The Gadget Show Live 2016

Friday 1 April 2016

Photograph of The Gadget Show Presenters
The Gadget Show Presenters
A few months back one of my blogging friends, Amy from Purely Amy let me know that she had been accepted as Press for The Gadget Show Live. Having a quick look into the event I was keen to go, and spured on by the fact that she was accepted I thought, what's the harm? So I sent off my application worried that my blog wouldn't be good enough but too my joy I was accepted, and offered a press pass, which gave me free access to the event, three hours earlier than the public.

When I arrived yesterday at the NEC in Birmingham after a 5am wake up call, I wasn't exactly alert and looking at the map it was hard to chose where to go first. We had already met Amy at the entrance, so we had a quick wander around, picking up a few goodie bags along the way. Still unsure about what to do first I decided to respond to an invitation I had received from a PR before the event.

Photograph of the Case Station Booth Sign
Case Station Booth Sign
Photograph of some of the cases on display
Cases that they had on display, almost like wallpaper.
The invitation that came through my email about a week or so before the event was to come and experience a unique retail experience and customise a phone-case for myself, for free. In the email they did ask us to come with an idea of what we wanted on our case so I decided to download some pictures of my dog, Maizey onto my phone to use. When I arrived at the stall I was greeted by a very friendly man called, Matt, and he helped me get started in making my case. They had iPads all around the stall, which you could use to make your order. Getting started involved selecting the type of case I wanted, and there were a variety to chose from including tough cases and folio cases. In the end I decided to go for a tough case as it has a sort of 'jelly' inside part and then an outer harder shell for double protection, and seeing as I am getting very clumsy lately I could use it. So once I selected my type of case I had to pick between a gloss or a matte finish, seeing as I have always had glossy cases I decided to go for a matte look for a change, plus I thought it would make the case look more luxurious. The next part was the bit that took a little while, and that was transferring the photos from my phone to the iPad. Firstly I tried going to a link on my mobile browser, but that didn't load, then I tried doing it by scanning a QR code but that wouldn't load correctly either. In the end I saved time by logging into my Instagram account and selecting the pictures from there. Selecting the photos was entirely up to me though, and that part took a good ten minutes as I couldn't decide between two particular pictures. Finally I selected my picture and all that was left to do was to pop my details in and wait for them to make my case, they asked me to return within half an hour. I decided to give them a little longer and came back an hour later, and they boxed it up and handed it over!

Photograph of My finished phonecase from Case Station
My finished phonecase
Here is my finished case, and I couldn't be happier with it. I am so glad that I decided to go with a matte finish as it really brings out the photograph, at least I think it does. One of the things I was massively impressed with was the quality of the print, the image that I used is one from my Instagram as mentioned above, so it was only taken on my iPhone 5s and as such I expected there to be a slight loss of quality in the print. At least that is what I have experienced every time that I order photo printed products using instagram images. All in all very impressed with the service, and if you want to give them a go you can check out their website here. The generosity didn't stop there with Case Station because they also gave me a goody bag filled to the brim with mobile phone related goodies, including a power bank, a car mount, and a non-slip mat for use on a car dashboard!

photograph of the Samsung Gear VR Booth at The Gadget Show Live 2016
Samsung Gear VR Booth
Photograph of my partner demoing the Samsung Gear VR Headset
Tim having a go with the VR
Some of the tech that I was most excited to try out at the show was the Virtual Reality headsets. I am what I would call an avid gamer, I'm no expert, but I really enjoying playing video games. I have been reading up on and watching videos of people using VR headsets for such a long time and yet I have never had the chance to use one! Finally that has changed, my first ever VR experience was with the Samsung Gear VR and honestly I was fairly impressed. The guy running the demo gave me the option of a Horror demo, or just a normal one, so of course I said horror. I may have slightly regretted the decision because it was pretty scary. Don't worry I have a hilarious video of me squirming the chair, and the workers at the stall couldn't resist grabbing me a few times to make me scream even more. That being said the whole experience was better than I ever imagined. Considering the headset only costs £80, it's fairly decent. The only downside is you need a Samsung phone to make it work, but if you already have one then you are very lucky!

