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Motorola XOOM Review

Posted: , by John V.

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So this is where all the real fun comes into play as the biggest wow factor to behold the Motorola XOOM is the tablet optimized experience with Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Granted that it’s not going to let the platform take up the entire spotlight, the spiffy and responsive new platform is credited by the tablet’s viscous 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra2 processor and 1GB of DDR2 RAM. With those two combined, it provides that slick and swift experience that doesn’t let up in the speed department, but in some rare instances, there is still some evidence of slowdown – but it only happens for a brief time and doesn’t deter from its overall peppy response.

No joke, but when we first powered up the XOOM and got straight into the Android 3.0 Honeycomb homescreen, we were overwhelmed by how different the user interface looked compared to previous iterations of Android. Taking precedence in almost every aspect, it features an intense amount of 3D visual effects that not only add plenty of eye candy, but gives it some futuristic look and feel – much like the fancy looking LCARS interface running on consoles in the Star Trek universe.

Some may be surprised by the lack of usual Android buttons, like the menu and back keys, but they’re in fact placed in the left portion of the System Bar – which is always present at bottom of the screen at any orientation. Specifically, we find the usual Back and Home buttons, but alongside them is the Recent Apps button that displays a thumbnail image of the most recent apps running. This essentially aids in the productivity department as you can quickly multi-task and get things accomplished. Continuing to show off it processing prowess, it’s able to keep even a memory intensive 3D game like Cordy, which is preloaded and developed specifically for tablets, in the same exact position in the game if you happen to switch back to the web browser or homescreen. Finally, with most apps, the customary Menu button will also pop up in the same area too.

The Motorola XOOM is optimized with Android 3.0 Honeycomb - Motorola XOOM Review
Android buttonsin the bottom left - The Motorola XOOM is optimized with Android 3.0 Honeycomb - Motorola XOOM Review
The Action Bar is on top - The Motorola XOOM is optimized with Android 3.0 Honeycomb - Motorola XOOM Review
The Motorola XOOM is optimized with Android 3.0 Honeycomb - Motorola XOOM Review
 

Android buttons
in the bottom left

The Action Bar is on top

 
The Motorola XOOM is optimized with Android 3.0 Honeycomb - Motorola XOOM Review
The Motorola XOOM is optimized with Android 3.0 Honeycomb - Motorola XOOM Review
Notifications panelin the bottom right - The Motorola XOOM is optimized with Android 3.0 Honeycomb - Motorola XOOM Review
The Motorola XOOM is optimized with Android 3.0 Honeycomb - Motorola XOOM Review
  

Notifications panel
in the bottom right

 

The Motorola XOOM is optimized with Android 3.0 Honeycomb


Additionally, notifications now pop up in the Notifications Panel that’s located in the bottom right portion of the System Bar. We dig it. Honestly! That’s because it’s not obtrusive at all in the way it presents notifications; such as an email or Twitter mention. And in the event you’re not present to see them, specific icons will load up in the Notifications Panel and you’ll have the opportunity of clicking each one to see what they are. Furthermore, you can get rid of the notifications icons by simply clicking the distinguishable “X” icon in the pop up window. Obviously, the time, battery indicator, and signal strength of the tablet are all displayed in the same area as the Notifications Panel, while tapping on it will get you access to the Android Settings – along with some quick functions like adjusting its brightness, orientation lock, Wi-Fi, and airplane mode.

While the System Bar is perched on the bottom at all times, we find the Action Bar placed on the top side of the display – which offers different items according to what apps you’re running. At the homescreen, we find access to Google Search, Voice Search, apps panel, and personalization. However, if you run the web browser, the Action Bar simply becomes the area for all the window tabs. 

