The Motorola Xoom was one of the first major Android tablets on the market, and still does well despite strong competition from the likes of Samsung. It’s got a number of excellent features that make it a genuine rival to the iPad 2, but you’ll have to take a look at the pros and cons below before you decide whether this is the right tablet for you.
Key Specs For The Motorola Xoom Android:
* Roughly $588 – $799
* Released in 2011
* Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS
* 9.8 x 6.6 x 0.5 inches in size
* Weighs 1.61 lb. / 0.73 kg
* 10.1 HD screen
* 1280 x 800 resolution
* 32 GB storage
* NVidia Tegra 2 Dual 1 GHz Processor
* Wi-Fi & Bluetooth connection as standard – can also buy 3G/ 4G model
* Two cameras: 5MP & 2MP
* 10 hours battery life
What’s Great About The Motorola Xoom…
Processor: The processor is among the best in the world of tablet computers today. The Xoom features a Tegra 2 Dual Core processor, up with the best of the Android tablets with regards to speed.
Connectivity: The Xoom comes in two main forms. You can get the Wi-Fi only option for around $600, or you can opt for the Wi-Fi + 3G/4G option for $800 (both also come with Bluetooth). The latter option is an excellent addition for anyone looking to connect to mobile broadband on the move, though you’ll have to sign up with a Verizon Wireless contract to do so.
Note that 4G is not yet available but will be added with a free upgrade in the coming months. This is something not yet featured on many tablets (the iPad, Samsung Galaxy and others don’t yet have it) so is a real plus point for the Xoom. It’ll mean that you can download large files, such as movies, within minutes. Verizon currently advertises speeds of around 5-12 megabits per second. And songs will take just a few seconds to download!
(Remember, the 4G network currently reaches around a third of Americans but is expanding all the time)
Motorola Accessories: Although the accessory market is not as developed as those for the iPad, there are still a good number of useful accessories available to expand the power of your Xoom. Some notable accessories include the speaker dock and other stations used to charge the tablet. The dock can even send content from the Xoom directly to your television. Motorola have also developed specific cases, though remember that tablet sizes are pretty standard and you can use a whole range of generic cases to keep the device protected.
Camera: The Xoom comes with two cameras. The rear-facing camera is suitable for taking photos and recording videos, coming in a 5 megapixels (very impressive when compared to other tablets on the market) with a dual-LED flash, auto-focus, and digital zoom. You also have the ability to capture HD 720p videos, and see them in all their glory on the Xoom’s HD display!
The front-facing camera is there so you can make video calls when connected to the internet. This camera comes in at 2 megapixels, which is more than adequate for its purpose.
Flash Support: Unlike the most famous iPad, the Motorola Xoom does support Flash. This means you have the added flexibility of being able to watch Flash movies and videos, play Flash games and view Flash websites. This is a massive benefit for users who know they browse a lot of Flash content – but do bear in mind that non-Flash supporting devices such as the iPad can still let you view YouTube and other online videos in a different format.
Battery: The advertised battery life is 10 hours – impressive in the world of tablet computing. This is up with the best of them. Of course, you’ll see the battery drain if you’re using more intensive operations such as games or playing movies, but the device charges very quickly which also comes in handy.
Micro-SD Card Slot: Some people are disappointed by the fact that the Motorola Xoom doesn’t come with any storage options beyond the default 32GB. If you’re the kind of person who needs more space for your music, apps and videos then don’t worry, because the inclusion of a Micro-SD card slot means you can expand your memory up to another 32GB, matching the iPad’s top 64GB option.
Ports: The Xoom trumps the iPad in terms of ports, including a micro USB port (not used for charging). It also features an HDMI audio/ video port to allow you to connect up to a big screen via a separate HDMI cable.
What’s Not So Great About The Motorola Xoom…
Cost: The price of the Motorola Xoom may put some people off. The cheapest Wi-Fi only option is still almost $600, which is a lot compared with other tablets on the market. However, the 3G/4G option is more cost effective given that it will include 4G functionality that other tablets don’t have, and you can save up to $200 when you purchase the tablet on a Verizon contract.
Weight: Although there’s very little in it between the biggest tablets on the market, you will notice that this tablet weighs more than other big names. This is something you’ll notice in terms of how comfortable it is to use and carrying it around with you wherever you go. The screen is also thicker than tablets such as the iPad 2, but it isn’t noticeably thick. The Xoom does, however, feel solid in your hands (in a good way).
Operating System/ Ease Of Use: Whether the operating system is a pro or con does really depend on what you’re used to. If you’re used to iOS on the iPhone then you may find that Honeycomb isn’t as easy to get your head around. Of course, the Android store still doesn’t match up to the iPad App Store in terms of sheer numbers of apps available, but the choice is still more than good enough for most users.
Charging: Many users have complained that the Xoom doesn’t charge via its included micro USB port. This is down to how much charge is required, so you’ll need to use a separate charger.
Final Thoughts On The Motorola Xoom Android
When it comes to the inclusion of 3G and 4G technologies on an Android tablet, the Xoom is pretty much your top choice available (until Samsung release their 3G Galaxy). It has some notable features, looks sleek and performs well. You can’t really go wrong with this tablet.