers of our blog know many family tech safety gadgets exist and come in various forms. I’m a fan of using gadgets, apps, and whatever else I can find since I know I can’t be everywhere at once. Technology can help protect families from an exciting, but occasionally dangerous, world wide web. At the end of the day, it’s not my family’s behavior that I’m truly worried about. It’s the bad actors out in the wild who will do whatever it takes to make a buck, steal data, or some other nefarious activity. it is against those threats that I use tech to defend myself and my family. Of course, knowing where a teenager is and being able to summon roadside assistance if they need help is also a welcome peace of mind!

Many dads don’t need much encouragement to explore VR headsets. They offer an entirely new way to enjoy entertainment and have been hyped in movies for as long as I can remember. Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to afford a VR headset. Yes, some devices can be crazy expensive. A hefty price tag for a children’s device can be tough to swallow as kids aren’t always the most gentle with gadgets.

To help make the buying decision easier for fellow Nerdy Dads we delve into the best VR headsets for kids in 2020. These are devices designed with kids in mind. So they hold up with wear and tear, but won’t destroy your wallet.

Best VR Headsets for Kids in 2020

Merge VR Headset

The Merge VR headset is designed with kids 8+ in mind. Compatible with iOS and Android the Merge works with most smartphones. One nice feature for the Merge headset is the soft and flexible foam that makes up the device. This makes it easier to wear for extended periods of time and won’t cause pain. Just be sure to be a good dad and discuss healthy screen time habits.

The Merge has a few other cool features worth mentioning. First, and foremost on any parent’s mind, is the device can hold up with minor bumps or drops. I can’t say it will hold up if it’s tossed out a second story window, but a short fall from the couch to the floor shouldn’t pose any issues. The headset also provides 300+ virtual experiences that are kid friendly. Explore a cave, view human cell division, or take in an exploding volcano. All are educational and fun adventures for any young mind!

The device prices out at $49.99 and comes in two colors. The low dollar entry point makes this enticing for parents who aren’t sure kids might enjoy VR and want to test the waters.

Real Feel VR Racing

Start your engines! This is the VR headset for any kid (or dad) that feels the need for speed. Designed for kids 7+ the Real Feel VR Racing headset literally puts you behind the wheel. The headset is smartphone-powered so you don’t need any fancy gear. The realistic steering wheel just needs AAA batteries and it’s ready to roll.

A key selling point is the 3D graphics. If you can’t actually drive at Daytona this might be the next best option. While racing is the key attraction you can also play hundreds of other games with an Android or iOS device.

Similar to other kid-focused VR headsets the Real Feel VR has a comfortable and adjustable head strap. The secure frame and latches will ensure that even with all the excitement your phone won’t go flying out of the device.

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard VR headset

Google Cardboard provides a VR experience without any fuss. Simple and easy to use for any kid, the Cardboard headset can be setup in seconds. The headset is built with safety and education in mind. Kids can use the devices to explore foreign lands while dads rock out with their favorite bands. It’s a device that is cheap at only $15.00 for the basic Google Cardboard. Other styles can be purchased that look cooler, but if you are just going for functionality the basic model will work just fine.

Some pros from the Google Cardboard are that it works for Android (as we’d expect) and iOS (which is awesome). The easy setup is also a plus. You could get the device and have your kids exploring the moon all within minutes of each other. Finally, the interior foam padding helps prevent any sores or scratches.

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VR headset

Thus far we’ve covered headsets that would appeal to younger children. The Samsung Gear VR brings us into the teenage category. The Gear VR is a great option for teenagers and adults. Samsung has developed a solid reputation in the VR headset community and the Gear lives up to expectations.

While the headsets for a younger audience tend to include a headset only, the Gear comes with a hand-held controller to manipulate virtual objects. The device is also powered by Oculus and can support experiences in 2D, 3D and 360-degree.

Sticking with the theme of being for older users you can also experience live events, such as UFC, through the Gear VR. The device is comfortable with padding lining the internal side that touches the face.