The interface of the Motorola XOOM in portrait mode - Motorola XOOM Review
The interface of the Motorola XOOM in portrait mode - Motorola XOOM Review
The interface of the Motorola XOOM in portrait mode - Motorola XOOM Review
The interface of the Motorola XOOM in portrait mode - Motorola XOOM Review

The interface of the Motorola XOOM in portrait mode


Without question, there’s plenty of personalization to find with Android 3.0 Honeycomb as it dishes up 5 homescreen panels for you to fill with various things. Instinctively, you can place additional content, like widgets or shortcuts, by executing a long press on any open area on the homescreen – you can also do it by pressing the “+” button in the Action Bar as well. Once you’re there, the scene changes and displays all 5 homescreen simultaneously, where you can add widgets, app shortcuts, wallpapers, and more. Click and drag is the name of the game, much like Android in general, to get specific items to their locations on the homescreen. Yet another thing we adore is the handful of interactive widgets that Android 3.0 Honeycomb has to offer. For example, the Gmail widget allows you to quickly scroll through your email directly within the widget, while things like the YouTube widget stacks videos together for you to browse.

And finally, pressing on the apps icons in the homescreen will plop the apps panel into view with a nifty looking falling from the sky animation. Once they’re all there, icons are positioned in the familiar grid-like pattern which are finger friendly in size. Moreover, you’ll be able to swipe left and right as you begin to accumulate more apps on the Motorola XOOM.

The apps panel of the Motorola XOOM - Motorola XOOM Review
The apps panel of the Motorola XOOM - Motorola XOOM Review

The apps panel of the Motorola XOOM



50 Comments
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posted on 24 Feb 2011, 10:47 4

1. Tre-Nitty (Posts: 460; Member since: 16 Nov 2010)


That price point is kinda steep. Not sure its worth it.

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 10:57 1

2. babi (unregistered)


does it have any telephony ability?
can i make cellular call with this device?

posted on 10 Mar 2011, 23:54

50. Mason (unregistered)


I wondered the same thing, unfortunately you cannot. Considering this is "phone arena" it's odd that they're reviewing something that isn't a phone and has no phone capability.

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 11:04 6

4. 3MTA3 (unregistered)


"CONS: Lacks WOW factor in design"

Yeah, its design only has dual core processor, 5MP rear cam with flash, 2MP front cam, 1260 x 980 resolution, SD card, 3G, 4G LTE, slim form factor, 10 inch screen, 8 hours of battery life, flash support in 30 days.......yeah, thee is no WOW factor here in the design at all. NONE

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 11:24 9

7. ecml (Posts: 129; Member since: 23 Mar 2010)


Ummm...you're pretty much talking about the specs and not the design

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 13:50 6

11. The Rob (unregistered)


True, but to some fanboys, specs ARE design. That's all they'll talk about, and not know what they even mean.

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 22:35 5

18. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


yeah, that doesn't make any sense at all. a duel core processor doesn't make it black and Android 3.0 doesn't make it rectangular, design does and that might be a valid factor when comparing a Xoom to a Galaxy Tab 10.1.

posted on 01 Mar 2011, 12:35 1

40. Zeus (unregistered)


Wot u r sayin is that Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has better construction than XOOM? Oh cum on, the Tab has all plastic construction and it looks cheap!!!

posted on 01 Mar 2011, 12:51 1

41. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


i'm not saying the 10.1 is better at all than the Xoom, i actually prefer the design of the Xoom but they match each other nearly spec for spec so you wouldn't be completely out of your mind if you decided to get a 10.1 because it's lighter or something about the design appeals to you more, that's all.

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 19:14 3

16. FightForTheLost (Posts: 20; Member since: 25 May 2010)


Yeah, I personally think that the only real "con" is that not all apps take up the full space on the tablet.

The cost factor is negatable if you buy the WiFi-only version at $600 or use Ocho-Cinco's 25% off code (courtesy of XDA) to lower the 3G model down to $600, either of which would put in on point with the iPad.

The "no Flash" factor is annoying, yes, but we'll live without it for a few weeks or so. And then we'll get Tegra 2-specific Flash and everything will be okay.

And the "lacking WOW" factor is kind of dumb; Moto went for quality of the interior, and it shows. Props to them. They didn't try to make a tab that looked great but sucked on performance *coughcoughArchos,ViewSonic,ACER,andallotherAndroid-wannabetabscoughcough*

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 11:16 3

5. Kjayhawk (Posts: 291; Member since: 07 Oct 2010)


Cons: Not an ipad

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 15:18 1

13. Misanthropos (Posts: 56; Member since: 03 Aug 2010)


i like the way you think.

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 20:32 2

35. FightForTheLost (Posts: 20; Member since: 25 May 2010)


Why thank you! (if that's to me, anyway)

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 11:20 1

6. LionStone (Posts: 461; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)


Well I think they are mostly talking about the physical aspects wrt "design", not specs. But for me, it's a tablet, it's not white and its portable and thin, just right. I don't see this as a negative at all.

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 12:05 1

8. protozeloz (Posts: 5379; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


wow same score as the iPad I'm quite surprised

about the ''WOW Factor design'' its a standard and practical shape plus it has no hardware buttons...I still wish for a more gesture based UI tho

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 15:19 1

14. Misanthropos (Posts: 56; Member since: 03 Aug 2010)


like webos

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 18:15 2

15. protozeloz (Posts: 5379; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


duh! they hired Matias Duarte from palm to help them polish their development as well as bring new features... i bet he wont think twice before giving Google his personal ideas for UI development

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 12:11 2

9. mike (unregistered)


too bad that it does not have full usb port. The price is too expensive. I'm waiting for WiFi version to drop to $500.

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 12:16

10. protozeloz (Posts: 5379; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


i doesn't? i think Engadget said it has one to plug USB and stuff lemme go check

posted on 25 Feb 2011, 21:37

29. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


it does have "full usb support" where'd you get your facts?

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 07:54 1

31. testman22 (Posts: 337; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)


whered you get your facts?? there is no full USB port. it has a mircro port for charging ang cables but thats it. and i own one

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 15:28

33. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


..what the hell are you people talking about? you mean like a usb 2.0/3.0 port? what's the big deal about that?

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 15:17 4

12. Misanthropos (Posts: 56; Member since: 03 Aug 2010)


way to go letting out an unfinished product. no flash? no support for sd card despite the fact that there's a port? you'll have to send your device in to get it upgraded to LTE?

the consumers of this nation worry me.

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 20:35

36. FightForTheLost (Posts: 20; Member since: 25 May 2010)


Flash is coming later specifically designed for Tegra 2 processors. That's the only reason it's not equipped with Flash, is because Flash itself wasn't optimized for it yet. Not Moto's fault.

The SD card thing I'll agree with you on; THAT was stupid of them to build a port that doesn't operate. But at least we can be thankful that we even HAVE a port, unlike the crapPad.

And the LTE upgrade is kind of a pain, but I guess it's just something we'll have to deal with. And hey, you could always just buy the Xoom AFTER the 4G update starts being offered, because you know they'll be shipping units to stores equipped with 4G (and probably Flash) at that point in time.

But, that's just me.

posted on 01 Mar 2011, 22:17

44. Namarrgon (unregistered)


You're talking about the iPad, right? Oh wait, it won't ever do those things. Guess it'll always be unfinished.

The Xoom, right now, is easily worth the money by any reasonable comparison. The fact that it will soon be upgraded - for free - to support flash, SD cards and LTE is a *bonus*.

Personally, I'd prefer a Xoom *now*, and would be annoyed if they held off releasing it for a few months just so they could add features that a) I don't particularly care about, and b) can be freely upgraded later if I do want them (of course, if you feel differently, you're free to pretend it hasn't been released yet).

posted on 03 Mar 2011, 16:53

46. android_hitman (Posts: 647; Member since: 07 Jul 2010)


apple users worries me :)

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 21:40 3

17. ecml (Posts: 129; Member since: 23 Mar 2010)


