"This Best Selling MOTOROLA XOOM Android Tablet (10.1-Inch, 32GB, Wi-Fi) Tends to SELL OUT VERY FAST! If this is a MUST HAVE product, be sure to Order Now to avoid disappointment!"
Redefining the tablet by providing more ways to have fun, connect with friends and stay productive on the go, the Motorola XOOM boasts a dual core processor with each core running at 1 GHz, 10.1-inch widescreen HD display, and ultra-fast Wireless-N Wi-Fi networking. Winner of the Best of Show award at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the XOOM also offers support for Adobe Flash Player–enabling you to view the web without compromise.
Dual-core processing, Android 3.0 Honeycomb platform, and 10.1-inch HD multi-touch display (see larger image).
Front-facing camera for video chats, and rear 5-megapixel camera for HD 720p video capture (see larger image).
It runs Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system, which offers a multi-touch, holographic user interface that improves on Android favorites such as widgets, multi-tasking, browsing, notifications and customization. It also offers the latest Google Mobile innovations, including Google Maps 5.0 with 3D interaction, access to over 3 million Google eBooks and Google Talk with video and voice chat.
The Motorola XOOM features a front-facing 2-megapixel camera for video chats over Wi-Fi via Google Talk, as well as a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera (with LED flash for stills) that captures video in 720p HD. The 10.1-inch display delivers console-like gaming performance on its 1280 x 800-pixel display, and it features a built-in gyroscope, barometer, e-compass, accelerometer, and adaptive lighting for new types of applications.
Other features include a 32 GB internal memory, memory expansion via optional microSD cards (with future software upgrade), 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi networking, Bluetooth for hands-free devices and stereo music streaming, access to personal and corporate e-mail, HD 1080p video playback, HDMI output for connecting to a compatible HDTV or monitor, and a 3250 mAh battery for up to 10 hours of Wi-Fi internet browsing.
Android 3.0 Honeycomb
Specifically optimized for devices with larger screen sizes such as tablets, the Android 3.0 platform (dubbed Honeycomb) introduces a brand new, truly virtual and "holographic" UI design. With five customizable home screens, you can easily access your favorite live widgets or application shortcuts. Each screen features a familiar launcher to access to all installed applications, as well as a Search box for universal search of apps, contacts, media files, web content, and more.
Multitasking in Android 3.0 is easier than ever, and you can use the Recent Apps list in the System Bar to see the tasks underway and quickly jump from one application context to another. You'll even see a snapshot of the last screen viewed in that app as a visual reminder. The Android onscreen keyboard has also been redesigned to make entering text fast and accurate on larger screen sizes.
Other features in Android 3.0 Honeycomb include:
Scrollable and stackable widgets. Scrollable and stacked widgets let you scroll or flick through content within the widget itself, on the home page, without opening the application. Unobtrusive notification system displays icons for different notifications (messages, downloads, system updates, etc.) in the lower right corner. Just touch the digital time display to open the entire notification panel. Redesigned YouTube application with a cool 3D gallery. Android Market for Android 3.0 is your one-stop-shop for eBooks, games, and applications.
Power Accessories beyond the Charger
The Motorola XOOM has a wide range of optional accessories to expand its power and capabilities. The "smart docks" are no longer just a place to charge your device; they make Motorola XOOM a portable play and work station that fits your lifestyle. The Standard Dock can be used for watching video content or listening to music through external speakers as the device charges. The Speaker HD Dock allows you to send HD content directly to your TV or blast your tunes without attaching external speakers.
Connectivity Ultra-fast Wireless-N Wi-Fi networking (802.11b/g/n) for accessing home and corporate networks as well as hotspots while on the go. Bluetooth connectivity (version 2.1) includes profiles for communication headset, hands-free car kits, and the A2DP audio streaming Bluetooth profiles. Onboard GPS for navigation and location services. Integrated Google Maps with turn-by-turn navigation, street, satellite, and three-dimensional landscape views.
Optional speaker dock.
Now Upgradable to Android 3.2 Support for the new Android Market Movie rentals service with thousands of titles available for immediate viewing on the Motorola XOOM's high-resolution display or on a larger screen via HDMI. Full support for the new release of Adobe Flash Player 10.2 delivering significant performance enhancements when viewing rich Flash content on the web.
Resizable widgets to enable further customization of home screens. Support for USB-connected peripherals and accessories such as keyboards, mice, game controllers and digital cameras. Expanded Bluetooth features to support Bluetooth headsets in Google TalkTM video chats and Bluetooth mouse support in addition to additional shortcut keys with the Bluetooth keyboard Picture Transfer Protocol Feature support to enable easier transfer of photo files to your PC without the need for drivers.
All the Power of XOOM First access to Honeycomb upgrades. Productivity-pumping 1GHz dual-core processor Movie rentals and downloads from Android MarketTM
Communications & Internet Video chat on Google Talk with any other Google Talk-enabled device (smartphone, tablet, or PC). Access to personal and corporate e-mail (including support for Exchange and push Gmail). Desktop-like web browser (HTML5-based Android Webkit) with tabbed browsing and Chrome bookmark sync.
Design and Hardware 1 GHz dual-core processor enables web browsing at unprecedented speed and accelerated multi-tasking. Integrated NVIDIA graphics delivers smooth, full frame-rate 1080p HD video playback 1 GB of DDR2 RAM 10.1-inch multi-touch HD display (1280 x 800 pixels; 150p per inch) with 720p video capture and pinch-to-zoom navigation. Onscreen keyboard
Memory 32 GB internal memory Memory expansion via microSD card slot with support for optional cards up to 32 GB (functionality requires future software upgrade).
