TECH

Tesco Hudl 2 Review: Less Is More

14/10/2014 16:58 BST | Updated 16/10/2014 11:59 BST

The Tesco Hudl 2 is available to buy now for £129 or £65 with Tesco Clubcard vouchers.

Key Features:

  • 8.3-inch Full-HD display
  • Intel Atom quad-core processor
  • Dolby Audio Stereo Speakers
  • 8 hours battery life
  • Fast, dual-band WiFi

The Pitch:

"With a bigger, crystal-clear 8.3 inch full HD screen and Dolby optimised audio, hudl2 offers the ultimate entertainment experience. Powered by an Intel Atom super-fast 1.83GHz quad-core processor, users can enjoy lightning fast web access, browse photos, read e-books and lots more."

tesco hudl 2

The Verdict:

Tesco surprised everyone with the original Hudl in two ways. One, it existed at all. Tesco entered one of the most competitive markets in the technology industry, and one that is arguably struggling to find its place among the hoards of 'phablets' and large-screen smartphones, with the Hudl, and it released an actual product.

Two, it was pretty good.

It wasn't the best tablet in the world, in fact it had a few flaws -- the screen was bad -- but for under £100 you could own a fast, quad-core tablet that could show films in 720p and let you do your weekly shop all while surviving the school run and beyond.

So a year later, inevitably, the Hudl 2 is here. It is larger, heavier but hugely more powerful all while keeping the cost down to an incredible £65 (£129 if you don't use Clubcard vouchers).

With Apple set to unveil a new iPad Mini and Google just weeks away from releasing a new Nexus tablet, the Hudl 2 is battling some contenders that cover almost every price point.

But can a £65 tablet realistically be any good?

Again, it turns out... yes.

Pick it up and you'll notice that the Hudl 2 isn't without heft. At 410g it's a heavy tablet, and there's no getting around that. There are advantages to that weight though: it's sturdy. Really sturdy. We dropped it, bent it and put it through the same kind of tests we imagine any tablet will eventually face if introduced into a family ecosystem and throughout all of it the Hudl 2 stayed resolute.

tesco hudl 2 side

If you're looking for a tablet to survive being stuck down the back of a car seat or being found days later with a jam sandwich now deeply attached then this tablet will happily laugh it off. It's just a shame that there's no waterproofing as that would honestly make it the most family-friendly tablet on the market.

The Hudl 2 is also physically larger than the original: here the 7-inch screen has been replaced with an 8.3-inch Full-HD display. But it's worth the size gain - it's a serious improvement on the last panel. Colours are well reproduced and the white balance discolouration issue we had with the last one is a thing of the past.

tesco hudl 2 screen

If we had one complaint it's that while the screen offers great viewing-angles the whole display is super-reflective. We tried watching a film on the train and saw more of our tired and possibly hungover face than we did of the film itself. It wasn't pleasant.

Tesco has updated the Hudl 2 with a faster Intel Atom processor, it's certainly nippy enough and we never really had any issues with lag while using it. It's unlikely you'll be putting the tablet under too much strain but it's good to know that the buffer is there if you did.

Oddly we did find that one corner of the Hudl 2 would get extremely warm whenever we were watching a film on Sky Go or charging it. It's not anywhere near as bas as say the BlackBerry Passport was but it's potentially something to be aware of.

tesco hudl 2 back

The battery life is as good as you'd hope with a solid five-six hours of viewing through Sky Go and several days of standby life.

Gaming will obviously give the tablet a drain, but as long as you plug it in overnight you shouldn't have to worry too much.

The Hudl 2 comes running Android 4.4 KitKat and aside from Tesco's own apps and widgets this is a strictly pure Google affair.

That means the home screens can be mildly simplistic and there's not much room for customisation. Thankfully though there are so many launchers available on Google Play and you can always rectify the situation by downloading your own interface.

Tesco has once again packed the Hudl with a range of Amazon-style features including bespoke apps that give you access to your Clubcard, Blinkbox and more. Think of it as Google Now but all about Tesco.

hudl 2

It's not as intrusive as Amazon's software and ultimately it doesn't feel like it gets in the way, Blinkbox offers a superb collection of brand-new films to rent so if you're happy to pay-to-stream then you won't be disappointed.

One of the great features we is about the Hudl 2 is how accommodating it is for parents. The Child Safety app for example is an all-in-one solution that offers child profiles as well as clear and informative instruction on how to 'child-proof' your tablet while also protecting your children from content they shouldn't be seeing.

We really like the Hudl 2, it's cheap, no-nonsense and does exactly what it says on the tin. At £129 you'll be hard-pressed to find a better tablet that performs as well as it endures. At £65 it's a steal.

4starstechdarkblue