Motorola Xoom review

Can Motorola's Xoom tablet, sold by Telstra in Australia, compete with the iPad 2?

The Motorola Xoom tablet.

The Motorola Xoom tablet.

Motorola's Xoom tablet runs version 3.0 of Google's Android operating system — dubbed Honeycomb. Honeycomb is the first version of Android to be designed for use with tablets; previous versions were optimised for the smaller screens of smartphones.

Like the Motorola Atrix smartphone, in Australia the Xoom can be purchased from Telstra from 24 May onwards, either for $840 outright or by signing up to a monthly plan that includes a data package for mobile Internet browsing.

The Xoom is equipped with a 10.1-inch touchscreen — the iPad 2 has a 9.7in display. The Xoom is well built and well designed, though at 730g it is quite hefty.

On the top of the Xoom are a headphone jack and a microSD card slot. The card slot is non-functional, but Motorola says it will be usable after an Android update is deployed. At the bottom you find a microUSB port, power, and a mini-HDMI port.

Motorola Xoom

The tablet's display has a resolution of 1280x800 pixels. It produces vibrant colours, though it is hard to see in direct sunlight. Text wasn't as crisp as I hoped it would be; this was particularly noticeable when reading books. The capacitive touchscreen is responsible.

The Motorola Xoom is one of the first tablets to run the Honeycomb version of Android. This version of the OS has a tablet-friendly interface, including an "action bar" and a redesigned keyboard.

The Xoom's Web browser is slick and displays Flash content; it also supports tabbed Web browsing.

Despite all the positives of Android Honeycomb, it is clear the software is still in its infancy, so the overall out-of-the-box experience isn't as slick as it could be.

One of the big issues is the lack of third-party Honeycomb-optimised apps. Default Android apps like Maps, Gmail and YouTube worked excellently, and there are a handful of downloadable apps like Angry Birds and Pulse News Reader that filled the screen perfectly and worked without issue. But many apps in the Android Market simply resize to fit the Xoom's screen.

The Motorola Xoom is powered by a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor and 1GB RAM. The tablet felt speedy throughout testing, even when running multiple applications.

The Motorola Xoom has a rear 5-megapixel camera, and a 2-megapixel front camera for video calls.

Motorola claims the Xoom's battery is good for up to 10 hours; I experienced almost nine hours in our tests. This makes the Xoom the clear leader in Android tablets when it comes to battery life, though the iPad 2 is still king in the tablet market overall.

Further reading: Acer Iconia a500 Android tablet review.

Original review: Ross Catanzariti, GoodGearGuide.

Tags Google AndroidTelstramotorola xoomAndroid tablets

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1 Comment

Michael Moore

1

I think that the potential for the Motorola Xoom is severely under rated.

The versatility of the operating system is outstanding, rather than having to open up each individual app to know the relevance of each notification the Xoom uses of its cleverly designed widgets.
It’s a feature that has allowed you to take in a lot of information at a quick glance.

Also compared to such tablets as the iPad, the Xoom allows you to download files from emails and store them directly onto the Xoom’s hard drive, then attach them directly onto emails.

Also one of the major draw cards for the honeycomb operating system is that I finally open an excel document in its full glory embedded images and all. Plus I can make a broader range of modifications to that document than I could with an iPad.

I quite like internet browser on the Xoom it felt very native to me and when I was using it in conjunction with the app “Thumb Keyboard” I find I never have to grip the tablet with less than 2 hands.... AWEOMSE!!!

I think that there are some really great benefits of the iPad and the XOOM. For the general population who want to play games and surf the internet then the iPad & iPad2 is more than enough to meet your needs.

However, if you’re looking for a tablet that is versatile and customisable to suite your specific applications for both work and play, then I think that the Xoom Has it.

Personally I think that if the iPad had have done more to find a happy middle ground between smart phone and laptop, then there would really be no room for any real competitor in the market.
But Apple have gone and left the door open and Motorola and Google have slipped right on in to fill the market.

If anything this competition will force and encourage better products from all stakeholders.

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