Tech experts pick favourite laptops and tablets at Gadget Show Live

Aled Haydn Jones from Radio 1 and Lucy Hedges from Stuff TV gave us a rundown of their fave laptops and tablets at Gadget Show Live

03 Apr 2013


The halls at the NEC will be packed with people checking out all the latest gadgets over the coming days but we got the inside line on some of the top tablets and laptops around.

Hub Theatre

Ducking out of the crowds and into the equally bustling Hub Theatre, we took up our seat and listened as Aled Haydn Jones from BBC Radio 1 and Lucy Hedges from Stuff TV gave us a rundown of their favourite tech.

Take a bite from the Apple

When it came to tablets, there was love in the room for Apple's fourth-generation iPad with retina display and its more petite sibling, the iPad mini. They do say good things come in small packages… and the mini backs the age-old adage with a 7.9inch display and 10 hours of battery.

I Pad Mini

Meanwhile, the bigger iPad with retina display offers exactly that - a sumptuous retina display that delivers three million pixels to your lap. Prepare for your senses to be well and truly stimulated.

Power in your pocket

While we're talking tablets of the mini variety, there was also praise for Google's Nexus 7.

The Nexus 7 runs Android Jelly Bean 4.2 - this may sound like it's come from the local sweet shop but don't be fooled by the candy connotations. With Jelly Bean and a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, this is a welterweight-sized tablet packing the punch of a heavyweight boxer - ouch.

It measures 10.5mm thin and weighs a lightweight 340 grams, meaning it can easily be slipped into your pocket or bag on the train to breathe life into your boring commute.

Lucy highlighted this point on the Hub stage, saying it is "easy to hold in your hand and great for a commute".

Wow factor over waterproof tablet

Many tech writers were left with a serious crush on Sony's Xperia Tablet Z after Mobile World Congress, so it's not a huge surprise to see it on Aled and Lucy's shortlist.

The Tablet Z is waterproof - we watched someone splash it on the Sony stand yesterday - but it also has plenty of other nifty features.

19) Sony 's Xperia Tablet Z Being Splashed With Water - Good Job It 's Waterproof

The 10.1inch tablet's screen uses BRAVIA Engine 2 to enhance clarity and richness for ultra-sharp images - totally groovy, baby. And of course, the fact it can survive an accidental drop in the sink if you're cooking from a recipe online is always going to be useful - we've all been there.

Lucy said: "It's waterproof, dustproof and has a fantastic screen."

Up in the cloud with Apple

Apple has been sating the appetite of tech-loving hipsters for years with a combination of intuitive, sexy design and first-rate hardware and OS.

Although we all know how sleek and swift Apple's MacBook Air is, it doesn't hurt to hear experts like Lucy and Aled think the same.

Apple describes the MacBook Air as the "lightweight notebook that's anything but a lightweight".
With Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, it boasts up to 60% faster graphics, while it delivers five hours of battery on a single charge.

Mac Book Air

There was also praise for the MacBook Pro with retina display, with Lucy saying her MacBook gives her a "seamless user experience".

The Gadget Show Live hosts also highlighted the Apple ecosystem, mentioning how music, videos and documents can be synched across devices for people who like to keep their tech in the family, ahem.

Flexible laptops
The launch of Windows 8 last year has given rise to a new generation of laptops that are redefining the word 'convertible'. They switch between tablet and laptop in order to get the best from Win8's touchscreen world while offering a regular keyboard-based experience.

One such device making it onto Lucy and Aled's hotlist was the Asus Taichi. At first glance the Taichi looks like a regular laptop but put the lid down and you'll see another screen staring up at you - it's pretty damn amazing.

Lucy said it gives a "dual user experience in a unique and clever way". 

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga also made the cut in the Hub Theatre. The Yoga is a convertible ultrabook - meaning it can shape-shift from laptop to a tablet, while there are also modes allowing us to stand it up for giving presentations at work (boring) and watching movies at home (not boring).

Idea Pad Yoga

It's all about the fit - getting it right

Speaking live from the Gadget Show we're all too aware there are oodles and oodles of gadgets to choose from on the market.

Different laptops and tablets fit different people, so buying one deserves some attention if you're going to get it right.

A tailor plays a major role in you getting a suit with the right fit, and the same goes for buying tech.

Sometimes it helps to have a little expert opinion - whether from an in store expert or the Gadget Show Live Review - when deciding what will offer the best fit.