£10 and Under
£8.99 – full review
If your dad is the type to annoy fellow passengers on the train with his naff Apple earbuds, save him from social commuter suicide with these cheapo Creative IEM earphones. Although dirt cheap, they offer decent noise isolation thanks to the use of rubber tips. Sound quality is great too, able to compete reasonably well with pairs up to £40.
Apptoyz Audmented Reality iPhone gun
A toy sure to end up lining the bin within days, but if you want your dad to re-live that present-opening moment of his childhood, this augmented reality gun is a good bet. And it costs less than a tenner. Look a bit closer and you’ll realise it’s not much more than the world’s most ridiculous iPhone case – it holds the phone where the gunsights are and prods the touchscreen with a trigger press, to work with augmented reality games – but isn’t a half-hour of running around the house going “piaow piaow” worth the cost?
£30 and Under
Otone Union Jack Speaker
£29.99 – link
If there’s to be a year when you drop your British reserve and start Union Jack -waving in tasteless fashion, 2012 is it. Not only have we had the Jubilee, the Olympics are coming to town too. In celebration, it seems as though just about every manufacturer under the sun has brought out gadget daubed with the Union Jack’s colours. One of the least offensive – and most affordable – of the bunch is the Otone travel speaker. It’s rechargeable, plugs into just about any source using a 3.5mm jack plug and lasts for 8-10 hours. And if you don’t fancy flag-waving, a black and silver version is also available.
Custom iPhone/iPad Case-Mate case
£25 – link
Let’s be honest – a normal phone or tablet case is a bit of a naff present. It’s the gadget equivalent of a pair of socks. However, tailor the thing just for your dad and it becomes one of the very best presents you can buy on a budget. Case-Mate offers a clever online case designer microsite that lets you design your own from uploaded images or Case-Mate’s own array of graphics. The custom cases cost a tad more than a vanilla iPhone case, but get the design right and it’s a present that will both leave him beaming and get used day-to-day.
£5.99 a month
Proper film and TV streaming services have finally got off the ground in the UK. And while their libraries aren’t quite up to what you’d find in the US, LoveFilm and Netflix are great ways to catch up on classic movies and TV series. Both now offer streaming in HD too. LoveFilm Instant costs £4.99 a month while Netflix is £5.99, and offers a wider selection of both movies and TV. Just check he has some way to access these services first before buying a sub, though. They’re available through games consoles, smart TV platforms and tablets.