Latest Gadgets at the Gadget Show Live 2011

Latest Gadgets made its yearly pilgrimage to the Gadget Show Live in Birmingham to play with the latest and greatest tech that manufacturers had to offer. Fighting our way through the bear pit that is the coffee table in the press room, we emerged refreshed and ran around attempting to see as much as possible before the caffeine wore off.

Batman-Car

Our first stop was Brasso (covered here) who had a little stall set up to clean all our gadgets. As an owner of a filthy iPhone, iPad and pair of glasses it was nice to have someone give them a quick wipedown. Plus there was cake. Orbitsound had their T3 mobile stereo speaker on display – a little iPod classic shaped unit that provides stereo sound on the go – and that can be worn around the neck to create a sound aura. Amazing. Also a potential nightmare if young kids on London buses get hold of it.

Bamboo-Stylus

Wacom had just that day released a Bamboo stylus for the iPad. I’m keen doodler and had a quick play. It feels great to hold – and is very close to holding a real pen. It’s also 25 percent slimmer tip than main competitors as the reps insisted on telling me. The prototype app to accompany it (you can of course use the stylus with all drawing apps) looks pretty fun as well but wasn’t yet ready for final assessment. The stylus should be out in mid-May for about £25.

We waved at the people from 3M who were showing off their MPro 180 wireless pico projector rigged up to a PS3 and an iPad. We had a more in-depth look at it here. The most stylish area was the shiny white Golla zone where lots of beautiful people looked over enthusiastic about a range of pretty looking laptop bags and camera cases. We took a look at some here.

Cyngett-iPad-2-stand

iPad stands were ubiquitous, but the only one that actually caught our eye was Cygnett’s that had copied Apple’s Smart Cover technology (well the wake from sleep functionality) and added a stand that works vertically and horizontally – all in a big (and admittedly slightly bulky) leather case. They were stood next to Henge Docks – a great laptop dock that enabled you to use your MacBook with a Widescreen monitor and pretend you have a full desktop.  We also had a quick look at the PopBox – a self-styled “Apple TV” killer, that streams your HD content via DLNA and its own app store. And we also played with some wireless Jaybird headphones, the Qb desktop USB speakers and FlipVideo who surprisingly said nothing about their impending demise.

Of course this is a tiny fraction of what we had a play with so expect to see a few more in-depth articles over the coming week.

Hands on: Panasonic HM-TA1 pocket-size camcorder

Panasonic-TA-1

LatestGadgets had the chance to test out the Panasonic HM-TA1. This will be Panasonic’s first pocket camcorder and goes toe to toe with the Flip Ultra HD. Let’s see how it compares.

The HM-TA1 is very easy to use and I was up and running within minutes. All the software is preloaded on to the camcorder so no CD required here. There are a few more buttons than on the Flip but there are more settings allowing you to tailor the video or picture to how you want it. Video is Full HD and pictures are in average 8MP. Unfortunately, there is no HDMI with the HM-TA1 so connecting to your TV might be a bit tricky. There is an in-built USB arm so connecting to your PC is simply plug and play.

The arm can be a bit awkward to get out but once you get the hang of it, you will be fine. A major plus for the TA1 is the SD slot so you can put a 16GB memory card in and record hours upon hours of video, unlike the Flip in-built storage. Why not go bigger if you like?

Sample footage (by a 3rd party):

The camcorder has a 4x zoom so you can video from a distance. For those action shots, the Electrical Image Stabilizer system will minimise blurring and hand-shake. It doubles as a webcam as it is Skype compatible. To upload video you have transfer to your PC first then upload to YouTube using the software which is similar to Flip. You can customise the TA1 from a choice of 40 skins

For Panasonic’s first outing into the pocket side of things, it is a good little camera for people who take a lot of video as you can get a memory card to suit you. Available from £99.99 at Currys. You will need to buy a memory card to go with it which brings it close the Flip Mino HD and Ultra HD in price.

