Hudl 2 Review

Recently I got the latest tablet from Tesco, the Hudl 2. It’s a great looking tablet that fills the niche of a high quality device at a good price. After using the Hudl 2 for nearly a month, I thought I’d write this Hudl 2 review to try and help you guys form your own opinions on whether this device is for you.

Specifications

Let’s get the boring bit out of the way first – the specifications. Most people don’t really care if a tablet has 270ppi, or 1,000ppi – all they care about is will it do the job? Don’t worry, we’ll come to that later. Here’s the break down of all the gubbins on the inside of the Hudl 2. You know, for the nerds out there (like me):

  • 8.3″ 1920 x 1200 HD screen.
  • 16GB of internal memory.
  • MicroSD slot (up to 32GB).
  • Intel Atom 1.83GHz quad-core processor.
  • 2GB RAM.
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) only – no 3G option available.
  • Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, 3-axis Accelerometer, e-Compass, Gyroscope, Ambient Light Sensor.
  • Mini HDMI out.
  • Front facing 1.2MP camera with HD 720p video recording.
  • Rear facing 5MP camera with full HD, 1080p video recording.
  • Dolby audio.
  • Android 4.4 KitKat.
  • Price – £129.00.

As you can see, for the mere price of just £129.00, the Hudl 2 is a pretty capable device – on paper at least. But does it stack up when you’re actually using the thing? Let’s take a look…

The good

There’s a lot I like about the Hudl 2, and there are a few bits I don’t like. Let’s start with the positives first – the speakers are superb. I’ve never heard speakers like it from a tablet. The sound is clear, concise, and the range of bass, treble and gain is delivered brilliantly from the Dolby stereo speakers.

Watching YouTube, Netflix, or listening to music without earphones is actually a joy on the Hudl 2, I’m yet to hear any grain from the speakers being over powered. I also have a Nexus 7, and I have to be honest – the speakers on that don’t even come close to the ones on the Hudl 2. Pretty impressive considering the Hudl 2 is nearly half the price of the Nexus. Looking at the back of the device though, the speakers are plainly obvious and quite garish if I’m honest. But it’s a small price to pay for such good sound quality.

The camera

Added to the really great speakers, I also like the camera. The rear facing 5MP camera – although not the highest pixel density out there – can take some pretty good snaps. Although, I’m not sure if that was thanks to the camera itself, or the Google Camera app that comes with Android. I’d be inclined to say it’s a little of both. I managed to take some snaps of one of my motorbikes whilst out on the driveway, the Hudl 2 coped well with nice colours, and effects that like blurring and filters that can be added straight from the device.

Android

I’m a big fan of Android anyway, as I’m heavily enrolled in the Google ecosystem. So owning an Android device is usually the best option for my needs (that, and the fact that iOS devices are extortionately priced). Anyway, what I hate is when companies like HTC and Samsung add their own overlays, and bloatware to Android; rendering it slow, cumbersome, and usually nowhere near as attractive as it’s intended to be.

Tesco don’t do this with the Hudl 2, well not to the extent that other manufacturers do anyway. The user interface is pretty much stock Android, which is what I really like see. Also, they haven’t added a heap of bloatware to the device, either. Yes, there are some Tesco apps that have been added to the device, which help with shopping etc. There is also a range of Blinkbox apps installed by default. But apart from that, you’re looking at pretty much stock Android -which is really refreshing to see (well done Tesco).

The bad

The Hudl 2 is a great device. But as with all tech, it’s not perfect, and I wouldn’t be doing you guys justice is I didn’t talk about some of the things that frustrate me when it comes to using the Hudl 2. Albeit a short list, it’s still a very important list.

Screen sensitivity

Being around computers pretty much 24×7, you learn how to type fast. Really fast. So any touch-screen device needs to keep up with the pace. Unfortunately, the Hudl 2 fails dismally when it comes to this. I use my tablets for email quite a lot; I even use them for composing blog posts from time to time. So being able to type quickly and effectively is very important to me.

Typing out an email on the Hudl 2 can be a very frustrating affair. Android does have a sensitivity setting that will adjust to your usage, but I’ve personally found this to be only marginally helpful at best. During long periods of use, I do find myself getting frustrated at having to tap portions of the screen multiple times, or having to go back and editing multiple words as the screen hasn’t picked up my finger taps. But it’s not to the point were I’ve had to put the Hudl 2 down and head for my Nexus 7. Although I have been close, more than once.

One hand usage

I’m accustomed to using the 7″ screen on my Nexus 7, which is around the size of a book. So using it with one hand is a simple affair. I can grasp it in one hand, and navigate the vast majority of the menus, keeping my other hand free for important tasks like grabbing a coffee, or picking my nose. With the Hudl 2 this is a neigh on impossible task. I have fairly big hands, but using it with one hand is very difficult indeed, and it’s something I really do miss from the Nexus 7. You can see the difference in size in the picture below:

Hudl 2 (left) and Nexus 7 (right)

Weight

This is simple. The Hudl 2 is a lot heavier than what I’m used to – at 290 grams, the Nexus 7 is a fairly light device. However, at 410+ grams, the Hudl 2 is noticeably heavier. The 120 grams difference may not sound like much, but when you’re clasping the device in one hand for long periods of time, the weight difference is noticeable. Trust me.

Conclusion

Overall, the Hudl 2 is a great looking device, that works well and can suit most people’s budget. If you’re looking for a general tablet to have around the house for surfing the Internet, checking Facebook, and sending the odd email then the Hudl 2 will do that for you. If you’re looking for a device that’s capable of playing music and video in brilliant quality, then again, the Hudl 2 will do that also.

But if you want something that’s a little more portable, will be used for long periods of typing, and you’re not too bothered about the sound quality of the external speakers. Then I’d spend a little more cash and go for the Nexus 7. Overall the Hudl 2 is a great device, and weighing everything up against my Nexus 7, I’d have to choose the Hudl 2. Ok, it’s a little bit heavier and more awkward to type on. But buying the Hudl 2 saves me nearly £100 over the Nexus counterparts, and the sound quality is so much better on the Hudl.

Ultimately, if you’re after a great tablet at a great price, then you should seriously consider the Hudl 2 from Tesco. I hope you found my Hudl 2 review useful, if you have any questions, please feel free to fire a comment in below.

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