More Features HDMI audio/video port enables you to output pictures, slides and videos in HD quality (1080p) via HDMI cable (sold separately). Micro USB port (not for charging) 3.5mm headphone jack Data encryption ensures the privacy and security of data on your tablet.
Camera 5-megapixel rear-facing camera for optimized resolution when capturing photos on the go. Includes dual-LED flash, auto-focus, and digital zoom. 2-megapixel front-facing web cam for video chats. Includes indicator light when used. HD 720p video capture capabilities Instantly upload video to sharing sites or view and edit on the fly.
Multimedia Music player compatible with MP3 and AAC/AAC+/eAAC+ Video player compatible with MPEG4 and H.264/H.263
See larger image.
The Motorola XOOM weighs 25 ounces and measures 9.8 x 6.6 x 0.5 inches. Its 3250 mAh lithium-ion battery is rated at up to 10 hours of video playback, up to 10 hours of Wi-Fi web browsing, and up to 3.3 days of MP3 playback.
What's in the Box
Motorola XOOM handset, charger, data cable, quick start guide, user manual
Also Available for This Android Device
Kindle App for Android
Read more than 700,000 Kindle books with our free application.
MP3 for Android
Find, buy and play the music you love wherever you are.
Amazon App for Android
Shop for millions of products wherever you go.
IMDB App for Android
Connect to the world's largest collection of movie, TV and celebrity information.
When I first got the Xoom about a week ago I turned it on and I really wasn’t blown away. I use lots of devices, and my first impression of the Xoom just wasn’t stellar. However, I could see the potential, and so I kept using it, I got some apps, I started to learn the interface and the depth of the features.
Sometime during day 2 of using the Xoom it really hit me. The Xoom and the iPad are like chess and checkers. When you first start playing chess (or trying to use the Xoom, in my amazing analogy) you feel overwhelmed and confused. You can’t really do things smoothly, you don’t understand the options, it just is not a great first impression. On the other hand, your first game of checkers (or using the iPad) is probably going to be pretty smooth. It isn’t complex, most all the options and concepts are obvious and easy to understand and your first game is going to be pretty similar to your hundredth.
However, as you start to understand the Xoom (or chess) it really starts to grow on you. You understand what you can do, how to do it, the amazing depth and possibility in the device. While the iPad (or checkers) players are still having roughly the same experience time after time, with the Xoom every day of experience with the device makes it more powerful and enjoyable to use. In the end, the Xoom becomes a much better device than any of the competition; it just takes some time for you to learn what it is capable of and how to make the most of it.
As you can tell from the last three paragraphs I wasn’t exactly impressed with the Xoom to start. I wasn’t even sure it would replace my current device for most things. However, by day two I started to really “get” the device.
This first happened when I needed to look over and annotate a PDF someone had sent me. I downloaded it from my email, and was able to actually put it in the Xoom memory where-ever I wanted in whatever folder I wanted. Wow, that is kind of cool, can’t do that on the competition. Next, I was able to open it in a PDF reader, using this fancy program (which I easily found on the marketplace). I went through and did what I needed (with an amazing free hand drawing tool, it was a snap!), then I jumped back over to email, attached the newly edited PDF and sent it away. Now maybe I just never tried hard enough, but I don’t think that is possible on some of the competition. That freedom to download files, do what you need, and then send them away again. On the iPad apps I have used it always requires the files to be in something like Dropbox, which is fine, except it would have made what I did impossible without using a computer.
Another “WOW” moment came when I wanted to get some ebooks onto the device. Now, on my Apple products this is generally a pain, you hook the device to the computer, go open itunes, you go to a certain tab, and a certain area, and a certain feature, and if you do it all right you can drag your ebooks over to the reader. It was rather simpler on the Xoom. For the ebooks I had on my computer I just dropped them in Dropbox, then I downloaded them on the Xoom, and using the Xoom file manager I easily moved them into a new “Books” folder I made in the Documents folder. Fast, quick, and simple and done on the device, rather than on the PC.
However, what really blew me away was when I wanted some ebooks off the web. Using the regular browser I was able to just download them directly from the internet onto the device. I then used the file manager again and simply moved them to the right folder. This really did impress me, my tablet was uncoupled from the PC, I could browse the full web, download things, and then make use of them all without ever needing to tether to my computer. I was hooked.
With my new excitement at not requiring my computer to use my tablet I headed over to an Android App development forum. Here developers had posted lots of cool apps that were in beta or that they wanted to promote. On competing devices the only way to get an app is through the sanctioned and controlled portal, not so on Android (and thus Xoom). Using the Xoom browser I bounced around the forum, I downloaded beta apps, and then I was able to easily install them. Again, this is all on the device, and these were not approved apps, awesome.
Another example of something that impressed me came on my third day with the device. I was using the CNN app (which is free and tablet optimized, go check it out) and I watched a video of a story that I thought was really interesting, but it was one of those that is only a teaser, and the rest is on another site. When I hit these videos on my iPad I just have to try to remember to watch them later on a computer, because they are inevitably flash based. Not so on the Xoom, I typed in the address, the flash loaded up perfectly, and I was watching the video in full screen with no trouble.
This process of growing more comfortable with the device and learning what it could do continued over the last few days. At every turn I would find something amazing that just wasn’t possible on competing tablets. I discovered the glory of widgets (custom little desktop things to show you the weather, or news, or whatever). I found some live wallpaper (moving animated wallpaper, that can change and adapt to things, such as the weather). I just kept finding new awesome features and uses.
