Friday, December 14, 2007

The Gadget Show

Last Monday's on Channel 5, so a bit late in talking about it. For those who don't know the programme is about Gadgets, reviews, previews, latest, coolest, etc. Now it depends on how you define gadget; for me an electronic cork-opener that's also an MP3 player is a gadget, a mobile phone isn't. Yet The Gadget Show also does reviews in mobile phones, cameras and televisions.

The upside is they examine everything in the way you're going to be using it, or occasionally in extreme versions of how you're going to use it (such as texting a message while dangling from a bungee cord), the downside is they examine everything in the way you're going to use it; huh? Well it can leave the reviews a little hollow, now I'm not saying you should be telling us the exact chipset, voltage etc., but a little more depth can sometimes be useful, how well did the Nokia sync with your computer, how long does it take to charge, what was it like when you left a high coverage signal area?

Last Monday they ran a gadget 'competition', best gadget for kids, women, and men and best gadget of the year.

For the kids, Suzi went for the SmartCycle (£79.99) and Jason for a Pleo (£249.99).

The SmartCycle's neat you plug it into the TV (we're not told how) and it displays a racing/educational game that is controlled by the kid sitting on the bike pedalling and steering; trick them into getting exercise. Nice bright vivid colours and graphics that would make a Sega MegaDrive look embarrassed at producing.

The Pleo is an animatronic baby dinosaur, looks cute and you can imagine the stereotypical Japanese businessman rushing back to his single 6' square roomed mansion to play with it. English kids maybe half-an-hour tops before they get bored with it.

SmartCycle unsurprisingly won.

Women next, and Suzi goes for an eStarling 2.0 Wifi Photoframe (£199.00) and Jason for a Perfect Skin Analyser (£14.95)

The WiFi Photoframe is obviously wireless, but has it's own email address so you (or your friends as Suzi mentions) can email you photos directly to it. Great for Aunty Polly's shot's of New Zealand, not so good for those spam stock tips or a v1aGra before and after shot. Something not mentioned was that it's main powered, so not something you could easily pick up and take around to a friends house to show them your holiday snaps.

The Skin Analyser, is simple as befits its price, poke it at your face and it'll tell you what skin type you are right there and then. Why did Jason pick this to push over the Pocket Surfer 2? Who knows.

Yes Suzi won that round too.

Men's gadgets. Suzi goes for the bizarre My Sky (£299) whereas Jason intelligently plumps for the PicoZ Sky Challenger Battle Pack (£49.95) which even sounds the Male Grunt thing.

My Sky is simple, point it at the sky and it'll tell you what star you're looking at. Perfect for those romantic dates under the clear dark skies this country is famous for whereby you can attempt to woo and impress the woman of your dreams by pointing a gun-like object at the sky and whispering "That's Canus Major" to her. That is of course if you haven't already been shot by the Police SWAT team for carrying around something shaped like a gun.

The PicoZ Sky Challenger Battle Pack is more like it, a pair of small helicopters that you can fly around and attempt to shoot each other out of the sky with infra-red lasers. No we don't know how long they'll fly for on their rechargeable batteries or what happens if you hit someone in the face with one.

Despite obviously preferring the helicopters the rugby team judges voted for Suzi's My Sky - I've no idea why that would be.

Finally it was the Gadget of the Year; Suzi with the EasyGlider (£699) and Jason championing the iPhone (£269 +contract).

The iPhone was up first. So this is the phone with the poor camera, and no movie mode. The phone with no hard keyboard buttons or stylus. The phone that you can only use with one provider on contract. Yep that phone, but it's so pretty and cool; gee I'll have two.

Amazingly Suzi's choice was even more pointless, the EasyGlider is basically a powered scooter. So can you legally use it on the roads - no; can you legally use it on the pavements - no. Will it work on rough ground or grass - well with those small wheels I'd say no. So it's a product that you can't use instead of your car, bicycle or walking, and you can't take to the park, unless you want to use it (possibly illegally) on the paths. So um err I'll take three.

I don't care which one won they were both useless.

So after all that you might think why did I bother watching (other then for Suzi that is) and this would be the answer - the TV awards.

Essentially Jon pointed out the same things I did; motion on LCDs, black levels on Plasma, the requirement for HDMI inputs, what he also mentioned was what my next topic would be Freeview digital tuners. Sadly he didn't go into any depth here or in the extended review, it was put simply that the TV should have a digital tuner. That's not quite the case as I'll be discussing in my next entry.

Anyway from the size ranges he picked an LCD, an LCD, and a Plasma. a Sony 20" 1366 x 768 at £350 an Hitachi 37" 1920x1080 at £1,000 and a Pioneer 42" 1024x768 at £1,800. Yep check out that last item's resolution a 42" that not only doesn't have 1080 lines, but has elongated pixels to fit the SD ratio lines into an HD ratio screen. Boo hiss!

Anyway my Digital TV entry will be up next, just in time for Christmas.


Anonymous said...

LOL! You make the gadget show sound almost amusing. (Which it isn't.) Impressive.

(My mum likes to make me come and watch that thing because I might be "interested" or I might "learn something". Whatever.)

FlipC said...

Personally I have no idea why I even bother watching it.

But you're right despite what the presenters may believe it isn't amusing I tend to watch the intro to see what they're doing then switch off if nothing vaguely interesting appears.

On the same brain-thread do you recall "Bits"?