Tag Archives: The Gadget Show

The Gadget Show Live 2016



If you are heading to the Gadget Show Live in Birmingham, England this weekend then you are in for a treat. This is the fourth time that I’ve been and I think it’s the one of the best. Loads of stands, loads of activities, loads of gadgets. Busy for sure and I racked up over 15,000 steps in the pursuit of interviews, which I’ll be publishing over the next few weeks.

Gadget Show PresentersAt the press call, I was lucky enough to chat with the presenters  Jon Bentley and Ortis Deeley and I recorded an interview with Jason Bradbury and Amy Williams, though I wasn’t asking the questions (Birmingham Post?) and there’s a bit of background noise as they were still setting up the stage for the theatre event.

Underwater Jet PackLooking round, the key trends were personal electric vehicles with plenty of hoverboards, bikes and scooters; smart homes with offerings from Hive, Fibaro, Smanos and Samsung; and of course, drones.

The Gadget Show Live supports the British Inventors Project and it was great to see so many new and genuinely innovative ideas: I’ll be covering these in subsequent posts. Here’s one of the inventors, Supermarinovation and their underwater jet pack.

Morphy Richards ToasterSlightly surprisingly, the gadget of the show for me was a kitchen appliance. Morphy Richards have developed a glass heating element (Thermoglass) which gets very hot and have used the material to create transparent products including an iron and a toaster. Now you can see how brown your toast is in the morning!

The Gadget Show Live is on until Sunday 3 April 2016.


TP-Link ACes Wi-Fi at The Gadget Show



Like many families now, it’s not unusual for everyone to be using the wi-fi network at home at the same time. Game consoles, tablets, media players and smart TVs all take their share of the data stream, and with the potential for multiple HD streams, the wireless takes a real hammering. In response to this demand, 11ac wireless uses dual frequencies and multiple antennae to get gigabit class data speeds, while still being backwards compatible with the older standards.

TP-Link Stand at GSL14

Under the Archer brand, TP-Link have a range of 11ac routers and modems, starting with twin antennae 750 Mb/s Archer C2 up to the three antennae 1750 Mb/s Archer C7. TP-Link has kindly sent one of the latter to GNC for review, so I’ll be taking a look at that later.

At The Gadget Show, I caught up with Simon from TP-Link who told me a little about their design philosophy and what they’re aiming for with the new 11ac routers.


Touchscreen Kleen Review



Fingerprints are the bane of modern life. You’ve got your beautiful new tablet, you show it to your friends and before you can say, “oleic acid”, there’s a horde of greasy smudges all over the screen. Aaargh!!!

Here at Geek News Central we’ve seen several solutions to this problem, from carbon-based wipes to fashion self-cling pads. Touchscreen Kleen adds to the portfolio: it’s a special-formulated spray combined with a microfibre cloth.

TouchscreenKleen Package

It’s pretty simply to use….turn off the screen, squirt some cleaning solution onto the microfibre cloth and polish the screen with the cloth. Job done.
And it really is that easy. I cleaned tablets, smartphones, LCD monitors and they all came up looking like new, completely smudge free. Very impressed.

The microfibre cloth is washable so if you have to clean a really dirty monitor screen, the grubby cloth can be washed before the next use.

Touchscreen Kleen is available in two sizes, 15 ml and 50 ml, currently on special offer at £3.99 and £5.99 respectively in the online store.

Disclosure – Touchscreen Kleen was provided for review by Screen-Kleen Ltd.


Jumbo iPieces at The Gadget Show



Jumbo GamesiPieces from Jumbo are a new range of games that join traditional tabletop games with iPad game apps. In a nutshell, the iPad becomes the game board and game pieces are placed on the iPad. The game app displays the board but being an app, can bring animation and other effects to the game. Sheer genius.

There are four games which can be download from the Apple AppStore; Snakes & Ladders, Fishing Game (Magnetic Fish), Game of Goose and Air Hockey. I didn’t recognise Game of Goose, but it’s a traditional Dutch game: Jumbo is a Dutch company.

The iPieces themselves are sold in small packs, with different iPieces for each game – the picture below shows the pre-production packaging. Each iPiece pack is £9.99.

iPieces Games from Jumbo

Here are the game pieces, the iPieces themselves. On the left are two fishing rods for Fishing Game, in the middle the pucks for Air Hockey and on the right, two “men” and a ladder from Snakes and Ladders. As with any game, the number of players varies. The Game of Goose has six players, but Air Hockey only two.

iPieces

If you are worried about the iPieces scratching the iPad screen, there are felt pads on the bottom of the iPieces which I imagine would be good enough for occasional use. Hardcore Air Hockey players might want to invest in a screen protector.

The game boards are brilliantly reproduced by the apps and unlike the original board games, these can have animations and sound. I’ll be reviewing each app in more detail in a future post.

Game of Goose

New iPieces games are coming soon, including Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, Ludo, Pool and Stratego.

If you want to learn more, listen to my interview with Catherine from Jumbo.


Nanodots Magnetic Construction at The Gadget Show



Nanodots are small but strongly magnetic balls ideal for playing and building shapes. About 5 mm across, they’re incredible tactile and once you start playing with them, it’s very hard to stop. They’re surprisingly heavy, but great stress relievers.

Nanodots

New to the UK, Nanodots come in a range of four colours – original, silver, gold and black – but they’re all the same size and fit together. Purchased in packs of 216 balls, there are enough to make small cubes, pyramids, diamonds and so on, but the fun really starts when you have lots of balls. Here’s a chess set.

Nanodots Chess Set

If you look closely, you’ll see that the chess pieces are on a Nanopad. It’s a magnetic mat that works with the Nanodots to help build structures that would otherwise be impossible (because the balls would slip or skid away on a ordinary surface). There are more amazing Nanodot creations at Dotpedia.

The Nanodots are available direct online and from other good retailers. Listen to my interview with Daniel to learn more.


TP-Link Mini Wireless Routers at The Gadget Show



TP-Link WR702N wireless-n routerTP-Link had a large stand at The Gadget Show Live with a huge range of different products on show. Switches, ADSL modems, wireless routers, IP cameras, Powerline adaptors; you could easily build a complete home IT infrastructure using only TP-Link products.

What caught my eye was a range of portable mini wireless routers, “nano routers”, that were smaller than paperback books. Three different models were on show; the first was the TL-WR702N, a relatively standard 11n wireless router but only 57 mm square and 18 mm deep – it’s the one shown in the picture left.

Second was the TL-MR3020, a bit bigger at 74 x 67 x 22 mm but offering 3G connectivity via a dongle as well.

Finally, a brand new wireless router was on display, the TL-MR3040, that included a rechargeable battery giving several hours of use. More rectangular than square, it uses a 3G dongle (rather than integrated SIM tray), to get mobile connectivity. Price is expected to be less than £50.

Eric from TP-Link took me through their range in more detail.


WD TV Live at The Gadget Show Live



WD TV LiveWestern Digital’s TV Live series of media players has been around for a couple of years and they’ve gained a sizeable following with over 3.5 million devices sold. The 3rd generation WD TV Live has been released recently and Daniel Mauerhofer was kind enough to give me an interview at The Gadget Show Live.

The new WD TV Live model introduces wi-fi connectivity which was absent on the previous model and it’s now been localised for the UK market with the inclusion of iPlayer and Spotify. Coming in two models, one without an internal hard drive (£99), which is available now, and a second which will have a 1 TB drive and will be available later in the year (approx. £129).

As ever, there’s a complementary remote control app for Android and iOS devices, which looks pretty useful; it’s certainly more than just a button-for-button replacement of the IR remote control.

My personal pet peeve in this area was that media players seemed either play from the local network or stream from the Internet but it was a rare device that could do both. The WD TV Live does both so it’s a thumbs up from me.


JayBird Headphones for Sport



JayBird SportsbandTo be honest, I’d never heard of JayBird headphones until I came across them on the DAD Audio stand at Gadget Show Live. However, having listened to their pitch, I’d consider a pair for use at the gym or during sport. Why? Because JayBird specialise in headphones and earbuds that are sweat-proof and difficult to dislodge.

On show were two Bluetooth headsets, the Sportsband and the Freedom. As you might expect, the Sportsband is a traditional headband model with modern styling (shown left), whereas the Freedoms are earbuds (show below) with a twist.

Jaybird FreedomsKeeping earbuds in during exercise is a constant problem, and the Freedoms solve this problem but having a cunning in-ear hook that latches onto part of the ear. This ensures that the earbuds stay in the ear no matter how active and sweaty the wearer gets.

If you are in the UK and are interested in picking up a pair, JayBird headphones are sold online by DAD Audio. Both models are currently £99.

To learn more, listen to my interview with Stephanie at the Gadget Show Live.


WOWee ONE Portable Speakers at The Gadget Show



Portable speakers were much in evidence at Gadget Show Live, though frankly some had the acoustics of a tin can rather than than anything close to hi-fi. Fortunately the WOWee ONE range of portable speakers tend towards the latter and while I doubt that musical purists will be impressed, those of us who simply want our tunes out-and-about will be satisfied.

WOWee ONE Pro

There are three models in the WOWee ONE line-up; the Classic, the Slim and the recently announced Pro (shown left). Although there is a conventional speaker included, all of these portable speakers are designed to vibrate the surface they’re lying on to produce sound using a unique gel pad on the bottom of the WOWee ONE that helps transmit the vibration from the speaker to the surface.

The Classic and the Slim need a cabled input (3.5mm jack) but the new Pro can make a wireless Bluetooth connection with a smartphone. The Pro also has a mic and can pair as a handsfree kit. With built-in rechargeable batteries, expect to get 10 hours of music from the Slim and the Pro but double that to 20 hours for the Classic.

I listened to both the Classic and the Slim at the Gadget Show and I though the sound was great for an impromptu party. The Classic seem to have the edge in the quality and range, probably because of the greater mass. Prices are a penny shy of £50, £80 and £130 for the Classic, Slim and Pro respectively.

I interviewed Magnus Hammick and he told me more about their products.


Veho Mobile Gear at The Gadget Show



Pebble Power PackVeho probably isn’t the first name that springs to mind when thinking about gadgets but they have a sizeable range from miniature video cameras to digital photo frames and Bluetooth headsets. In the UK, their products are sold in the main big boxes – PC World and Currys.

On Veho’s stand at Gadget Show Live, I played with a USB microscope which showed magnified images on the PC screen. Perhaps a little limited with just two magnification levels (20x or 200x) but good fun nevertheless.

In this interview, James Farmer from Veho takes me through some of the Veho range, including their Muvi miniature DV cameras, Pebble portable battery packs and Mimi wireless speakers. I really liked their Pebble range of battery packs as they had a lovely smooth shape, like the original Palm Pre.