So, as far as I can see the options available with Android Wear are:
Andorra Wear device paired with Android phone - very rich, lots of apps and loads of functionality.
Android Wear device paired with iOS device - only notifications, very few apps and very limited functionality.
After spending over two hundred pounds on the Moto 360 (second get) and having another 18 months contract with my iPhone this was not a happy experience to be in. I was even tempted to sell the Moto 360 and buy an Apple Watch.
Thankfully I have found a third way ....
Android Wear watch paired with (very cheap £25) Android Tablet to unlock the richer experience and add apps to the watch.
Android Wear watch also connected to iOS device to receive notifications.
Step by step method
1. Buy a very cheap Android tablet such as this one. It must run Android 4.3 or above and have bluetooth
2. Install the Android Wear app on the tablet. I found that it initially said that it wasn’t compatible with my device so after a quick google search I found a slightly older version, downloaded it and installed it.
3. Perform a factory reset on the Android Wear device and set up as a new pairing with the tablet.
4. Download an app called Aerlink from the Google Play Store. Install and setup on the Android Wear device.
5. Download the accompanying Aerlink iOS app (approx £1.50) from here
6. Run both apps on both devices and after a little bit of Bluetooth pairing you will soon receive notifications on your Android Wear device from your iOS phone.
7. Setup WIFI on your Android Wear device (which you can’t do when using the iOS Android Wear app)
8. Download loads of other apps to the watch
9. Switch off the Android tablet and only use again when you need to add extra apps etc.
Enjoy the benefit of Android Wear apps on your device whilst still getting all the notifications from iOS.
The first limitation is probably one of the most frustrating, it is not possible to download and add any more Android Wear apps to the watch. Apple will not allow a second App Store so adding more content to the watch is impossible.
Putting that to one side I can honestly say that the last two weeks with the watch have not been too disappointing. I set up push notifications for all my key apps so was quickly getting all my notifications on my wrist. I could live with the inability to interact with the notifications other than dismissing them.
Before I explain my fairly big disappointment it is important to know how the watch pairs with a new iOS or Android device. To add a new phone or tablet you have to perform a factory reset of the watch. It is not possible to have more than one device synced at a time. Performing a factory reset erases everything from the watch including all the analytic data saved by the Moto Body app.
Last night apple pushed out an iOS update which I dutifully did this morning. Post update I found I was unable to connect my watch to the phone. It took me a few minutes of thinking before I realised that the reason it wouldn't connect was because the watch thought it was a new device.
I then had to go through the setup to pair a new device and before long I had my notifications streaming in to me. Later in the morning I went to see how my steps were going towards my new and challenging target set by Moto Body. It was at this moment I noticed that all my analytics had been lost. Of course they had been lost, I had performed a factory reset of the watch.
Very disappointed by this ...
My hopes for further updates
- Apple come to some agreement with Google to allow access to Android Wear apps to be installed on the watch.
- Future updates of the Android Wear app allow local saving of Moto Body data
Before we go any further I need to mention something very important. I don’t own an Android device so the 360 is now paired with my iPhone 6. Despite being an enormous Apple fanboy - I actually wanted an Android watch over the Apple watch.
My first review looks at what the watch can do when connected to an iOS device. I am not going to specifically think about the Android Wear apps here, I will do that in the next blog post.
With the recent introduction of the Android Wear app for iOS and the update to allow devices to connect the future does look good for wearable tech and smart watches ....
What can you do?
The Android Wear app allows you to display all notifications on the watch. Other than limited reply options with Gmail there are no further functionality with the notifications.
Music and podcasts can be controlled by the watch with play / pause / forward / back skip and volume controls. The current track and album name is displayed on the screen.
Phone calls can be answered but with the lack of speaker you can’t hear what is being said!
Overall, there is very limited functionality and additional apps can not currently be installed.
This does pose a very important question - is it worth buying a £220 watch which essentially only shows you iOS notifications and has the Android core functionality? I would say yes. At the moment I am getting around 15 hours battery life which is very good, the style and design are beautiful and it is a circular watch face which I wanted.
If you are looking for the rich Apple watch experience then this may not be the best option.
It has been just over two months since I wrote the first impressions review of the Hudl2 back at the end of October in 2014. My first review and unboxing was very complementary and I was particularly impressed with the specs. My first review is here.
I want to start this review with a reminder of the price of the tablet: Tesco are currently stocking the Hudl2 on their website for £129 with cases ranging from £10 to £25+.