Oh, and in the event you think you might get bored know that the Gear VR has 1,000+ apps as of this writing. If you do go through all of them let us know and we’ll create a custom award for most intense VR gamer!

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Another Google product you ask? Yup. Google knows what we want and they deliver. The Google Daydream View provides a higher-quality experience than the Cardboard we mentioned above. However, Google keeps the setup simple. All you need is the Daydream View and a Daydream compatible smartphone.

Users will find an extensive collection of games and apps that provide endless hours of entertainment. To make those hours fly by the Daydream View is built with a comfortable and breathable fabric. Finally, if you’re a sharing person you can cast your adventure to your smart TV using Chromecast. Family and friends can now follow along and admire your game play or provide “constructive” commentary on your skills.

The one drawback is that you need a Google, Samsung, Motorola, LG, Asus, or ZTE smartphone. Careful readers will notice that Apple isn’t on the list.

Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift VR headset

Rounding out our list of best VR headsets for kids is the Oculus Rift. Oculus basically brought VR into the modern age and into our hearts. This list just wouldn’t be complete without them. The Rift is best suited for teenagers, parents, or kids with wicked good gaming skills.

Users have access to hundreds of games with titles for all ages. The headset and hand controllers are comfy and can make hours melt away. With a starting price of $399 on Amazon it can also melt away your savings. Given the price tag on the Rift I’d recommend this for serious gamers or families that don’t have young children using the device. The Google Cardboard is better for young kids. You don’t want an Oculus Rift taking a fall down the stairs after someone gets upset.

If you’re a dad who enjoys gaming then investing in one of the best VR headsets for kids might be a fun and exciting way to connect with your children. New technology provides new opportunities to spend time together. Just remember that not all your time should be spent in a virtual world. IRL also has some amazing adventures for us to explore.

Finding gadgets for the whole family to share and enjoy may seem like a daunting task. Parents want one things. Kids want something completely different. Buying new tech can be a challenge these days. Thankfully some items are loved and used by everyone, from dad to kids and even grandparents. Here is our take on five gadgets that the entire family will enjoy.

Gadgets for the Whole Family


Everyone loves robots so why not get a robot to help around the house. We are still years away from robots such as Rosie in The Jetsons, but some cool options are still on the market.

First up is Roomba from iRobot. If your family is like mine getting chores done on-time and without complaint isn’t a frequent occurrence. The Roomba solves that issue with a line of robot vacuums that can clean up messes big and small. Powered by an app and with the ability to set schedules, the Roomba can be cleaning while everyone is at school and work. When the family gets back home everyone can enjoy a clean house (or at least floors).

I’d also recommend checking out the cool line up of robots from WowWee. These robots can do all sorts of tricks. From tossing items to interaction via a video camera on wheels, their is something for everyone.

Be sure to properly secure your smart home devices from hackers.


Many parents struggle with the decision to give their child a smartphone. These are expensive pieces of technology that come with huge responsibility. While younger children might benefit from a smartphone substitute, older and more responsible children might be ready for their own device.

Smartphones are handy as it allows families to communicate like never before. For example, video cameras help capture special moments that can be shared later. The quality of cameras these days means you can even make your own family video. Your kids want to star in their own active video? Bed sheet capes + pool noodle katanas + smartphone camera = your own movie!

Gaming Consoles

This one seems pretty easy to grasp. Playing games is fun! Today many games are interactive which means fun for the entire family. Wii is one device that is really great for families. Many games, like Wii Sports or Wii Golf, allows everyone to play and compete against each other from the comfort of the living room. These games are also a good way to get in some exercise if you can’t get out of the house.


The iPad quickly comes to mind here. Easy to use and with an endless supply of games, the iPad can be a kids (and parent’s!) best friend. What’s great about the iPad is that the App Store has tons of games that kids of all ages can enjoy. Families heading out on a long trip will benefit from the hours of entertainment and quiet time that comes with an iPad. Some games on the iPad, such as Angry Birds, will be fun. Others like Oregon Trail will be both fun and educational. It’s a great mix and one that will keep everyone happy.

