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Tesco Hudl 2: Hands-on review with this Full HD budget tablet

Tesco has launched its great-value Hudl 2 tablet, improving on the original Hudl in ‘every way’ and packing in slick new parental controls, and we went hands-on at the launch.

Tesco’s Hudl 2 has been completely redesigned from last year’s Hudl tablet, with a faster processor, Full HD 8.3-inch screen and new parental controls, but more or less the same great price tag. We had a chance to check out the Hudl 2 at Tesco’s big launch event and we love the family features and super-sharp screen, although performance could be a little better.

Tesco Hudl 2 hands-on review
Tesco Hudl 2 hands-on review

Tesco Hudl 2: Design and specs

At first glance there isn’t a massive difference in design with the Hudl 2, with the same colourful finish – there are eight different colours to choose from, most of them bright and fun, which should give the Hudl 2 plenty of appeal for families. Our personal favourite is ‘Perky Purple’. Cheeky.

Tesco Hudl 2 hands-on review: The Hudl 2 (above) compared with Hudl original (below)
Tesco Hudl 2 hands-on review: The Hudl 2 (above) compared with Hudl original (below)

However, the Hudl 2 is actually bigger than last year’s seven-incher, with a ‘stretched’ design. It feels slimmer than the original although that’s down to the increased width, and actually the two tabs are about the same thickness. We’re glad that the same soft-touch rear has been used, which feels great against the fingertips.

Tesco Hudl 2 compared with last year's Hudl tablet
Tesco Hudl 2 compared with last year’s Hudl tablet

One of the real highlights of the Hudl 2 is that 8.3-inch Full HD screen, packing a 1920×1200 resolution, which makes everything look simply stunning. Video is amazingly crisp and colours seem to be naturally reproduced, while on top brightness it ably saw off the glare from the overhead lights.

Tesco Hudl 2 compared with last year's Hudl tablet

A 1.3GHz Intel Atom quad-core processor powers the Hudl 2, three times faster apparently than the first Hudl tablet, although we noticed a bit of lag on most of the demo units, usually when loading or quitting out of an app. Hopefully it’s just teething issues as the Atom processor really should handle Android KitKat just fine and the admittedly-basic games we tried ran fine. We’ll report back when we do our full review.

Tesco Hudl 2 hands-on review: Playing Sonic

Tesco Hudl 2: Camera

A 5-megapixel rear camera provides no real upgrade over last year’s Hudl, proving to be an only-if-you-absolutely-have-to in our five minutes of fiddling. Photos take with a lag of a second or two after tapping the on-screen shutter button and looked a little hazy when we viewed them back, even on that super-sharp screen. And if your subject’s moving, expect them to come out as a blur.

You get a handful of extra features, including a 360-degree panorama mode and a ‘soft focus’ mode which blurs the background, but we’d definitely only use the Hudl 2 as a camera if we had absolutely no alternatives. Which, in the days of smartphones, is unlikely.

A 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera can be used to chat online, and it seems decent enough to do the job.

Tesco Hudl 2: Parental controls

A parental filter app allows parents to set time limits for the amount of time kids can use the tablet, including specific time ranges, plus web safety features to keep little Johnny from checking out big jugs dot com. And with the ability to set up to seven different profiles, it’ll work well even for extended families.

Tesco Hudl 2 hands-on review: Parental controls

Setting up a new profile is ridiculously quick and easy, taking less than a minute. Once that’s done, you can set all kinds of limits. As well as specifying a time range for use (so your kids can’t stay up late watching movies or playing games), you can also give your kids a time limit for how long they can use the Hudl 2. So for instance, little Dorothy can only use the tab between 8am and 7pm, and she can use it for a maximum of two hours. There’s an option to set different time ranges and limits between weekdays and the weekend, although we’d have preferred control over each day individually. After all, we wouldn’t mind if our imaginary kid stayed up a little later on a Friday with no school the next day, but want them in bed and asleep early on a Sunday evening.

Tesco Hudl 2 hands-on review: Parental controls

Still, the timer is a great feature, and supplemented by quick and easy controls over what content your kids can access. This boils down to setting which individual apps they can use, and there are internet filters in place too, which allow you to set which categories are out of bounds. So you might let them have a bit of a gamble, but religion is right out.

In all, the parental controls are early intuitive to use and a great addition to a cool family tablet. You can set up to seven different profiles in all, each accessed on the lock screen – and of course you should set a passcode for the master profile, to stop your kiddiewinks getting in and changing those parental settings.

Tesco Hudl 2 hands-on review

Tesco Hudl 2: UK price and release date

For £129, the Hudl 2 can be yours from October 9th – or if you’ve got a Clubcard, you can nab it for as little as £65 with the Clubcard Boost scheme.