Motorola entered the tablet war with the Xoom and it recently received the Android 3.1 Honeycomb update (which is for the better). The competition includes the 10.1-inch tablets Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 and the Acer Iconia Tab 501 (which we reviewed last week). All the three are decent tablets in their own right but today let us take a look at Motorola's attempt at creating the tablet that could rival the iPad.
Motorola Xoom has a 10.1-in display with a resolution of 1280x800 pixels. Under the hood, is a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and a GeForce GPU and has 1GB of RAM. It comes with 32GB of internal memory and it also supports microSD cards up to 32GB owing to Android 3.1 update.
For your connectivity needs, the Xoom has GPS and Wi-Fi and also 3G (HSDPA-7.2Mbps; HSUPA- 5.76Mbps) but no GSM connectivity to make or receive calls. Other connectivity options include a microUSB port to connect to the PC and a miniHDMI port to output HD content to an external display.
The Xoom also has a primary 5MP camera with auto-focus and an LED flash and a 2MP front-facing camera.
With regards to the feature set, there is not much that sets the Acer Iconia Tab 501 and the Xoom apart.
User Interface (Honeycomb)
The Motorola Xoom has been upgraded to Android 3.1 and I received the tablet with the upgrade. Therefore, I couldn’t test Android 3.0 which apparently was not a stable version of Honeycomb, according to a lot of online forums. I will not delve deep into how Android Honeycomb looks and feels since we have covered the OS extensively in our review of the Acer Iconia Tab 501.
The Xoom has the stock version of Android Honeycomb and the design and layout looks really great (like my colleague mentioned straight out of a ‘Tron’ movie). After using the OS on the Xoom, I found the OS very stable and it was very easy to get used to. The heavy specs of the Xoom meant that Honeycomb ran smooth at every stage of use. Overall, Honeycomb is a very good interface for larger tablet screens and I would refrain from comparing it to iOS on the iPad.
The Xoom has dimensions of 249.1 x 167.8 x 12.9 mm and weighs around 730 grams. Though, many may find it heavy it is much lighter than the Iconia Tab 501. Apart from that, the design of the Xoom is such that the weight is distributed evenly in the centre of the back area which has a distinct bulge. I like the silver black colour scheme of the tablet.
The back of the tablet is populated the power button, the rear camera and the dual speakers. The volume buttons are on the left. Initially, I took some time getting used to the power button placed on the back but I found it ergonomically a great design decision by Motorola.
One major grouse lies with the screen. The Motorola Xoom is a finger-print magnet will be an understatement. It ruins the entire experience because the glossy screen reflects a lot of light and viewing under sunlight takes a hit. So you better keep a cleaning cloth at all times.
Browsing, Camera & Multimedia
The Honeycomb default browser is really good; in fact it is one of the best browsers and considering the fact that it can play flash content out of the box, it is a great plus. However, the Xoom becomes a little sluggish while pinching and zooming when a flash content is playing (Iconia Tab 501 was slightly better in performance). Not much of an issue though.
Playing games on the powerful processor was a dream. I tried 9mm, angry birds and cordy and was satisfied with the experience. But I wish there were more games that could make use of the dual-core processor and Tegra 2 chipset.
The Motorola Xoom is the best tablet in terms of multimedia performance. It played 720p and 1080p videos without any hitch in the default gallery. The dual speakers were extremely loud and it would not be wrong if I said the Xoom is the loudest tablet I’ve come across. Apart from that the sound over earphones was also very good.
The 5MP camera, surprisingly, produced some decent images. Despite, some purple fringing that I noticed, the details were fairly good. I found it pretty usable. The video capture was fair to say the least as the colours seemed washed out and there was some skipping. All in all, the camera was not a total disappointment.
The Motorola Xoom is the best tablet in terms of multimedia performance.
Click on the images to enlarge
The Motorola Xoom 32GB (Wi-Fi+3G) version is available for a price of Rs. 34,999 and it is decently priced. With respect to tablets there are not many options in the market and the Xoom is a decent tablet. If you are planning on buying one, my suggestion is go for the best price and the lightest tablet of the lot. Choose, the Xoom if you are looking for a great multimedia performance.