Virtual Reality Headsets

A VR headset is a gadget any self-proclaimed Nerdy Dad will want to have in the house. While VR headsets aren’t to the point where I’d recommend tossing your PC or Xbox, they can provide some exciting gaming opportunities. These devices do work better with children that are somewhat older. I’d say 12+ is a good rule when using VR with kids. However, it’s each dad’s responsibility to read up on a device before making a purchase. Some headsets are going to be more adult oriented while others were designed with kids in mind.

As a relatively new gadget dads have many options when buying VR headsets. This is good since devices exist for every budget. Headsets powered by smartphones tend to be on the cheaper side while a full-blown, high-powered setup can easily run into the thousands of dollars. Just like any other gaming system you also need to consider the titles available and experience.

If you’re looking to stay on the cheaper side the Google Daydream View is a good option. It’s compatible with any Daydream-enabled phone which is most Androids. The View also comes with a strong app library, but what did you expect from Google. Starting at $59.99 this is a good intro for VR-curious families.

When deciding on new gadgets for the whole family dads have many decisions to make. Desired functionality, budget, interactivity, and much more all come into play. However, that’s part of the fun! Exploring new gadgets, teaching your kids how to evaluate a new product, and of course the playing with the actual gadget is all part of the experience.

Smartphones are everywhere now and we can’t turn back. I go to the store and see everyone from grandma to a child in a stroller on their phone. If you are considering buying your child a smartphone but aren’t sure it’s the right move you aren’t alone.

Yes, smartphones have made it easier to keep track of our kids. With a few seconds of effort we can call, text, and track our kids. The devices give us peace of mind and an endless source of entertainment for the kids.

However, if you think it’s still too early to buy your child a smartphone you have come to the right place. I’ll discuss a few options suitable for elementary age children. These devices are simple and provide an easy introduction to technology.

Dangers of Smartphones

While a smartphone is pretty much an essential device to daily life, they do come with risks. This is true for adults and especially true for children. It’s our job to keep our kids safe, but we also must let them experience the world.

The devices that I’ll present below aren’t full blown smartphones. They are a lighter, kid-friendly version. However, parents should still be aware of these risks:

  • Screen addition is real in adults and in kids. Spending too much time in front of a screen can reduce cognitive abilities and lead to the development of harmful habits.
  • Speaking of harmful habits, too much sedentary screen time leads to obesity in children. Be sure to put the phone down and get outdoors!
  • Bullies and predators are dangerous online and offline. Be sure your children understand proper cyber security practices.

Now, let’s get into the fun part. Learning about new tech!

Alternatives to Buying Your Child a Smartphone

Coolpad Flip Phone

Coolpad SNAP Phone

Honestly I might want to get one of these. They take me back to simpler times when a phone was, well, a phone and not the complex device it is today. Coolpad offers a wide selection of devices including a Kids Tech line that is COPPA compliant.

These devices are great because they provide the basic call and text functionality you would expect and not much else. Sure, this wouldn’t work for a busy dad trying to manage family, work, and weekend football bets. However, for a young child who doesn’t really need the world at his or her fingertips just yet, it’s a great device.

The Coolpad line of phones is a great introduction to technology and much cheaper then purchasing an iPhone (though certainly not as cool). I’d recommend this device for younger children who don’t need a full blown smartphone. It’s also good to teach responsibility and caring for a device.

The SNAP line comes with 4G LTE connectivity and works on either Sprint or Boost Mobile.

Gabb Wireless

Gabb is the new kid on the block. They provide phones for kids that are affordable (only $99.99) and that look like a normal smartphone. However, the phones don’t come with web browsers, app stores, or social media access. For kids they get the cool look of a smartphone. As dads we get the comfort of knowing we can get in touch with our kids when needed and they won’t be viewing inappropriate content.

For parents that are worried about dangerous content or cyberbullying, Gabb is a great option. The one critique is that the phone doesn’t come with text monitoring. So issues could still arise, but it’s admittedly better than having full access to the web and social media.

