Earlier this month Tesco burst onto the budget tablet market, selling 35,000 units of the new Android powered Hudl in just a few days.
On the surface, it promises to provide everything you’ve come to expect from a tablet; Quick internet surfing, powerful HD movie display, smooth reading. How much does it cost? At a comfortable price of just £119, it remains consistent with Tescos number one brand value: to provide cost-effective solutions to the consumer… but does that come with the compromise of quality? Time to find out.
Now that we’ve got formalities out of the way, we can get onto the good stuff: the features!
The design of the product is good, more specifically the shape. It’s round sleek edges make it very easy to hold and use where ever you may be. Relaxing at home, on the train to work… You can take it anywhere with you; as its tidy and small build enables portability quite well. It comes in 4 different colours for those who want a little more personalisation. The materials used are a bit of a hit and miss; I’m a fan of matt finishes, so I love the feel of the back of the product. However, it’s letdown by the very cheap plastic used for the face of the tablet. There’s a full range of colourful accessories that have been designed to fit the Hudl specifically, which is a nice touch.
The Hudl’s screen is shielded by a scratch and smudge resistant glass. Rocking a 7” screen it’s competently viewable, and is conveniently sized to carry about. The screen is not as vibrant as Tesco likes to think, as it does look a little dim even with the brightness bumped up to full. Besides that, everything is crisp and clear to view. Using Blinkbox, you are able to stream the latest TV programs and movies. You also have the comfortable option of huddling up (see what I did there?) to the big screen via Micro-HDMI to HDMI-cable connection for when you’re wanting to share the viewing experience with friends or family.
Gaming – With the backing of the quad-core processor, the gaming is somewhat smooth. It plays simple games like a breeze, however performance slips with more complex games. As the tablet is linked up to Google Play, you can be rest assured there’s truck-loads of games to play with the responsive 10-point multi-touch screen and built in gyro-sensor. Good news for us gamers, as this will keep you entertained until the battery life lets you know that it’s definitely time to go to bed.
Music – You can stream any music you like via Blinkbox’s music counterpart, and can download tracks/albums from Google Play. You can enjoy the listening experience with Hudl speakers, or Hudl headphones… it’s all your choice. Music is categorized well and it’s all very functional, so there’s no negatives there. However, through the speakers the sound is a little tinny.
Reading – Through Google Play, you can get access to the latest books, all of which are very easy to read on the Hudl screen. If you’re a bit of a bookworm, you can always extend Hudl’s memory to 48GB by using a Micro-SD card and download to your heart’s desire.
If you love Google and everything Google has created, then you’re in for a treat here. With an Android operating system, the Hudl comes with all you can ask of them: Google, Google Play™, Google Chrome (the quickest browser in my opinion!), Gmail, Google Maps, Youtube… I could go on. But you definitely get the idea.
The Hudl promises you a smooth online experience with its dual band Wi-Fi and powerful quad-core processor. The internet surfing is pretty good, everything pops up when it needs to, and pages load in quick time. Web pages are optimised to the screen and are perfectly functional. From reading up on the solar system in Wikipedia to YouTubing funny cat videos (we all do it, let’s be honest here) the Hudl helps you do that with swift execution. There is child proofing setups for responsible adults to activate, and using Google Safe Search will limit any potential dangers crawling around the web.
The Hudl features a rear and front camera like you’d come to expect. The front is 2MP with fixed focus, and the rear is 3MP with auto focus. The quality of the camera is most definitely nothing to write home about, but it does it’s job. The touch screen has a relatively simple and accurate selection process so you can show your friends and family photos as you please. You have the ability to download and store photos you’ve taken from the camera or computer using the micro-USB cable.
Tesco, Tesco, Tesco
This could either be heaven for an existing customer, but a nightmare for non-members who just want a tablet for personal use. Points are lost here. The moment I jumped on the Hudl tablet, I had a bunch of Tesco thrown in my face. I understand that it’s their product, but I can’t help but feel like I’m being told off for not shopping there and not having a Clubcard. If you know your way around the system you’ll know how to get rid of the brand widgets that overwhelm the home screen, but even with that gone there’s still a button at the bottom right that takes you to everything Tesco. Is all of this brand stamping a good or bad idea? Totally depends on where you go to do the weekly food shop.
To conclude, I can say that the Hudl is a decent tablet for a decent price. This is a case of getting what you pay for. Minus the limitations, Tesco have created a handy tablet for a budgeted customer. When spending just over £100 on the Hudl, you really can’t try and compare it against the specs of, say, a £400 iPad. It’s a cheap and cost-effective product, but that does mean it’s overall design and specs slip. I’d recommend it to those who would like a tablet for general use and don’t have much of a spending budget. However, if you’ve got more of a budget and are looking for a high quality finish in design, performance and specs… you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Pros: Very good price, overall smooth functionality, convenient size and shape
Cons: Cheap materials, overwhelming Tesco branding, low quality camera and performance