Top five boy’s toys for Christmas

Christmas is coming, and the man in your life is getting fat, and whether you like it or not this man is going to spend too much time eating, drinking and using the Lords birthday as an excuse to meet up and make merry with every person he’s ever had a passing acquaintance with.  A direct result of this is said gentlemen will also spend extended periods of time sitting in a state of inertia, moaning and trying to sweat out the previous days pleasure.  This being the case you want to keep him amused, his hands busy and away from the eggnog for as long as possible.  This being the case, please find latestgadgets top 5 (in no particular order) Big Boys Toys this Christmas, to keep him happy for December and beyond…

Playstation Move/ Microsoft Kinect

Move-vs-Kinect

The Playstation Move is aimed at the hardcore gamer market and a fiddle to start with, but if he’s a died-in-the-wool Call Of Duty type then this might be your best bet.  The Kinect is more of a Wii extension with games intended to be fun and social.  There’s considerable fun to be had in its novelty value too- there isn’t actually a controller and the Kinect sensor just recognises your movements on games like Dance Central, Fighters Uncaged and more.

Move- £41.99 starter pack, £17.99 each additional controller.
Kinect- £129.99

Flip Mino HD and Flie Ultra HD Video Cameras

Flip-Video

Reception has been universally positive since these were released.  And what’s not to like?  Quality HD recording, the ability to plug directly into your HD TV for instant Christmas Lunch playbacks and only, in the case of the Mino, 10cm long.   Technical specs between the two are more or less the same-1280p x 720p , Transflective screen.  The main difference is the size of memory- the Mino has 4GB of memory, the Ultra 8GB.

Mino- from £99
Ultra- From £114.99

Amazon Kindle

Kindle

Despite a certain amount of scepticism, the Kindle is starting to worm it a way into the wider consciousness and, if the makers will have us believe, is going to drastically alter the way we read books. A dedicated book buyer such as yours truly might not be too enamoured with it but for the man who likes to read but doesn’t want the luggage, this is perfect.  Enough space for 3500 books, a month long battery life and a reasonable price clinch the deal.

Price- £109

Nikon P7000 Digital Camera

For the person that wants to take pretty good pictures, but doesn’t want the faff of an SLR.  Small (360g), compact yet with enough bells and whistles to satisfy him with time on his hand it is ideal as a portable.   With its 10.1MP sensor and wide 7.1x optical zoom lens, and a 720p HD filming capabilities its got enough behind it to justify its somewhat steep price.

Price- £489

Boogie Board Paperless Writing Tablet

Bit more of a gimmick this one, but for those of us that remember Etch-a-Sketch it’ll bring back some fond memories…and make us realise that they pail in comparison to this.  Essentially a little black board that you can scribble over and immediately wipe or send the pictures to somewhere else via USB, Bluetooth of WiFi it can double as child entertainment device, shopping list or portable easel.

Price- £39.99

Hands on with Flip UltraHD and MinoHD

Cisco has announced its third generation of the popular Flip camcorders, Flip UltraHD and Flip MinoHD. They improved from the second generation with enhanced HD video quality and image stabilisation. It is now easier to upload videos and share.

Flip-Video

The Flip UltraHD is 25% slimmer than its predecessor, which felt a little like a brick. The video is now 720p resolution at 50 fps. The in-built camera allows you to shoot 2 hours of video. Along with the all-new image stabilisation feature video is now clear and steady.  The camcorders now feature an HDMI port so you can watch videos directly from your Flip on your TV.  The new Flips can conveniently be connected to your PC using the in-built USB arms. The software, Flipshare, also gets an upgrade with the ability to share videos privately by email or share on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You can now take still images from videos make a compilation of movies from multiple video clips.

The Flip MinoHD is smaller than the Ultra HD and has all the features to go with it. The Flip MinoHD comes in two sizes to shoot enough video for one hour or two hours. The Flips are easy to use and you can be filming in seconds, which is important to ensure you do not miss those special moments. If you have a camera which shoots video in HD or an iPhone 4, I am not entirely convinced a dedicated camcorder is necessary. Although, I can see this making an amazing Christmas present for budding movie directors and keen holiday makers. Personally, the slimmer the better so I like the Flip MinoHD.