The Gizmo Watch

The Gizmo Watch by Verizon is a super cool device and excellent alternative to buying your child a smartphone! We’ve covered cool gadgets for kids in prior posts, but the Gizmo deserves it’s own section here.

The Gizmo comes with many features dads will love. The watch can be programmed to only call and text a set group of contacts up to 10 people. It even only allows for a small, pre-defined list of messages to be sent via text. This is great for parents looking to ease their children into technology.

The watch also comes with GPS tracking. Now you can track the location of the watch, and hopefully your child, all from your GizmoHub app. Parents will also appreciate that the watch includes a step counter. You can set goals and send reminders that keep your kiddo moving and active.

While the watch is by Verizon, you don’t have to have all your devices on Verizon. Just the watch must be on Verizon.

The world of tech is always changing. However, it’s nice to see that not all devices are adult focused. Gadgets such as those presented here allow parents to introduce the responsibility of owning a device to young children. These devices also remove some of the risk that comes with a full smartphone. Key for me has been the restricted, or no, internet access. The internet is an entirely different lesson than device care. I like being able to teach and introduce new concepts as my kids grow and can comprehend new ideas.

Attempting to describe the best gadgets of 2020 sitting here in August will be tough. Gadgets are always coming and going so what is cool and helpful today will be gone tomorrow. If it isn’t gone it will at least have undergone some transformation.

So, here at Nerdy Dads we’ve put together a short list of some of the gadgets that have been great for us this year. Enjoy!

Why Do We Like Gadgets?

“Because they are fun” is the short answer. It’s also accepted as the correct answer for us.

A gadget is a device that incorporates technology and that is uniquely designed to fulfill a defined function. Gadgets can also be used to improve another product or service. Basically, a gadget makes life more comfortable.

We like making life more comfortable. That is a bit longer explanation of why we like gadgets. Now let’s get into our list of the best gadgets of the year…so far!

The Best Gadgets of 2020

Apple AirPods

With the latest generation of wireless headphones, the AirPod Pro, Apple has yet again caused a sensation in the community. They also refuse to turn down that darn music!

Apple has introduced a revised in-ear design that provides improved comfort and grip. This allows the more fitness focused dads to exercise for hours without the pods falling out. For an added bonus they are also resistant to water and sweat. That sounds kinda like me 😉

You can still manage all the commands using Siri. A new feature is the ability to control the pods based on a pinch to the surface. Another new introduction is the improved noise cancellation system. This is great if you’re taking a work call at home or if you’re just taking a break from home.

For the music aficionados the sound quality is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from Apple. It’s awesome! Excellent treble with a consistent and defined bass. You can also equalize according to your preferences or the music you’re listening to.

All in all, Apple yet again impresses. The AirPods Pro are a great little gadget to have around for work, play, or just chilling.

Anker PowerCore

You know what’s tough about gadgets? They require electricity and without a charge they aren’t much use.

You know what’s not tough about gadgets? Using the Anker PowerCore to keep them fully juiced.

The Anker brand line of power banks will keep your phone charged for all the heavy “work” we do on them. That involves a lot of Candy Crush for Mike. Small enough to fit in your pocket these devices pack a powerful punch and can recharge your devices multiple times.

Case in point is the the Anker PowerCore. The 13000mAh version will charge your iPhone 8 five times (5x!) or an iPhone X 3 times. You can see why this is a device that no responsible dad could ever go without.

Google Home

Switching to another Bit Tech player we introduce the Google Home.

Let’s take a short trip down memory lane if the ol’ memory still works. Back in the day, movies would show people relaxing at home and speaking a command. An attentive robot (Rosie, anyone?) would make it happen in an instant.

We might not have a robot that cooks and cleans, but we can call out commands to the Google Home. The smart speaker is sophisticated enough to act as the brain of your home. Control the AC? No problem. Play music, set an alarm, check your calendar, and pick winning lottery numbers are all a voice call away. Well, maybe not that last one. Suffice it to say that Google Home can do pretty much anything you need it to. For a complete review the nice folks at CNET have created this Google Home review


One great feature with the device is that it’s smart enough to (mostly) only respond to a specific voice. You can set it up to respond to you, but no one else. This may seem harsh until you realize that pizza, chips, and soda are appearing on your shopping list a lot more frequently than they should.

