Gizmodo: The Gadget Testers
By Joyce Slaton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Stunts and test runs make gadgets fun for interested teens.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The emphasis is on finding gadgets that work as advertised and compare well to similar ones for the benefit of the user or potential buyer. The messages around consumerism and gadget lust are unquestioned. Some tests have a "don't try this at home" level of danger, and hosts gleefully don't read directions or follow the warnings on devices.
Positive Role Models
All four of the main gadget testers on the show are intrepid, curious, and energetic; they do sometimes playfully insult each other, but are largely respectful towards each other and to the viewer's intelligence. Very little diversity among the testers.
Violence & Scariness
Some testing is rather dangerous, such as when cameras are tested by a street luge down a mountain by the utterly inexperienced.
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The occasional "dammit," "crap," or language like "I put my hand in poo" (when testing a vacuum in a chicken coop).
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Products & Purchases
The show is explicitly about brands and technological equipment for sale; viewers take a good, long look at each gadget being tested while its features are described. However, the show's focus is road-testing gadgets, not necessarily selling them.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gizmodo: The Gadget Testers has very little iffy material, but will only interest older viewers with an interest in gadgets or stunts. Some of the stunts appear to be dangerous, so younger viewers should definitely be cautioned against trying these types of activities at home (or with their parents' gadgets!). Teens and adults who watch will get an education on various types of devices and how they compare with one another, which can make them smarter and more critical consumers.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Spun off from the popular gadget-spotlighting website Gizmodo, GIZMODO: THE GADGET TESTERS spotlights various types of gadgets, such as cameras and vacuum cleaners, and tests their functionality with telegenic trials such as attempting to vacuum filthy chicken coops or wearing cameras in the ring with sumo wrestlers. Hosted by folks who actually work at Gizmodo-the-website, the team puts gadgets through their paces in trials that pit various brands against each other; at the end of the road-testing, one brand is crowned supreme.
Is It Any Good?
For those with an interest in gadgetry, Gizmodo is a kick. What better way to test whether an "action" camera is any good than to watch testers attempt to open camera packages, mount them on helmets or skateboards, and then film themselves as they hurtle down the mountain lying on their back? Consumer Reports has been doing this kind of work for decades, but a dry chart on performance is not quite as fun to look at as a bunch of young, cute techno geeks gleefully putting objects through their paces.
On the other hand, though the show encourages a critical look at gadgets, consumption is uncritical. We are already paying the environmental and social costs of more gadgetry; maybe it's crazy to expect Gizmodo: The Gadget Testers to address that, but it's certainly something that may occur to parents who watch with their kids.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the service this show provides. Do you think watching Gizmodo: The Gadget Testers makes you a smarter consumer? Does it make you think more critically about what you buy, and if it's any good?
Take a look at some other consumer-education media, such as the magazine Consumer Reports and TV show MythBusters. How is Gizmodo: The Gadget Testers alike? How is it different?
Does the lack of diversity -- ethnic, gender, age, etc. -- on the show bother you? Do the testers on the show look like the people who you see using gadgets and devices in real life?
- Premiere date: March 18, 2013
- Cast: Greg Foot, Joel Johnson, O.J. Borg, Veronica Belmont
- Network: BBC America
- Genre: Reality TV
- Topics: Science and Nature
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: September 19, 2019
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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