More hudl notes

So, after fiddling with my Tesco hudl for a reasonable amount of time, here are some more of my thoughts... In fairness I should state that the other tablet I've used a lot is an iPad mini, so that tends to be what I'll naturally compare it to.

So here goes:

  • standby mode on the hudl uses much more battery than I'm used to with the iPad mini. You're much better off shutting down the hudl when you're not using it for a while. It will make a big difference if you shut your hudl down at night, for example.
  • the software feels a little more flaky than the iPad ... the hudl has frozen up a couple of times and needed a reboot.
  • it doesn't always reconnect to wifi automatically if you have been out of range. I've had to manually reconnect to my home wifi a few times.
  • you can hide most of the Tesco stuff quite easily, so you don't need to have Tesco in your face if you don't want it (which is what I've done).
  • some people say the touchscreen is not as responsive as an iPad ... but I've not noticed too much. Although gestures, like swiping across the screen seem slightly more difficult to achieve than on an iOS device. But it hasn't caused me any problems.
  • the on-screen keyboard / predictive text can be annoying sometimes. But maybe I just need to get used to it.
  • the hudl always seems to make a startup sound... even when you've silenced everything else. If you boot up your hudl then be prepared to advertise it :-(
  • overall, I have no major complaints considering the price, I think the hudl is a good value little tablet.

When I have a choice I tend to revert back to the iPad mini, but I am much happier dragging the hudl around Cambridge in my bag. So far, the hudl is doing exactly what I wanted... so I'm generally impressed.

The Hudl from Tesco

I'm becoming increasingly reliant on having some kind of tablet type computing device with me. My favourite is still the iPad mini, which works brilliantly as far as I'm concerned. It's one of those things that just works. Shame you can't actually do any programming on it though. A decent lightweight C IDE on the iPad would be nice... but I digress.

However, the iPad is not the type of thing I want to chuck in my bag and drag round Cambridge all day. If I damaged my iPad I would be very upset indeed.... they are not cheap to replace.

So I have been looking for a cheaper tablet, something where I would not be quite so upset if I dropped it or scratched it. As long as I can get online and run a couple of apps I'll be OK. But this would be slightly more expendable than an iPad.

So I've decided to try out the Hudl from Tesco. It seems to have a very decent spec for the price, and if you buy it online and use your Clubcard points you can get further discounts.

I went into a Tesco store to try one out... but the demo machine was locked down and would do little more than play some promotional videos. I wanted to fire up the browser, look around in the Google Play store and that kind of thing. Unfortunately, the demo machines don't let you. Boo...

So you need to buy one to have a proper play. I've bought one now, and will report back if there are any important developments.

Acer Iconia Tab W500

My last couple of posts have been made from my new Iconia Tab W500.  Too many evenings have had me sitting on the sofa hunched over a laptop, whilst my wife looks much more relaxed with her iPad.  I'd get an iPad myself - they are brilliant - but you can't program on them, so that is a deal breaker for me.  The Iconia Tab W500 tries to be a laptop and a tablet:

Acer Iconia Tab W500

When in tablet mode it is not as good as the iPad.  The touchscreen pointer does not seem as accurate and you're left feeling that Windows 7 wasn't designed with tablets in mind.  The on-screen keyboard (which is a special version for this machine, not the standard Windows 7 version) is better than on the iPad ... but the less accurate pointer means that you get the wrong key sometimes.  Battery life seems OK when compared to other laptops - I have taken notes on it all day (with careful use of the screen brightness control) and still had some power left.  When I got the machine I did a BIOS update which seemed to make the battery life much better though.

Acer Iconia Tab W500

But ... you can run Visual Studio 2010 on it - so it scores bonus points there for me.  All-in-all I'm quite happy with it, it does what I wanted it to.  Perhaps there will be better Windows based tablets to follow.