The Tesco Hudl has some rather ambitious aims, looking to topple the dominance of both the Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7
The Tesco Hudl is the company’s first ever tablet and proof that even a supermarket can enter into the fast-paced world of consumer technology.
Rather than try and take on the nicher and more expensive 10-inch market the Hudl is looking to claim dominance over the ever-increasing 7-inch category which already includes some impressive pieces tech, the Google Nexus 7 2013 and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD being just two.
Tesco has rather an uphill struggle on its hands then, not only does it need to convince buyers that it can build a tablet that is as good-looking, powerful and intuitive as the competition it also needs to be cheaper, the result of this box ticking, is the Hudl.
Tesco Hudl: Build
The first thing you’ll notice when you take it out of the box is just how heavy it is, at 370g the Hudl is almost 100g heavier than the new Nexus 7.
Luckily that extra bulk doesn’t come without a positive, and in this case it’s sturdiness. Whilst it certainly doesn’t feel as premium as the iPad Mini you do get a feeling of solid reassurance when holding it suggesting that this is in fact a tablet for everyday family life.
The all plastic body feels rigid overall with almost no bend or flex aside from some give in the middle of the back but it’s hardly noticeable.
As first impressions go, we were pleasantly surprised as the Hudl feels like it has been built exactly for the market it was targeted.
Tesco Hudl: Screen
Tesco’s first 7-inch tablet comes with a 1440x900 LCD HD display and while on paper that sounds more than adequate the results are sadly lacking.
Colours feel quite heavily washed out with whites almost appearing as creams and while the clarity is certainly there the backlight unfortunately just isn’t up to the task of showing it.
If you’re watching films and TV there’s an argument to be made that you probably won’t notice it as much, but in direct sunlight when you’re trying to read a book or look through your apps both the lack of whites and the lack of brightness may become irritating.
Annoyingly it appears as though Tesco has made very few sacrifices with the Hudl but one area that has suffered is the screen, the one area that arguably should be the best it can be.
Tesco Hudl: Features
Tesco has chosen Google’s Android operating system as the OS of choice and aside from some own-brand features we’ll mention later it looks business as usual with an un-skinned version of Android 4.2.
That means you’ll get full access to the Google Play store which is arguably more than can be said for the Amazon Kindle Fire HD which still operates a heavily censored version of Android.
Of course one of the big features that many potential customers will be interested in is the Tesco Hub button which is descretely located in the bottom left of the screen.
When pressed this opens up a Hub showcasing the range of exclusive services that come with the tablet including Tesco BlinkBox, BlinkBox Music, Tesco Direct, Tesco Bank and Clubcard TV which offers a range of TV series and films to Clubcard holders for free.
It’s a truly comprehensive package and once signed up it becomes a viable home entertainment hub offering access to music, films and TV while still letting you do your weekly shop.
In day to day usage the Hub works well, of course you’ll need a Wi-Fi connection most of the time as the Hudl doesn’t come with a SIM-card slot which adds weight to the notion that Tesco has built the Hudl as more of a living room tablet than anything else.
On the back you’ll find twin-speakers, sadly the less said about those the better with both sounding quiet and metallic during the time we spent watching content.
Tesco Hudl: Performance
If there’s one area Tesco hasn’t skimped on it’s the hardware, the Hudl comes with a quad-core 1.5Ghz processor along with 1GB RAM and a quad-core GPU for gaming.
There’s also Dual-Band Wireless which should make for better Wi-Fi speeds in the home and out and about.
The Hudl feels as quick as you’d expect with apps loading fast and games running smoothly, there’s also a mini-HDMI out so you can beam your gaming or content up to a HDTV.
If we had any complaints it was that the touchscreen didn’t feel as responsive as we’d hoped, in comparison to say the Nexus 7 or the iPad Mini both of which feel lightning quick on point of contact.
Tesco Hudl: Battery
Tesco claims the Hudl has a 9-hour battery life and we’d have to agree, with light usage and occasional media viewing the Hudl will certainly last the day.
This does however bring us back to a point we raised previously which was that Tesco appears to have aimed this tablet at the living room, where it’ll almost certainly be used for browsing, gaming and video watching, all three of which will reduce the battery in a matter of hours.
Tesco Hudl: Verdict
The Hudl is a testament to how far we’ve come in the world of consumer technology, the fact that a person can walk into a store and pay less than £100 (using a Clubcard) to buy a 7-inch HD tablet is something that should be applauded.
Of course simply because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s going to be any good and while on the whole the Hudl is a perfectly serviceable tablet, the screen is a considerable let down, enough that we’d almost suggest spending either the same money on the older Amazon Kindle Fire HD or by spending the extra £80 on the lighter, faster Nexus 7.
That said it's important to remember that the Hudl wasn’t built to be the fastest, or the best-looking instead it has been designed as the everyday living room tablet that will survive knocks, drops and occasional spills and from our experience we’d say the Hudl certainly ticks those boxes.
Tesco Hudl release date: Out now
Tesco Hudl price: £119