Pocket-lint Tech Tin Test: Suzi Perry reveals all

Suzi Perry is a busy woman, not only is she a founding co-host of Five's The Gadget Show, with the recording of the new series having just started, but she's taken the mantel of Ambassador for the Ideal Gadgets section at this year’s Ideal Home Show 2011, and has launched the show's hunt for the "Ideal Home Inventor of the Year". So what better person to be the inaugural interviewee to undertake the Pocket-lint Tech Tin Test.

The Test, devised to plunge into the inner-depths of celebrity minds (at least when it comes to gadgets) is as simple as it is cunning. Twenty technology buzzwords, comprised of product names and generic terms, are written on scraps of paper, folded and then placed into the Tech Tin. The subject must then draw one at a time over a period of 30 minutes, read each in turn and say the first thing they think of, whether it be an opinion or anecdote, or even a completely irrelevant stream of conciousness.

Here is how Suzi got on. Be prepared to enter a world of cat-controlled consoles, harking back to the good old days of the 8-track tape/cartridge, and why 3D is just, you know, a bit crap really.

Home cinema

"Now, this is one of those things that you always want in your house, and I always think I’m going to get that. I’m going to get that HD projector. And, have I got one? No, I haven’t.

"And, I can’t tell you why really, apart from the fact that I’m not really a very organised person.

"I do love home cinema, but I think that you’ve got to have an amazingly fabulous room to show it in, and maybe that’s what’s stopped me in the past. I’ve been sort of living in hotel rooms, and you can’t really carry one around with you. So, I haven’t got one.

"But, I’m just about to rebuild my house that I live in in France - which is a big farmhouse - and I hope to have a home cinema in there, with all the latest tricks and everything else. Because I love my movies. But I won’t be watching anything in 3D though, I think."

Pocket-lint: Do you think that anything else could be considered home cinema, like a big TV and speaker system?

"Yeah, I suppose technically it is considered home cinema, where you’ve got your surround sound, and you’ve positioned it properly. But I think of cinema as being the big screen.

"You’ve got to have that kind of immersive experience where you block out all of the lights - a room where you have black out blinds and everything. So, I think you’ve got to take it seriously when you do it. But maybe that’s just me being Miss Perfect Pants."

Microsoft Kinect

"Woo-hoo! Am I the only person in the world that’s taught their cat to switch it on?

"My cat’s called Ginger (Gingey to his friends) and at Christmas I taught him to switch it on with his face, by rubbing up against it.

"Obviously, we’re all on it, with our Avatars and everything, so I thought it was a shame that the cat’s not involved. So now the cat’s got an Avatar as well, and he just rubs his face against it and switches it on. The annoying thing is that he also switches it off during a game, so he’s not quite learned it properly.

"But what a brilliantly executed piece of kit they’ve brought out there. Fantastic!

"I was a massive fan of Nintendo Wii when it came out. I’m not a hardcore gamer by any stretch of the imagination, because I don’t really play often enough. And Jason’s our gamer [Bradbury - The Gadget Show co-host], so he’s obviously our game guru. But I love all of the physical gaming, I love it.

"I think it’s fantastic, so when the Wii came out, I thought it was mega. And brilliant from the way it brings the family together, getting them to play. It opened gaming to an entirely new market, which is good for all games really. And, as it turns out, we now see that with Microsoft Kinect. They’ve made the perfect controller; the human being. It’s great fun.

"I’m now just a little bit frustrated that I can’t beat my step daughter at Dance Central.

"Obviously, 80s dancing and modern dancing - the street dancing that she does - are not quite the same thing. It makes me feel really old when I try to learn all the moves. I think I’m doing well, and then the score comes up and it’s basically saying that I’m a bit crap.

"I’m hopeful though, that they [Microsoft] are going to bring out lots and lots more content this year, because I think that’s the only thing at the moment. It’s lacking a bit of content and so on."

iPhone 4

"When’s iPhone 5 coming out?

"It’s terrible isn’t it, that we’re so obsessed with phones and updates, and you get one and then it’s ‘what’s coming on iPhone 5?’.

"It is actually quite pathetic that kind of attitude, it’s quite annoying when you get something and you know it’s going to be superseded. But if we didn’t have that, I wouldn’t have a job.