If you’re tight on space, such as a crowded desk, the Google Home Mini (shown below) is a great option. All the great features without needing as much space.

Google Home Mini

Amazon Fire TV Stick

It’s time to round out this list with something we all enjoy: TV.

You could be forgiven for not knowing all the different ways to watch a show these days. Is it on HBO, Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or something else?

Besides the plethora of decisions another more technical issue is that current televisions all have different operating systems. Some of these may be very, very old (like 3+ years!). If you have one of the older models, what can you do?

  1. Buy a new TV. Gotta love spending that hard earned money.
  2. Buy a device such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Gotta love spending less of your hard earned money.

If you couldn’t tell I’m a bit partial to #2. If your TV is super old then it might be time for an upgrade.

If your TV looks like this you need to upgrade.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is yet another voice controlled device. This time your digital friend is Alexa, who is happy to transform your TV into a full-on home automation entertainment center.

I should mention that you will need to have an Amazon Prime account for this to function properly. However, with a ton of preinstalled apps and a clean, user-friendly interface the price is worth it. Also, who doesn’t have Prime?

Well, that about rounds out my list of the best gadgets of 2020…so far. Like I said, gadgets come and go at such a fast pace I probably don’t know 90%+ of what comes out. That coming from a guy who works in tech. New and cool things are always emerging. The trick is separating the winners from the one hit wonders.

Happy gadgeting!

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For students and parents around the world, the new school year will come with unique challenges. Social distancing and remote learning via virtual classrooms are the new norm. To help your student stay on pace we reviewed the top Chromebooks for students and parents to consider this fall.

The Google Chromebook is an excellent product for students. The Chromebook builds upon the netbook of the late 2000s and early 2010s. Today the Chromebook competes with tablets in the low-cost device category. The results have been surprisingly good. With a standard laptop layout and a battery that lasts all day, the Chromebook provides users the ability to use a real keyboard for note taking while being powered on all day. For budget conscious parents it is a relief to know that Chromebooks typically cost half as much as a traditional laptop. This is because your traditional laptop requires a ton of processing power to run an OS such as Windows. The Chromebook, on the other hand, relies on Google’s Chrome OS that is based on the Chrome browser.

Unlike a laptop, every action taken in the Chrome OS is done via a browser window. This is why the device has such an excellent battery life and quality performance. Your children will be able to take notes, edit photos, check email, write essays, and so much more. Best of all is that the device, if properly cared for, will make an easy transition to college life. Lightweight and with all the features mentioned above means your student won’t need to shell out big bucks for a laptop when they head to college.

If you and your child have been searching for a device that can provide enough features to tackle school projects while still providing enough power for gaming, the Chromebook should be at the top of your list. Below I’ll review a few devices that are worth considering.

Top Chromebooks for Students

Asus Chromebook Flip C434

Asus Chromebook

First up on our list is the C434 from Asus. If this is your first journey into Chromebook world it’s worth mentioning that Asus has been a leader in the area for a while now. The C434 comes with an all-aluminium build, giving it a premium look and feel. One could almost be forgiven for thinking the C434 is a MacBook or Surface Laptop after a quick glance. The device is very portable, weighing in at only 3.3 pounds. It’s about a half an inch thick, so this is again a great selection for younger students and those lugging it around a college campus, or your living room, all semester.

Performance is always a key consideration when buying a new device. Sure, the price might be great, but if it can’t hold up under pressure then you’re wasting your money. The Asus C434 delivers on performance. Powered by an Intel Core processor that consumes little power delivers long battery life. The entry level model has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Both of which are stellar when compared to similar models. Of course, you can upgrade to the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage if budget isn’t a primary concern. For your average college student this will be more than enough power to get the job done. However, if you’re child is a hardcore gamer this device won’t make the cut.

