As the days get shorter and the air gets colder, winter’s drawing ever closer and many gadget loving gamers are looking forward to Christmas to get the latest hardware, software and peripherals on their wishlists. The Gadget Show Live @ Christmas, now in its second year, took over the Earl’s Court exhibition centre this weekend to show off some of the latest gadgets and gizmos to make your life easier, better or more entertaining. We had a look around and here are some highlights and our favourite things from what we saw at the event.
Sony had a substantial presence in the gaming area, showing the upcoming PS4 with Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag exclusive titles Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack, the Playroom, Hohokum, Octodad. Not forgetting the PS3 & Vita among the new & shiny PS4 console, games like Ratchet & Clank into the Nexus and Tearaway were also on the stand for gamers to try out before both of their respective releases later this month.
In a somewhat more muted display of their console, Microsoft parked one of their Xbox One tour SUVs in the gaming area, equipped with several Xbox One consoles and Fifa 13 and Forza Motorsport 5. I found it odd that Microsoft didn’t opt for a larger space to demo their latest console, but what they did bring to the event was popular throughout. Crowds filled with gamers of all ages swarmed the xbox car throughout the day to get their hands on the next-gen forza and fifa games.
The newly launched Gamestick was on show, with makers PlayJam presenting the small-but-mighty Android powered microconsole among the Industry giants on either side. The actual console is surprisingly small, only slightly bigger than a USB flash drive, which plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port. The controller has a dock for the Gamestick so you can carry it around and plug it in anywhere to start playing your favourite android games on a big screen. Games like Shadowrun and Riptide GP showed off the console’s graphical progress and the UI looked clean, moved smoothly and was easy to navigate.
Plantronics Zone + Rig Headset
Plantronics had a large tournament area, filled with Lan PCs and Xbox 360 consoles for hopeful gamers to compete in one of the 5 different tournaments they had running throughout the event. Gamers could face each other in 1 on 1 tournaments in Fifa 13 and Injustice: Gods Among Us on Xbox 360, try to get the fastest lap in the F1 2013 leaderboard and try to beat all other entrants in the 2 different Minecraft tournaments on PC. While at the booth, we also caught the Injustice tournament and managed to get some video of one of the final matches for the wining prize, the Plantronics wireless headset:
As Plantronics were running the booth, each setup was equipped with their new RIG gaming headset for PC, console and mobile. The RIG felt extremely comfortable to use and the noise cancelling made it so that you can block out the outside noise of the event and focus completely on the games. The mixer that accompanied the headset also had an auxiliary input so that you could connect your phone or other audio source to the headset and balance between that and the game audio.
More info: http://www.plantronics.com/uk/product/rig
Custom PC builder Chillblast had a booth lined with some of their high-powered gaming PCs and their Defiant Mini gaming laptop for high-end gaming on the go. Also on show were the company’s customised Minecraft-themed Yogsblast PCs, made in collaboration with the insanely popular Yogscast Youtube gaming channel.
More info: http://www.chillblast.com/
Raceroom racing seat and controller
The team at Raceroom brought their simulation driving gear to the Gadget Show Live, including a customizable racing seat, their Raceroom driving experience simulator and the RR Driving Controller. The RR DC1 & DC2 driving controllers were reminiscent of the old namco jogcon controllers by replacing the left and right analog stick on a PS3 controller with a steering wheel you control with your thumbs. Using the driving controller was indeed a unique experience and felt noticeably different to driving using a standard PS3 controller, steering with the mini-wheel felt great since using two thumbs to turn allowed for slight adjustments when you need to correct a turn when going around corners. The rear triggers took a bit of getting used to since it seemed that they would only respond if pressed all the way in, as far as they could go. Perhaps that might have just been due to the controller being a display model for the show, but the controller seemed like a novel idea overall.
More info: http://www.raceroom.com/portal_en/
An innovative brand of earbuds called Cord Crunchers stood out to us thanks to the built in cord management system to keep the audio cable from getting tangled and damaged. The cord for the earphones is protected within a built in sleeve, which you can easily retract the cord back into by pulling the sleeve, as shown above. The sleeved earphones can also be wrapped into a wristband for safe keeping by plugging the audio jack into the mouth of the sleeve. These earphones could be especially useful while out and about since you wouldn’t have to worry about keeping the cord tidy or wrapping the cable around something like a phone or handheld, which could potentially damage the cable over time.
This cutesy little pig and piglets from Office Chums is actually a USB hub and set of micro SD card readers to make your usb and memory card management more appealing to look at. Since the hub and memory card readers are USB, they could potentially be used as an easy way to expand your storage on consoles like the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U since you could pick up any sized micro SD card and plug one or more of them into the little piglets to give you extra space for games, movies and music.
More info: http://www.officechums.com/
One of our final highlights of the Gadget Show Live was seeing the Wowee One portable speakers that turn any surface into a speaker. The Wowee one uses a special patented gel audio material on the rear of the device to allow to deliver bass through the attached surface as well as paying audio through a speaker on the front. When attached to something like your desk or table, this could be a great way get extra bass from your game audio without having to pick up a dedicated subwoofer.
More info: http://www.woweeone.com/
Check out the gallery below to see more pics of what we saw at the Gadget Show Live @ Christmas 2013: