All eyes are on Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre this week, where the latest and greatest tech toys are enjoying some quality time in the spotlight at The Gadget Show Live. Taking place from 3-7 April, the event is a spin-off of popular Channel 5 TV programme The Gadget Show.
ITProPortal took the short hop from our London base up to the Midlands to get a sneak peak of the leading European technology showcase at an exclusive press and professional preview event on Tuesday, 2 April.
As promised, there's a rash of jaw-dropping gadgetry for punters to ogle - everything from gaming, mobile, and cameras to robots, futuristic cars, and underwater flight aids. Among the many highlights, we've checked out the 27in Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon and IdeaPad U310 Touch, as well as going hands-on with iPad rival the Sumvision Cyclone Voyager 2, an affordable quad-core tablet featuring Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Despite often being underwhelmed by the offerings of mobile accessory manufacturers, we must admit to being quite taken by the iPhone 5-ready BubbleScope 360 degree camera add-on.
Over in the International Future Tech Zone, one of the stars of the show awaits: Toyota's GT86-R Marangoni Eco Explorer (see image, below). The eco-friendly sports car is being dubbed a "pure zero emissions" conversion vehicle that utilises ammonia cell technology and allegedly costs just £5 per 100 miles to run.
The Gadget Show Live is a major opportunity for audio manufacturers to show off their latest wares. One of the companies pulling out all the stops to catapult itself into the limelight is Danish firm Jabra, whose Revo Wireless over-ear headphones combine minimalist Scandinavian aesthetics - a sturdy yet sleek aluminium frame, steel hinges, and plush memory foam ear-cups - with the latest Bluetooth and NFC connectivity. Audiophiles will note that the Revo Wireless headphones feature Digital Signal Processing and carry the Dolby Digital Plus standard. There's also a pair of built-in microphones so the Revo Wireless headphones can also be utilised for voice calling.
Elsewhere, York-based audio specialist Damson is giving a UK debut to a new wireless speaker, and we took the opportunity to get hands-on with the Damson Oyster. Originally unveiled back at CES in January, the Oyster is an affordable home audio solution that delivers big sound for its price point - not a bespoke offering on a par with the £599 Sonos PlayBar, perhaps, but more than capable of disturbing the neighbours well into the early hours based on our experience.
French audio accessory manufacturer SuperTooth is also strutting out a number of its new products, including the recently launched HD-Voice. An in-car Bluetooth speakerphone, SuperTooth HD-Voice was launched back at CES in January and started hitting UK shelves in mid-March. HD-Voice clips on to your car's sun visor and pairs with up to two mobile devices to allow drivers' to handle calls in a safe yet timely manner. The speakerphone, which carries an SRP of £59.99, dictates the name of incoming callers and then processes your response - "OK" means the call will be picked up, and there's support for 12 languages.