One thing I want to touch on that is perhaps more technical than the rest of my review is the screen. I use my tablets to read, I started using ebooks a while back and I found tablets to work pretty well for that. I do most of my reading at night before bed, so the backlit screen is actually helpful versus a traditional reader. Anyway, one of the things that has always bothered me about the iPad as an ereader is that the pixel density (that is the number of pixels (or square blocks of color) in each inch of screen space) is very low. The iPad has somewhere around 130PPI (pixels per inch). It was so low that it really did give me noticeable eye strain to read on the device, I could see the pixels, and it really just wasn’t a great reading experience. This was so pronounced that for the last few months I had actually been doing most of my reading on a 4th generation iPod Touch. It had a smaller screen, but a higher pixel density.
Anyway, the Xoom has a very noticeable increase in resolution and pixel density. With its higher resolution it has roughly 33% more pixels than the iPad, roughly 300,000 additional pixels. This is something you can see immediately when looking at any text. It is a lot smoother and easier to read on the Xoom. However, the other side of this is that the iPad has a different display type, that does have better viewing angles and color/contrast. In my case I don’t really care, I find the pixel density to be 1000 times more important than small color improvements or viewing angles but I feel I should mention it.
My point in these last two paragraphs is that the Xoom is a much better device for displaying text than any of the lower resolution competition. If you are looking for a tablet to read your newspaper and books and websites on, then you definitely should give the Xoom or other higher resolution tablets a look. In my opinion the resolution on the iPad/iPad 2 just does not cut it for text.
Welp, this is really starting to get long, so I guess I should wrap it up. I know this isn’t like the usual review you read, but I really wanted to give people an idea of the experience of using the Xoom versus just giving the facts and the breakdown and the comparisons. The Xoom is a device that improves exponentially the more you use it. After a few days of use I really can’t imagine returning to the constraints and frustrations of the competition. However, on my first day I wasn’t that impressed, so be sure to stick with it and get used to it. Now I am off to make dinner, and to accompany me I am going to take my Xoom, which is streaming live video thanks to the wonderful inclusion of flash, the competition is going to stay sitting on the shelf (probably for the foreseeable future).
I just want to mention that I am giving the Xoom four stars because it is not perfect. As a reference after using the Xoom I would probably give the iPad / iPad 2 three stars. There are still improvements that can be made to tablets. I really feel like Android and Xoom are on the right track, but this is still not what I would call a perfect tablet, it is just the best that is available right now (for my uses).
I hope someone finds my review helpful, feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments.
Operating System – An iPad is more akin to a smartphone where as a Xoom is more akin to a laptop (Best Buy actually has it in laptop section instead with other Android tablets like Samsung Galaxy). Honeycomb feels more like a tablet. It’s not just a row of apps and wasted space like iOS. Plus, you have room for customization (widget, live wallpaper, theme etc). There is also little detail that tech savvy will appreciate (outline grid, advanced settings, google labs etc) Honeycomb is still a bit buggy but not to the point that it becomes annoying. I only have several force close (app closed due to error) once in a while (Not all phone apps work with Xoom..yet). Obviously iOS which is a proven OS and was out almost 4 years ago is more stable than the Honeycomb, a brand new OS (optimized for tablet use) that was out a month ago along with its SDK. Google know Honeycomb still needs improvement, I know Honeycomb is unfinished and I don’t mind waiting for even better experience.
Also, it’s easy to transfer files between computer and Xoom. Just plug in USB and it acts as a hard drive then you drag and drop the files you want. There’s also apps like ES File Explorer and Astro File Manager that help manage files/folder (like Window explorer). I believe iOS requires other softwares unless you just do music/movies through iTunes. Oh and I forget to mention that I hate having to everything tied/synced through iTunes. On Xoom, there’s more freedom and you are not stuck with one software like iTunes.
Winner: To each his own but I like Honeycomb better.
Design/Apperance/Screen – Xoom is heavier but that is due to a solid build quality which I love. It is also thicker and has wider screen (more appropriate for movies than iPad 2). Although Xoom has higher screen resolution, iPad 2 still has brighter screen and more vivid look.
Winner: iPad 2 by little bit
User Interface – Some people say Honeycomb is too complicated to use. Well maybe to those who has been using only iPad. For someone who use both, I have to say it is pretty simple to use. iOS is more intuitive and foolproof but there is much more detail/option on Xoom that many people will appreciate.
Multitasking – One button and it takes you to 5 most recent apps for easy switching on Xoom. iPad 2 sort of have multitasking but not a true multitasking experience.
Browser – If you use Chrome browser before, it is pretty much like that on Xoom. I prefer tabbed browsing over having to press button to open various windows on Safari on iOS device. You can type search directly on address bar like Chrome. You can sync bookmarks through your Google account. And yes I know there are other browser apps in the market. But for a stock browser app, Xoom has a better experience.
Apps – iPad is way ahead in term of apps and it is because original iPad had at least 1 year head start vs Xoom. Not to mention Honeycomb is unfinished and SDK was recently released. However, the tablet apps that are available on Android market, most of them work great and look awesome. UPDATE: It turned out there’re lots more Honeycomb compatible apps (I’m talking 1,000+). You just have to use keyword search such as “tablet” “xoom” “honeycomb” to discover the apps. Note that you can still use Android phone apps. The phone apps get stretched out but still keep the high resolution thus they don’t look bad on the screen whatsoever. Give it time.
Winner: iPad 2
Customization – This is my favorite part about Android. You have open customization from themes, widgets to customized home screen and live wallpapers. iOS has none of that unless you jailbreak the device.
Notification – If you have iPhone and iPad, you know how notification can be quite painful. Xoom has better notification system that show up briefly in bottom right corner as you get new email, app update etc. You can press it to view all notifications or remove them. Additionally, there is also LED light blinking notification on top right of the device.
