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Gifts for Dads & Grads 2011The tech gear that will make you look good for giving.
Dads & Grads, that odd amalgam of gift recipients weÃ¯Â¿Â½re faced with each summer. Give Ã¯Â¿Â½em with the right tech and youÃ¯Â¿Â½ll look like the father of smart gift giving, a post-doc in digital delights. IÃ¯Â¿Â½m Brian Cooley with the Top 5 tech gift categories for dads & grads for 2011, ranked by hotness according to traffic on CNET.com #5 is a two-fer: Tablets and e-readers. Kindles, iPads, Nooks, Xooms & Playbooks are certainly the freshest category in tech. If your main goal is to give something they donÃ¯Â¿Â½t already have, this is a pretty safe bet. On the other hand, being kind of a green category, it also runs the risk of being something they donÃ¯Â¿Â½t use for long. So make sure you pick a good one Ã¯Â¿Â½ itÃ¯Â¿Â½ll have better eBay value! #4 is a surprise to some: Digital cameras. I say surprise only because so much of our photography these days is gone with a phone, but affordable DSLRÃ¯Â¿Â½s are red hot, so are the new micro 4/3Ã¯Â¿Â½s cameras which give you DSLR power without looking like a tourist all the time. And all our picks will remind you that, oh yeah, photos and video can look great, not just good. #3 is Personal audio gear. Just ask Dr. Dre: Headphones are hot. Same goes for portable speakers, Bluetooth headsets, and all the stuff that connects our ears to our iPods, phones, tablets and notebooks. And anyone graduating from school today has lived with earbuds screwed into their head since the age of 5, so most of the stuff from this category needs to justification as they unwrap it. I also like this category because it rolls in some of the best budget buys. #2 for dads & grads this year is the venerable notebook or netbook. Even in the wake of all the hype around tablets, these are a huge category. Tablets are cool, but dad and the grad still know a real keyboard, file system and OS means wall to wall ability to do whatever they want and with picks like the Samsung 9 Series, maybe not with much more heft than a tablet. Before we get to the #1 go to gift for d&g 2011, you know where my mind goes: When are these fancy grads gonnaÃ¯Â¿Â½ pop for their own tech gear ? Well, according to PayScale.com these are the Top 5 schools ranked by what their undergrads will make as a median starting salary after they wing the mortarboard. Wow. Looks like they can def afford to buy you can me something from our #1 category Ã¯Â¿Â½ Ã¯Â¿Â½which isÃ¯Â¿Â½A phone. And really, weÃ¯Â¿Â½re talking about a smartphone, mostly, which just became the majority of new phones sold in the U.S. according to NPD research. iPhone is a safe bet, of course, but this year weÃ¯Â¿Â½re also hot on a slew of Android phones, which are currently the hottest selling phones by platform by far Ã¯Â¿Â½ and just to prove we arenÃ¯Â¿Â½t tech elitists, we also dig the rugged Motorols Brute i686, great for the dad who maybe drinks a bit and tends to fall down. OK, this is just a weather vane. For the full rundown on whatÃ¯Â¿Â½s hot and just about foolproof in dad & grad land, head over to dadsandgrads.cnet.com. And for more Top 5 videos like this one, go to top5.cnet.com IÃ¯Â¿Â½m Brian Cooley, thanks for watching.