Tesco Hudl: the best budget tablet of 2013? - reviews
Four stars all round for Tesco's tablet debut as supermarket wastes no time in announcing Hudl 2
THE question on many a reviewer's lips 12 weeks ago was how good can a Tesco tablet actually be? The answer, it seems, is very good indeed - given the price.
Having sold 35,000 units in the first two days, the supermarket has said it now expects sales to hit a whopping 600,000 by the end of the year. To capitalise on that success it will release Hudl 2 at some point in 2014, according to the Daily Express.
The Hudl comes in four colours, has a 7-inch high-definition screen, a quad-core processor and a claimed battery life of nine hours.
It costs just £60 if purchased with Tesco's Clubcard loyalty card vouchers - or £119 if bought with cash - which makes it one of cheapest tablets on the market.
But if you're still undecided as to whether to take the plunge into budget-tablet territory this Christmas, we've digested the leading reviews to help make life a little easier.
Tesco is not the first supermarket that has tried to break into the tablet market. Asda released the £99 Amova in 2011 with little success, but £100 today buys a lot more tablet than it did two years ago.
Mary Ann-Russon of the International Business Times says the Hudl has an "impressive design". She says: "At first glance... the Hudl reminds me of the Nexus 7 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 - it certainly doesn't look cheap."
She adds: "The performance is really fast, much faster than expected."
The Daily Telegraph's head of technology Matt Warman gives the Hudl three and a half stars, saying that although it's no iPad, it isn't meant to be. "It takes a classic supermarket approach," he says, "offering what most people want from a tablet - web browsing and entertainment - and doing it really well, at a price people can afford."
Samuel Gibbs of the Guardian road-tested the tablet at the Hudl launch event. He said that "at £119 it pretty much undercut most things on the market" and that "if you've ever used any Google devices before... then you'll be immediately familiar with the interface".
His full review, published a few days later, praised Tesco for keeping the Hudl simple. "Unlike other 7in Android tablets such as Amazon's Kindle Fire family, Tesco decided to make only minor additions to the standard Google Android ‘Jelly Bean' experience," he writes. "That means users have full, unadulterated access to the Google Play Store, including its 850,000 or so apps, plus movies and music services."
Barry Collins of PC Pro was surprised by the quality of the device's 7-inch display. He says, "Tablets live or die by their screens, and here Tesco has done a remarkably good job. The 1,440 x 900 resolution is a tier below the Nexus 7's 1,920 x 1,200 display, but it certainly doesn't want for sharpness, nor brightness or contrast".
As for the speakers, according to Engadget, they don't disappoint. "You won't be hosting any impromptu parties with this device," it says, "but given that so many pieces of hardware scrimp on this essential feature, we're pleased with what we've seen - or rather, heard."
Some reviews have been critical of the Hudl's weight when enclosed in the protective rubber casing, but as Tech Radar's John McCann notes, it "will be vital when it's undoubtedly palmed off on children in an attempt by parents to shut them up."
Would he recommend the Hudl? Yes, but only if you're on a tight budget and looking for something more basic than an iPad. Although he does say that "if you can stretch to an extra £80... we'd say go for the new Nexus 7 - you won't regret the upgrade".