Tesco Hudl 2 hands-on review: Price and competition
Although Tesco said at the launch that the price remains the same compared to the original, theHudl 2 is actually £10 more at £129 – we're not complaining, merely pointing it out and that price is still extremely good value for money. (The original remains on sale for £79 while stocks last).
Once again, Tesco has decided to offer the tablet with ClubCard Boost meaning every £5 worth of vouchers is £10 towards the tablet so it can be yours for as little as £65 (of vouchers). As if that didn't sound good enough already, theHudl 2 also comes with £60 worth of vouchers in the box. Some require a minimum spend but £25 of Blinkbox credit is a nice touch.
TheHudl 2 has a similar but updated look and feel compared to the original. It uses the same type of plastic casing which has a nice matt finish and a rubbery grip to it. It feels nice to hold in the hand although due to being larger, is a little heavier - 401 g up from 364 g. It is, however, thinner at 9 mm compared to 10.5 mm.
Tesco has done a good job of making the Hudl 2 look more sleek and desirable. Its clean lines and rounded corners are pleasing to the eye. It has similarities with the HTC Flyer and iPhone 5c. A couple of caveats are that the holes for the rear speakers aren't neatly symmetrical with one side getting cut off by the camera and the seam which runs around the edge.
There're more colours to choose from this time round with a total of eight: blue, red, orange, white, pink, purple, turquoise and black. Additionally there are four different cases which range from £10-30 and these are also available in the same colours meaning plenty of colours combinations. Handily, the website can show you combinations before you buy. If kids are going to use it then there is a specific bumper case to protect the Hudl 2 in drops.
Tesco Hudl 2 hands-on review: Hardware
As promised, Tesco has upgraded the Hudl 2 in a number of ways. The main thing for us is the screen which is the best feature of the tablet for us. It's bigger and joins the increasingly popular 8in segment. To be precise, it's 8.3in matching the LG G Pad 8.3 and uses an impressive Full HD (1920 x 1200).
The display is bright, offers good viewing angles and nice colours. With a pixel density of 272 ppi everything looks nicely crisp so we're seriously impressed when you consider the price of the Hudl 2. And that's not where the upgrades stop.
Tesco claims that the Hudl 2 is three times faster than its predecessor. This is thanks to an Intel Atom quad-core processor which clocks up to 1.83 GHz. Tesco has doubled the amount of RAM to 2 GB.
In our Geekbench 3 processing benchmark, the Hudl 2 is not three times faster with a score of 2165. But that is a nice improvement from 1371. In the graphics department it is triple the performance managing 17fps in the T-Rex test which the original could only manage 5fps. Web browsing is also better than before with a time of 768ms in SunSpider which is down from a no so speedy 1397ms.
Overall, we're impressed with the performance of the Hudl 2. The device is nippy and smooth the vast majority of the time and copes with web browsing and gaming very well. There are still little signs of lag like when switching between user profiles and occasional jerkiness when moving between homescreens but it's nothing major.
There's just one model of the Hudl 2 which offers 16 GB of storage. That's not bad and if you need to add more, then you can do so via the microSD card although this only accepts up to 32 GB cards which could be higher. However, we are a little disappointed that there is only just over half the internal storage available to the use out of the box so a lot is taken up with the operating system and additional software.
Tesco has upgraded the rear camera to 5 Mp and the front strangely drops to 1.2 Mp. There's still no LED flash and realistically the performance still isn't great. The camera can take an age to focus but if you're patient, you can get some snaps good enough for sharing online. See our sample photo and video below. The front camera is pretty grainy so video calls won't be the clearest but at least doable.
As before, there are rear facing stereo speakers and there's Dolby sound to boot. It's a shame that they are rear facing but nevertheless the experience is pretty good considering the price of this tablet.
Like previously, the Hudl 2 has dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS a micro-HDMI port and Tesco says that it will offer eight hours of battery life which is one hour less than the Hudl 1 but this is likely down to the new screen. We've found battery life to be good, if nothing amazingly special. With varied usage, the Hudl 2 will last a few days before needing to be charged. If you use it heavily for videos, gaming and web browsing be prepared to top it up regularly.
Tesco Hudl 2 hands-on review: Software
Software is up-to-date with Android 4.4 KitKat and Tesco has made the wise decision of leaving the operating system mostly stock or vanilla (as Google made it).
We say mostly because Tesco does add a few bits and pieces including My Tesco (above) which is one swipe away from the main homescreen (or hit the T icon). It's a hub for all everything Tesco from grocery shopping to Blinkbox. This was on the Hudl 1 but the new version is vastly improved with a Google Now card style interface which allows you to hide or remove elements.
Get started and Top apps
To help new comers, Tesco has created a Top Apps as a curated list of apps to download out-of-the box as the Google Play store is supposedly a bit daunting for some. There's also a Get Started app to help users to get to grips with the software including customisation, privacy and shopping.
Both these, as you would expect, encourage you to use Tesco's services but tou can, of course, buy the Hudl 2 without being a regular Tesco customer and simply ignore these parts of the operating system.
More handy in the long run, for some users anyway, is built-in parent controls. This app only displays in landscape, but aside from that, this helps you keep on top of what your kids can and can't see with a safe browser and the ability to black or whitelist specific sites or content. You can also set time limits for specific users to avoid them spending too long using it. Up to seven profiles can be customised in terms of age and suitability.
The system is easy to use and very good but not flawless. You can't set more than one time frame so you'll need to rely on the time limit instead and you can't set time limits for different tasks like reading and gaming. You can allow and block access to different categories in the web browser but the child will need to request acccess to specific websites and you have to grant access to the entire domain. For example, bbc.co.uk not bbc.co.uk/cbeebies. Another small annoyance is that you must type the full URL so typing 'google' and hitting enter won't work.
Buying Advice The cameras are still not great, but in almost every area the Tesco Hudl 2 has been improved and it's still a bargain at �129 or even less with ClubCard Boost. The software is good but takes up valuable storage space and non-Tesco customers won't get the most out of it. A great screen, decent processor and microSD card slot make this an excellent tablet.