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.
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:
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 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.