Other features worth mentioning include the C434’s ability to turn 360 degrees to form a tablet. Flip is in the name after all so the device delivers on that promise. For students who need to take notes and include drawings, looking at you engineering students, the tablet-esque format of the C434 will be a great benefit.

My only big issue with the Asus Chromebook is the sound quality. The speakers are faint and not very powerful. If your student likes to jam out while studying they will likely want to invest in a set of external speakers or headphones.

Google Pixelbook Go

Next up on our list of top Chromebooks for students is the Google Pixelbook Go.

This is the most recent version of the Pixelbook and is updated from the original model released a few years back. While the entry level price has been lowered, it is still a bit more expensive than other Chromebook options. However, at $650 it is still a deal compared to more traditional laptops. The Pixelbook also packs in a bunch of features that your student will enjoy.

First up is the device’s ultra portable design. Weighing in at only 2 pounds and measuring only 13mm thick, this device is designed to go wherever you go. Which is hopefully to class. The magnesium build gives the device its lightweight, but also a luxury feel.

The next great feature is the backlit keyboard. Using Google’s HushKeys, the keyboard keeps keys quiet and is designed for some serious use. You also get front facing speakers. Compared to other Chromebooks on the market this is a great feature. It makes watching videos a great experience on this device. So good, in fact, your student will be excited to watch and rewatch all those lecture videos 😉

When it comes to speed the Pixelbook uses the Intel Core m3 8th Gen, so it is fast enough for your basic browsing. For more use you will need to upgrade to the i5 of i7. Storage ranges from 8GB to 256GB and it’s advisable to buy the level you think you will need in the future. The device doesn’t have expandable storage options, so factor that into your buying decision.

One drawback of the Pixelbook is that it doesn’t fold or turn. Unlike the Asus device, the Pixelbook is more of a traditional laptop and simply folds up or down. This is really a matter of personal preference. Some students might like this feature and others will hate it.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

The third and final contender on our list of best Chromebooks for your students is the Lenovo Chromebook Duet.

For budget focused buyers this device combines the features you need with a super affordable price. Coming in at $300 the Duet is a hybrid device with an attachable keyboard. As a standalone device, the Duet comes with a 10.1″ 1920×1200 display. It seems pretty standard until you add on the keyboard attachment. Put up the kickstand and you have yourself a full laptop!

However, the low cost does come with some downside. The keyboard is fairly cramped and the processor isn’t good for much more than simple browsing and using basic productivity applications. The device does have a longer battery life than you might expect which compensates for some of the drawbacks.

The Duet has been very popular this summer. It’s currently unavailable on the Lenovo site and has been hit or miss on Amazon. You will have to be quick and have good timing to snag this device.

As students and parents prepare for what will certainly be an interesting semester, I hope this quick guide helps make the tech selection process a bit easier. There are some great Chromebooks for students on the market and it really will depend on your budget and use case when making the final purchase decision.

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Gadgets. Just the word alone sparks excitement. Have you ever been at an event with friends and “the gadget guy” shows up. He is the person other dads and kids flock to. They want to know what’s new, what’s cool, and what they need to buy on Amazon ASAP.

Stick with us through the following guide as we uncover top gadgets for dads and you will be that dad!

Top Gadgets for Dads

For The Fitness Enthusiast

We previously put together a list of best fitness gadgets for dads. It’s a good list with lots of fun gadgets for you to play with. However, the Mirror interactive home gym deserves it’s own section.

Mirror Interactive Home Gym

The ongoing pandemic turned many gym goers into neighborhood zombie walkers. You know them. The people walking in endless loops (guess they didn’t use a break statement 😉 around the neighboorhood trying to get in a sweat.

Thankfully you have the Mirror Interactive Home Gym so you’re at home in the cool A/C burning some serious calories.

At first glance the Mirror is, well, a mirror. Then you turn it on to receive a greeting from professional trainers ready to make you beg for a break. The interactive display comes with a camera and speakers to customize your workout. You even get to pick your poison. With over 50 workouts, including cardio, yoga, and strength training, you will get tired. Just not tired of the Mirror.

