The Hudl 2 is Tesco’s second dip into the tablet pool, following on from last year’s budget Hudl offering – and it returns with more promise than ever.
With a £130 price tag and a spec sheet that, on paper, appears to handle everything you can throw at it, the Hudl 2 is shaping up to be the lord of all budget tablets, and could see itself slathered in lots of wrapping paper come December.
Here’s how it holds up to our first impressions:
Simple, comfortable, but definitely not premium
The original Hudl was... anti-beautiful, to put it kindly.
Thankfully Tesco’s burned the original blueprints and created a much sleeker, less obese tablet this time around.
Available in plenty of eye-catching colours to appeal to kids and adults alike, the Hudl feels comfortable in the hands, thanks to its rounded design and grippy soft matte plastic body.
Obviously it doesn’t feel anywhere near as premium as a metal iPad Air or Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, and there is quite a bit of flex if you decide to bend it.
Still, for the money you’re paying we can’t see any glaring design issues, although we’d have preferred it if the dual rear speakers were front-facing, for obvious reasons.
There’s not much to complain about the first time you set your eyes on the Hudl 2’s 8in full HD screen. It’s sharp, and appears bright, though we have yet to unleash it outside.
If you spend as much time as we do scrutinising screens with pixel-weather eyes and furrowed brows however, then it wont take you too long ot notice that while its 283ppi count is sharp enough for normal use, there are sharper screens out there.
The iPad Mini 2 Retina and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 are two examples that immediately spring to mind, and we have a feeling that the Hudl 2 will lose to them without putting up much of a fight.
Despite the fact that it’s not the sharpest screen around, and brushing past the slightly muted colours, this is a £130 tablet, and a Full HD screen will be more than adequate for most people in general use.
Not the best camera
Although Tesco pointed out that the camera has improved since the original Hudl, we have to say that our first impressions aren’t overwhelmingly positive.
The 5MP rear snapper takes quite a while to focus and actually capture a picture, and under the reasonably well-lit demo room lights, pictures come out a little fuzzy. The controls at least are simple and uncluttered, although don’t expect to see Xperia Z3-levels of tweaking here.
Normally we’d do everything in our power to convince you why taking photos on a tablet is a gadget sin, but the Hudl line is aimed at casual tablet users, which include children and the elderly – two groups of users who might not necessarily own their own cameras.
From what we’ve seen, the photos taken with the Hudl are still usable and sharable, but they definitely won’t blow you away. We’ll reserve our final judgement for our full review however, so stay tuned.
The short time we spent tapping away on the Hudle 2 isn’t enough to judge its multitasking and gaming prowess. It doesn’t appear to stutter when flicking through Android 4.4 KitKat's apps which is a positive sign, and 1080p video playback is smooth.
It’s hard to judge the Dolby-powered speakers in a noisy demo room, but they seem loud enough, and the parental control software looks like it’ll come in very handy for making sure tech-addicted toddlers spend at least some time eating their greens, doing their homework and going to bed early.
The Moto G rules the budget smartphone kingdom with its incredible bang-for-buck performance, and the Hudl 2 looks set to be the tablet equivalent.
We’ll have to wait for our full review unit to make our final judgement, but for now we’ll tell Santa to ramp up production over the next few months.