The battle of the budget tablets is fiercer than ever with two genuinely good tablets available at wallet-friendly prices. The Tesco Hudl, at £130, and the Amazon Fire HD 7, from £120, are the two best budget tablets out there.
Now that affordable tablets have graduated to higher quality screens, speedy processors and decent build quality they're almost good enough to replace top end kit for most people.
So which out of these next generation budget tablets is best for you?
Once you hit 1080p resolution on a tablet of around the 8-inch mark you're going to fail to spot any blur. That means this level of resolution is plenty good, especially for the price. It's an area in which budget tablets usually cut corners in order to save money.
Both the Tesco Hudl 2 and the Fire HD 7 have decent resolution screens. Since the Hudl 2 has an 8.3-inch 1080 x 1920 Full HD display that translates to a respectable 273ppi.
READ: Tesco Hudl 2 review
The Fire HD 7, on the other hand, has a smaller 7-inch screen with lower 1280 x 800 resolution which translates to 216ppi.
The difference between the two might not sound much but when in the 200-300ppi range the difference can really be seen. Of course having a smaller screen will offset this a bit for the Fire HD 7, but then you're losing 1.3-inches of screen size. Worth it? We don't think so.
As long as a tablet can keep up with tasks including gaming and multitasking what's powering it doesn’t bother many people. In this instance both tablets perform admirably.
The Tesco Hudl 2 is powered by a 1.83GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3735D processor backed by a top-end 2GB of RAM – more than enough to handle anything you can throw at it. Yes it'll even handle games like FIFA 15 with no slow-downs or dropped frames.
The Amazon Fire HD 7 comes with a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM. This translates to a little juddering when scrolling through cover art.
Hudl 2 wins this round pretty comprehensively.
Design and build
Tesco has come along nicely from its first tablet with a larger screen in smaller frame thanks to reducing the bezels. It's also kept the tablet slim at 9mm and reasonably light at 400g. The finish is a matte plastic which looks and feels premium despite this being class, in price at least, as a budget tablet. The Hudl 2 comes in blue, orange, black, red, turquoise, white, purple and pink.
READ: Amazon Fire HD 7 review
The Amazon Fire HD 7 is fairly bulky at 10.6mm meaning it could probably take a bit of a beating – ideal if you're buying cheaper for a child's use.
But it does feel a bit plastic as you'd expect from the price. Despite being chunky the Fire HD 7 is lighter than the Hudl 2 coming in at 337g, probably owing to that smaller screen.
The Hudl 2 features a 5-megapixel rear camera capable of 1080p video as well as a front-facing selfie camera at 1.2-megapixels. While the selfie snapper could be a little better they'll both get the job done and are good for the price. Dolby Audio also helps make good use of the rear stereo speakers.
The Fire 7 HD has a 2-megapixel rear and 0.3-megapixel front-facing selfie camera. No prizes for guessing where money was saved on this tablet then. Although the sound quality is great with Dolby Digital Plus processing for the rear stereo speakers.
Storage and connectivity
Tesco only offers the Hudl 2 in a single storage size of 16GB but it does have room for micro SD expansion of up to 32GB more. The Hudl 2 has basic 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and also supports tethering plus there's Bluetooth.
The Fire HD 7 uses 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, also limited to 2.4GHz, comes with Bluetooth and is limited to 8GB storage without expansion options.
The Tesco Hudl 2 features a family-friendly Child Safety feature which uses pin, password or facial recognition to keep children in their profile alone which you've set up for them. Web browsing, for example, is then set to an age specific limit for that child. Blinkbox is also included on the device for paid access to Tesco's film and music streaming service.
Amazon offers a Fire HD 7 model for even less at £120 for those that don't mind putting up with adverts. But for the ad-free version you'll have to pay the same price as the Hudl 2 at £130. Android 4.4 KitKat is the standard OS with some mods including the Tesco services.
The Fire HD 7 has multiple logins for all the family and includes Amazon FreeTime which has daily goals and limits that parents can set for their children. So you can set a time a child must read before video content can be unlocked, for example. Fire OS 4 is the operating system which is a heavily modified version of Android – it adds simplicity but removes some options so it's a preference thing.
Of the two the Tesco Hudl 2 appears to come out on top for hardware with a faster processor and more RAM, larger higher resolution screen, more storage capacity, slimmer better build quality and purer Android OS.
But the Amazon Fire HD 7 offers more specific child controls and a more simplistic software system as well as being lighter thanks to the smaller screen. You can also save a tenner if you opt for the model with adverts.