The drawback? This is more than your monthly gym membership. Clocking in at $1,495 this is an investment. You also need to purchase a $39/month subscription. If you’re up for giving it a shot you can check out the Mirror here


For The Cyclist

If you cycle you know the joy of tearing down the road with wind, and bugs, in your face. For the less fortunate you also know the lack of joy from finding a cut bike lock. With this lightweight Kevlar bike lock you will secure your bike in style and discourage would be bike thieves.

Weighing only 0.3 lbs (145 grams) this lock is lightweight and won’t weigh you down. It’s also compact and can be coiled up with a diameter less than 3 inches. Made with multi-layer steel and Kevlar bands this lock will quickly discourage a would-be thief. You also have the ability to set your own, unique 3-digit code.

The one drawback is that this won’t replace a U-lock as this lock can only secure the wheel to the frame or the frame to a post.

Pick up one on Amazon ($36-$84) and give it a try!

For The Auto Enthusiast

We get it. You love your kid and your car. Now you can bring both together and enjoy those longer joy rides while keeping your little one entertained.

This LED mirror generates lights that flicker to keep your baby entertained. It also a soothing mode with the lights slowing flickering on and off. With a wireless remote you can control the music and lights from the front while your baby enjoys the show safely in the back.

For the Between the Seat Diver

We’ve all been there. Keys, credit cards, rings, money and much more falls down the “crack of doom” between the car seats. After a period of adult language you then have to jam your hand into the crack to fish out whatever was dropped. You may have also had an audience of kiddos laughing at your antics. That time is finally over!

With this grabbing multi-tool, complete with a detachable LED light and magnetic arms, you can reach between the seats, under the couch, and behind the fridge with ease. It’s one of those tools that you didn’t know you needed. Until you absolutely needed it. Currently priced at $30 the convenience is worth the small upfront cost.

For the Sleep Deprived

If you’ve been day dreaming of a good night of sleep then you may be in need of these SleepPhones. These soft headband headphones allow you to create a calm and relaxing listening experience to lull yourself to sleep. You can even play your own music via Bluetooth.

With two speakers built into the sides you simply slide the SleepPhones over your ears and it’s lights out! It’s a great nighttime sleep aid since you don’t have to worry about earbuds falling out or digging into your ears. Another great benefit? The rechargeable batteries last up to 13 hours. As a dad you know that you’ll never get to sleep for 13 hours. So these are basically guaranteed to last multiple nights in a row. Unless you do get 13 hours of sleep. Then lucky you!

You can pick up a SleepPhone band for about $100. So it isn’t the cheapest gadget around, but if it leads to better sleep the investment is worthwhile.

While we’re talking about top gadgets for dads that involve headbands you can also check out the RunPhones from the same folks who developed the SleepPhones. This is a team that seems to be about producing some cool headgear that can be used in a variety of situations.

That just about brings us to the end of this list of top gadgets for dads. With the above gadget in your car and around your head, you can confidently stroll into the next backyard BBQ and know you are the guy all the other dads will look to for advice. Use your power wisely!

Notice: some of the links in this article will direct you to Amazon. If you make a purchase we may receive a commission. This does not add any additional expense to your purchase and is how we monetize this site. Thanks for your support!

The Raspberry Pi mini-computer is an fun and non-threatening way to introduce your children to the world of computer hardware and coding.

Raspberry Pi 4, the most recent version, packs enough power to drive two screens at the same time and features dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 1GB of or more of RAM. To new users it may sound complex to get started with the Raspberry Pi, but if you know where to start, you and your children can start enjoying yourselves learning the basics of computing together and end up with some incredibly creative and useful inventions.

Why Learn With the Raspberry Pi?

Many children, even those interested in computers, have not actually disassembled a computer. Raspberry Pi, a single-board computer, can act as the foundation for many projects. Working with the Raspberry Pi your children will learn a lot about the computers, components, peripherals, operating systems, coding, and connections.

