Birmingham and the Gadget Show

On Friday night we went up to Birmingham to stay at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole hotel ready for the Gadget Show Live the next day.  We’d managed to get a good offer in the January sale to stay for £64 for a nice suite and full breakfast the next morning.

Houses by the waterWe arrived at the hotel about 3pm, perfect time to check in and then go out to enjoy the sunshine that has finally arrived.  So we went down to Brindley Place by the canals in Birmingham.  We went for a wander around the canal’s, which made for a pleasant stroll in the sunshine.  The area was quite busy as there was obviously some conferences going on at the National Indoor Arena, so as we hadn’t had lunch we decided it was a good idea to eat early. 

A friend had recommended the Handmade Burger Company on the water front.  They make lovely hand made burgers, and hand cut chips.  The food arrived quickly and was very nice, although very filling!  We still managed a milkshake for dessert.  While waiting for the food to arrive, I had to take this photo – I can’t believe that if you have a business and are going to spend money on getting your restaurant menus created for you that you leave such an awful mistake on the cover!

Spot the error

After returning to the hotel we decided to take another walk and work out where we were heading in the morning.  I had no idea the Birmingham  National Exhibition Centre was so enormous!  We had tickets for the Live Show at 11am the next morning, and had been warned that the queues could get big so I wanted to check where we were going so we could relax and not rush around.The next morning we headed down for breakfast in the Boulevard Restaurant.  It was a fairly typical buffet style breakfast, but filled us up for the day.  There was a good choice of pastries and cold meats, but I’d have liked to have seen some nicer fresh fruit and some waffles or pancakes to go with them.

We arrived at the Gadget Show around 9.40am just after opening time and didn’t have any trouble getting in.  The halls already seemed pretty busy!  We went for a quick scout around to find where things were and then went to watch a 3D HD TV presentation by Panasonic.  I found it slightly better than 3D stuff I had seen before, but still not anything I’d really want – for starters I wouldn’t want to wear those glasses over the top of my own for more than about 10 minutes at a time.  My nose just isn’t big enough!  I did quite like the scene they showed of fishes and coral underwater – it did seem quite realistic, probably because the backdrop was fairly simple blue, and it made me want to go diving again.   Personally, I can see more application in gaming for 3D than for the average Joe sitting and watching TV.

At 11am we had tickets for the Live Show with Suzi, Jason, Jon and Ortis.  It was advertised as being packed full of presenter challenges and stunts, but I was little disappointed.  I felt there was only really a couple of real ‘gadget’ part where three of the presenters raced around the hall on different modes of transport.  The one thing I did like were the large inflatable penguins that floated on Helium around the hall.  They were fun and a bit different.

After the show we wandered around the Halls.  I had particularly been looking forward to seeing some photography gadgets, especially as they had mentioned the photography area on the preview letter.  Sadly, other than some presentations there seemed to be no photography exhibits whatsoever – I had expected the likes of Nikon and Canon to be there is they were presenting and I was sorely tempted to treat myself to a new lens.  But my wallet stayed planted firmly in my handbag.

Overall, it was a fun day out, but the Gadget Show was not as cool as I had hoped.  I had imagined lots of weird and wonderful gadgets to tempt us but the reality was far from that.

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