Reviewed: Gadget Show Live Professional 2013

posted on Monday, 22nd April 2013 by David Slater

Trade  Events 

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There seem to be more shows in my calendar than ever before, the latest being Gadget Show Live Professional. Of course, The Gadget Show is a huge success on the TV, but the live show, held at the NED Birmingham, is a strange beast; while it's designed to appeal to the consumer, Live Professional is a bolt-on precursor geared towards a trade audience.

It wasn't too hard to get around the event in a single day, as the gaming section didn't really float my boat. Big names like Microsoft, Monitor Audio, Bowers & Wilkins and Epson all had a significant presence at the show.

As is becoming the norm with most home entertainment shows, the overarching theme was streaming audio; with mobile devices increasingly becoming the main source of music, it makes sense for speaker manufacturers to fast-track better sounding streaming devices and wireless speakers. One manufacturer who always puts sound quality first is Bowers & Wilkins, and it has produced a great sounding new addition to its streaming line-up in the shape of the Z2 iOS dock It's the first device from the company which has the new lighting connector used on the iPhone 5 or 5th generation iPod Touch. The Z2 has a sexy curved look with a wraparound metal grille. I thought the sound quality was very impressive from such a small enclosure.

Award-winning performance
Moving over from Bowers & Wilkins' stand was the mighty Epson platform, part of the SuperFi setup. We're still very impressed with the picture quality coming out of the Epson range of projectors, and the show demo was of the usual high quality; the EH-TW 9100, which has just won Projector of the Year in the SVI Trade Awards, looked mint.

Show sponsor Microsoft was really trying to push Windows 8 at the event, which looks the part, but the new Office package struck me as very bland and colourless. The tablet market is pushing everybody away from PCs, but I think Windows has always done a good job for the office environment and I'd rather not see the PC giant turning its back on it.

Different types of drivers
Just over from Microsoft was an interesting stand featuring a Range Rover Sport from Revere London. This company specialises in taking cars and adding some special touches to make them truly different. The vehicle was listed at £94k but certainly looked the part. This stand was shared with Robson Acoustics, where I met up with owner Rob Hudson. Rob's company makes some stunning individually designed loudspeakers and it had on display some zebra skin little beauties. Rob has been involved in speaker design for over 25 years and is offering dealers some real quality sounding speakers, backed by truly great service. You can check out the full range at www.robsonacoustics.co.uk.

All in all, The Gadget Show Live is worth a visit if you're into technology, and there were some nice new products on show: I particularly loved the bling of the Range Rover Sport, but can't see it parked on my drive as £94k is a whole chunk of change. But for installers the Professional day is not really worth taking time out for… unless you want to come away with the biggest remote control helicopter you can get on the train! 

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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