For the last few years I had been exclusively using Apple products – I work on an iMac, am “borrowing” an iPad from work, and used an iPhone (both 3G and 4 models). Then in January Mandy and I made the switch to Android phones, both of us getting the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. As we were both used to how the iPhone software worked, moving to Android took a little getting used to.
As a birthday present, and also because we had some Tesco Clubcard vouchers I could use, I decided to try out an Android tablet and so purchased the Tesco Hudl. Besides the vouchers which meant money off, another reason for the purchase were the reviews on the tablet stating that at it’s price point and screen size, it’s a good buy. Plus working for a design agency, I was also interested, and impressed by, the user interaction designs for the Hudl.
When it comes to tablet design, not just for the device but the branding, packaging and overall experience, a lot of manufacturers can make the whole thing look cheap. This has never been the case with Apple, who have set the bar very high. Google have recently started coming up with good design for their products, and the accompanying websites have been quite impressive (for example, the Nexus range, Motorola (whilst Google owned them) and the Play store too). Tesco have also taken a similar approach with the Hudl. The main branding was created by SomeOne, a design agency in London, and accompanying apps by ustwo. They’ve done an excellent job in making the tablet very accessible.
Using the tablet is very much the same experience as using my Samsung phone. The main difference is the Hudl comes with Tesco software pre-installed, which you would expect from a supplier of Android based devices. Although we don’t use Tesco for our online shopping, the screenshots of the software make it seem very easy to use even for people who are not used to tablets. The write-ups on how the apps were developed are very impressed – I might even have a go at Android development one day.
Installing and using apps is much the same as the phone. The Play store is easy to use, and the notification area at the top of the screen is very handy and responsive. The only criticism I have, and I’m not sure if it’s the build quality of the Hudl or the Android software, is that internet browsing can be a chore. I started using Google Chrome and periodically the scrolling effect would stop – I would not be able to move away from the section of the particular web page I was on. I could only carry on by closing the browser and reopening it. The same happened using the Mozilla Firefox browser. The only permanent fix was to use the Opera browser (full browser, not Opera mini). Another problem with browsing is selecting a form field (such as the Google search box) sometimes zooms in rather than placing the cursor inside the box. Closing then reopening the browser seems to stop this issue.
The other problem, although this is with Android as a whole rather than the Hudl, is the management of the tablet or phone from my Mac. To move music across, I either have to use Google Play, which is ok although you have to upload to Google servers first and then it becomes more like a streaming service. I’ve also downloaded the DoubleTwist music software so I need a File Manager to copy files to the phone/tablet. I call it File Manager because that’s what the software itself is called, however it’s very limited and a bit of a pain to copy files across. Sometimes, it doesn’t even connect – it’s a very fiddly process. For all it’s faults iTunes is actually a useful and powerful tool for managing content for the iPhone or iPad. Android needs something similar – software I can use to install apps, manage screens, copy music and photos and so on. If Google refuse to supply some such software, either the manufacturers or suppliers of devices should, or maybe there’s a market for a third party developer (Now there’s an idea).
If you’ve never used an Apple product and have not been sucked into their eco-system, the Hudl is an great tablet for it’s size and price. The build quality is excellent, the Tesco supplied apps are easy to use and the Google software (Play store, Play music etc) are all competent apps. Using Google software products as a whole is really easy and even enjoyable. I’ve taken photos on my phone and the Hudl then also tells me to back them up. If you don’t like any of the supplied apps, there are plenty of other Android apps available. Otherwise, if you like Apple’s way of doing things, you might end up frustrated at certain aspects of the Android system. It depends on how much you depend on them.
Tesco Hudl – www.tesco.com/hudl
SomeOne – www.someoneinlondon.com
ustwo – ustwo.com
Article on creative process behind Hudl – CreativeBloq