Hardware Performance – A5 vs Tegra 2 is still up for debate. Xoom seems to be as powerful as iPad 2 with exception of GPU (difference can be seen with gaming and screen brightness). iPad 2 has 512MB RAM vs 1 GB RAM on Xoom.
Camera/Video/Audio – Better camera and video on Xoom thanks to its higher spec vs VGA front and lower MP back camera on iPad 2. Camera app gets a little bit of time to get used to on Xoom. Speaker on Xoom is decent and could have been louder. I wish the volume rocker is more visible on the side. It feels like the button can become stuck into the device.
Also I use DVD Catalyst 4 to convert and transfer movie to Xoom. It can convert most file types as long as it’s not DRM protected (like “Digital Copy”). The software is pretty neat, simple to use and the pictures look great. You have option to customize the pictures, add subtitles, and get rid of black bars.
Winner: Xoom OVERALL
Flash – Yes, Flash is still in beta but it works great so far with a little bit of lagging but barely noticeable. Pretty smooth most of the time. I tested it on sites that use Flash like Engadget (video), Honda (car animation), Vice Versa restaurant in NYC (heavy flash site), Myspace and bandcamp (with music player on artist page). iOS has no Flash AT ALL as we all know when it comes to browsing.
Winner: Xoom by a mile (until HTML5 is fully functional)
Battery Life – Xoom gets about 8 – 9 hours for heavy multitasking usage. Will have to test standby time but I expect it to be less than iPad 2. iPad 2 gets at least 10 hours of heavy usage.
Winner: iPad 2
GPS – Just want to mention that GPS and full Google maps navigation is available on Xoom wifi. While on iPad 2, it is only available if you get 3G+wifi version. And if you use Google maps app before on Android you know that it is more extensive than map on iOS (turn-by-turn voice navigation, layers etc). Since this is a Wifi version, THERE IS cache settings on Google Maps where you can prefetch map tiles by panning over the city/region while on Wifi (up to ?? MB. Need to verify the cap). Then you can navigate to desired destination just like normal with voice navigation. You cannot change the destination halfway obviously since there is no 3G connection. The other alternative will be to tether the device with 3G/4G smartphone.
Winner – Xoom
Nitpick – SD card slot on Xoom is still not enabled at this moment. Also, I wish Xoom can be charged through micro USB but I believe it may be because micro USB doesn’t supply enough current to charge a tablet.
In the end, you may prefer one device over the other and it is to each his own. However, based on the overall factors I mentioned above, I prefer Xoom.
Any questions, feel free to ask in comment.
- quality build
- great flexibility
- great camera’s front and rear
- fully loaded WiFi only version (still has the GPS, gyro and even a barometer)
- Great graphics, nice display
- Not required to use iTunes to set it up and use it
The not so good:
- Screen is a fingerprint magnet, worse I have ever had.
- Not as easy to use out of the box as the iPad
- Not many aps for it yet
At the end of the day, if you use an iPhone and like it, you will like the iPad 2 better. If you use a good Android phone today and like it, you will like the Xoom much better. I spent Friday night and Saturday helping a friend set up their iPhone and the frustration over the lack of flexibility ultimately made my mind up for me. Once you get used to the flexibility you have with Android, you will get frustrated quickly with iOS.
Anyway, that is my opinion after using the Xoom for 1 full day…lol.
1) The multi-tasking is top notch, especially with the recent apps button and the ability to quickly move from app to app
2) The battery life consistently sat at 7-8 hours during heavy use (when it was on it was ALWAYS doing multiple things)
I chose the xoom 3G thinking my wife would hate it and I’d then go buy her an ipad 2 and I’d get to use the xoom. She has an android 2.x phone and hates it. She loved honeycomb. She is now taking the xoom to work as her mobile laptop. Hence, that’s why I just bought the wifi xoom – for me! I originally decided on the android device based upon being able to create my own “experience”. The interface exceeded my expectations. I have used the ipad in store a number of times and stayed away from gen 1 knowing Apple would release a better pad in about a year. I saw nothing that made me want to use iOS with gen 2.
- Screen clarity, size and brightness is great
- Multi-tasking is excellent
- All the apps we used worked flawlessly…only force closed with google books (and why doesn’t google books have a bookmark like Kindle for Android?)
- Very fast
- Battery life
- Extremely simple setup with gmail/google, etc…
- Flash support became available after purchase and web browsing experience is better but not perfect
- Most importantly, my tablet the way I want it to look and work
The not so Good:
- Don’t like the power plug or the volume buttons. Its strange, they feel good but it just seems difficult to use them sometimes
- Screen is (as stated in other reviews) a fingerprint magnet, yet it still looked great
- App selection is low, but from the time I purchase to the end of the trip the tablet dedicated apps increase by 11 and other than netflix, there is no app I want that is not available
- Cameras are adequate, but I didn’t buy this to replace my digital camera
- SD card isn’t working yet
I did not give this 5 stars as I think it can be improved. Early in the lifecycle, I expect great things for android based tabs. The Samsung Galaxy in June (running Honeycomb) should be a great device as well. Very very pleased with the purchase.
Fortunately, I am in a position where I can own both. However, if you are trying to decide between which to buy, it largely depends on if you are a mac fan. If you are, then the iPad is the way to go. Regardless of how much better I tell you the Android Honeycomb Operating System is on this Xoom tablet, it will not matter. But, if you are not a mac fan and looking to choose the best device for the money, without question, at least right now, the best is the Xoom.
Motorola got it right. Good job guys, finally something that competes and beats the iPad. However, work a little bit on the design of the outer shell… it could use a little more sexy like the iPad2.
I ended up choosing xoom, and I am impressed with this product. Here I would like to share my thought process as well as impression. So anyone in similar situations as I was may be able to use this for guidance.
