Mother's Day? Easy. Flowers, chocolate, wine, Gordon Ramsay DVD boxset... sorted. Fathers, though – their stone faces hide their true desires. They might make polite noises about a new pair of garden shears or some extra bags for the vacuum cleaner, but really, they want just one thing – gadgetry.
Flashing lights, clicky buttons and whooshy noises delight any man – as do USB ports, solid state memory, MP3 playback and saving money on phonebills. The 15th of June is just days away now, but it's far from too late to get a techy trinket sent daddy's way. Here's a few fatherly favourites for wallets of all sizes.
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Asus Eee 701 £215www.microdirect.co.uk
The sheer idea of buying someone a laptop as a gift will seem pretty obscene to a lot of people, but the trend for affordable super-portables brought about by the Asus Eee has changed everything. Just a nose over £200 buys a tiny machine capable of running Windows XP, browsing the web and watching DivX movies, and with an awesome battery life to boot. If you really want to spoil the old man, save up for the 901 model and its tiny titan Intel Atom processor. It's twice the price, but has a much bigger screen and can handle high definition video. Warning: may not be suitable for the fatter-fingered gentleman.
Sennheiser PXC 450 headphones£176www.overclockers.co.uk
It's increasingly tricky to find a pair of headphones that aren't noise-cancelling these days. Nevertheless, there's noise-cancelling and there's noise-cancelling – or, to put it another way, there's glorified earplugs and there's active noise reduction. Rather than crudely muffling the outside world by squeezing uncomfortably into your ear canal, these over-ear cans use built-in micro-mics to electronically monitor and filter out persistent background sounds, such as the hiss and thrum of an aeroplane or the whistle of an open train window. Coming from high-end headphone specialists Sennheiser, the sound quality's significantly better than the average bear too, so they're a smart pick for an audiophile dad. They're expensive, but it really is a world of difference from earplug models.
Rock Band (Xbox 360)£150www.gamestation.co.uk
There isn't some magic switch that flips when a guy becomes a dad, seeing him abandon a) his wish-dreams of rock stardom and b) his fascination with toys and games overnight. Let him know it's okay. Reassure him that there's nothing wrong with joyously geeking with a plastic guitar. Show him you're not embarrassed by his inner child. Buy him Rock Band.
He'll need either a couple of mates or four extra hands to make the best of it – co-operative play with someone each on guitar, vocals, drums and bass is what Rock Band is really about. However, it's eminently playable as a solo game – pick your instrument of choice and carve out a career playing just that. On the one hand, it's just hitting coloured buttons in time to music and on-screen prompts – on the other hand it's the joyous pomposity of rock concerts in your living room.
WD My Passport Essential (160GB- 320GB)£51 – 131www.pixmania.co.uk
So much data. Boring, boring data, about business accounts and client contact details and giant PowerPoint presentations. Still, just because the contents of your Dad's portable hard drive might sap his will to live doesn't mean the hard drive itself has to be a monolithic misery. Up to 320GB of storage lurks inside something not much bigger than, well, a passport. There's a bunch of different colours available, so you can be sure to give your dad something that matches his favourite tie. It's entirely bus-powered too, so it's also ideal for toting around a crapload of music, movies and games to supply entertainment to a laptop saddled with a lame 40 or 60GB internal drive.