So, this is the new kid on the block. The Motorola Xoom pushed it’s way into the tablet war in January at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now, it’s been out for a few weeks now, and many people have purchased the Xoom, but since launch, many conflicts on price and now the price has dropped to $599 and they have waived off the activation fee. But this is a review of the product, not the marketing here. Let’s dive into the dense geeky forest of Xooooooooooom.
After laughing at my introduction paragraph above, let’s get serious here. The Motorola Xoom, it’s really a breakthrough it tablets by showing people that it doesn’t have to be Apple to be a tablet. iPad or Xoom and not iPad not Xoom. And in some ways this does do the job on taking your mind off the iPad, and looking at the spec sheet and the price tag, it some how erases the iPad’s existence.
But, there is one more thing… When this thing lags, it makes you wanna hurl this thing across the room. But good thing it’s a rare occurrence. I’ll get into that in the software portion of the review. Now let’s start.
So the Xoom is really jam packed with some quality parts inside. The Tegra 2 Dual-Core 1 GHZ processor is blazing fast. It has proven itself by having faster rendering than the iPad 2, not 1, iPad 2! Also, PC like RAM of 1 GB, and 32 GB of flash storage with expandable media slot, or AKA Micro SD Card slot on the side. So, the hardware of this thing is great, but still on tests, the iPad 2 does prove to be faster on graphics rendering and other tasks, but the Xoom has the iPad at speed of the web.
Cameras, cameras, cameras. This thing has 2 of them, it’s becoming the norm of society in new gadgets, if it doesn’t have at least 2 of them, it’s plain weird. So, it might have 2 of them, but are they any good? Let’s start with the rear camera. It’s an 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash, that shoots 720P HD video. Photos look great, even on the big screen, but I am a little disappointed by the video quality, but it looks better than the iPad 2′s rear camera so it passes for me. But think about it, would you want to be seen holding a 10 inch tablet taking your daughter’s wedding photograph? One, your arm would be hurting, and two you wouldn’t be reading this post because your daughter has killed you by now.
Now, let’s move to the front-facing camera, now this one has a 2 MP sensor on it, and it shoots VGA which means 640×480 video at 30 frames per second. That would be used primarily by teenagers taking facebook profile pictures and the regular guy talking to his girlfriend over Google Talk video calling. They do look similar to FaceTime quality, so again it passes for me.
Now as a tablet, it’s not as portable as a mobile phone, but it’s made to be more portable and useful than a standard laptop. The Motorola Xoom is quite long, and that’s a good thing. It’s narrower than the iPad, so it’s a little easier to thumb type in portrait mode, and then in landscape mode, the keyboard is a little more stretched out than the iPad’s keyboard.
This thing weighs just over 1.6 pounds, so it’s heavier than the original iPad, and iPad 2, but that weight does add a solid feel to the device. Same solid feel that you get from the iPad and the aluminum backing, but the Xoom has a rubberized coating on it so it doesn’t slip out.
This is where the review can get a little ugly. But since you are hear for my opinion on this device, let’s dive into the mostly negative part of the review. Now, being Google, they have one of the best mobile operating systems in the world. Right under Apple with their iOS to be in fact. But having a new version of it called HoneyComb, and in number it’s 3.0, it may be a little unfinished. Well, a lot unfinished. The OS is still pretty rough, and it’s in desperate need of system updates. Going through the home screens are fine, unless you have millions of applications running, which you won’t, (no pun intended their, just stating the facts, the iPhone doesn’t have a million applications either so…). But when you go through the menus and the settings, you can feel it getting much slower, and then when you hit the browser, it feels like the Xoom is on it’s death bed. Trying to pinch out to zoom in is just plain lagged. More lag than a person flying from Australia to the United States, JET LAGGGGG. (Feel free to hate on my unfunny comments). Then scrolling is just jittery. It’s mostly software issue and not hardware issue because the hardware can run that sucker. The problem is Google hasn’t figured out a way to make the hardware and software sing in harmony yet. But you know they are working on it! And one positive thing we got out of this software is Android HoneyComb is a total Google Experience, which in plain english, no bloatware, no skins, nothing! Total Google, and what this means is when Google sends out an update for the 3.0 devices, EVERYONE can download it at the same time. No waiting for carrier or manufacture approval.
This is also a pretty sad part of the review, but I will cut some slack for the Xoom since it’s been out for 2 weeks. There are virtually no native applications for the Xoom. Sure you can download the mobile applications for Android, but you have to double up everything and that just looks bad, and with a display like the one on the Xoom, a 10.1 inch display at 1280×800, it looks bad. Worse than how the iPad looked like when it doubled up applications. So, please developers, throw those code machines on overdrive and make those native 3.0 applications that can fill up the whole 10.1 inches.
So, you heard the good and the bad. The good is the price, and the hardware. The bad is the software, and applications. So it’s a 50/50 thing. But if you buy a Xoom, you will have a long time before you upgrade or throw it away. The Xoom has just started it’s life, and I see a bright future for this device. There’s just one crucial part to this puzzle. APPLICATIONS. I don’t care if it lags, if there is nothing to do with tablet except web browsing, I don’t want it. No one would. It has a chance… A good chance.