Thursday, 5 December 2013

Hudl, Hudl, toil and trouble

I've recently bought a Hudl, so I thought I’d do a review for you – please ignore this post if you are not interested as that’s all it’s about.

If you don’t know what a Hudl is (you probably do or you would have switched off already), it’s the new 7” tablet computer from Tesco.  I compared it to the Samsung Galaxy Tab2 and 3 coming in at between £90 and £175 and also the Google Nexus at £199.  The Hudl retails at £119.  For the price, it is a pretty good specification and the only advantage of the others was that the Nexus had better screen resolution.

What really sold it to me was that I could exchange £50 worth of Tesco clubcard vouchers and double up to £100, then we had a £13 off voucher if we spent £90. So I actually only had to part with £6 to buy it (and of course I got 120 points so that was a net spend of £4.80).

So far so good.

This was a bit more bulky than the Nexus but for the difference in price I was happy to live with this.  And of course it comes in 4 colours, Black, Red, Blue and lovely lovely Purple (but not pink!!!).

Now for the review
Firstly, you can have any one of the four lovely colours – as long as it’s black.  They don’t seem to have any stock except BLACK. Ok, so I can get a really girly cover for it.

It first gave me a problem when I tried to set it up.  The password to get onto the internet could not be entered, the letters on the keyboard turned blue when touched but the password did not get entered into the relevant box.  So I booted it 3 times before it decided to play ball – not a good start but I was off.
Very impressed with the screen resolution and unless you are an HD freak then it’s plenty good enough.   I also got a micro HD lead (about £2.80 on ebay - £15 in Tesco) and connected it up to the tv so could watch on big screen.

Happy so far – except – it keeps crashing on me.  The screen either freezes in total or just parts of it freezes and fails to respond – completely.  At one time I pressed the power off button and the pop up, popped up but the screen failed to accept the command to shut down.  So the only thing I could do was to use the “hard” reset (put a pin in the small hole in the back).  This brought it back to life when it rebooted.
This does happen a lot – the screen freezing – so I decided that I wouldn’t load too much on as I would take it back to Tesco as soon as I got an opportunity. In the meantime I used it to pick up emails and to play a few games – namely Angry Birds and Spider.  It still kept crashing though.  Of course with all intermittent faults it is going to be difficult to get Tesco to accept any responsibility for it.

So having given it a bit of a try, I found that if I pressed the standby button on the side and then turned it back on, the screen unfroze and I could continue as normal.  Whilst this does give a short-term solution to the problem I don’t think that it is acceptable, so I  packed it back in the box and trundled off to Tesco. The lady on the electrical desk was very helpful, but it was made clear that I should have called the number on the box rather than taking it back to store.  Anyway, she checked that the firmware was the latest version and did a “hard” reboot to reset everything.  Of course she could not get it to freeze – I just knew that would happen.  Anyway, bless her, she called the number on the box and gave me the phone to talk to support.  They were about to ask me to do the same two things again (firmware and reboot) so I explained that that had already been done. Then the person on the phone sort of mumbled that it was a known fault!!!!!  And that she would replace it for me.  

Good for Tesco, no argument – just replace it – I was given a code number to quote to get my replacement, but…… they could not do a swap-out (from special held-back stock for replacements) because I hadn’t had it 28 days yet (not sure what sense that made but hey-ho). Unfortunately they didn’t have any in stock, hopefully they might have some on Friday but after that then that’s it until after Christmas.  Oh and sorry I can’t reserve you one, however if you call on Friday and we have some then I can put one away for you as you have a faulty one.  All this was getting very messy.  Even more so as next Saturday we are heading south, a long way south and I didn’t know when I would be seeing another Tesco for a while.

I could of course have elected for a refund. I did contemplate for a moment buying the Nexus, but as I had doubled up my vouchers, and used another voucher I thought this would get messy and I’d be parting with the best part of 200 quid or I would just get a load of vouchers back.  So I left the store with my “faulty” hudl to consider my options.  One good thing was that as I now had a fault code to swap the hudl then I could do so for up to 12 months after the purchase date.

I think I’ll think about it. It does work and if I can get a replacement before Christmas then I will, otherwise it may have to wait until the Spring when we get back from our winter travels.

Apart from the screen crashing, the only other thing that I found was that the wifi range wasn't that good. You really need to be close to the signal source.  However I don't have any other tablets to compare this with. However it's unlikely that I'll be able to use it in the motorhome.  This is more for when you go to the pub to pick up emails etc and don't want to carry a laptop.

Generally though, if it hadn't been faulty (and I will give them an opportunity with another one), I'm quite pleased with the Hudl.

 Iain can't begin to understand why I need so many gadgets that do the same thing (laptop, smartphone and tablet), but I keep assuring him that they are all "slightly" different.

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