First of all, I own tablet pc x 2 with most recent one purchased back in November 2010. I also own itouch. Never owned android product.
Quick background for the reason I needed/wanted new tablet
- Longer battery life: My tablet pc only lasted 5 hours
- Lighter tablet: My tablet pc weighted 2.5 lbs
- Bigger screen: My tablet pc had less than 9 inch screen, which was great for comic reading but not so great for work related document reading.
- To watch multiple work related video series
- To read ebooks. Some of which are not straight off kindle nor nook market, but rather converted books from other file formats such as chm or saved web pages. Some of these files are huge in size (up to 200MB) and contain multiple images, tables, and applied CSS.
- To view Microsoft Office files. Some of these files are relatively large in size(over 10MB) with multiple images, textbox, and smartart. These need to be accessible even when there is no internet connection.
- To read digital comics
- To watch streaming videos.
Here are are my opinion about xoom wifi version so far.
1. Watching videos
- Works very well without any lag or stuttering. Screen resolution is a bit higher than IPAD2, but doubt it is significant enough to be noticible.
- One great thing about xoom is microSD support (not available yet). As I need to have multiple DVD sets with each being 20+GB, rather than deleting/reloading videos here and there, I can simply have dedicated microSD for each DVD sets. Currently, the highest storage capacity of microSD goes upto 32GB. If I had gone to IPAD2 route, I was going to go buy 64GB for maximum storage capacity, which may have been sufficient by itself but 32GB alone will not.
2. Ebook reading
- My ebooks are not typical. They are in epub file formats. Even on PC, only couple applications can render these files correctly. On itune market, using itouch I could not find any application that can render my ebooks except Stanza, which came very close for one ebook, but clushed on the other and ibook came very close with the other book, but did not show any images on the one opened with Stanza. So together was able to provide close to perfect solution. *Supposedly, ibook does not render images if they are within the table.
On my xoom, I tried pretty much all the epub reader on android market. None could render my files except one application, which actually rendered both books with complete original style and layout. Minor issues are still there in this application such as bug with internal hyperlink. But this is the best epub reader I have tried so far among pc, itune, and android market. Just in case anyone is wondering, it is called StarBook.
*Reason I said best and included PC here is two applications on PC that renderes my files correctly actually takes longer to open the epub files for some reason.
3. Reading Digital Comic
- Not to say much here. Works perfectly. Certainly, should work as greatly on ipad2.
4. Watch streaming video
- Flash 10 has been installed. All the streaming video sites that I visit works just as on PC. Definitely better than PS3 web browser. However, I have read somewhere that playing Flash based games on xoom have significant lags. As I don’t play Flash based game, this was not an issue for me. But Flash for Android Table OS is still beta version, so considering it is better I am sure many issue will resolve with final version.
- Very impressive. In fact, this is the one main reason that I suddenly became fan of android os. It takes some learning and definitely not as Apple customer friendly interface. But once you know how to customize this, you can basically make it into exactly the way you want. Widget is awesome feature just like windows 7 widget, but seem more appropriate in tablet setting. For instance, CNN widget updates highlight news every hour on my home screen without me clicking on the application.
6. USB Connectivity
- This can be both pros and cons. But for me this is under pros. As I just simply like to be able to drag and drop files, and be able to create my own folder organization.
- Surprised to see built in GPS. Have not really played with, but apparently there is a way to have voice direction navigator using google map.
- Main negative for xoom here. According to the technical specifications, in comparison to Ipad 2 xoom is 130g heavier. It indeed does have bigger monitor, but for me, I’d rather have lighter tablet. Despite overall weight is around 730g and significantly lighter than my asus 8 inch windows 7 based tablet, it is still noticible weight for me. Especially holding on one hand or holding up in bed. If this is the major concern, I recommend one to wait until June when Samsung Android based tablet that supposedly be lighter (by really small margin) than ipad 2 is released.
2. View microsoft office files (primarily word document)
- So far, I have not found any perfect word viwer application yet. None of them can render textbox (maybe preminum version of Document2Go). None can recognize SmartArt. Skydrive shows everything, but not crisp due to lack of SilverLight plugin support for android; besides, Skydrive will not work without internet.
3. Slight learning curve
- Never owned android product before. There is definitely much more steeper learning curve with android os than the ipad os. I didn’t mind this or in fact, I enjoyed finding out new things. But I cannot recommend android os product to my parents as they can hardly surf internet on pc. On the other hand, I am sure they will not have any issue learning ipad2.
So for those who cannot decide, which one to get like I was. Just list what your main use will be and compare each. I am sure either will work out great. But one thing I can say is that Android Tablet OS is real stuff. I thought it could be buggy, lots of lags and so on. But works as smoothly as you can imagine.
EDIT: Since I received my Xoom and since writing this review, I have not been able to put my Xoom down! There are SO MANY advantages over the ipad that it’s ridiculous! When I bought my ipad, within 3 days I was completley bored with it. $600 is an awful expensive alarm clock!
Ok so Xoom: Having never used one before I have to admit the learning curve for Android is much steeper than that of the iOS. Being a self taught PC guru, made the learning curve of the android not so steep at least not for me anyway. If you are NOT a techie and not familiar with the Android OS, I do not recommend the Xoom for you, unless you know someone that already has one and can help you out.
Here are the main uses I have for my tablets: E-mail, Music, Video, Web browsing, HDMI output, Bluetooth connectivity. The user interface must also be manipulable. I will detail each one by one and compare to the ipad.
