The Gadget Show holiday tech special

13 Jun 2016


This week’s programme is a competitive summer holiday special. We four presenters spent a few days in a very pleasant villa in sunny Marbella and each had to come up with suitable vacation gadgets for the other three. We then scored each other out of ten on the quality of the tech we were given.


My role was to find some sightseeing tech. I chose some tablets and sketching apps so we could draw some sights, action cameras of various kinds so we could photograph them, and some personal transport for blatting about between them.


First, the drawing. I like drawing but rarely find the time to do it, and I suspect many of us are in the same boat. Removed from the pressures of everyday life and surrounded by fresh, inspiring environments, holidays should be perfect opportunities to unleash those artistic skills. And while conventional art equipment like pencils, paint and canvas can be cumbersome to pack, there are no such problems with the latest tablets which offer high quality screens and capable apps in an easily transported package.  


On Marbella’s Avenida del Mar, home to sculptures by Salvador Dali, the tablets and apps went down pretty well. Everyone managed to produce a sketch and only Amy stated definitely that she’d prefer paper and paint. I did share her major reservation, however. Out in the midday summer sun it proved difficult to see what you were drawing on the tablet’s screen. Ortis’s Samsung was slightly better than the iPads we were using in this respect. But if you are planning some holiday tablet sketching you may need to select a view where you can draw in the shade.


Next, photography. And I think we proved that, in a world of smartphone cameras, dedicated separate cameras still have a place. The rugged GoPro-like Ricoh WG M1 produced excellent footage in spite of the dust and bumps on our off-road course. Jason liked the Nikon Coolpix AW130 which had easy-to-use controls, good picture quality and a firm grip. Only Ortis was less than satisfied with his camera. He found his Pentax KS-2, the world’s smallest weatherproof DSLR, slow to focus and was initially baffled by the button switching feature in “selfie” mode. When the articulated LCD screen is facing you the Wifi button becomes the shutter release as it’s easier to use when holding the camera that way. This thoughtful feature can be rather confusing if you haven’t read the manual.


I think my colleagues were most impressed by my personal transport choices. Ortis’s quick Evo 2,800 watt battery-powered scooter, Amy’s BESV LX1 bike built using MotoGP like techniques, and Jason’s carbon fibre and Kevlar all-terrain board, the Evolve Carbon, all hit the spot.


You’ll have to watch the programme to discover the scores but my personal favourite from the whole show was a gadget Amy selected for me - the Gibbs Quadski. This is a quad bike that turns into a jet ski on command. If you’re used to amphibious vehicles being on the stately side the Quadski is a revelation. In spite of my own fear of the water I felt immediately at home zipping around. If I had my own villa in Marbella I’d love to be able to drive down to the beach then sprint around in the water for an exhilarating start to the day.