Tesco’s second foray into the tablet market comes after an unexpected success with the original Hudl, which offered premium features without the matching price tag and proved to be only second behind the Nexus 7 in terms of the best tablet of 2013. The Hudl2 follows in that same vein, and although the £129 price tag is more than what the original sold for at launch, the Hudl2 shows that budget doesn’t necessarily need to be bad. The entire shell of the Hudl2 is covered in a soft rubberised casing that makes holding the larger 8.3-inch tablet far easier than we expected. It certainly lacks the premium finishes of the Tab S 10.5, for example, but this is a tablet solely marketed with the family in mind and all the rough and tumble that comes with it.
Users can find the usual suite of ports available on the Hudl2 and the inclusion of microHDMI is a nice touch to hook up the tablet to a TV. In portrait mode the volume rocker and power button sit right at the top of the tablet, which makes it difficult to reach for smaller hands and could do with being placed a little lower. Around the back there’s the familiar Hudl branding, as well as the 5-megapixel rear-facing camera. One of the biggest flaws of the original Hudl was the poor 3.2-megapixel camera, and although this is a marked improvement over the original, images still aren’t up the quality most users will like. This time around, Tesco has added 1080p video recording, which is a nice option to have, but it doesn’t match the quality that smartphones are now producing. As ever, the front-facing camera will be best used for Skype and other such apps, but definitely not recommended for taking photos or video recording. Also around the back are the dual speakers, which have surprisingly high volume levels and offer good clarity on any music played through them.
Thankfully Tesco has resisted temptation to cover the Hudl2 with a custom skin and instead has gone ahead with a nearly stock version of Android 4.4. As you’d expect you’ll find all of Tesco’s shopping and Blinkbox apps, as well as some really helpful apps to help set up the Hudl2 and set up parental controls. Thanks to the lack of a custom skin, the Intel Atom processor blasts through anything we threw at it. It deals with high-end games, multitasking and downloads effortlessly. We’d stick our necks out and say that it easily rivals many of the high-end tablets on the market.
Tesco’s been fairly quiet on the size of the battery they’ve included in the Hudl2 and although the quoted 8 hours sounds impressive for an 8-inch tablet, our tests showed it didn’t quite make that; instead it reached a respectable 7 hours. Media-heavy tasks will drastically impact this though, so it’s best to keep the charger handy. You’ll also be reaching for a microSD card to expand on the 16GB of storage available for users, although after updates a little over 12GB is usable.
It goes without saying that the main factor that will help sway people to pick up a Hudl2 is the price. At £129, the Hudl2 is without doubt a steal. The tablet as a whole is a fantastic upgrade from the original offering and works well as a device for kids, grandparents and everyone in between. When you consider that through Tesco’s Clubcard Boost program, the Hudl2 can be picked up for as low as £65 and there’s over £60 of savings bundled in with the Hudl2, there’s no reason why we can’t highly recommend this affordable and fantastic tablet.
For more reviews on the latest Android devices, make sure to check out the new issue of Android Magazine.