In comparison, a lot of camcorders are going the 3D route like the Aiptek 3D HD Camcorder but do you really need 3D? There will be accessories available including a pocket projector allowing you to project your video directly from your Flip to any flat surface. You can also have the Overtime Battery Extender which doubles the battery life to keep you filming on the go.

The new Flips are available from November. The Flip UltraHD will be £159.99, available in black and white. The Flip MinoHD one hour will be £149.99 and The Flip MinoHD two hour will be £179.99. How do you Flip?

Sony announce PM5, PM5K and CM5 Bloggies

We all know that the new blogging is now vlogging and for those of you that perhaps are out of the ‘vlogosphere’, the process involves blogging your life via the means of video. Keeping up with the action, Sony has launched three new high definition pocket camcorders, each one aptly named the Sony Bloggie.

Colourful and lightweight, the new Bloggie models are fun and simple to use. At the switch of one button you can shoot crisp, clear 5 megapixel still photos, whilst the switch of another will allow you to capture your special and spontaneous moments in clear Full HD MP4 video. The PM5, PM5K and CM5 Bloggies can record both super-smooth 1280×720/60p video and high resolution Full HD 1920×1080/30p clips. SteadyShot image stabilisation also eliminates the annoying camera shake when you’re shooting whist on the move, and Face Detection fine tuning allows for clear and precise images.

Perhaps a competitor for the Flip Video camcorder, the new Bloggie is predicted to be the camera of choice on which to record your next potential YouTube phenomenon and is designed to be taken out and about with minimal effort so you can record all those day to day moments on a quick, easy and high quality recording device.

For more creative filming, the PM5 and PM5K also feature a rotating lens that swivels 270 degrees which allows you to film from any angle – the bright, high resolution 6.0cm LCD screen also shows camera settings in the bottom half of the display while you’re shooting. The PM5K even includes a special 360 Video lens adaptor that lets you experience incredible panoramic videos – something that really places this gadget a step beyond the Flip.

The Sony Bloggie also features an in-built USB adapter to connect directly to a PC or Mac and is available in a choice of four vibrant colours.

The embedded PMB Portable software launches automatically when the Bloggie is connected to your PC or Mac, allowing you view, select and upload clips to video or social network sites including YouTube and Twitter. The added advantage is that you don’t need to install any editing or file transfer software on the computer, making bloggie ideal for use on-the-go. The camera’s battery is also automatically charged while it’s connected to your computer via USB.

Fun, simple to use and minimal uploading effort! The Bloggie definitely sounds like another winning product by Sony!

The Sony Bloggie pocket camcorders are available from February from Sony and prices range from – £169.99 – £209.98.

Next generation of Flip MinoHD to have WiFi

Everyone likes a good gadget; make it pocket-sized, give it a retro design and a few simple but exemplary assets and you’re on to a real winner.  This is just what Pure Digital (recently acquired by Cisco) have discovered as they launch model after model of their successful Flip camcorders, adding a single significant feature to make each model bigger and better than the one before.

flip-minohdFirst they brought us the FlipMino, a sleek and handy retro-styled camcorder no larger than a mobile phone with simple and easy to use functions that reintroduced us to the world of video-recording on the move.  Next they brought us the FlipMinoHD and Flip MinoUltraHD. The same sleek design as its predecessor but with the ability to produce videos in vibrant HD 230p and 720p respectively and in 16:9 widescreen – the smallest ever camcorder with this quality.

Hot on the heels of its HD models, Flip has once again pushed the boundaries having just announced that their next model will come equipped with Wi-Fi.  This means you can shoot a video and instantaneously upload your clips from any Wi-Fi hotspot.  Of course, you’d have to find a hotspot first, but once you do, a new addition to the software allows one-click links to Facebook.  Each model is compatible with both PCs and Macs and comes with a handy USB arm that helps make video-sharing to sites like Flickr and YouTube absolute childsplay. Its sophisticated software also cleverly compresses video size bringing an end to lengthy transfer times.  Like the earlier models, it will come with a large LCD screen, 1280 x 720 video resolution and touch-sensitive buttons but with double the memory space.

Due to launch in January 2010, the FlipMinoHD with Wi-Fi is a smart and worthy contender to become the leading camcorder on the market next year.