Motorola Xoom Tablet Review - Android 3.0 Arrives - HotHardware

Motorola Xoom Tablet Review - Android 3.0 Arrives

16 thumbs up

Considering the widespread success Apple has enjoyed with the iPad and its successor, the iPad 2, it's hard not to compare a new tablet to these two (already successful) tablets. In many ways, you'll find the Xoom has similar physical specifications to both generations of iPads.

The Motorola Xoom measures approximately 9.81 x 6.61 x 0.51 inches and weighs 1.61 pounds. For comparison, the Apple iPad 2 measures 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches and weighs 1.33-1.35 pounds depending on model. When we first picked up the Xoom, we thought it felt a bit heavy. Other people we handed the tablet to made similar remarks. As a result, we were a bit surprised to discover that the Xoom is not really any heavier than the first-generation iPad, which weighs 1.6 pounds. The first-generation iPad and the Xoom also have similar thicknesses: 0.51 (Xoom) and 0.5 (iPad). In terms of width and height, the first-generation iPad measures 9.56 x 7.47 inches.

Click to enlarge

While both generations of the iPad have 9.7-inch displays, the Xoom offers a larger 10.1-inch display that also offers a higher resolution than the iPad (1280 x 800 for the Xoom compared to 1024x768 for the iPad 1 and iPad 2). In addition, the Xoom's display features a widescreen aspect ratio which is especially nice when watching movies on the tablet.

During our testing period, the Xoom's screen attracted a fair number of fingerprints, though they never seemed to affect the responsiveness of the display. Viewing angles on the Xoom's display were very good. In fact, we were still able to read the Xoom's display at nearly a 90 degree angle to the screen.

Although you can use the Xoom in either portrait or landscape mode by simply rotating the tablet, its natural orientation is landscape mode. When held in landscape mode, you'll find the volume buttons on the upper left edge of the tablet. The top edge of the tablet houses a sliding door that reveals a SIM card slot and microSD slot. The SIM card slot is designed to be used once the tablet has been upgraded with 4G LTE support.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Although the Xoom doesn't support 4G LTE straight out of the box, Verizon Wireless has said it will issue a free 4G LTE upgrade at some point in the future. To upgrade the tablet, you will have to ship it to Motorola. The upgrade process is expected to take about six business days. Once upgraded and assuming you're in a 4G coverage area, Verizon Wireless claims you'll get average downlink speeds of 5-12Mbps and 2-5Mbps uplink. For more information about the upgrade process, you can visit the Xoom upgrade page where you'll find a Getting Ready Guide and FAQ page.

It's unknown when an update will be available from Motorola that will unlock the microSD card slot, but at least we know such an update is in the works. In the meantime, you'll be able to use the 32GB of internal storage found on this tablet. Also, if you're too anxious to wait, don't forget that there is an unofficial kernel available on xda-developers.

Click to enlarge

On the bottom edge of the Xoom, you'll find a microUSB port, HDMI output, and charging port. As you may notice from the list of box contents, the Xoom comes with both a data cable and a charger. You can only charge the tablet using the charger that accompanies the Xoom – the microUSB port is only used for data transfer, not for charging.

The Power/sleep button is located on the back of the Xoom near the rear camera. This rear camera is a 5 megapixel camera with dual LED flash. There's a speaker between the camera and the power button on the back of the tablet. Just above the display, you'll find the Xoom's front-facing 2.0 megapixel webcam.

Click to enlarge

Article Index:

1 2 Next
+1
+ -

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

+3
+ -

Transformer preview going up today!

0
+ -

Nice!

0
+ -

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.

0
+ -

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.

0
+ -

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?

0
+ -

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

0
+ -

@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.

0
+ -

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.

0
+ -

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.

1 2 Next
Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment
Username:   Password: