O2 Guru David McClelland visits the Gadget Show Live in Birmingham to give us the lowdown on the highlights of the UK’s largest consumer technology show.
With Channel 5’s primetime television technology show celebrating its 10th anniversary, the spin-off live show is now on its 6th outing to NEC, promising to bring the best bits of the tech-filled TV series to a live audience.
Mirroring the enormity of the hit television show’s famous phone-in competitions, the Gadget Show Live sprawls across five of the NEC’s gigantic exhibition halls, featuring literally thousands of gadgets from well over 200 technology brands and attracting over 80,000 tech-hungry visitors each year.
Among the highlights this year is Sony making a splash with the Xperia Z2. We first saw Sony’s flagship smartphone at the Mobile World Congress launch back in February and the Gadget Show Live offers an exclusive opportunity to get hands-on with the Z2 ahead of its UK launch later this spring.
Sony went to spectacular lengths to demonstrate the Z2’s waterproof powers, submerging the phone along with a diver inside a giant fluid-filled glass tank, and they’re taking the opportunity to show off its ‘SmartWear’, including the new SmartBand and SmartWatch 2.
If wearable technology excites you then there’s plenty of it here to get your hands, wrists and faces on. The Oculus Rift head-mounted display has been a universal hit since its successful Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign and it appears on several stands here.
The virtual reality headset wins over pretty much anybody who tries it, from gamers all the way to the military. It won over Mark Zuckerberg too, the Facebook-founder recently acquiring Oculus VR for a heady two billion dollars. The good news is that you can try Oculus Rift for yourself here for free.
Truth be known the Gadget Show Live is actually a little light when it comes to smartphones. While Sony makes a splash with the Xperia Z2, the likes of Samsung prefer to showcase their latest Smart watches, Smart TVs, curved screens and 4K displays.
However, following last week’s Windows Phone 8.1 announcements Microsoft is giving Gadget Show Live visitors early access to the latest version of its mobile operating system which includes useful UI tweaks such as a new notifications centre, app folders and background images. Visitors hoping to see Cortana, Microsoft’s Siri-like personal assistant, may be disappointed as it isn’t ready for preview in the UK yet but there is an opportunity to get an exclusive hands-on with the Nokia Lumia 630 handset, also announced only last week.
The Gadget Show Live is a terrific place to buy tech as well as see it, and if you’re in the market for a good deal then you’re in luck: from quirky smartphone cases to multi-room sound systems the show floor is a great place to bag a bargain with many stands offering show specials.
Other highlights at the Gadget Show Live 2014 include the Future Tech Project, British Inventors’ Project, Game Zone and the latest motoring technology from the likes of Peugeot and Volkswagon – much of which we’ll be featuring right here in the next day or two.
Which piece of tech from the Gadget Show Live has got you most excited? Let us know by tweeting us @O2 using the hashtag #GSL14 and you could win free tickets to the event this Sunday.