Take the time to educate your children using the Raspberry Pi and they will be multiple steps ahead of other children (and most adults). They will learn about the different parts of a computer, how hardware and software interact, and gain the confidence that they can build their own solutions.

Below are some fun starter projects for dads to do with their kids. Relatively inexpensive, this 4 model B with 1 GB RAM from adafruit is only $30, the device can provide countless hours of fun and education.

Build a Weather Station

Sure you can check the weather on your phone, but it’s much cooler to build your own.

The Raspberry Pi is a modular device and is capable of running a variety of different coding languages. This allows you to take advance of wider computing projects.

Monitoring the weather using a home-built system with Raspberry Pi is great activity for dads and kids. Using the Python operating system with your device will allow you to access modules. You can then interact with USB weather stations and collate data of the weather from the week. For kids at home or in school this will be an exciting and educational project.

Build Your Own Computer

The maker and DIY movement have encouraged many people to build their own devices. Not only is this educational and fun, but it can save a ton of money.

The Raspberry Pi, by its very nature, is a computer that you can build all by yourself. Plug in some USB peripherals and install a Linux distribution (including Raspian and Pidora) and all of a sudden this small device is more than just a child’s toy.

With the simple setup out of the way you can install word processors, calculators, and other applications. While power will be limited compared to a normal desktop, you can still have fun completing basic tasks.

To expand functionality you can turn to pre-packaged kits. These kits generally contain the Raspberry Pi itself as well as other peripherals. This SunFounder kit helps you build a robot car (Amazon; $65.99).

Robot cars and computers are already cool. What’s even cooler is building one yourself. This is educational and adds to the excitement of playing with a new device.

Build a Cloud Storage Device

This is a bit more technical and introduces the idea of document storage, but is still a fun and educational project for dads and kids.

You will need to first add storage capacity to your Raspberry Pi. You can use a high capacity SD or microSD card. A USB drive also works. Format the devices so they are ready to store files. Remember, this is a learning exercise so don’t overwrite any important data. Use an SSH command via the Linux OS on the device to remotely access the drives. The final step will have you use a free network sharing protocol, Samba, to provide access for the cloud storage.

If you are technically minded and want to really layer on the fun use Nagios, a server monitoring software, to teach the importance of security. Nagios will monitor the home network and how it is being accessed.

Again, this is more of a technical project. However, dads and kids who are up for a challenge will be rewarded with building their own cloud storage device. How about that for some show and tell when the semester returns!

Program Your Own Game

Love gaming? Well, now it’s time to build your own!

Kids and parents alike enjoy playing games. It’s a great way to bond and spend quality time together. However, not many people actually consider building their own game. Top among reasons is the perception that it is too difficult.

The Raspberry Pi device, along with it’s visual programming language, Scratch, will allow you and your children to build your own game. Even better is that the Raspberrian OS is pre-installed with Scratch.

Available on a number of platforms, Scratch helps you create the logic for your game using drag and drop elements. This starts out basic, but an expand to include more complex actions.

Using the Raspberry Pi the experience can expand beyond games. It can include connected lights, speakers, and motors using the general-purpose intput-output pins.

Fun, educational, and empowering your child will enjoy building their own computer games. It fosters a sense of ownership and helps them connect how hardware and software work together. If that isn’t enough, they also build valuable skills.

Build a Formula 1 Car

If you don’t own a Formula 1 team or have millions of dollars to buy your own car, this is the next best thing.

Formula Pi bills themselves as “the world’s first Raspberry Pi Autonomous race series”.

Build a race car with your kids and you can get involved in the robot racing scene.

We’ll let you check out the below video to get a better sense for Formula Pi. Needless to say, it is very, very cool!

As you can see from the above examples, the only limit to what you can build with a Raspberry Pi is your imagination. If you’ve already mastered the above, brainstorm with your kids and find out what they want to build. If you need some assistance the internet is packed with tutorials and new project ideas.

If you need some additional motivation for projects check out raspberrypi.org for ideas and tutorials.

Happy building!