Last weekend, I attended the Dabs IT & Gadget Show we recently brought you news of, at Wembley Stadium. It was definitely the biggest hoo-ha I’ve seen for an event that was only fairly mediocre, at best. I was forced to book my tickets for this a couple of months in advance because the organisers claimed that the event was in high demand. After doing so, I was then sent a follow-up email (a couple of weeks before the event) asking me to once again confirm my attendance for the event, as well as asking me how many tickets I would like (up to a maximum of four).
A couple of days before the event I received an email reminding me of the high number of attendees, asking me to bring along my ID, otherwise, myself and my guests would not be permitted entry. Finally, I was asked to print out the ticket to bring along with me. I took three friends along and we turned up at the door expecting a mad rush of people.
The reality was that we couldn’t see anyone waiting to get in — the only people in sight were stadium staff kicking the ground through boredom. We managed to get inside without my ID being checked and made our way to the event, through the convoluted entry system that is Wembley Stadium. Three floors up and we’re finally at the event. This wouldn’t normally irk me, but I had four spare tickets that I could have given away to people I knew wanted to attend and were unable to through the fabled ‘we have too many people attending’ and the ‘we’re going to check your ID’ policy.
Entering the room, there was nothing spectacular in sight, nor were there more than 150 people in the room. That may even be stretching it — could have been 100. I’m not entirely sure how many people they were expecting to attend the event, but it was definitely a poor show. Perhaps it had to do with the mockery of a booking system you made, eh Dabs? Oh, wait, yeah, I forgot to mention that due to the ‘high demand in tickets’ we were also split into two groups on the day — a morning group and an afternoon group, of which both had an hour and a half to roam around and see things. Luckily for Dabs and their awesome organisation skills, they didn’t actually put many stands out so people were done in about 25 minutes.
This period also included a wander around the ‘Gaming Zone’. This was a small cordoned off area where visitors were allotted time slots to walk-in and play games against the pro-gamers. It was a fairly boring event, with Gail Porter presenting and no Suzi Perry in sight. Anywhere. The ‘Football Zone’ was merely a kid’s keeper’s net with a few footballs hanging around to kick into it. The organisers were clearly clutching at straws to fill the event with gimmicky things to keep people entertained. Unfortunately, it was abysmal.
In light of trying to make a bad situation a little better, here are some of the releases that will be available for us to get our hands on this year:
- Microsoft was doing some heavy promotion for their wireless headsets, mice and keyboards. Their LifeCams were also a prominent feature of their stand.
- HP spent time on their industrial sized printers and printer paraphernalia.
- Gigabyte was all about their motherboard technology — the P55 series.
- Wacom had their pen tablets out in force. Something I actually had some fun with and could properly interact with was their Cintiq 21UX Interactive Pen Display (this is for the artists and designers among you). I was sceptical at first but grew to love their products. They also had their Bamboo Pen & Touch and the Intuos4.
- Optoma had several of their new projectors out on display, including their itsy bitsy Pico Pocker Projector (PK301). A beautiful piece of kit that fits nicely in the palm of your hand!
- DGM had their Ice Top range out on display, as well as a few of their HD widescreen TVs. Crisp, clear quality not just for viewing, but also for gaming.
- Buffalo had a small stand displaying their external storage options.
- iGo Green also had a tiny stand telling you all about how to conserve energy and to use surge protectors.
- Acer completely outdid themselves with not only a pretty impressive stand (in size) displaying their laptops but by also showing off their Ferrari One laptop. I’m fairly happy to admit that this little beauty is exactly as perfect as you might think it is up close and personal.
- The ZonePlayer S5 is an all-in-one wireless system which will connect to your iPhone that actually had pretty decent sound blasting out silly pop music to get your attention.
- Panasonic was there with their 2010 camcorder selection.
- Steel Series, who had pro gamers there, was also showing off their pro-gaming gear, including headsets, laser mice and keyboards.
Other companies that had things on display, but weren’t very interesting were Iiyama, Logitech, Hitachi, CablesToGo and Canon.
The only really great thing about this event was the Wembley Stadium tour we received of the newly refurbished and designed England home ground. Highlights included, but were not limited to; the history of the old stadium, the design of the new one, stuff the players get up to and getting to walk through the home changing rooms out into the stadium, as the players do. Before the tour, I joked with my friends about wanting to know how many toilets there were in the stadium and that if I didn’t find out, I would ask the tour guide. Luckily for me, it was the last thing we were told as the tour was winding to a close. If you’d like to know the answer and more about my Wembley Stadium tour, with some very cool pictures/video of player shirts and the ground, please visit my blog for my write-up.
Overall, the Dabs IT and Gadget Event this year was really rather lacking in any substance. Given the number of hoops I had to jump through to get into the event in the first place, I’m just not going to bother next time.