I'm not trying to be negative here but I believed that Motorola should have waited to launch the tablet instead of releasing it so soon. Many people aren't going to like to have to send their XOOM back to Motorola just to get 4G LTE on the device. But first I don't get why they could of just went ahead and released it with 4G. They should just waited to release the tablet with having 4G on-board instead of rushing to get the tablet in stores so that they could be named having the first tablet with Android 3.0 but waiting for Flash isn't too much of a big deal because you don't have to send your tablet back to the manufacture just to get it installed. And I swear there was an article on Phonearena a month back or so saying that the 4G update would be over the air for the XOOM.

posted on 25 Feb 2011, 06:05

21. protozeloz (Posts: 5379; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


actually i think this is based on rumors again the thunderbolt has the TLE hardware on and its being ready before the XOOM, It would be really dumb to release something with a piece of hardware lacking thats something the user cant "plug and play"

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 22:37 3

19. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


i'm digging the Chrome-esqe browser here. o:
i'm not ready to jump on the tablet train quite yet but now i can't wait for Ice Cream!

posted on 24 Feb 2011, 22:49 1

20. Sniggly (Posts: 7177; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Okay, so regarding the cons that Phonearena lists:

1. "Lacks WOW factor in design" What, did you need it encrusted in diamonds? How much can you do with a design for a device that by definition has to be mostly screen? It's a utilitarian device, just like the original Droid was.

2. "Expensive" Okay, so you yourselves have pointed out that a 32GB iPad WITHOUT expandable memory and WITHOUT a camera and WITHOUT Flash support, past present or future and WITHOUT a dual core processor and WITHOUT even the capability to be upgraded to 4G connectivity is only 70 bucks less. And there will be a XOOM that's wifi only for only a hundred bucks more than an iPad with half the available memory and processing speed. So before you bitch about how expensive a product is, consider how much more it offers.

3. "Not all apps take advantage of its display" Well no way. Not all of the apps are going to be at launch. But most of the apps you mentioned which weren't optimized were third party and not under Google's control. And if they aren't optimized now, they will be.

4. "No Flash support at launch" Oh well. So it's no worse off than the iPad for the moment. Fun part is that it will have it in the coming weeks, so it's not really a problem. Droid users had to go for almost a year in some cases before they had it.

However, at least you didn't gripe too much. Seems you gave a fair enough review, considering your usual bias.

posted on 25 Feb 2011, 17:13

26. clevername (Posts: 1431; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


I love how people see bias when a reviewer likes an apple product.

posted on 25 Feb 2011, 19:56 1

28. Sniggly (Posts: 7177; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Its not just about liking apple products. It's about treating every product from Apple like it's the second coming, and all other devices must be compared to it. Not to mention the feeling I get that the reviewers always see a magical something in apple products that makes them better than competitors, no matter what Apple's products lack.

posted on 25 Feb 2011, 09:28 1

23. Hallucinator (Posts: 344; Member since: 24 May 2010)


I am a apple fan, but you guys need to quit comparing this to a first gen Ipad. One, it is kind of a false comparison ecspecially with the Ipad 2 around the corner and 2 it diminishes the Xoom. I am very impressed with this and think it looks like a great tablet, but if it keeps getting compared to the original Ipad it just make Apple look that much better when the Ipad 2 comes out.

posted on 25 Feb 2011, 11:23 1

24. Sniggly (Posts: 7177; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


I do agree to an extent, but seeing as how Apple has deliberately pushed the release of the iPad 2 back, they will be able to throw on features that they may not have before so they appear to be better than the XOOM.

Leaks about new features of upcoming Apple products only seem to come after its competitors announce their own specs and features. For instance, there was nothing about the iPhone 5 having a dual core processor or a bigger screen until other phones with the same got a great response at tech shows. Why would they suddenly change the screen size when for the past four years it's been the same? Apple isn't usually fond of drastic design changes; you still have to turn an iPhone sideways if you want to know what generation it is.