1. E-mail: I was very leery of the proprietary approach to Google Applications with this tablet. I did not want to be trapped in such a way that ipad can trap you. You do have to create a Google account if you want the on-line experience that the Xoom provides, this actually is not a bad thing. The e-mail app was the very first thing I wanted setup. The stock e-mail app that comes with Xoom – is Phenomenal! But compared to ipads e-mail client – they were about even. I was able to successfully set it up to retrieve my Windows Live e-mail with no problem as I was with the ipad. The difference? When the Xoom goes into power save mode and if I receive an e-mail there is a blinking white indicator light on the Xoom that alerts me that I have a new e-mail.
E-mail client: Advantage Xoom
2. Music: Who doesn’t love iTunes? I do love iTunes, in the capacity that I love playlists. It was VERY important that I had the same experience with Xoom as I had with the ipad (using iTunes). The stock music player that comes with the Xoom just does not cut the mustard. There is no ability to create or import the playlists that I spent countless hours creating in iTunes. This concerned me. Off to the Android market I went, and after about 3 days of downloading and searching for a music App that worked well in the Xoom and allowed the importation of playlists created in iTunes, I found one! Thank god! The App I found was called PlayerPro. I drag and drop the music from an iTunes playlist into a folder on my desktop, drag that folder containing the music into my Xoom, then drag the music folder into Windows Media Player, create the Playlist name, open the containing folder for the .WPL and drag it onto the Xoom – Whala – Playlist created!
Stock Music player – Advantage iPad
Proprietary use of off brand music player – Advantage Xoom
3. Video: I am a frequent international traveler. Being able to watch movies on the go is very important! The stock movie player with Xoom isn’t feature rich but who cares about features when you are watching a movie. Open movie, play movie, pause movie, resume movie, quit movie. It’s perfect
Video Player: Tied with ipad
EDIT: No longer tied with ipad! A free App called MX Video player allows you to play: .AVI, .MPEG, .MP4, .AAC, .WMV. unsupported are the itunes proprietary .M4V and the .MKV
Advantage: HUGE Advantage Xoom!
4. Web browsing: I was so excited when I got my ipad because I assumed I would be able to stream video – NOT! No flash content in ipad. There are many browser apps in the android market – bottom line, a browser is a browser, can I stream video? The purest test of this? I have NFL Game Pass subscription, where I can stream live NFL games right onto my laptop or home computer. Went to the site with my ipad – uh no, that wasn’t smart.
EDIT: Flash is NOT available on ipad. Contrary to what anyone says, you will NOT be able to stream video on an ipad like you can on the Xoom!). Watching my team, live from Xoom streamed over the internet was PRICELESS – PERFECT!!!!!
Web Browsing: Advantage – Xoom! Ipad isn’t even on the same planet!
5. HDMI Output – Both tablets will connect pretty seamlessly to your TV or monitor using a standard HDMI cable. The difference? Xoom plays videos in FULL 1080P HD – iPad? Not so much
HDMI Output: Advantage Xoom (EDIT: I finally received my HDMI cable. The full 1080p was STUNNING. I transferred and watched “Avatar – Extended version” the screen was absolutley AMAZING. The resolution was like watching Blu-Ray on steroids!)
No contest ipad loses BIG time here~!
6. Bluetooth connectivity: While you can connect to a MAC with your ipad over a Bluetooth connection, you cannot connect an ipad to a PC via Bluetooth! Seamless blue tooth connectivity to my keyboard and mouse! No annoying re-connects!
Bluetooth: PC users advantage Xoom, MAC users – Who cares.
7. User Interface (UI): While they may appear to be evenly matched in this regard, the really annoying thing about ipad was the wallpaper and very simplistic nature of the UI. What is the point of having a really cool wallpaper if it is hidden behind all your Apps? I truly hated that about ipad. With the Xoom, you get 5 home screens. You can layout your app icons in any way you see fit and anywhere on your screen. I love my wallpapers. Now I can arrange ALL app icons at the bottom row of every screen and my wallpaper is in FULL view at all time. The app icon manipulation and UI freedom with Xoom has evolved light years beyond the ipad.
User interface: Advantage Xoom in a landslide!
There you have it. If you are a PC user and HATE the proprietary nature of ipad – the Xoom is for you. If you are a simple minded average user who doesn’t enjoy freedom – stick with ipad.
Don’t let fact that you are not a techie type person persuade you to buy an ipad and be trapped by it. I paid $16.00 for “Xoom for Dummies” from my Kindle App. Read it cover to cover!
Overall: ADVANTAGE XOOM – iPad 2 should not even be compared to the Xoom – as it couldn’t even carry the Xoom’s lunch to a picnic!
Start the Xoom revolution!
Now, I used to be a PC-only kind of guy with nothing but disdain for the hordes of hipster Apple fanboys. Then, a few years ago, I became one. However, for the last year or so, I’ve found a nice state of equilibrium. My work computer is a MacBook Pro (with a Boot Camp installation of Windows 7 that I use periodically), my HTPC is Windows-based, and while I had three iPhones in a row, I currently have a Droid X that I’m quite happy with. I’m neither pro- nor anti-Apple at this point. But having now used an iPad and an Android-based tablet, I have to say I like the Android OS better. More flexibility and freedom… it just feels more powerful. Granted, iOS is slick and polished and it works exceedingly well, but I like things that take their orders from ME, rather than a bunch of UX designers (even though they’re very very smart).
So, after getting the Xoom and greatly enjoying it for a few days, a friend of mine pointed out that a certain chain office supply store is offering a $100 instant rebate on all tablets until the end of the month. For $100, it was definitely worth the hassle of returning it… but then I started thinking that maybe I’d rather have the Samsung Galaxy Tab (10.1-Inch, 16GB, Wi-Fi). After all, it was still Honeycomb… and that was what I liked best about the Xoom, right? Plus it was sleek, thin and lighter than even the iPad 2. No storage expandability, but I felt that was a compromise I could live with. So I returned the Xoom at the original store and purchased the Galaxy Tab at the other store using the coupon.
