Tesco is taking on the budget tablet market, including Amazon and Google, with the Hudl.
Tesco wants to hit those homes across the UK which don't yet have a tablet: that's three quarters of households, apparently. And that's one of the reasons the Hudl is priced at £119, under-cutting Google's Nexus 7 by £80.
Clubcard Boost allows your Clubcard vouchers be used for double value, so you can get the tablet even cheaper than its already budget price tag - just £60 worth of vouchers will see a Hudl dropping through your letterbox when it launches in a week or so.
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean is almost vanilla but Tesco has added a few of its own bits and pieces. Preloaded widgets give first-time users a helping hand and other things like Clubcard status at a glance. These can, of course be removed.
Alongside the regular Android navigation buttons, there is a 'T' button which is a shortcut to the supermarket's services including Blinkbox and ClubCard TV. Yes, we see what Tesco did there. Blinkbox and Clubcard TV are both streaming services - Blinkbox offers up to date content to buy or rent, while Clubcard TV allows free, but fewer and older content. You're not restricted to shopping at Tesco via the Hudl, of course.
To go with the TV services is a micro-HDMI port to get those films and TV shows onto your TV (you'll need to buy the right cable, though). Importantly there is full access to Google Play Store which means the Hudl one-up the Amazon Kindle Fire range of budget tablets which is limited to accessing Amazon's own Appstore.
A range of accessories included cases from £15, cables and headphones. Some of which are designed for kids. The tablet itself comes in black, blue, red and purple.
The Hudl is aimed at those who don't understand specifications or who don't care about them. If you want to know what makes the Tesco tablet tick, read on:
Despite the budget price, the Hudl has a reasonably solid specification. Much better than we expected, in fact. The Hudl has a 7 in screen matching the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire but has been designed to be used in landscape mode. You can still use portrait if you wish. The resolution is decent at 1440 x 900 and viewing angles are good which, to be honest, we weren't expecting. It isn't an IPS panel (we were told) yet tilting the tablet didn't make colours invert (you can see this in the photo below).
There's only one model of the Hudl - to keep things simple - and it comes with 16GB of storage (around 12GB of which is available to you). There is also a useful microSD card for adding up to 32GB more.
The 1.5GHz quad-core A9 processor copes fairly well with its job. Navigation around the OS is nippy enough if not lightning fast. However, Web browsing, one of the main pitched tasks for the tablet was laggy to a large extent.
Cameras are also below par with 3Mp at the rear and a 2Mp webcam. The results are low quality and the tablet had problems focusing. We'll test out battery life when we get a review sample but Tesco touts up to 9 hours which sounds good.
The Tesco Hudl is by no means a perfect tablet but it has got a lot to like about it. Specifications are better than the budget price tag suggests and there's that all important Play Store access for apps and content. Web browsing seems to be the main performance downfall so far and cameras are poor. But with the use of Clubcard Boost we can see the Hudl being an attractive option for Tesco customers. Look out for a full review soon.