Anyway, I'll be paying attention this summer to see how the phone wars pan out.

posted on 25 Feb 2011, 17:11

25. clevername (Posts: 1431; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


You have an excellent point. Why compare it to a product that's almost a year old. Wait for the iPad 2 and bash that for all he things YOU think it a hold have.

posted on 25 Feb 2011, 19:49

27. protozeloz (Posts: 5379; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Great Video review thanks for clarifying the "wow factor" part with the video this review got much better toned

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 03:19

30. Mike (unregistered)


responding to comments 23 and 25.....in that case dont compare the ipad 2 to a xoom....wait for the xoom 2!!!! you can only compare to what is currently out, not what might be....ipad 2 is second generation ipad...true...BUT that doesnt automatically make it the best!!!!

regarding no flash....apple products will NEVER have it. "Wow Factor"? what did you guys expect to have on it?

even if the ipad 2 matches the xoom in specs....its ipod operating system doesnt come close to a fair battle.

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 12:01

32. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)


Screen transition effects?! I don't believe it!!!

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 15:34

34. silverfang77 (Posts: 6; Member since: 21 Nov 2010)


Is this that Android tablet that doesn't support Flash, or is that another one?

posted on 27 Feb 2011, 14:27

37. Galen20K (Posts: 517; Member since: 26 Dec 2008)


meh, I want the G-Slate.

posted on 28 Feb 2011, 10:46

38. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


All the android fan boys on here are annoying. PA gave this tablet a fair review and gave it a good rating, but apparently it is unacceptable to some of you to say anything that isn't 100% positive. As far as why is it being compared to the Apple product? The tablet market didn't exist before Apple. They made a prodcut that made tablets attractive and now other companies are trying to get in the game. And yes to some of you design is different than specs. Motorola generally makes ugly products like the droid 1 and 2.

posted on 01 Mar 2011, 00:03 1

39. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


motorola products are ugly huh? well how about you give us an example of something that looks better to you?

posted on 01 Mar 2011, 15:29 2

42. zuno gyakusatsu (Posts: 257; Member since: 16 Mar 2010)


feces would be a start. anything is better than a motorola product.

posted on 01 Mar 2011, 16:15

43. Misanthropos (Posts: 56; Member since: 03 Aug 2010)


a maggot covered corpse

posted on 01 Mar 2011, 23:01 1

45. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


hm, i'm pretty sure some people is gonna disagree with you there including PA, Engadget and plenty of other tech sites with any kind of prestige.

posted on 06 Mar 2011, 15:31

47. AndroidTroll (Posts: 359; Member since: 05 Mar 2011)


Verizon is playing favorites. Now that it paid all that money to Crapple it has to sabotage the xoom by taking away the 4G and flash so it will be on par with ipad 2 when it comes out. That way they will sell more ipads and get a return on their crappy investment. Damn Verizon!

posted on 06 Mar 2011, 22:18

48. kbayer (Posts: 19; Member since: 08 Feb 2010)


Non functioning SD card, no Flash, gotta mail the tablet back to Samsung for hardware upgrade to handle 4G... WTF?

posted on 07 Mar 2011, 11:05

49. rgsniper1 (unregistered)


you have the price points mixed up in the video review.
2 year contract is $600.00
Full price is $800.00
The prices are switched around.

:)

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 14:53

52. LXH (unregistered)


how amazing XOOM can handle multitasking

web browser, some games etc ...

AMAZING !!

so what's the point of xoom getting 8 score o_O ??

posted on 18 Jul 2011, 03:51

53. Jennifer Wade (unregistered)


Google works as energy drink, each company that drinks this energy drink it gets high speed. Motorola is already a well known product company now with the merge of android it has built a strong name in tablet world as well. Other name such as Ozitechnology and Samsung have also shown their skills so well in android devices.

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Motorola XOOM

Motorola XOOM

OS: Android 4.0 3.2 3.1 3.0
view full specs
Display10.1 inches, 1280 x 800 pixels (149 ppi)
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
Dual core, 1000 MHz
1024 MB RAM
Size9.80 x 6.61 x 0.51 inches
(249 x 167.8 x 12.9 mm)
25.75 oz  (730 g)

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