I spent that night with the Galaxy Tab, and once the allure of its svelte dimensions wore off (which took all of two minutes), I kept comparing it to the Xoom in my head and found the Galaxy Tab severely lacking. Here’s why:
Yeah, the Galaxy Tab is thinner and lighter. It also feels cheap and fragile. The extra heft of the Motorola gives an impression of quality construction and durability, and the materials (the back in particular) simply look higher end than the Samsung. One of the reasons I was drawn to the lighter weight of the Samsung is because I use the tablet to read (via Kindle or Nook app) in bed. I figured it would be easier to hold the lighter device while lying down. As it turns out, even with the Samsung, I’d have to change my grip frequently as my hands/arms became fatigued during lengthy reading sessions. So, while the Galaxy Tab is lighter, it’s not SO light that it makes a significant difference in comfort when holding it for long periods. If it were the weight of, say, the Nook Simple Touch, that would be a different story. But it’s not even close to being that light.
You’re probably aware that the Xoom has a virtually pristine version of Honeycomb. Motorola doesn’t add a bunch of UI customizations or tons of bloatware, which means that software updates are rolled out to it sooner than (likely) any other tablet. For instance, as of this writing, the Xoom is using Android 3.2, while the Galaxy Tab is still on 3.1. Honestly, I don’t know what the *specific* differences might be between 3.1 and 3.2, but considering the rate at which Google releases updates to its OS (compared to iOS, for instance), it’s important to me that I not have to wait around for months for the manufacturer to release updates. One huge difference I noticed was that the Laps option in the browser settings panel was not available on the Galaxy Tab, which meant the “Quick Controls” for the browser were not available. If you don’t know what this is, trust me: you want it. After 2 minutes with it, it was one of my favorite features of Honeycomb. If I’d known it wasn’t available on the Galaxy Tab, I wouldn’t have bothered getting one in the first place.
I freely admit that I have no empirical evidence to back this up, but the Xoom feels snappier to me than the Galaxy Tab did. With the same widgets on the home screens, sliding between screens on the Xoom feels more fluid and seems to have a better framerate. I will also admit that this MAY be a result of tweaks to Honeycomb 3.2, which the Samsung did not have yet.
Honestly, I didn’t see a huge difference in picture quality from the rear camera, though I believe the Samsung is only 3MP (compared to the Xoom’s 5MP rear-facing camera). However, the Xoom does perform better in dark situations with the dual flash, and it seemed to focus a LOT faster than the Samsung.
The Xoom’s battery recharges briskly, it seems. The Galaxy Tab, on the other hand, has the longest recharge time of any electronics device I’ve personally owned in the last few years. I was really surprised.
So, the microSD card slot on the Xoom is now functional. Can easily drag and drop files on the Xoom via the included USB cable. These are things that are lacking on the Galaxy Tab. I didn’t think it bothered me, but it does. This is part of what I meant when I said the Galaxy Tab feels like a series of compromises.
Not to mention the fact that, for the exact same price, you get twice the onboard storage (32GB in the Xoom vs 16GB in the Galaxy Tab).
Bottom line is that all of the current Android tablets are essentially the same. Same processor, same amount of RAM, same screen resolution, etc. What distinguishes them are things like overall dimensions, expandability and accessories. It seems like the Xoom, though, is the standard against which all other Android tablets are measured. I didn’t want to focus on the software experience too much, because that has more to do with Google’s Android operating system than with this piece of hardware. That seems like the only fair way to review a tablet. I definitely agonized over the decision, since (sadly for me) this is fairly large chunk of coin to drop on what is essentially a luxury. The Acer Iconia A500 and the Asus Transformer both felt clunky and their bodies audibly creaked and flexed. They felt extremely cheap. Of course, they are the lowest-priced options, so that makes sense. The Toshiba Thrive was amazingly bloated, meanwhile. I guess if you really need a ton of ports, it’s a good choice, but that thing is seriously porky. And the Galaxy Tab seems strangely handicapped or, even worse, overpriced for what you get.
At this point, I definitely think the Motorola Xoom is the top choice for Android tablets. Of course, that can change at the drop of a hat. You know technology.
I’ve been using a XOOM for about a month or so after experiencing a couple of other Honeycomb tablets and I had the opportunity to play around with the latest iPad for a weekend. I thought I’d say this because the XOOM is the tablet I am going to keep – not an easy thing because there are 3 kids around who’d run and hide with it every time they got an opportunity. I am not saying that the XOOM is perfect, far from it – and I will discuss its imperfections shortly – but, as tablets go in the second half of of 2011, the XOOM met and it occasionally exceeded my expectations more often than the other brands I tried. The disappointments were few and non-essential.
After a couple of months with tablets I can say that using one CAN be a fun and rewarding experience IF one’s expectations are realistic therefore…
WHAT NOT TO EXPECT
Do not believe the technical press hype announcing the imminent demise of the PC at the hands of the all-mighty tablet. PCs as we know them today may disappear eventually but not because of tablets as we know them today and this is why:
- Tablets, XOOM included, don’t or won’t replace PCs or laptops, not for a long time, in the same way PCs didn’t replace or displace calculators and Tweets (hopefully) won’t replace poetry. Trying to choose between a tablet and a PC/laptop is a false choice. While my XOOM and my T400 laptop can live happy and separate lives, my (computing) life would be impossible with just the XOOM and, now that I’ve been using it for several weeks, I would miss my XOOM if it disappeared from my life but I could probably live without one.
