Dr. Mac's Guaranteed Gifts for Dads & Grads (Part II)

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #126

And now… the thrilling conclusion to Dr. Mac's Guaranteed Gifts for Dads & Grads...

No gift guide worth its salt should be without gifts for the musically inclined. I mentioned a couple of sweet wireless headsets last week; this week I’ve got some nifty speakers for your loved one’s listening pleasure.

In one of my 2013 gift columns I said that Ultimate Ears Boom, a 7-inch tall cylinder-shaped speaker, “pumps out loud, clean 360° sound in every direction. No other speaker fills a room with clear, undistorted sound as well.” Two years later I still can’t think of a better wireless speaker at its price ($199.99). But, if you’re willing to spend a bit more ($100 more to be precise), this year Ultimate Ears introduced MegaBoom, a bigger, better, louder and clearer Boom with a 20-hour battery (vs. 15 for Boom) and 100-foot wireless range (vs. 50 for Boom).

Ultimate Ears’ Boom (left) and MegaBoom (right) look alike, but MegaBoom is noticeably larger in every dimension.

Or, if your dad or grad is an iPad Air user, they might prefer Sound Cover ($199), a unique iPad Air smart cover with built-in flat-panel speakers. It’s wireless and pairs with your iPad when you open the cover. It’s also thin and reasonably lightweight for a device that amplifies your iPad Air up to 400%. It sounds pretty good, but not nearly as good as a Boom or a MegaBoom. (To be fair, neither Boom nor MegaBoom can protect your iPad screen.)

Sound Cover is a flat-panel speaker that doubles as an iPad screen cover.

Moving right along, if your dad or grad uses an iPhone for photography, IK Multimedia’s new iKlip Grip ($59.99) makes a fabulous gift that combines four useful accessories: a lightweight desktop tripod and tripod adapter; a handle/stabilizer; a selfie stick/monopod; and a Bluetooth shutter control that works with most smartphones, and many compact video cameras, audio field recorders and other devices.

iKlipGrip includes four useful accessories for iPhone photographers.

Other great gifts for iPhone photographers include Square Jellyfish tripods; the Hisy Bluetooth Camera Remote; the Nova Bluetooth iPhone Flash, and lenses by Olloclip or Ztylus, all of which I discussed in episode 122 of this very column! 

Finally, while I’m usually a backpack kind of guy, the Commuter 3.0 Laptop Bag from Rickshaw Bagworks ($199) is a custom-made messenger-style bag with as much space as most backpacks. Its nifty stand-up design, removable laptop sleeve, and quick-adjust strap make it perfect for your road warrior, but the cool part is customizing its exterior, interior and binding by choosing one of the 40 available colors for each.

The Commuter 3 is a well-made, roomy bag that’s totally customizable.

And that’s all he wrote…


  • Boom: $199.99. MegaBoom: $299.99. Ultimate Ears
  • Sound Cover: $199. Onanoff
  • iKlip Grip: $59.99. IK Multimedia
  • Jelly Long Legs tripod: $9.95; Spring Tripod Mount: $14.95. Square Jellyfish
  • Hisy Bluetooth Camera Remote: $24.99. Hisy
  • Nova Bluetooth iPhone Flash: $59. Nova
  • iPhone Camera Lenses: various prices. Olloclip
  • Revolver 4-in-1 Lens Attachment: $69.95; case: $29.95–$44.95. Ztylus
  • Commuter 3.0 bag. $199. Rickshaw Bagworks.