Hands-on with Tesco's Hudl2

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Hands-on with Tesco's Hudl2
Tesco announced its Hudl2 tablet today, and by now you already know what it's about and how it stacks up against the original Hudl. Well, we've had a chance to play around with the device, and it's immediately clear this is a significant upgrade. Despite a notably larger 8.3-inch screen, the Hudl2 saves on width and thickness, with a taller frame accommodating all those extra pixels. The chunky bezels of Tesco's first tablet have all but disappeared, giving the Hudl2 a much sleeker look that betrays its £129 price point.

Gallery: Tesco Hudl 2 | 9 Photos

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While the Hudl looked like very much like a budget, entry-level tablet (no offense intended), its successor has much more of a mid-range vibe -- you could easily mistake it for something that came from a way more established brand, the likes of Google and ASUS included. Everything is just that little bit tidier this time around. What was once chubby is now slim; where bezel dominated there's now more screen; and even the stereo speaker grilles have a flashier, 'bubbled' design.

Beneath a new look, pretty much every spec has been improved upon, too, just as Tesco promised. A faster processor, double the RAM, and better cameras for starters. The screen has also been given a resolution bump to match to the increase in size. In the controlled environment of the demo area, at least, the 1,920 x 1,200 pixel display certainly appeared bright, crisp and well-calibrated. The Hudl2 is a little bit heavier than the first at 410 grams, but thanks to more favourable dimensions, it's just as easy to grip with one hand in portrait mode as it is to use with two when in landscape orientation.

We'll have to reserve the true stress test for the review, but once out the demo mode Tesco had the Hudl2 running in, it seemed to be nippy enough when cycling through the main menus or hopping in and out of apps. Speaking of software, Tesco's bundled the Hudl2 with what looks to be a way more robust parental control app, knowing the original Hudl was popular with families. You can set up to 7 user profiles, and control exactly how much screen time your kids are allowed on weekdays and weekends, where exactly on the web they're allowed to go, and what's apps they have access to.

Tesco has improved the integration of all of its services into the Hudl2, as well. You have access to a standard menu, but there's also a Google Now-like card view that incorporates real-time information, like when your next online shop is due to be delivered. How visible all of Tesco's blinkbox properties are on the device also throws doubt on speculation the supermarket is looking to sell them off, with a Tesco exec suggesting the ecosystem won't be changing as much as some may believe.

Tesco is also giving customers the chance to add a more personal touch to their Hudl2, with double the colour options (eight in total), and tons of cases and other accessories to coordinate or clash. The new hues, like the pink you see above, are super bright in a way that'll make you love some of them and detest others. A minor point, but it's nice that there's a good selection of colours rather than the generic monochrome palette.

We're looking forward to using the device for more than a few minutes and getting some proper impressions together, but that enthusiasm in itself should tell you the Hudl2 is so far looking like a significant upgrade on the first, both inside and out. And with a £129 price point, Tesco could even be set to surpass what it managed to achieve with the Hudl, making a decent tablet affordable and accessible.

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