THE BLOG
24/04/2012 12:09 BST | Updated 23/06/2012 06:12 BST

When Gadget Shows Go, Well Not Bad, But Not Right Either

The Gadget Show. Hosted by former MotoGP anchor Suzi Perry - it ran successfully for a number of years. At the core of the show were tests of consumer gadgetry - the sort of thing you and I pop down to the shops to buy on a regular basis.

The Gadget Show. Hosted by former MotoGP anchor Suzi Perry - it ran successfully for a number of years. At the core of the show were tests of consumer gadgetry - the sort of thing you and I pop down to the shops to buy on a regular basis (well you do if you're in the Motobke.co.uk office - PC, two laptops, a netbook, two tablets, two iPod Touches and so on - and that's just within my immediate field of vision!)

Shortly before Gadget Show Live (the annual gadget fest at the NEC) Channel 5 called in the hosts to tell them of a "radical revamp". The current format was to go, replaced by "Gadget Show: World Tour", where the team would jet off round the world, for example going to Tokio to build a robot.

Except the team wouldn't be the current five presenters. Suzi, Ortis Deely and Jon Bently were sacked. One assumes to save costs.

At the time, I said this on the http://www.motobke.co.uk newspage: "Rather than test consumer gadgets that the public need reviewing, instead they're dumbing the content but layering a sugar coating over the top to make it seem more glamorous. I've bought things as a result of Gadget Show reviews. I can't say I - or the bulk of other Gadget Show viewers I'd wager - are really in the market for 360 degree cameras."

After this, it was only fair to watch the first show in the new series, to see if they could prove me wrong.

Show one did feature some consumer tech - three high end camcorders (£600 and up to £1,100), plus some laptop cases (£70 To £110) and a £1,400 relaxation chair. But whereas the old show would have had a feature on fascinating future tech (like developments in high-end robotics), now this has become the core of the show, with reviews of consumer tech no more than a sidebar.

I've bought things as a result of Gadget Show reviews (such as the Scroll Excel tablet PC). I can't say I - or the bulk of other Gadget Show viewers I'd wager - am really in the market for a £1,100 camcorders or £110 laptop case. Some of us will be, but we also need to know what gadgetry we should be looking at one a day-to-day basis, like a set of noise-reducing headphones or my bridge camera to DSLR comparison.

The new format seems to have forgotten this; a glaring omission in my opinion. To try to be kind, perhaps the show will gain more balance as it develops, but I can't see the expense of travelling around the world being justified by a review of some headphones.

Of course, there is an alternative: Sky's "Gadget Geeks". You still have main presenters... who don't really do much presenting as there is an annoying link voice that covers too much of the presenters job. And where the Gadget Show would go off and get some experts to build the tech they needed, Gadget Geeks has three blokes in a shed, a bit like a nurdy A-Team. Gadgets do get reviewed (and rated out of 5 stars... sound like the Gadget Show's G rating?) and do range from cheaper high-street tech to more expensive items.

The geeks don't always come over well, with the 'cobble it together out of spare parts from the Strawberry Alarm Clock' format falling flat too often. The voiceover needs to be dropped so that the presenters can actually present. But - and this is an important but - the idea of getting an expert to test the gadget and rate it is a really good one. You're getting feedback from someone who knows what they're looking for and understands the tech being tested, albeit often from a different perspective.

So, why not perform a tweak? With the Gadget Show morphed, Sky can poach ideas from the old format with impunity. So keep the rating by an expert, let the Geeks go upscale a bit and have a budget that means they can build something you might want. And why not introduce presenters who really know about consumer technology? I wonder where they might find some of those?

I must be fair and mention the BBC's "Click". It is not a bad little show; it has the irreverent tone that The Gadget Show features, it looks into a range of tech issues. And does it nicely, for a show clearly put together on a limited budget. Between Click and a revamped 'Gadget Geeks', our tech reviewing needs could be satisfied in the same way that The Gadget Show once performed admirably