Former rugby international, golf fanatic, husband to Zara Phillips and dad to two-year-old Mia, Mike Tindall takes us through his home tech specs.
Having hung up his boots in 2014, Mike now has more time to spend with his family and improve his golf game. As part of our Smart Street series, we spoke to Mike to find out more about his other passion - acquiring cool new tech toys.
How tech savvy are you?
I’m always the person who wants the next gadget. Even if I don’t always understand it, I still have to have it. I’m lucky because I’ve got my friend Andy, who I played with at Gloucester – he is fully tech savvy. Instead of phoning up a customer support line, I’ll phone him and he’ll explain it to me. I’m getting better though – I don’t have to have the new phone the day it comes out any more, whereas Andy still does! He runs his own company setting up cinema rooms, so he’s my port of call if I ever need help.
Is there one gadget that makes your life easier?
I haven’t found ‘that one thing’ yet, but at the moment I’m very happy with my smartphone, my laptop and my iPad.
If you could invent a gadget, what would it be?
It would have to be a teleportation device. So that any time you just want to be back at home on your sofa, you could just walk through a portal and be back there immediately. How good would that be? That’s what the tech companies should be spending their time on creating.
What are your rules for buying tech?
No rules – rules are just there to be broken. A gadget doesn’t even really have to have a purpose, sometimes if it just looks cool that’s alright. I’ve just bought my first motorised golf caddy, which makes me feel really old. I got it because I think it’s easier just to walk rather than carry my clubs around, especially when I play in golf competitions that involve three courses in one day. Playing 54 holes can leave me a bit sore – but hopefully the motor-caddy will help.
Does your daughter play with tech toys?
No, she’s not quite old enough for gadgets.
What about caddying for you?
Ha, definitely not caddying yet – but don’t worry, I’ll get her on the course when she’s old enough.
At home, do you take control of the tech and the gadgets, or is that something your wife Zara [Phillips] has final say over?
That side of things is definitely my domain.
Do you have a man-cave for your gadgets?
Not an out-and-out man-cave, but we have a room that is just for watching movies which is nice.
How do you feel about the new in-game technology being used in rugby matches now?
I think there is a fine line between helping and hindering the game. I think, ultimately, it does help having the TMOs [video referees], in terms of getting key decisions right, but referees are still learning about how to use it to the best of their abilities. Even the fourth officials are still figuring out that they don’t always have to stop the game for foul play. That maybe they can look at it first and then jump in if they do think it’s a foul.
How do you research your own tech purchases?
I read the tech mags to see what’s out there, in case there’s something I need in my life. I’m an impulse buyer, so I used to buy a lot; I’ve calmed down massively now. I used to listen to lots of music on the go, so when mp3 players first came out I was straight on that. Tablets, too, I’d always be on those playing videos. But now you do a lot of that just on your phone, so you don’t need three or four devices, you just have one.
So a lot of your tech purchases were used when you were travelling with the England squad?
Yes, when I was with England I had the honour of being in control of music in the changing room, so I was always up to date with the latest music and always needed the best speakers. I still listen to a lot of music, but not as much when I’m on the go. You always see people on the tube with their earphones in but I don’t really do that much anymore, I prefer to talk to people on public transport.
Readers, consider yourself informed. Mike Tindall is always up for a bit of banter.
The ISPS Handa Mike Tindall Celebrity Golf classic supported by Artemis is in aid of The Matt Hampson Foundation and Rugby For Heroes.
Looking to learn more about the latest tech? Take a trip to Smart Street and find out how three families are seeing their home lives transformed, one smart gadget at a time.