"We [The Gadget Show] have been going for 7 years and who knew that our a bit pathetic show (it was at the time - half an hour at a terrible time) would even go more than one or two series? So, to still be here 14 series later is all down to updates for gadgets really.

"Anyway, iPhone 4… I’d like to talk a little bit about iPhone 1. When it first came out, Jason, my co-host, was almost spontaneously combusting over the excitement over it, and I, at the time, had a Nokia N95, which was the most, I think, feature-rich phone then. And I loved it, I thought it was wicked. So we had this face-off in Barcelona, because I was saying that the Nokia was still the best phone over the iPhone - I wasn’t that keen over the touchscreen malarkey - and we jumped off a bridge to test how easy they were to use. And, of course, the Nokia won it [laughs].

"What a stupid idea, to jump off a bridge for science and technology. The iPhone always makes me think of that.

"But I did get an iPhone, and I’ve had all the updates and so on. Apple… you know. The most beautifully designed products out there. Apps!!! Suddenly, we have a whole new life because of apps and the information that comes in them, the fun that comes in them. I’ve even got my own app that’s been downloaded nearly 3 million times, which was a super shock.

"I’m terribly excited about apps, and everything that comes with an iPhone really.

"I think the smartphone, in my lifetime, is the one gadget that you can say has changed our lives.

"I’d also say that my favourite gadget of all time is the iPod. Because of what it did. I’m a big music lover. My dad was a music promoter and I grew up going to see bands like Abba, and David Bowie, Tina Turner, and rock bands and all sorts, so I grew up with music, and to have your whole record collection in your pocket was as extraordinary, or even more so, as when I saw the 8-track.

"As a kid, when my dad put the 8-track in his car, and we could suddenly listen to music that wasn’t on the radio, I was just astounded. And I’ve got it still. I’ve still got his old 8-track, and I want to put it in my classic Mercedes that I’m getting, hopefully.

"Also, the iPod was the first truly unisex must-have gadget, in my opinion. And now I don’t know anyone who hasn’t got one. Apart from my dad, who hasn’t even got a mobile phone."

Nissan Leaf

"It’s the European car of the year; a completely electric car, zero emissions - the car of the future, I guess. It looks alright, it’s a family car. At least it’s got four seats, not a silly little Noddy car, which is good.

"Apparently, it can do around 93MPH, something like that? 93 or 97?

"I think what’s amazing about it - as an electric car - is that it has a decent range; the first fully-electric car with a decent range. And there’s three ways of charging it, so it can take 10 hours, 8 hours, or, I think, with a fast charger you can charge it pretty much to capacity; 80 per cent in half-an-hour. Obviously, you can’t use that all the time though, because it would degrade the battery life.

"It can do 0-60MPH in just under 10 seconds, which is great. You can’t rev, of course, because you can’t hear anything - like at the traffic lights - so there’s no point in doing. But at least you could jump away quickly.

"I’m actually a fan of them putting noise on. Being a biker I think that you need a bit of noise sometimes, and I give a rev and a blip when I think that somebody doesn’t know that I’m there - about 75 per cent of people who drive cars don’t actually look in their mirrors ever. So it could, maybe, come as standard in the future, a bit of revving noise, or something. It would be a good idea for pedestrians as well, obviously."

Pocket-lint: Would you consider an electric motorbike then?

"I’ve ridden a few electric bikes, but where I would say that this [the Nissan Leaf] has sort-of got there now, and it will become mass market and people are already ordering them like mad, I would, but I don’t think bikes have quite got there yet.

"Having said that though, they had a wholly electric race at the TT last year, which worked beautifully. But you do miss the revving sound, so if they could add that on as well, I’d be happy."

Nintendo 3DS

"Now then, I could have spouted on for about an hour if I’d gone to the launch in Amsterdam that they asked me to host. But, sadly, I couldn’t do it because I was technically on holiday; I was eating pasta in Italy, and sometimes it’s more important to eat than play with gadgets. Not very often, but just occasionally.

"It’s quite an interesting idea, having a small handheld with 3D. But, I have to remain on the fence with 3D. I’m the kind of person that will be in the studio and will stand and watch the latest TV, a lenticular one without glasses, and will say ‘this is pretty good you know’, I’ll love it. Then, 5 minutes later I’m not that bothered about it. I’m not that bothered about 3D. It’s kind of like tuberculosis, it comes around every 30 years.

"What’s absolutely mesmerised me is that all the manufacturers have gone for it, they’ve all jumped on board with it. All the big TV manufacturers are doing 3D TVs, and they’re mega - like the Samsung one, the 9000, it’s bloody fantastic. It’s fabulous. I mean, you want that in your room, you don’t even have to switch it on, it’s so beautiful. But I kind of really want to want one, but I don’t really want one. I’m not really excited about 3D.

"Although I like watching the occasional movie, maybe a bit of sport, maybe a bit of gaming, in 3D, I don’t want to do it all the time.

"So, I probably won’t go and get one of those [Nintendo 3DS], but I will be interested to have a play on the show. I do rush out and buy some things, but I won’t be rushing out to buy that.

"But then, it’s a kids market really, and would my step-daughter like it? Probably."

Amazon Kindle

"I feel a bit sorry for the Amazon Kindle, if I’m honest. I feel like it was a little bit ahead of its time, but there wasn’t really enough to go with it.

"When it came out, I was really excited; I thought it was really beautiful, I thought it was a really good idea. But then old Steve Jobs came along with the iPad, and you think ‘well, why don’t I just have an iPad?’ I know it’s more expensive, but its world is so vast.

"Maybe it’s because I’m not a great book reader. I’m not saying that I can’t read or illiterate, I do come from Wolverhampton but it doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. But I feel a bit sorry for Amazon Kindle really.

"It’s still going strong though. I think America’s a big market for it. Amazon is an amazing site - I love ordering books and they just turn up very quickly, and it’s so simple - but the Kindle? I have no need for one."

iPad

"Tech lust at its most full for me.

"This time last year [January] I was almost literally bursting with ‘what are they going to put on it?’ ‘What is it going to be?’ We’d sit there, every time we’d film something on The Gadget Show, and go ‘I reckon it’s going to have this on it, I reckon it’s going to have that on it.’ And it was fun, it was like a game. The build-up was super exciting. So when it came out, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one.

"I didn’t order one from the States though, I know Jason did, but I got one as soon as they were launched over here; in fact, a couple of days beforehand.

"I just don’t go anywhere without it, I know that’s really boring. But what’s getting really exciting about it now is that it’s starting to control things in the house. You’ve got the app to control Sonos, which is also total genius - love it, brilliant bit of kit. Obviously, it’s been around for a few years, but now it’s been upgraded with Spotify, so you can listen to all music. And I just think that app is genius.

"In just 12 months’ time, there’s going to be so much in our homes that we can control with the iPad, because everybody’s trying to make an app that controls their thing; whether it’s a shower or a bath, the lights, whatever it is. And, I think that from that point of view, the iPad is going to be more than just a gadget, and I think it will be sort-of a necessity to control everything in the home. And I think that’s exciting.

"I also love watching movies on it. I think it’s ridiculous that all these people say that you can ‘watch a movie on a phone.’ Who wants to watch a movie on a phone? It’s too small.

"Obviously, there are things that will probably come out with iPad 2 - it can be improved - but I think that, as it is, it’s an object of beauty and as a piece of kit, it’s a must have. It’s fulfilled all my needs for 2010.

"But I’m expecting bigger things this year."

And with that, the time was up. Suzi clearly knows and loves gadgetry and technology, to the extent that she's proudly an early adopter for many new launches. It must be said that we really enjoyed conducting this interview, and thoroughly recommend that you follow her on Twitter (@suziperry).


Suzi Perry is the Ambassador for the Ideal Gadgets section at this year’s Ideal Home Show 2011. She will be hosting the "Home of the Future" brought to you by Virgin Media, offering the latest gadgets and gizmos for the home.

The Ideal Home Show, London will open its doors for 17 days from 11 - 27 March 2011, at London’s Earls Court. Tickets can be either booked online or by calling the Ticket Hotline on 0844 415 4144 or visit the website www.idealhomeshow.co.uk. 50p per ticket sold goes to the Ideal Homes for Heroes appeal supporting ABF the Soldiers’ Charity - see www.idealhomeshow.co.uk/ideal-homes-for-heroes.