Aug 23, 2011
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The Motorola Xoom Android 3 Tablet Review

We’ve used and reviewed half a dozen Android tablets earlier; however, none has stood upto the class of the iPad. Read our review of Motorola’s latest tablet; Xoom which arrives with Google's Android 3 aka Honeycomb OS specifically making this one an Android tablet.

Motorola Xoom is a fine-looking product. The back is typically dressed in grey aluminum metal, crested with a tough rubber strip accommodating a camera with 5-megapixels, stereo speakers, a dual-LED flash and the power push button. Turn-over and the 1280*800, 10.1 inch screen dominates, with a top-centre front-facing 2-megapixel video camera. With a headphone socket sitting at the top, the volume button is on the left-hand edge and Micro HDMI, charging and a microSD slot on the bottom along with dock contacts. It’s absolutely pleasing to embrace, even though the complete tablet pc is 4.1mm thicker and 129g heavier than the Apple iPad 2.

Motorola Xoom TabletWith 32GB of integrated storage, Motorola Xoom is power-driven by a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core CPU and 1GB of RAM. The other versions of 16GB and 64GB storage may become available in due course, with a 3G version available on a range of plans. The Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR supports all other Bluetooth devices & keyboards, A-GPS and Wi-Fi on dual-band 802.11n.

Motorola Xoom Software

Rather than the past versions of the OS, Google’s Android 3 is superior and well-matched to current tablets: letting more tablet apps sit on the desktop, its icons are the perfect size for bigger screens.

The notification area for Wi-Fi signal strength, battery life and a watch, with tiny icons showing message alerts and downloads is at the bottom-right of the screen. Thin toolbar at the base of all screens is a new development, with icons for functions like “Back”, “Home” and “Running tasks”.

There are no drastic changes in the keyboard functioning, however several keys have been placed at more normal positions and few added to provide realistic feel. You can now hold shift key and type in capital letters as you would in iPad and of course, on a normal computer keyboard.

The preloaded tablet apps have all been upgraded: the similar feel & look has been given to Contacts and Calendar apps, and the email app is now opening in a panel. With a CoverFlow-style interface, music player makes it easy for browsing through songs and music albums. Similar to Android 2, the Motorola Xoom presents quite a few customizable desktops, although you will still be able to launch tablet apps from the long-established grid view. With an upgraded browser, you will get private browsing where tabs and toolbar are along the top of the tablet screen.

There are hardly any third party tablet apps preloaded on the Motorola Xoom, except for Film Studio (a video editor). We also couldn’t locate any tablet related Android software. Most of the smartphone and gaming apps kept crashing with unusual behavior. Guess, we’ll have to wait and see how app developers catch up on these bugs and upgrade to match upto Android 3 OS.

Performance and battery life of Motorola Xoom

Performance wise, Xoom has a great future ahead. While browsing through desktop screens, the 3D carousel computer graphics that appear are quite responsive and marvelously smooth. The browsing speed is just the type of, which you’d dreamt of while moving around from one app to another app, to the desktop homepage and back. As per our tests, even the Apple iPad 2couldnt beat the performance scores of Mototola Xoom tablet.

We couldn’t disagree with Motorola’s claim of 10 hours of battery life with Wi-Fi usage for Xoom. As per our video-test, the Xoom battery was alive for almost 13hrs on a low-resolution video. Yes, we know that’s little behind both versions of Apple iPad, however you’ll get enough battery power for a relaxed use.

Sorry to say, but there is a bad news as well for the Xoom fans. Turn the tablet pc to portrait from landscape and the desktop icons shudder while moving to their new location. Heavy web sites lag and web pages become unresponsive at times.

The tablet screen is a disappointment as well. Xoom’s screen is not even close to being as sharp or clear when placed next to an Apple iPad with the brightness turned up on its IPS panel. Black color isn’t as dark or deep, and colors look gray. With broader aspect ratio and added pixels than the Apple iPad 2, Xoom screen does swank of good quality contrast, exciting colors and reputable viewing angles.

The back camera of Xoom is 5-megapixel and captures much superior pictures than the Apple iPad 2. It also has twin LEDs feature for use as a video light or a still photo flash. With 2-megapixel front camera it’ll shoot 720p video which is quite finer than iPad. Only not so natural colors are a little problem, other than that the photographs and videos looked well sharp with controlled noise in our analysis, and autofocus worked quite well.

Result of Motorola Xoom Tablet Review

Motorola Xoom Tablet PCEven though there are few hiccups, we are fond of Motorola Xoom. The tablet is nicely finished with good battery life and a powerful hardware.

However, we would request you to consider few things, before you run out to the local Motorola store to buy this tablet. The features of Xoom tablet are not exactly similar to iPad 2 and, cost exactly the same. Another thing, this is not the only Android 3 tablet around and ASUS’ Transformer with 16GB hard drive is way smoother, economical and comes with a much better screen.

The Motorola Xoom is definitely better than the lot; however isn’t everything that community has been waiting for. And for all such reasons, we’d recommend you to be patient for the time being and spend your dough on something better in next few months.

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