Motorola Xoom Tablet Review - Android 3.0 Arrives

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The Motorola Xoom tablet has been met with plenty of hype, and perhaps rightfully so since it is the first tablet to ship with Android 3.0 (aka Honeycomb), the first version of Android designed specifically for tablets. Although there are a number of tablets slated to hit the market this year, Motorola has the benefit of being the first company to actually ship a tablet running on Honeycomb. The Xoom also has some powerful specs that are sure to attract attention, including a dual-core processor, a 10.1-inch widescreen display, 32GB of onboard storage, and front- and rear-facing cameras.

Honeycomb was designed for devices with larger screen sizes, especially tablets. With Honeycomb, you'll get a new multi-touch holographic user interface as well as a 3D experience. You'll also get an updated set of standard applications including a browser with multiple tabs, a Contacts app that uses a two-pane UI and Fast Scroll, and a new two-pane UI in the Email application.

The Motorola Xoom is powered by a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor. It comes with 1GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The Xoom also has a microSD card slot, though it is not enabled out of the box. Motorola has confirmed an update is in the works that will enable the microSD card slot. If you're too anxious to wait, there is an unofficial kernel available on xda-developers.

Although the Xoom won't be the only tablet making headlines this year, it is the first to ship with Android 3.0. It will also directly compete with the ever-popular iPad. So how does the Xoom stack up? Read on as we take a hands-on look at the Motorola Xoom for Verizon Wireless...


Motorola Xoom
Specifications & Features

  • Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) OS
  • 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core
  • 32GB Internal Memory
  • 1GB LP DDR2 RAM
  • CDMA 800/1900 (CDMA EV-DO Rev A)
  • LTE 700 (after upgrade)
  • Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz & 5GHz 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR + HID
  • eCompass, aGPS
  • 1 USB port  
  • 1 HDMI input
  • 3.5mm headset
  • Proximity, ambient light, barometer, gyroscope sensors
  • 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 Light Responsive Display
  • approximately 9.81 x 6.61 x 0.51 inches
  • 1.61 pounds
  • Front-facing 2.0 megapixel webcam
  • Rear 5.0 megapixel camera with flash
Battery Life:
  • Charge Time - Up to approx. 3.5 hours
  • Video Playback Time - Up to approx. 10 hours
  • Browsing over Wi-Fi - Up to approx. 10 hours
  • Browsing over 3G - Up to approx. 9 hours
  • MP3 playback - Up to approx. 3.3 days
  • Standby - Up to approx. 14 days
Box Contents:
  • Motorola Xoom Tablet
  • Charger
  • Data Cable
  • Product Safety & Warranty Brochure
  • Quick Reference Guide
Price:
  • Motorola Xoom for Verizon Wireless
    • Full Retail Price: $799.99
    • PRICE with 2-Year contract: $599.99
  • Motorola Xoom with Wi-Fi: $599.00

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Comments

Comments
LLeCompte 3 years ago

good review, now you guys need to get your hands on a asus transformer. Im wanting that one super bad.

Dave_HH 3 years ago

Transformer preview going up today!

Drake_McNasty 3 years ago

Nice!

LBowen 3 years ago

Good that they included an microSD slot and letting us know about the unofficial enabler on xda. I read through the review and it sounds solid. I will continue to wait on tablets until prices come down significantly even though I would like a new tech toy.

coolice 3 years ago

thats VERY odd, the micro sd disabled? But good review!. I was a little surprised that in the first couple of benchmarks, the xoom placed 3rd, but, meh, i dont think real like usage people will notice the difference. And solic battery life from the looks of it.

OSunday 3 years ago

The accelerometer didn't seem to responsive there was a big lag between switching from landscape to portrait but the minimal bloatware, multi-tab in the default browser and the e-reader features with the simulated page turn built in are some neat little features and the screen looks to be as smooth responsive to touch as the iPad and iPad 2 are legendary for, all in all this looks like a great device its the first tablet to ship with Android 3.0, so I cant wait to see how it holds up to its competitors like the Asus Transformer

I wonder why you can't charge through the microusb port?

HHGrrl 3 years ago

Is it possible to charge tablets such as this through the microUSB port? If so, why aren't more companies doing it?

WaltFrench 3 years ago

@HHGirl, MOST USB ports don't supply enough current to charge the Xoom as quickly as you'd like, and Moto has opted to require a separate charger cord instead of having you futz with “will it or won't it?” questions.

The iPad also needs a comparable level of power but Apple has put higher-power circuits on its recent gear so you have just one cable between the iPad and either its USB-ported charger, or your laptop. Works pretty nice for both data + power, simultaneously, even.

WaltFrench 3 years ago

Thanks for the good laugh about “how the Xoom compares to other tablets” — “at or near the top in comparison to our reference systems.”

Yes, it does quite well compared to ancient and/or decrepit systems, including a 3GS tablet (WTF?!?) that perhaps you put into a time machine to get its scores from 2009. (My wife's 3GS, running the current iOS 4.3, turned in a 5500 mSec result, 150% faster than you show and ahead of your EVO tablet score, due to Apple's sterling after sale support for devices. How's Moto been for its recent devices?)

If you want to compare it to current systems… well, the Xoom's still good — “in the hunt” if not fastest. It's a bit better than twice as fast as the Playbook tests I ran in my nearby Staples (I had to run the old version since the current SunSpider test crashed it; YMMV).And it's faster than my iPhone4, too, although not by quite as much a margin. The iPad2 (have you heard of 'em? You should check em out!), however, bested it. And a decent i7 laptop — say, my MBP or maybe a decent Windows laptop running Chrome — will run 8 circles around that fastest of the tablets, turning in a 250 mSec time versus the 2000 or so of the iPad.

For most people's use, I don't imagine that SunSpider scores will make much difference: most browsers are slowed down more by other things than javascript, I'd suspect. And the lousy Playbook score is merely another indicator of how RIM rushed the Playbook software, while Android's browser has been pretty good ever since Froyo; give the Playbook a bit more time and its raw speed ought to come neck-and-neck.

Aside from general responsiveness, the Xoom oughta be at least OK, and its speed looks perfectly OK for anything except the miserable experience I saw with video editing, a task you might attempt (once) on the Xoom, but can do handily, it seems, on a competing device.

So I'd summarize the performance as: for most functions: decent; quite acceptable; limited in some more demanding uses that you might use a tablet for, and untested for high-rez, high-frame-rate gaming, where the iPad2 is said to be tops. Why people might care how it competes against 2-year-old phones is beyond me, though.

Dave_HH 3 years ago

Walt, your feedback and comments are always welcome. Thanks for the input. However, I'm not sure why you're so stuck on the benchmark comparisons. Take the graphics side of things, Jen compared it to both the Galaxy Tab, ViewSonic gTablet and the brand new Eee Pad Transformer. We don't always have enough reference numbers but I think she did a pretty darn good with presenting how this tablet performs in the current landscape.

Orville 3 years ago

Jennifer,

Thanks for this review. I think media based reviews are better, except where specs are concerned. Here is my question. Could I, using the Xoom to download and display an OpenOffice or PDF file for viewing from a NAS located on my LAN if I also purchased a 802.11n access point to provide a connection point.

Thanks again,

Orville

Dave_HH 3 years ago

I'm pretty certain the answer to that is, yes, Orville. Jen? You have the beast. Can you let us know?

francisco222 3 years ago

Hi- thanks for the review and it seems promising, but it does still seem a bit pricey. -Francisco

Jennifer J 3 years ago

Orville - if I understand correctly, you're asking about accessing files stored on a remote PC or server. Yes - this is possible. You'll need to download a file explorer app that has this functionality; there are free apps that will do this in the Android Market. Depending on the type of file you're trying to view, you may also need an app that enables viewing for that file type.

Orville 3 years ago

Jennifer,

Thanks for your kind answer to my horribly mangled question. Here is what I meant in an unmangled form:

Could I open an ODT and/or PDF file on the Xoom for viewing via an 802.11n access point which is connected to my LAN to which a NAS, the source of such files, is also connected. I hope that's better.

Anyway, I looks like you got the question correctly decoded and answered. Thank you for that. After I read your reply, I surfed to market.android.com and found what appeared to be several applications that would do just what I want. I have no experience with computers like the Xoom, or with any Android devices for that matter. I'm retired, not young and stupid. I don't plan to give AT&T, Verizon or Sprint one damn dime I don't absolutely have to, but the Xoom might be useful on my LAN. I guess I should be grateful to all of the YASs of this world that keep AT&T et al. roiling in the money their stockholders require. I just hope the Elmonzo Grandes leave me alone. Anyway, I have a single application in mind that would require no data input just output. I would think that would be right up the Xoom's alley.

Could I plug my USB PIN drive into the Xoom, after I find a big USB to tiny USB adapter, to see what ODT and PDF files look like on it? With my ancient eyes, I prefer a dot pitch over .27 mm/pixel, but the Xoom comes in around .17 mm/Pixel. I'd have to see if I could read text on it.

Orville

Jennifer J 3 years ago

Orville- I'm not sure about plugging in a USB drive, but once the microSD card slot is enabled in a future update (date TBA), you could always load your files from there.

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