For £129 you are getting a good spec machine.
The specs are very impressive and deliver excellent value for money:
- 8.3” full HD display
- 16GB storage
- 5MP back camera
- 1.2MP front camera
- 8 hour battery life
- Powered by an intel 1.83GHz quad-core processor
In comparison other similar priced Android tablets include:
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch (Black, Wi-Fi) - currently reduced on Amazon to £145: 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 16GB storage, 8” display
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-inch - (White, Wi-Fi) - again reduced on Amazon to £190: 1.6GHz dual-core processor, 16GB storage, 10” display
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7-inch Tablet (Black) - £131 on Amazon: 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 8GB storage, 7” display
Kindle Fire HDX Tablet, £99 - 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB storage, 7” display
The Hudl2 holds up well against similar priced tablets and I believe offers very good value for money. A number of people have made the following points to me:
“It is not an iPad” - well obviously it isn’t and it is not fair to make the comparison as they are very different products with different specs.
“You can get cheaper Android tablets for under £50” - having seen and used the tablets that are under £50 they are very different products from the Hudl2
The 8.3” (1920x1200) full HD display gives an excellent picture from a good range of angles. I recently used it on a long train journey (more about that later) with the brightness set to a minimum. Even under these conditions the image was crisp and showed good contrast.
Tesco state that the Hudl2 has up to 8 hour battery life. We all know that under ‘real-life’ situations battery life often is much shorter. I recently was on a long (long) train ride where I put this to the test. I had downloaded approximately 8 hours of video from the BBC iPlayer app and armed with a par of Tesco Hudl Earphones (with tangle free cable) I watched just over 7 hours of video. By the end of the journeys I still had over 25% battery life left. I was very impressed with this which exceeded my expectations.
“hudl2’s supercharged with a 1.83GHz Intel® Atom™ quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, making it lightning fast and up for anything”
I have hammered my processor over the last two months, running games, home security camera apps, productivity tasks, video recording and much video playback. With enough apps open and dynamic wallpaper it is possible to trip the tablet up, but for normal everyday use you can definitely throw a lot at it. The startup time for apps seems very snappy and I have not experienced much lag.
One of the biggest surprises of the Hudl2 was the sound quality of the speakers. The stereo Dolby Audio system provides sound with both punch and quality. The design of the case provides good acoustics with the speakers not covered up. The speakers are more than ample for watching movies or listening to music. Again, this was a very positive aspect of the tablet.
The front facing camera (1.2MP/720p) is disappointing but I was pleased with the quality from the rear (5MP/1080p) camera and have included some test photos here. It did take some time to get used to holding the tablet and pressing the shutter button but I do think that this will improve as I get more used to holding it.
This is definitely a serious tablet but also makes a great piece of kit for the kids to use too. I am very impressed with the built in parental controls, these were easy to activate and have set up individual profiles for both my six year old and my ten year old boys. Both profiles give access to age appropriate apps and websites. Time limits can be set for each profile too. One feature i particularly liked was the ability to set a bed-time shut down time at the end of the evening.
For more information on the parental controls I’ve included the Tesco video below.
I am extremely impressed with the high build quality, excellent screen and very affordable price point of the Hudl2 from Tesco. The tablet exceeded my expectations of a mid priced Android device. The Hudl2 is a very good place to start if you are looking for a tablet for the commute to work, to take on holiday or to share as a family. I wonder what the Hudl3 will look like?
First look at the Hudl2
Hudl2 camera test
Hudl2 little book of treats
Official Tesco Hudl2 page
Included with the Hudl2 from Tesco is a little envelope which promises “Over £60 of offers inside”. Inside the envelope is a little booklet called “Book of treats”
- £10 free movie and TV credit to spend at Blinkbox
- 30 days free premium music
- £10 eBook credit for Blinkbox
- £15 off groceries when you spend £60 in your first Tesco online order (sadly we already have delivery so this one isn’t valid)
- £10 off first Tesco direct order when you spend £50 or more
- £10 off when you spend £50 at F&F online
- 10 free 4x6” prints when you buy 50
The first thee vouchers look a good way to get you hooked on Blinkbox. This is very reminiscent of the Apple 12 days of Christmas where 12 days of giveaways help get you sucked into the Apple ecosystem.
Having not yet used Blinkbox I am keen to see how this compares to iTunes.