Channel 5

Tesco Hudl

Wednesday 09 October 2013


Rating of 4

The basics

When you first think of a tablet, you wouldn’t think of Tesco, would you? The supermarket giant that’s more famed for its aisles of groceries than its tech prowess has been stocking phones, televisions, tablets and all sorts of gadgets for years - but now the company’s come out with its own low-priced, seven-inch slate to entice shoppers away from rivals like the iPad. We’ve got our hands on the brand new Hudl and put it through its paces, but is it Tesco’s Finest effort or should it end up in the bargain bin Value range? Find out in our review.

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The good

The Tesco tablet is surprisingly solidly made. Despite the low £119 price-tag, Tesco has managed to stuff its first effort with some top-notch hardware under the hood and still find budget for a pleasing design. First up is the high resolution screen which comes with a 1440 x 900 HD resolution that looks pin-sharp, with great viewing angles. While it doesn't compare with the stunnung 1920×1200, 323ppi display that Google’s latest Nexus 7 is packing, for the low price that Tesco has set, it certainly comes close. Software-wise, it’s a fairly bare bones installation of Android 4.2.2, with only has a few minor Tesco additions. The Hudl’s 1.5GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM keep things humming along, and it’s only when you’re really taxing it with updates, downloads and everything in-between that you’ll notice any slow down. It’s speedy for all your basic tasks, but it might buckle in some intense situations or the odd 3D game.

When you first get your hands on the Hudl, you’ll find that it’s made of a hard plastic that’s soft to touch and is quite grippy, but also pretty weighty and rigid. It comes in black, blue purple or red flavours, and you’ll also find a matching micro USB cable in the box, along with a mains charger that looks a lot better than any bargain bin chargers you might encounter on eBay. Ours came in the burning bright red hue, complete with a matching hard-case that’s available separately for £15, and it makes for an attractive and protective combination. On the back, you’ll find a pair of speakers for stereo sound, while you can also plug in your own headphones via the jack. Tesco rates its Hudl for nine hours of battery life, and we managed to squeeze out around the same amount in practice.

There’s no doubt the Tesco Hudl is going to be compared to the Nexus 7, thanks to their relatively low prices, but Tesco’s take actually has a few of its own tricks to bring to the table. Unlike the Nexus 7, the Hudl comes complete with a micro SD slot, letting you expand the onboard 16GB of storage with a 32GB microSD card, bumping it up to a maximum of 48GB, plus there’s also a micro-HDMI port too. That means you’ll be able to hook up your tablet to your telly and watch movies and videos stored on your tablet, or beam down clips from the likes of YouTube, Netflix or Tesco’s very own Blinkbox, which is pre-loaded on the Hudl.

The bad

Despite its rugged, weighty, hard plastic construction, we can’t help but feel it’s just too plasticy. It’s not the premium polycarbonate that you’d find on Nokia's finest Lumia devices, or with Apple’s iPhone 5c, instead, it’s a rather cheap feeling material that feels rough to touch after extended periods of time. We’re also not too fond of the landscape orientation that seems to be favoured by the Hudl, evidenced by the location of its buttons and cameras, and we found ourselves scrambling to find the on/off button at times. Speaking of the cameras, simply put, they’re atrocious. The front-camera will make do for Skype video chats, but the rear 3.2-megapixel snapper takes muddy photos and doesn’t fare any better when it comes to shooting video.

When you’re first greeted with the Hudl’s home screen, you’ll find that Tesco has pre-loaded it with widgets advertising its Blinkbox video and radio services, shopping tools, a Clubard widget and more, but you can get rid of them easily. It’s the unremovable Tesco T logo at the bottom left hand corner of the display that grates though: you can't get rid of it. Tapping it, no matter what app you’re in, and even by accident, will send you to the Tesco hub, which gives you quick access to many of the company’s guides, app shortcuts and even a store locator. Useful if you’re very tied into the Tesco ecosystem, not so much if you’re not - and the location the button is positioned in makes it suspiciously easy to hit by accident.

We also had a few problems with the Wi-Fi reception on the tablet, as we found it would constantly drop even when similar gizmos right next to it were picking up a strong signal. That has a knock on effect on the battery, as the Hudl would constantly be hunting around for a network to connect to, but once we brought it closer to our router, the slate beamed down data from the web happily. It might be worth noting the Hudl’s Wi-Fi range, especially if your house is pretty big, or your living room on another storey to your router.

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Read our Lenovo Miix review, right here!

The bottom line

Sure, the Hudl might be cheap, but it’s not a Tesco Value-range slate, instead, it’s just a great value for money tablet - period. For £119, you get plenty of bang for your buck, thanks to its high-res screen and great performance, and if you can deal with Tesco’s minor additions to the software, it’s definitely worth a look if you’re wanting to get your hands on small, powerful Android tablet this Christmas.

