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A(nother) Senior Friendly Take on Father

A few days ago we analyzed PC World s Father s Day gift guide to highlight the devices that would work well for an elderly father. Today, we re tackling CNET s Top Five Tech Gifts for Dads list. This electronics network clearly knows that convenience and usability are always appreciated by Dad, regardless of his age. In fact, two of the five products featured on CNET”s broadcast made ElderGadget s Top Ten Senior Friendly Father s Day Gift Suggestions as well.

5. Sonos S5 Digital Music System

This is an all-encompassing music system that doesn t require additional speakers, equipment or cables. It can play music from digital media players like iTunes or Internet radio stations like Pandora. It can also play a CD or a playlist off an MP3 player. Pros Simple Set Up All Dad has to do is plug the S5 system into his wireless router via an Ethernet cable and he s ready to go. Even if you buy S5 s for every room in the house, the set-up never changes. One S5 ZonePlayer, or a ZoneBridge, remains plugged into the router while the others can operate wirelessly, and even independently, of each other. Easy to Use Once the S5 is hooked to the router, your dad can control his music system wirelessly through his iPhone or iPod Touch. The Sonos Controller app is free to download on either device, and boasts a simplistic menu that s easy for Dad to understand and use. This app can even control what plays in different areas of his house if more than one S5 is present. It seamlessly integrates all the S5 s in the house into one app so there s no switching back and forth between systems. Easy to Hear The S5 produces high-end sound quality, thanks to its sophisticated speaker system that includes a subwoofer, two mid-range drivers and two tweeters. You don t have to know the intricacies of these loudspeakers, you just have to know that they produce exceptionally clear sound that requires no additional accessories. Con High Price All this simplicity and high-quality sound doesn t come cheap. It ll run you $400 for one S5 system. If your dad s an avid music listener, however, or if he has problems hearing his favorite songs on his current system, the S5 may be worth your investment. Senior friendly rating: 5

4. Sony BDP-S570

The BDP-S570 is a Blu-ray player with built-in WiFi and 3D capabilities. When hooked up to your dad s television he can access tons of content online, including movies, video-on-demand and music from Netflix, Amazon and Pandora. It also plays 3D Blu-ray discs in 1080p HD as long as the television is compatible with these features as well. Pros Easy to See The BDP-S570 ensures that a Blu-ray disc s full potential is reached when it s hooked up to an HDTV. The picture quality should be superb. Convenient Controls Like the Sonos S5 Digital Music System, the BDP-S570 can be operated by downloading the free BD Remote app from the App Store if your dad owns an iPhone or iPod Touch. It may take him a few minutes to learn the controls once the app is downloaded, but it s likely that he ll find it easier and more convenient to use than the standard-issue remote. Con Usability Questionable Sony does a great job at diving into the BDP-S570 s features and potential, especially when it s hooked up to one of its BRAVIA 3D HDTVs or a Dolby home theater system. However, the company fails to demonstrate how easy it is to hook up the Blu-ray player or utilize its many capabilities. The iPhone remote seems easy to use, but it doesn t give us any insight on whether the average non-techie would be able to easily operate this system. Senior friendly rating: 2

3. Audioengine2

These desktop speakers pack a lot of sound in a little design. They can be hooked to your iPod or computer, and their small and portable size make them great for family get-togethers. Pros Lightweight Each speaker weighs a little more than three pounds, making them easy for your dad to move or maneuver. Easy to Hear Audioengine 2 produces a quality sound, making them ideal for dads with limited room who can t fit larger speakers but nevertheless want enhanced audio. Diverse These speakers can be used on all different kinds of media, including MP3 players, cell phones, video game consoles, home computers, laptops and televisions. They can also connect to docking stations. Con Lots of Small Parts Like many speaker systems, there are lots of tiny, hard-to-see outputs on the backs of these units. The unit also comes with an abundance of cords and wires that may be confusing or intimidating to Dad. There is a video on Audioengine s website, however, that may assist him in hooking up the speakers. Senior friendly rating: 2.5

2. Amazon Kindle

If you re familiar with our site, you know we ve spent a lot of time analyzing E-Readers and which may be the best for seniors based on certain features. You may also be aware, therefore, that the Kindle DX made our list of terrific Father s Day gifts. CNET s suggesting the Kindle – not the Kindle DX. The Kindle is a smaller, more economical version of the Kindle DX minus a few features. Pros Easy to See The Kindle may not be as large as the Kindle DX but, for all intents and purposes, it still boasts a large screen and adjustable text size. Like its larger counterpart, the Kindle also utilizes E-Ink technology, which makes the screen look very much like a page out of a book. Easy to Hear Dads who can t read for long stretches of time will appreciate the Kindle s Read-to-Me feature, which allows the device to take over whenever he chooses. This text-to-speech technology features male and female voices that can read at adjustable speeds. Lightweight The Kindle weighs a little more than 10 ounces, making it lighter than a paperback novel and even easier to transport. Con Not the Best on the Market As many lovely features as the Kindle contains, the Kindle DX contains more – and this device is more conducive to senior eyes and hands as well. We like the Kindle, but we still like the Kindle DX better. Senior friendly rating: 3.5

1. Logitech Harmony One

This universal remote was No. 1 on our Father s Day list as well. It can control Dad s TV, cable and DVD player. Pros Easy to See The buttons are large and the color contrast is optimal. Harmony One also comes with an LED backlit screen, which makes it easy to use even in the dark. Easy to Operate The remote has an intuitive design, with commonly used buttons occupying the center console. The LCD touchscreen also makes it easy to identify which medium Dad s controlling. Easy to Grip This remote is ergonomically designed to be comfortable and easy to grip. The buttons push down easily so Dad can feel whether he s engaged a command or not. A senior with reasonable arm strength shouldn t have a problem holding this remote while he controls his settings. Con We d love to see an even larger LCD screen. Senior friendly rating: 5 Watch the video below to see CNET”s take on its Father”s Day gift guide.

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