- The on-screen keyboard can’t replace the physical thing. It CAN be used to write brief notes or messages but between a tablet keyboard, even one with auto-fill and even the much smaller Blackberry physical alternative, I prefer the physical one. I’m using a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard with my XOOM when I need to ‘really’ type something and I don’t feel like picking up my laptop.
- Touch is fun but it’s not a mouse. Consider that your index finger is way bigger than the mouse pointer’s ‘point’ and the tablet screen is much smaller. Touch works better than mouse in some instances like in pinch-zoom and scrolling but not in most instances.
- Of the ‘hundreds of thousands’ there are not a lot of ‘serious’ or full-featured apps at this time at least when it comes to ‘creating’ content as opposed to playing/consuming it. Tablets are limited by their specific interfaces and by their horsepower even though they do come with features (GPS, compass, thermometer, barometer) not commonly found in PCs. For example, the official ‘Adobe Photoshop Express’ I downloaded offers less than 1% of what you are likely to find in the ‘real’ Photoshop. It’s ingeniously adapted to ‘touch’ but if you really wanted to edit your pics, you’d probably pick the real thing.
- Due to their size, tablets can’t and won’t be replacing postage stamp-size MP3 players that can store thousands of songs AND fit in one’s shirt pocket.
- Streaming to a tablet from a media server may be possible but the tablet’s tiny speakers can’t deliver a rewarding listening experience. Sure, you can add some speakers but the more you add to a tablet (speakers, keyboard, mouse…) the less of a tablet it becomes.
- It’s possible to add a physical keyboard, a mouse or touch pad and even connect a larger display to the tablet but then… we’d end up with yet another netbook or a mini-laptop.
WHY A TABLET
And yet tablets are magical and I’m having more fun with mine. And here’s why:
- The XOOM sits to the left of my keyboard in the morning, playing the morning news shows while I’m having breakfast and reading my email.
- There is this app that has over a thousand old movies and I often play one at lunch.
- I’m making phone calls and video calls. My PC and my laptop can do that too but I now prefer to do my calls on the tablet while the PC does what PCs do best – crunch spreadsheet numbers, help me write and edit long documents and edit pictures and video to near-perfection.
- At night, me and the kids learn about the stars, thanks to one free app that takes advantage of the tablet’s built-in GPS and compass, showing the stars and constellations exactly as we see them and showing their names.
- My 8 yr. old daughter finds playing math games with a stylus a lot more fun than pencil and paper or PC-based math drills.
- There is an enormous amount of mostly-free games that kids like to play on the XOOM, many of them mind-bending puzzles which should be good for them.
- If you are one of the passengers, it’s fun to watch the satellite view or the street view of the places you’re driving through.
- It’s got 3-4 times the battery life of my current laptop.
XOOM vs. THE OTHERS
Let me begin with what I ‘like’:
- It’s Wi-Fi and it’s not 3G or 4G. In other words I pay less, I don’t worry about ‘usage’ and I’m free to use my tablet as I please. I thought I’d mentioned that because every single listing in Amazon’s app store comes with the disclaimer stating that “AT&T has enabled purchases from the Amazon Appstore for some devices”. And that’s a shame – being at the mercy of someone you actually pay to provide a service not to boss you around. AT&T has zero control over my Wi-Fi XOOM.
- It’s an Android and that means freedom or at least more freedom than the iWorld. I can download and run anything I want and nobody can stop me from doing so. Sure, freedom implies some risks but… it’s so much sweeter than the uniform world of ‘managed’ so-called eco- (or is it echo) systems.
- The XOOM is a PURE Android. There are no phone-company super-imposed overlays and, after trying a couple other tablets, I found that I like it this way.
- The XOOM happens to be an extraordinarily well-built tablet. Solid as a rock, as far as tablets go.
- Accessorizing is easy and inexpensive. Any Bluetooth keyboards and headsets work well but haven’t tried a mouse yet.
Now, for what is not so great:
- The charge port is at the bottom, meaning that you can’t easily charge your tablet while it’s on a stand. Sure, you can turn it upside down but and end up with the ports at the top but a charge port on one side would have been a lot better.
- Can’t use it outside at all other than as a mirror. The display is a highly-reflective glass. It looks great indoors and indoors only.
- The fingerprints. Every touch leaves a visible print on the screen. You must either train yourself to ignore them, wipe the display every few minutes or use a stylus. I’m using a stylus myself and I’m wiping it often.
- And, talking about ‘stylus’. It would have been so nice if the XOOM came with a stylus storage compartment, the way DSi’s do.
- A little heavy for reading in bed. But I have a Kindle for that and it’s in no danger of being replaced by the XOOM.
I like the XOOM and I’m using it every day now even though I don’t have to. And I suspect that the kids – who all have their own laptops – like it more because every time I put it down they pick it up. I am happy with it because I don’t expect it to replace my laptop, my big screen TV or my home server. The XOOM and tablets are ideal for casual entertainment but can’t do what more powerful and more dedicated devices can deliver. The XOOM is fun in the way a bike is fun. It’s great riding it but you won’t go shopping or take your family on a 60-mile trip to the beach on a bicycle.
I will grant my XOOM its five stars because I truly love it and Amazon’s 5-star rating stands for ‘I love it’. It doesn’t mean that the XOOM is perfect or that using it isn’t frustrating from time to time. It only means that I love it and I’m glad I got mine.
P.S. – for best results, I’d recommend accessorizing with a stand, a Bluetooth keyboard, a stylus and a couple of microfiber cloths.
Aug 10, 2011 Update
Apparently the XOOM just earned Apple’s seal of approval. The XOOM and Samsung’s Tab 10.1 are the 2 tablets Apple is trying to get banned in Europe.