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User comments (20)

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Had the hudl four days, does as it says on the tin. No problems to report. used Tesco vouchers so in effect it was free. :0)

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I have owned a Hudl for a week, I feel I is all placed in the market. If you take into account now much you are spending it is excellent value, especially if using Tesco points. I used a £13 off next stop coupon and the balance in double up vouchers - free. One BIG problem, dropping connectivity. Once dropped it does not reconnect and you have to turn off WiFi and then it back on or do as I did and install an app to do it for you. Tesco, or rather the developers will have to look at this.

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We think it's the best of the budget bunch. It's stable, got good specs and is nippy. Best of all there's a lively user group for owners to help out if things go awry:

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Hi pewtu1984, I just bought a hudl today. What app did you install to turn wifi on and off

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Had a Hudl now for several days and it really is quite good. I initially had a number of problems with wi-fi connectivity but solved these by changing settings within the router. It had been srt to auto 108mbs but kept dropping connection with the Hudl. I changed it toG only and have had no further problems.

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David Scourfield

Good review on the Tesco HUDL couple of questions can I use a cordless mouse with it and outlook for emails

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Graham Webster

Bought my hudl few days ago also have I pad very impressed with the hudl takes wee bit getting used to android however good value for money was going to buy the new nexus however no extra storage facilities. Bought a leather case from tesco as bought at same time as hudl £5 taken off case price.

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Ian Crick

Annoyed that after having to have the first two exchanged due to touch screen faults (that the Tesco helpline know about), that I tried to review it on the hudl forum to get the review rejected for saying about this. I have a comment on my Facebook page about this (link below) and would like to know if others have had this problem. Since getting the 3rd, apart from this happening now and again I love this tablet and if Tesco could fix this fault (might be a small batch) then I would have no problem recommending this tablet to everyone. I always said I would never have an android product and the gadget show review for the Hudl changed my mind. Also I think having the backing of a major supermarket made my mind up. Ian

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I have had 3 now. All turned out to have faulty screens. Left side or whole thing shuts down. It's clearly cheap because they have cut corners and the result is flawed. Look elsewhere.

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We got the Hudl for free really with the Tesco vouchers last November, actually had £10 cash back!! Have found the Hudl does what it says on the tin, no problems and haven't experienced any loss of WiFi connection at all like some have had. The only thing I will mark it down for is the lack of connectivity with my digital camera. I can plug the Hudl into the PC and drag photos to the Hudl, but if I,m away from my PC there is no way to do it.

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jake downes

has anyone's charger port broke as well because my has i need to know where to fix it

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Wayne mclaughlin

Only had the hudl 5wks and it will not charge any more. Tesco said their policy is to exchange it for a 1st class reconditioned one and there's nothing I can do not happy will never buy another electrical item from tesco again!

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Had my Hudl for about a week. Bought it mainly as a music and movie player. Screen definition is very good at this price point, however if you connect to a HD TV the screen and sound on the TV go off every minute or so. This is apparently a known problem experienced by and reported on user groups and to Tesco Help. Other problems I have experienced are Screen becoming unresponsive requiring turning off and on again (stand by) which seems to reset whatever has gone wrong. Finally on a number of occasions the key board has gone into an auto repeat mode making typing impossible, resolved again by turning off and on again (stand by). An update is apparently being worked on resolving these issues, due out in February, this is now late February and no sign. This is really sad, as this without the faults is a great unit. However if your primary use is to feed the picture to a HDTV get the unit you intend buying demonstrated in shop for several minutes through an HDTV.

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Kevin Westbrook

Wayne, you have a right to refund, repair or replacement, and you choose which one. Ian, I had a review rejected for pointing out a couple of issues. It was done very factually and objectively but they still rejected it. I am posting this so that others realise you can't use the reviews on the Tesco site to get an honest overview. Shame they would risk their reputation in this way.

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Why are no major media outlets including channel 5 reporting on the major issues. I have the screen issue. Lots of people like channel 5 are happy to say how good they are but no one has reported the problems. Poor consumer service!

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after getting two of these hudles for my children.. after only having them since Christmas (gift from santa) the first hudl charging port wouldn't hold the charger in called tescos and got a replacement one the same day... well now the other one is doing the same and I wrote a very unhappy email.. I am getting a replacement for that too, but.. my sister got one for her son and ..yep that one is also doing the same... what happens is it gets loose and the charger doenst stay in properly then it just completely stops working.. its obviously cheaply made and after having problems with other Tesco electrical goods I should have known better... I wont be buying gadgets like this again from them.. rather pay the extra and have a decent product.

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jake downes- I was at a Tesco store last week and there was a customer there returning a Hudl for the same problem as you have. Just take it to Tesco and tell them, they will send you a replacement unit (apparently a bad batch got through the system).

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jon e boy

Great value tablet. My children got two from Santa in 2013 and they love them. Netflix and YouTube vids loads of apps from Play - even managed to sneak a few educational ones on there. However, returned 2 cos of screen issue, which shows up in first week or two if it's gonna. Yep, they knew about it. Had very variable service returning them: took it to one shop returned monotone, took to another and they buffed me off. Today my daughter's has dropped the WiFi connection and cant pick it up... I am surfing for solutions. Any ideas?

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