- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Reward dad this Father’s Day with a technology-infused gift to make his life easier. Here are just a few ideas to make the well-rounded family man smile.

Intelli Sense Kitchen System (Ninja, best price featured at Ninja Kitchen Direct for $199.75) — The Swiss Army knife of food processors offers fathers bitten by the culinary bug a fast and efficient way to offer his family a variety of meals.

Spearheaded by its multifunctional 1,200-watt, touchscreen “smart base,” the heavy-duty system uses easy-to-change, bladed plastic containers nicknamed vessels with the base’s “Intelli-Sense” technology.


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That translates into swapping either a — 24-ounce high-speed blender cup (smoothie, refresher, extract and dressing settings); 72-ounce crushing pitcher (smoothie, ice cream, frozen drink and snow cone settings); 64-ounce precision processor (puree, chop, dough and dips setting); or an entertaining auto spiralizer (cut noodles to curly fires with either the spaghetti or fettuccine blade) on the fly. The base alters its speed, gearing and power ratios as well as its lit menu to adapt to the job.

The results for each vessel are only limited by the imagination and can include making pizza dough, fresh salsa, margaritas and protein shakes with the vessels settings automatically handling the run time, speed and patterns for the process.



Offered in jet black with dishwasher-safe pieces, the high-performance appliance even has a base with suction cups to keep it from moving during strenuous workouts. Unfortunately, it will also need to be afforded a large space on a kitchen shelf for all of its components.

The package also includes an 82-page, color booklet, full of tips and 35 recipes to hone one’s skill with the food system to create such tasty concoctions such as an Orange Blush drink (watermelon, orange juice, strawberries, ice); classic hummus; and zucchini spaghetti with basil pesto.

iBN350 (iHome, best price featured at Amazon for $89.95) — This compact, gunmetal grey, multifunctional alarm clock with a grated front offers a stylish design and ridiculous range of options as a bedroom companion.

First start with its primary directive that features dual alerts for separate waking-up times, programmable snoozing, a sleep mode (turning off the music at a set time) backup battery and dimmable LED display.

Now, despite a lack of an FM radio receiver (boo), the unit makes up for it with plenty of music options using its Bluetooth connectivity for enabled devices (just get the source near the clock); or the use of the Melody Music Assistant compatible with Spotify, iHeart Radio and downloaded music.

The assistant feature allows an owner to use voice commands to teach the software to respond to requests such as “play Led Zeppelin,” “play my morning playlist” or “shuffle shower playlist.”

Also, its higher tech trick offers Qi wireless charging for most android and some Apple smartphones (iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus) by simply placing the device on top of the clock’s cushioned pad. Don’t expect a quick charge, but it works best as an overnight option.

The clock also includes a USB port for charging devices, aux-in jack, a pair of surprisingly load speakers and even a speakerphone with built-in microphone.

Suffice it to report, the iBN350 gives dad very little reason for to get out of bed and might be the gift on his big day to wake up next to.

Blade Stealth (Razer, best price featured at multiple retailers for $1,499) — Razer’s latest laptop dynamo combines portability, power and a smart design for the multitasking man in the family.

Looking a bit like a Macbook Air but coming in at under 3 pounds and at .5 inches thick, the computer features an aluminum chassis; a 13.3-inch, QHD+, LED backlit touchscreen; precision-glass touchpad; and built-in speakers, camera and microphone.

Viewing resolutions are up to 3200x1800 pixels, (four times the pixels than a high-definition output), and the laptop provides battery life up to 9 hours on a single charge.

Under the hood features include an Intel Core i7 Processor (providing 2.7GHz of processing power and Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5GHz), 16GB dual-channel RAM, Intel HD Graphics 620 (powerful enough to deliver 4K resolution with the laptop attached to an external monitor), 512 gigabytes of solid state storage and a Windows 10 operating system.

Connectivity options include a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C 3.1 port), an HDMI 2.0a port, two USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth 4.1 and Killer Wireless AC for blazing Internet speeds (based on network output).

Visual bells and whistles round out the laptop with a black or gunmetal grey finish; a florescent green and glowing spiral logo on its cover; and keyboard with 16.8 million color options for some distracting lighting effects.

It’s worth noting that functioning better for mobile work than multimedia and gaming, the Blade Stealth still held up well under waves of long-lasting and grueling sessions of the co-operative survival video game “Fortnight.”

Although requiring lower frames per second and diminished resolution adjustments in the visuals, it still maintained its power, stamina and speedy connectivity during each match.

Indoor Grill (All-Clad, featured at Williams Sonoma for $299.95) — Dads tired of the messy barbeque experience will appreciate a tech-infused way to almost perfectly cook meats indoors and in record time with an appliance small enough to fit on the counter in the corner of a kitchen.

I’m calling it a steroid version of the George Foreman Grill, except this device, with a blinding stainless steel cover, features automatic sensor technology that detects food thickness and adapts temperature and cooking time to deliver ready-to-serve meals painlessly.

