Look and feel
Although Tesco’s hudl is quite chunky, it’s also light enough to comfortably handle on the commute. We like the soft-touch rear, which comes in a range of cool colours, but the screen does pick up fingerprints and scuff marks quite easily.
Ease of Use
Tesco has gone out of its way to ensure families have a stress-free experience setting up and getting used to their tablet. The hudl even comes with its own helpline. Our only usability complaint is that the screen sensitivity is occasionally a little off.
The hudl’s three-megapixel rear camera is basic at best, but you also get a two-megapixel front-facer for video chats.
A quad-core processor is on board and handles the latest Android games, although we did see some stutter when typing and browsing around the OS.
Five hours of media playback is about standard for a modern tab, and matches the likes of Amazon’s and Barnes & Nobles’ HD offerings. The Asus MeMO Pad HD7 is still the king of battery life, though.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,10/2/2013 4:07:40 PM
Ease of use
Sharp and bright HD screen;
Ease of use;
Occasionally a little stuttery;
At the launch of its hudl tablet, Tesco told us that tablets were here to stay, but most UK families don’t own one because of their expense and accessibility issues. Two issues the Tesco hudl aims to address with its simple set-up and impressive £119 price tag. We’ve seen other tablets such as the Asus MeMO Pad HD 7 at this price point, but the hudl offers an HD screen and can be snapped up half-price when paying with Clubcard vouchers, making the hudl a very enticing budget offering.
But is it really all good news for families after an affordable tablet?
Simple as pie
The hudl really is built around ease of use, apparent from the moment you open the box. A stripped-down quick-start guide and screen overlay show you exactly what each button does, and the tablet even advises parents on making sure their kids stay safe online. There’s also a helpline number in case you’re struggling with any aspect, impressive support given the budget price.
You can bag the hudl in a number of different colours, including red, black and purple, but we tried out the fetching dark blue version. For a budget tablet, the hudl is impressively well put-together and doesn’t look half bad either. Durable build quality means you won’t stress your young ones getting their mitts on it, even if the seven-inch screen is a massive fingerprint magnet.
Our sample did pick up a few light scratches on the back after a couple of days of constant use and travel, but nothing too troublesome, and we loft the soft-touch surface which feels great against your fingertips. And while the hudl is undeniably chunky compared to many seven-inchers, it’s still light enough to comfortably clutch one-handed while you watch a movie or browse the web.
As well as the standard power and volume buttons, you’ll also find a microSD memory card slot for expanding the 16GB of built-in storage. The hudl supports up to 48GB of overall storage, so you’ll have plenty of space for carting around media and apps. Impressively, the hudl also boasts a Micro HDMI slot (cable sold separately). That allows you to hook up to a TV or monitor, for streaming content to a bigger screen – useful, with Tesco’s close ties to BlinkBox.
One of the glowing highlights of the Tesco hudl tablet is the HD screen, a real boon at this price. The 1440 x 900 resolution gives 243 pixels-per-inch (ppi), comparable to other high-def tablets such as the Nook HD+, but the hudl is cheaper than all of them. It’s also almost as sharp as the iPad mini’s display, despite being half the cost.
Movies and photos look great, thanks to those pin-sharp visuals. The high resolution is also perfect for browsing the internet, as you can zoom right out of a page and still clearly read the tiny text. Viewing angles are also strong, and although the screen lacks the vibrant colours of more pricey devices, the top brightness level is powerful enough to fend off even harsh sun glare. You’ll find two speakers housed around the back of the tablet, and they’re powerful enough for watching video indoors or out. Audio clarity is good even on top volume.
The main annoyance with the hudl’s screen is how quickly the screen gets coated in grime, something that many tablets are still prone to. We also occasionally had trouble tapping on a link when browsing the web or the occasional button inside an app, taking three or four stabs before anything happened. At first we thought this might be a performance issue, but it appears to be a sensitivity issue instead, similar to the iPad mini’s screen.
Despite rocking a quad-core processor, we did see the occasional bit of slowdown when browsing the web or mucking around in apps. Typing on the hudl’s virtual keyboard is sometimes laggy, especially if you type at speed, and you’ll have to wait for the tablet to catch up. Thankfully these performance issues seem to be limited to the OS. We tested several games, including some of the latest graphically intense titles such as Fifa 14, and they ran without a single stutter.
The hudl also has reasonably decent battery life. We streamed video for over five hours on maximum brightness before the tablet died, roughly the same as you’ll get from the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Nook HD+. Only the Asus MeMO Pad HD 7 managed better battery life at around this price point, giving a stunning ten hours of playback per charge.
A basic three-megapixel camera is mounted on the back and provides a way to take simple shots, but we wouldn’t recommend using it for much more than silly Facebook uploads. Our final images looked plain and occasionally washed-out when viewed back on a TV, and a few were also blurry. You can manually focus by tapping the hudl’s screen but it’s a laborious process and doesn’t always produce the desired results. Still, the fact that the hudl even has a rear camera at this cost is quite impressive. You also get a front-facing two-megapixel lens for chatting online or snapping profile pics.
The Tesco hudl also comes with a bunch of apps pre-installed. You get the blinkbox app which gives you quick access to the online store and any films you’ve purchased or rented, although we’re a little antsy about paying £7 for a movie and only being able to watch it when we’re connected to the internet. You also have convenient Tesco apps which allow you to manage your account and place online orders.
The main selling point of this well-priced family tablet is its awesome HD screen, which is bright and sharp enough to make watching videos on the move a real pleasure. The Tesco hudl is also generous with its features, even if the cameras are quite poor. If you’re after an affordable and user-friendly tablet for the whole family, this is a fantastic option.