On the 12th April 2014 I took a trip to the heart of Birmingham to visit the Gadget Show Live at the NEC. With Microsoft, Red 5 Retails, Volkswagen UK, Xbox and Evolve as named exhibitors it was sure to be an event for all. We arrived quite late into the afternoon and as the Saturday was sold out I expected it to be heaving with people but it was actually ok, there was enough space to breath and leisurely look around over 100 stalls spanning 4 halls as well as a live show in the Super Theatre.
My interest in attending the event came from Alex’s review from the London session and following on a rant here, the food prices were extortionate however, the hog roast roll I had was divine. Sorry for any vegetarians reading!
There was plenty to do at the event but it didn’t impress as much as I thought it would. The set up felt a bit strange and one stall would display a computer game with the next selling bags. This led me to comment that maybe it should have been set up in a ‘stall by price’ floor plan where more affordable items were placed together in the hall. My friend rightly reminded me that it probably wouldn’t have worked and every event is set up based on sales tactics.
The best bits for me on the exhibition floor included watching the electronic bikes whizz around with user ease, seeing a 3D printer program in action and the Nao Robot which dances to Gangnam Style, although I was actively looking for that since seeing it on the Graham Norton show (see the clip here.)
The live theater event allowed attendees to see the four current Gadget Show presenters Jason Bradbury, Rachel Riley, Jon Bentley and Ortis Deley speak about past and current gadgets. Even though the presenting felt a bit all over the place and unrehearsed I enjoyed the format where the presenters took the audience through year by year from when the program started in 2004 – 2014 and demonstrated how technology had progressed. It was interesting to see the footage from when Youtube, Twitter and the iPhone were released.
There was a lot of audience interaction including a Guinness World Record attempt at the fastest Tetris line by a studio audience. Our session managed it in a whopping 5.11 seconds and if confirmed is a new world record! Read more here. Rachel Riley demonstrated an impressive interactive goal keeper which saw many volunteers have difficulty trying to get a goal past it.
Finally a member of the Gadget Show crew was brought on stage to test the new and very much talked about Oculus Rift head set. The tester genuinely looked scared and screamed when placed on a virtual skyscraper and asked to walk along a plank.
As we were in the evening session and the event closed after the live theater, the queues to have a go on about four available Oculus Rifts were just insane. Maybe next time.
It was a nice day out, but £17.99 a ticket just to look around with an added £9.00 just to enter the theater definitely totaled up for a couple of us.
Here’s some photos from the event, enjoy!