Last week was The Gadget Show Live at the NEC – a trade and public show of consumer technology and anything else that fits into a geeky gadget-y world. I went with the geekdaddy two years ago, and we both really enjoyed it. This year I managed to wangle two days there – once on my own for the “pro and trade” day and a second time once it had opened to the public with the whole family (thank you to Toca Boca for providing tickets for us all). I greatly enjoyed both visits, and have collected together all the best things I saw during both days to share.
Positioned right at the entrance to the show was this stand – the Ubislate 7Ci – a £29.99 Android tablet. I had come across these a few months ago, and I am planning to buy one as soon as I have the budget available, as I’d like to evaluate it as a kids/family device. I managed to get my first hands-on experience at the Gadget Show and it definitely looks promising. The screen is obviously one of the areas where costs have been reduced, but it was still perfectly usable, and didn’t seem overly “chuggy” (although there weren’t any really taxing apps installed that I could test with. Interestingly whilst the website specs list this tablet as running Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.3) when I checked in the settings at the show it was reporting Android 4.2.2 which is Jelly Bean. To be honest if it will run kids apps and play back movies reasonably this has the potential to be a great buy for kids. Watch this space!
I am intrigued by the Samsung curved TVs which were being demonstrated at the show, as it’s not a feature I had ever imagined needing. Having seen one “in the flesh” I can see how it creates a slightly more immersive experience, and the picture quality was very nice, but I’m not sure it’s something I’d go out of my way to buy. Apart from anything else we wall-mount our TV, and whilst there are wall mountings available for these devices, they would stick out off the wall and I think that would look funny.
Personal fitness monitors are obviously a growth area at the moment, as there were a number of stands demonstrating similar products. I was drawn to the Fitbit stand, as I know several friends who use these gadgets, and I’ve never fully understood their product range. It was nice to see everything clearly laid out and I was taken through all the different products and their features. I’m keen to get the geekdaddy a little more active, and wonder if this might be the device to do it.
This is the Cruiser by Nyne – a Bluetooth speaker with handsfree phone function which is designed to be mounted on bicycle handlebars or your pushchair handles. It will even charge your phone for you whilst you’re on the go. I have been given one of these to review so I will be writing about it in more detail in a future post.
I thought this was an interesting idea – a cradle for a 7-inch Android tablet that turns it into a full handheld gaming device. This is the Wikipad. They were demonstrating it at the Gadget Show with a first person shooter game, which is really not my forte, but I will say the device fits the hands nicely, and it felt like a serious piece of gaming kit. It comes as a complete package – i.e. you have to buy the tablet and the controller together, and the controller won’t work with other tablets, which is a bit of a shame, but given the wide range of Android tablets available I can understand why they had to make it that way. It also retails for more than the main handheld gaming consoles so I’m not sure how well it will sell, but if you’re looking for a tablet and a gaming platform it might be worth considering.
I have been on the lookout for a rechargeable backup battery for my mobile devices for a while now. I bought a solar-powered one which was not up to the job, and have find the rechargeable ones generally out of my price bracket. The iWalk Link 2500 i5 was officially launched in the UK at the Gadget Show, and is a very neat little device indeed. Designed to fit neatly on the bottom of your iPhone (it’s shown on an iPad mini in my photo) it contains enough power to recharge your iPhone battery to 130%, and retails around the £40 mark. I had a good talk with the iWalk team, and have actually got one of their other products for review which will be appearing in another post soon.
This is an interesting little device which is due to launch in the UK in the summer and was being previewed at the Gadget Show Live. Simple.tv provides a hard disk recorder for your live TV, but also enables you to watch your TV content on mobile devices and even when you are away from home. This is all stuff that we as a geeky family can already do with our Heath Robinson setup, but it’s very exciting to see it coming to market in a more accessible format, and I’m going to be keeping my eyes on this one.
This is the Volkswage e-up, and it’s officially the first electric car I have ever driven. There was only a small area to drive in, but I enjoyed trying it out. The weirdest thing was starting the engine – you turn the key, but there is no noise. The car just starts, and I’m used to turning the key and listening for the engine to leap into life before letting go of the key – I didn’t know when to let go!
As someone with a keen interest in family tech I was pleased to see the Gadget Show Live had a dedicated kids tech area this year, dominated by the fantastic Toca Boca stand. If you’ve read much of my blog before you know I’m a big fan of Toca Boca’s apps, and it was great to see them giving show visitors the chance to try them out on the stand. I would love to see the kids tech area expand next year with more exhibitors and more chances for the kids to get their hands on technology.
The one I didn’t get a photo of – I spent a long time talking with the Technology Will Save Us people who make education electronics kits for kids/schools. I really like the look of their kits, plus they are doing some great stuff with eduction as well. I’ll be reviewing one of their kits in a future post.
One of the downsides of the Gadget Show Live is that you invariably see loads of cool gadgets that you want to buy, and the show deals can sometimes be very tempting. I was very restrained this year, and didn’t buy too much stuff. After I’d toured the show on my own on the first day I had decided that if I was to buy the geekdaddy a present it would be the Q4 Nano Quadcopter – a tiny remote control helicopter. He’s a bit of a fan of remote control helicopters, and this one seemed to be a particularly good one. Plus I liked the fact that it is very small and therefore won’t need too much storage space! How well I know my husband – when I took him to see the Red5 stand he needed very little convincing to buy one! Whilst we were there the kids both enjoyed playing with the Hexbug battle spiders and so our only other purchase was one of those each for the kids.
Disclosure: I received complimentary entrance to the Gadget Show Live on the “Pro and Trade” Day. I was provided with free entrance tickets to bring the family back on another day by Toca Boca. I have no obligations to write about any of the items in this roundup, they are simply the products that interested me on the day.