This Christmas (2013) has seen Android tablets outsell their Apple iPad equivalents. This is because of course not everyone can afford an Apple device, and because people are more aware of what they are now buying, and know that just because it's an Apple iPad, it doesn't mean it's the best device on the market.
Thanks to Android tablets such as the Tesco Hudl,consumers now have a choice of quality tablets at low prices. The Hudl may only be £119, but don't think for one second that it's a budget tablet, because beneath its cheap price point is a quality tablet that can run side by side with the rest of the pack.
On opening the Hudl and turning on the machine, the Hudl updates to the latest software version (4.2.2) and swiftly kicks into action. The first thing you'll notice about it is the quality of the build. The Hudl feels like a premium device, with a rubberised back panel, and a sturdy build that feels good in the hand, with nice weight behind it, without being heavy.
And then you notice the screen, this £119 device has a screen which really is beautiful. With a resolution of 1440x900 pixels on a screen of 7 inches, it gives a pixel density of 242ppi. For those of you who don't know what that means, it means the screen looks damn lovely, and everything is crisp and sharp. The screen can be turned up very bright, and the colours are bold and lifelike.
Power and Graphics
The Hudl runs an almost pure version of Android, meaning that there are no overlays such as HTC's Sense or Samsung's TouchWiz. This means that everything is fast and fluid, and it looks as Android should. Tesco have added some widgets, but these are easily removed, and the only thing that gives it away as being a Tesco tablet is a small "[T]" in the bottom right of the screen.
The Hudl's internal power is not representative of the £119 price point, as it runs a 1.5ghz A9 quad-core processor, with 1GB of RAM and a Mali Quad-core GPU. To give you some ideas of that power, it more powerful than the 2012 Nexus 7 which was a powerful tablet, and it can run games such as the various Grand Theft Auto's, Rayman Jungle, Minecraft, Angry Birds Go, Dead Trigger 2 and N.O.V.A 3 with no problem at all. Of course, with this power, it also means that running Chrome browser, YouTube and other such applications is a breeze.
The sound quality of the tablet is pretty good too. With the volume turned up loudest, it can easily fill a room with music without distorting. The tablet sports a pair of 1 watt speakers, which while doesn't sound much, is quite adequate.
Extra Ports, bits and pieces
The Hudl once again belies it's price with the extra bits and pieces that can be found on and in it. Of course, there's the usual headphone socket for the sound, plus the standard mini-USB connection for charging and exchanging data. There is also a mini-HDMI port for attaching the Hudl to a large screen TV. Not even some of the more expensive tablets have this option and it's good to see.
For some, 16GB will not be enough, so the Hudl supports a micro-SD card slot for upgrading the memory. Having this option is something that too many tablets forget to add, and is a must for adding movies and music to your tablet. Of course, you can always stream from services such as Blinkbox and Spotify, and use your Google Drive but the option to hold data on a card is most welcome.
Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS are supported, as is WiFi (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 802.11 a/b/g/n. So there's nothing really that this tablet is missing. It's all there, it all works well and it's all for a bargain
After using an iPad for so long, and stuck with the constraints of the Apple ecosystem, using the Hudl has been a joy. Android has been ahead in customisation and general ease of use for a while, and using a tablet rather than a mobile phone really shows the power of Android.
The smaller 7 inch size of the tablet is ideal for general use, and makes it especially ideal for gaming, as you don't get cramp in your hands as much as you do with a larger iPad. For work with documents, because of the high screen resolution, once again the tablet is a joy to use.
Battery life is good, and with installing tons of apps, and playing GTA while running Fusion music player in the background, the battery lasted around 6 hours after it's initial charge. That's not bad for a game that is pushing the machine so hard, plus music playing in the background.
This tablet can be recommended to anyone, whether on a budget or not. For the price, there is no comparison between a Hudl and an iPad mini, as the Hudl is just as good, and even more customisable and user friendly than any Apple product. Compared to other Android tablets, again, with price versus quality, the Hudl is a clear winner, unless you desperately need a larger screen.
Highly recommended and a full five stars for Christmas present of the year 2013!