Tesco's new tablet, the Hudl, is the epitome of cheap and cheerful. It's just £119, or less if you use Clubcard vouchers (which count double, so you can buy a Hudl for £60's worth of vouchers) and very much built with kids in mind.
There's that big bezel, which looks naff, but provides something for little hands to grip while they're controlling a game by turning it this way and that. There's the rubbery, matte back -- again, hardly the pinnacle of gadget style, but much harder to drop.
Then there's the easy to use child-proof settings, tips for which pop up the first time you turn the Hudl on. You can set a password for any age-restricted apps or movies on the tablet's app store or movie-streaming services, and (with SafeSearch and other Google tools) Web browsing too.
It comes in cheery blue, purple or red, or boring black. There's a bunch of accessories designed for kids as well, like brightly coloured bumpers and headphones.
Tesco wants parents to use it to help kids learn, keep them quiet in the car, and video call their grandma. It's not as easy to do all those things as it is with an iPad, but it's less than half the price of the £269 iPad mini.
It's not cheap rubbish though. Tesco says it's making a profit on each one, but if it is, its margin must be pretty fine. Its 1,440x900-pixel screen is better than HD, not quite Full HD, and looks perfectly good playing games and movies. It doesn't have the immediate wow of the new Full HD Google Nexus 7, but that's more expensive too, starting at £199.
With a microSD slot boosting its 16GB of internal storage, it offers something neither the Nexus or the iPad have. You can hook it up to your TV too, via an HDMI cable you have to buy separately. Tesco reckons you'll get 9 hours of video watching out of its battery.
Its engine is an unspecified quad-core 1.5GHz chip, with 1GB of RAM -- not the fastest around, but perfectly good for most Android apps. Swiping around Android was smooth, apps loaded quickly and the simple 3D racing game I played had a decent frame rate.
The Hudl runs a recent version of Android, 4.2.2 Jellybean, with a very light skin. There are the advice popups mentioned earlier, but the only other change to normal Android is a small 'T' icon on the left of the bottom nav bar, which takes you to an app with all of Tesco's online services.
Preinstalled are BlinkBox Movies and Music, which are pretty bog-standard digital services -- you can rent and own your streamed movies, which include recent stuff like Iron Man 3 and Spring Breakers. Books are coming later this year.
Also preinstalled are several widgets that essentially advertise Tesco, and are just more shortcuts to its online wares. The only useful one was a live score of your Clubcard points. You can easily get rid of them and replace them with stuff you download from the Play Store.
Sniffy teenagers may turn their noses up at it -- their rich iPad-toting friends might make fun -- but for younger kids I reckon it's perfect. I only had a brief play with it, and a full review might reveal problems, but at first glance it seems very good value for money, especially if you're a regular Tesco shopper.
Would you cuddle a Hudl? Or have you seen a better value tablet? Huddle for warmth down in the comments, or on our child-friendly Facebook page.