If you’re looking to impress, here are three ways to bring serious electrons that’ll snap and crackle your Pop.
Hercules WAE Outdoor Rush: Watts and water
If there’s liquid in any form on the horizon, or in a pool or pitcher nearby, Rush is the wave to catch. Without question, Active Junky owned the North Carolina coast with this speaker. Before and after paddleboarding, on water and along the beach; everywhere we went broadcast the speaker’s mastery of frequencies and flotsam. If needed, 30 minutes submerged at up to 1m is no problem while dust and sand resistance are sure to come into play all the time. Somehow, the techs behind Rush extract up to 12 hours of runtime per full charge, a spec testers verified over and over again. While it sounds trivial, the FM functionality can’t be ignored as the WAE app hunts down stations even in remote locations.
Tester Comments: “Frequency response covers the waterfront, music genre-wise. This speaker is the ideal size for shop, bench, truck bed and boat deck. Peak power of 8watts cuts through wind and breakers. While the phone charging functionality rarely was used, it was good to have it at the ready. Visually, this speaker does everything right.”
Best For: Shop, yard, beach and boat
Puro BT-5200 Headphones: Balance without the blast
Smooth, rich and full of beautiful music. Whether Dad’s got all three going on, Puro brings sublime sounds to his wondering ears. Killing ambient noise without creating sensory isolation, the BT-5200 model claims studio-grade frequency response. Testers, full-on behind the Bluetooth 4.0 wireless reliability, gave a thumbs-up to the clean sound attached to 40mm drivers. While Active Junky never approached 24 hours of battery-powered listening (a 3.5mm aux audio cable comes included), the freedom to listen -- instead of waiting to charge -- was significant. A built-in microphone comes in handy as leather ear cushions whisper “you’re the best” with every beat.
Tester Comments: “So much good happening with this pair that clocks in well under $150. The “Healthy Ears” sound delivery does as claimed: Deliver full-frequency listening without the need to redline the volume. We’d like to see the left-side controls carry less bling (they’re bright silver). That said, they’re easy to access and operate confidently even in low light.”
Best For: Home and travel listening across music genres as the product includes a solid, circular zipped storage case
Zus Smart Car Charger: Let it hitch a ride
Accelerate in-car juicing with Zus as (good) lightning strikes thanks to max 4.8A charging with twice the speed of mortal devices. Handling high in-cab temperatures to defy bright summer days, this one musters what maker Nonda calls “Elegant Shine” lighting to make swapping devices easy on darker nights. Or down four levels in a Denver underground parking garage. No surprise that this one is driven by a smartphone app that, ta da, guides you back to your car. Important note: Finding your car, in spite of yourself, doesn’t mean Dad should automatically take the wheel. Enough said, but the parking time alert is worth the $30 alone.
Tester Comments: “Zus elevates the charging and parking game with this 2016 Reddot Award Winner. I like the app’s displays that leave little room for (mis)interpretation. Enough pump to handle multiple phones and tablets is yet another reason to leave your old plug-in back in the garage. Once again, designed in Germany truly has meaning. Call it an outstanding value as well.”
Best For: Commuting, road trips where parking availability is a tougher challeng