Simply plug it in to a wall outlet, pick from six pre-programmed cooking modes (Burger, Chicken, Pork, Sandwich, Beef and Fish), click the OK button, wait 6 to 8 minutes for the “pre heat indicator” to stop blinking, add the meat, drop the lid and start cooking.

The unit has lights and beeps to allow chefs to easily keep track of progress (ranged from rare, medium and well done) and can even defrost and then grill foods in one process.

The results throughout were nearly flawless, and the meat usually cooked in under 10 minutes (sans the preheat). Chicken breasts (slightly crispy with grill marks on the outside and juicy on the inside); steak around an inch thick (medium well offered a slightly pink center with enticing grill marks and slight crust); or even a grilled cheese sandwich or quesadilla were efficiently grilled to perfection.

If the meat cut is too thick, or the eater too finicky, it was easy to monitor the cooking time using a manual mode that offers four temperature settings — 250°F, 375°F, 450°F and 525°F.

Additionally, the easy-to-remove, nonstick die-cast aluminum plates make cleanup a less than 5-minute chore (after the unit cools of course) giving self-sufficient dad a break from inhaling smoke or being bathed in charcoal and grease.

Parliament (Ekster, best price featured at Ekster for $99.99, get an additional 10 percent off, enter WASHINGTON-EKSTER at check out) — Patriarchs exhibiting occasional bouts of forgetfulness will appreciate a device wielding the power of both solar and GPS to keep track of a select group of housed belongings.

Specifically, this smart and slim, genuine leather wallet boasts a cardholder with release trigger for roughly four credit cards. They lie in an RFID-secure housing so electronic pickpockets can’t skim valuable credit data.

Better yet, a card-size tracker fits in the wallet’s outside pouch and hooks up with the TrackR app (compatible with most smartphones).

The card communicates to the software to remember where the wallet was last left or makes a sound when requested by the phone, if in close proximity. And, get this tech fans, it even uses a Crowd GPS function.

That feature allows the wallet’s location to be updated anytime one of over 5 million TrackR users walk by it for long-range retrieval.

Equally welcomed, that communication function works both ways. Press a button on the Tracker to ping a lost phone.

The Parliament also has a cash strap and two internal pockets for additional cards and, worth noting, the solar-powered Tracker card needs roughly three hours of sunlight to stay active for around a month.

I wouldn’t exactly call the wallet a “slim design” but with the onboard tech afforded it, dads will gladly deal with any back-pocket bulges.

AccuVoice AV200 (Zvox, best price featured at Amazon for $179.00) — Older father’s whose ears have endured the abuse of screaming kids, classic rock or an overtly chatty spouse for decades will appreciate a way to clearly understand what’s being said in their favorite home movies and TV shows.

This 17-inch-long, roughly 3-inches-wide, all-in-one sound bar with black metallic grill and orange LED display taps into hearing aid technology to separate voices from a soundtrack and then places the dialogue front and center in the mix.

The included remote brings the device to life and offers standard volume, mute, bass, treble controls as well as a variety of sound options starting with the Accuvoice setting that uses computer algorithms to deliver the filtered vocal magic.

Or, it can have the speaker simulate a surround sound experience, or another handy setting offers sound output leveling to handle large shifts in volume, especially annoying during commercial breaks on cable shows these days.

The AV200 comes with an optical signal, stereo mini and RCA cable to work with most televisions and is wall-mountable or can rest in front of the monitor using its soft-padded feet.

When trying the speaker on higher-end blockbusters boasting overwhelming soundtracks, such as “Saving Private Ryan” or “The Fury,” the device performed as promised, giving viewers a talk-rich experience during the intense battle scenes.

However, despite the increase in vocal frequencies, don’t expect home entertainment sound immersion with a speaker this small nor any appreciation of musical scores.

Auto-iQ Coffee Brewer (Ninja, best price featured at Ninja Kitchen Direct for $99.99) — The eternal quest for the perfect cup of joe gets nearly realized with Ninja’s latest home-brewing station.

The twin-towered, compact brewer stands about 15 inches tall and uses a 43-ounce water reserve to draw upon its caffeinated creations. An onboard knob setting will deliver a half (19 ounces) or full serving (39 ounces) of coffee with the included carafe, or fill up a cup (9.5 ounces), or travel mug (14 ounces).

An auto-off temperature warming plate only turns on when using the carafe and can be set to keep the beverage warm for up to four hours. The delay brew settings get the coffee ready at a particular time. Both are accomplished by using the LED programmable digital clock.

Additionally, the system has flavor-extraction technology monitoring the proper temperature, coffee-ground infusion and saturation time that allow the owner to create a classic or rich saturation of flavor and even an iced coffee drink.

The taste tests from multiple coffee connoisseurs ranged from a decent rating when using a commercial ground coffee to an “outstanding” rating for a robust cup of boutique Kona Rainforest Coffee using the rich setting.

The package includes three paper No. 4 filters and a measuring scoop.

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