The second VR headset I was dying to try out was the HTC Vive. It seems as though I wasn't the only one though because by 11.40 all the time slots for demo's had been booked up. Thankfully as we got in early we managed to guarantee our slot pretty early on. The big difference between the Samsung Gear VR and the HTC Vive is the interaction. With the Gear you are stationary and can only look around you, with the Vive you can move around a 'play space' and interact using controllers, making it 1000 times more immersive. They had six Vive's in action in six little box areas that you could wander around in whilst playing. Another thing I really liked about the Vive demo was that we got to demo several different things. The first section was easy, using the controllers to blow up balloons and hit them into the air. The second demo was more of an experience, like the Samsung VR, in that you were transported to a ship wreck underwater, and you could see fish swimming around you, and then a giant whale swims up to you. The last two demo's I got to try were actual short game demo's so that you could see the real application of the Vive within video games. The first was the Job/Office simulator which I saw Jacksepticeye play on his channel here. This involved doing tasks around an office, which involved you turning and moving in a small space. The second game was Space Pirate Cadets (or something along that title), and involved shooting angry robots using the controllers, and dodging their bullets by physically moving out of the way. By the time I managed to kill some robots my experience was over, much to my dismay. It was honestly a real shame to be back in the real world, and as soon as Tim and I have the money and space for it I can see us investing in a Vive.

Photograph of a Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S

Photgraph of the interior of the Tesla Model S
Interior of the Tesla Model S with lots of tech on show!
Photograph of the Tesla Model S auto-parking itself
Showing off the auto-parking feature!
Whilst we were waiting for our HTC Vive timeslot we decided to head over and check out the new Tesla Model S, and we weren't disappointed. The cars themselves look so sleek and gorgeous, and easily stand up to the looks of a supercar, but with a huge difference. This car is 100% electrically powered, and yet some how is still a super cool and desirable car. After having a look around a couple of the cars that they had on the floor we decided to queue up for the test drive. We had to wait about 20 minutes or so but it was worth it to be sat in such a beautiful car. I was lucky enough to get to ride shotgun, so I had the best view! We were driven around in a circle a few times first to get a feel for the ride, and I couldn't get over how quiet it is, it's almost like it's not running at all. Once we'd been around a few times we got to try the auto-parking, which literally involved pressing a button on the touch screen. Then the car parked itself, which I'll admit took a little longer than it would take me to park, but if you are not good at parking, or are afraid of it, then I can see this being a really good feature. Another feature that this model has, but we didn't get to see was what is called the 'Summon', which involves using your smartphone to either get your car to put itself away at night, or get itself out of your garage in the morning, crazy right?

Photograph of the Glitch Runner Booth
Playing Glitch Runners
Photograph of the Yuneec drones booth
Plenty of drones to see!
Photograph of a remote control car in mid air going over a ramp
Remote Controller Car Acrobatics!
 After we had seen the main technology areas that we wanted to look into the rest of the day was very relaxed. We had a good wander around the retail section of the show, and I ended up buying a brand new pair of Bluetooth headphones, with touch controls for a mere £20! After we had seen every booth in the hall we decided to call it a day and head home.

Honestly I had a really amazing day, I am always in my element when looking at new technologies, and especially when those revolve around video gaming. I just want to say a big thank you for the Gadget Show Team for allowing me to come to the press day, as if I hadn't I probably never would have tried out the VR headsets, and they were hands down the winners of the day for me.

Have you ever been to the Gadget Show Live, let me know in the comments what you would have loved to see?

*Disclaimer: I was given a free press pass to this event for myself and my partner bought a standard day ticket. I was also given a free phone case and goodie bag from Case Station. All opinions within this post are my own and are not affected by any free samples given.
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