Daily Archives: 20 October, 2013

Let’s Hudl again shall we?

So, let’s have a coffee break and chat on things Hudl related shall we?

First off – no favouritism and I haven’t been bought off*… I was starting up a youngsters tablet art class and needed 10 tablets. In the event the budget was limited and the max I could get was 7 Hudl’s, on launch day, at 7am after 5 days of 15 hour days for Eurogamer.

But, oh boy, they’re fab. I wasn’t expecting to like them as much as I do. The screen is very sound with good viewing angles and a lovely handling of colour and contrast (unlike some tablets I could point to which BURN YOUR EYES OUT WITH OVER-SATURATED COLOURS!!!)

Then there’s the physical size etc. The bezel is a good ratio although the screen is a little bit off the perfect golden ratio size of some other tablets. Once slapped inside (sorry, gently placed) a protective case it’s got a good feeling of solidity, weight and maturity – there’s very little in the way of rough edges and corners and my only complaint might be that the micro SD card slot is unprotected. Possibly the machine is a little heavy, maybe, but not overwhelmingly so and for the price by no means a brick either. To be honest I’ve drawn for an hour in a pub and on a bus with a Hudl and didn’t notice fatigue from the time spent holding it… It is a bit thicker than other tablets, a fraction, bearing a smidge of a reminder to the iPhone 3GS and the curved stylings more than, say, the squarer and blockier stylings of the Surface or iPhone 4/5 etc. It doesn’t have the beautiful stylings of the Lumias (and I am VERY interested in the 2520 as a device) but by the same token it isn’t in any way an ugly or old fashioned looking tablet. Why didn’t I choose a Kindle Fire HD instead? Well… To be honest that does feel like an older fashioned device to me – something about it feels unfriendly. Factor in the fact that, while the Hudl has a – at best functional – camera (whereas the Kindle Fire does not) and that the Hudl runs on stock Android to the Kindle’s Argos catalog OS it didn’t seem like a sensible trade off.

Regardless, as a tablet artist, it’s the screen and how it works with the styli that I’m most concerned about. Well, maybe processor speed versus art app functionality too. And in this case it’s, again, way up there. The normal test styli (the New Trent, Dagi, Pogo et al) all passed with flying colours and then I moved onto the bogey stylus for any tablet screen (and the curse of the worst): the Nomad Compose long hair stylus.

(photo taken using iPhone 4S and Olloclip).

Depending on the screen this stylus can jitter or intermittently lose connection (and thus become useless) and, to my surprise, there was none of the former and very little of the latter.

So, a perfect machine for a screen artist? Well, we’re still, in ways, at the infancy of the Android app store – I can only point to four or five stable art apps that I like on the platform and half a dozen others that do the business, just.

But the apps that it does run it runs very capably indeed. Photoshop Touch, Didlr, Sketchbook, Watercolor Pencil all fly on the system and are a joy to draw on and, again, I am coming at this from an unusual and specialist angle. I keep hearing good things about Blinkbox and all of the normal apps: Chrome, Youtube et al run as happily on the machine as they do on other tablets.

So, have had the tablets for a couple of weeks now, haven’t had that much time but still painted a few pics for the sheer joy of using the tablet with an art app:

Adobe Photoshop Touch.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Didlr app.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

So. A good machine for buying to let kids play with with little worry? Seemingly so. I’ve let my students at college draw on mine:

and also let 8 years old draw on them…

… and in all cases it passed every test with flying colours. Must admit I’m both surprised and delighted. As Tesco have said this is the first in a series of devices from them, and it’s obviously a successful one as they’re been VERY hard to get hold of since release, I’m intrigued to see where they’ll go next.

*Flipping wish I had been bought off pre-this post and vaguley hope I would be in the next 24 hours! 🙂 I’m sitting down with 10 kids on Tues to do tablet artwork in a sci-fi art exhibition and have only 7 Hudl’s. Three will have to be on iPads and tbh that bugs me more than it should. Detracts from the group nature of what we’ll be doing. That said, until payday and the devices come back into stock I’m reliant on interest from others *cough*hint*cough* or have to work around it with a cludge.

Dell Solutions tour, London.

Latest in the lovely series of places that I get to draw in has been the Dell Solutions tour who invited me up to draw on the tablets that will be released between late November and early December… (the fact that my tablet art class are getting itchy fingers for new hardware is also possible an interest to them, but I think my budget’s well shot for this year as we’ve had to expand the class again and subsequently buy new hardware).

But I was asked to join in, and it was on my day off, so it seemed like an interesting place to be… The venue being Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC. I’m partial to a bit of football, although don’t have any team allegiance really, but I liked the idea of seeing the stadium.

Anyway I was impressed, both by the stadium and by all of the four machines I got to draw on. One machine (the Venue) was a corker. Handled every stylus I threw at it. The only negative was that the machines were set up with no art software bar Paint so I didn’t get to play with Fresh Paint on the screens 🙁 But, again, another meeting sorted out for the class and I to play with a couple more screens and screen sizes.

Started out a very nice day, weather wise. Started raining shortly after which has kept going for four days solid now 🙂

The journey was slow, hot, sweaty and from one packed train to another. The coffee was needed as soon as I arrived and signed in. Painted on (as are the Frog and abstract face) MS Paint app as it was the only thing installed… Using a variety of styli (Dagi, Nomad, New Trent, three or four cheap ebay jobs, Plai eStylo and Pogo).

(drawn by request 🙂 )

Yes. I know, two from a competing platform… It was just what I had in my bag at the time and my Surface was completely out of juice 🙁 Would have happily drawn the sessions (Intel on Ideas and Microsoft on Procreate) on a Dell tablet but they all seemed to be chained to tables and I couldn’t find anyone to rescue one for me to play with 🙂

This was my favourite machine… A Venue (?) but didn’t get the model number. Due for release at the end of Nov I think they said and ran Win 8.1 more than happily.

((A brief aside – if you want to know the most about a machine you should always give it to an artist. I don’t think I can think of anyone who pushed the processor, screen, software and hardware as much. From quick zooming to a range of input devices to constant screen interaction I think screen painters find the nooks and crannies of tablets and touch screen devices quicker than anyone else…))

And then I had to dash off… (before lunch even!! 🙁 ) Had to be back for the school bus so had to leave but, as I was doing so, I realised I’d not taken any pictures of the stadium so that turned into this:

And my personal favourite:

… because (at the risk of being boring) I like software that gives you the possibility to break a panorama as well as take it… Architecture that has a lot of related paths and repeated themes often gives the best results (for example here and here also…) Will try and get to stadiums in the future I think… Was a lot of fun to snap. As was the day, thanks Dell 🙂