Motorola XOOM Review
Realizing the common theme of making use of the expanded space available, most of the core Android apps takes advantage of the spacious confines of the display – which is evident with the Contacts app. Two panes basically take up the entire layout, one being the left area where you can scroll through your listing, while the other displays pertinent details with each contact. Naturally, you can sync Facebook and Twitter contacts, which seems to favor the latter since it will show their most recent Tweets. Nevertheless, adding new contacts is a straightforward process as you’ll have plenty of information to associate with each person. And finally, contacts will be synced to your Google account to keep your mind at ease in the event of a catastrophic event plaguing the XOOM.
There isn’t much drastically different found with the Calendar app, aside from the expanded view we’re presented with. In any event, you can position it to display in either month, week, or day views – with the latter two being split up by two panes. Of course, you can also add a new event, with relevant information, to the calendar as it syncs with the appropriate calendar account.
If there is one thing missing with Android 3.0 Honeycomb that’s found on previous versions, it has to be the wide array of functions found with the Clock app. Instead, the one present on the XOOM will only display the digital clock – where you can set up an alarm as well. Strangely, it’s missing some other key components such as a world clock, stopwatch, and timer.
Unfortunately, there is no love for the Calculator app since it’s an exact facsimile to what’s found previously. Both in portrait and landscape views, we’re presented with the basic and advanced functions of the calculator – but that’s all! Somewhat funny, the size of the buttons are extraordinary larger than most things found with the platform.
Lastly, Voice Search is brought along for the ride, rightfully so, but like what we’ve seen already with a couple of other things, it doesn’t get any new functionality. Still, it pretty much accomplishes the same tasks as before, such as being able to launch Google Maps Navigation, by simply speaking “Navigate to.”
When you’re packing a larger than normal 10.1” display, you really need to throw out the typical mentality that goes behind using a smartphone. With the portrait on-screen keyboard, you’re going to require using both hands to hold onto the tablet, but the majority of work is placed on the thumbs. For those with smaller hands, your thumbs will be required to travel some lengthy distances – which makes for a slow and tiring process, but doesn’t drastically affect those with larger digits.
That’s where the landscape option comes to mind, which does require you to lay the tablet down flat on its back, but it’s definitely the preferred method of inputting text. Inherently, you place both hands down like you would on a normal keyboard, but the trick here is to keep your hands slightly elevated so it doesn’t touch the display. Initially, it’s a slow process, but after some work, we got the hang of typing without many problems. Even though there’s plenty of room that’s combined with the large buttons, it doesn’t beat the speedy input found with a regular keyboard.
It wouldn’t been nice to see numbers placed alongside the top row of buttons, much like the stock Android 2.3 Gingerbread keyboard, to reduce the time needed to switch between special characters. Also, a Tab button is now placed on the keyboard as well, which allows you to quickly move between input fields without actually having to press the correct locations on the display.
Just when the Gmail experience on an Android smartphone was good enough, the Motorola XOOM takes it to a whole new level and seemingly brings forth a near perfect desktop-like experience. Three panes grace the experience as the left most one displays all the folders in the account, the middle allows you to scroll through all your emails, while the third one shifts over once a message is selected in the middle pane. Naturally, we’re greeted with all the rich features we’d come to expect out of the desktop experience – like threaded conversations, archiving, starring, and labeling. Indubitably, we’re glad to see that the transition to the tablet space is well thought out; thus making for one well rounded experience.
Aside from Gmail, the Email app will aggregate all your emails from various accounts. Setup is blatantly a simple process for generic clients, such as Yahoo or Hotmail, but in those instances when you’re trying to set something not as popular, it’ll require additional items like server addresses and ports to properly complete. Just like the Gmail app, the three identical paned layout is present once again, but you can quickly switch between accounts by pressing down on the area in the Action Bar.
Connectivity & Data:
One of the unique advantages with the Motorola XOOM, besides it dual-band (800/1900 MHz) radio for 1xEV-DO rev. A speeds, is the fact that it’ll support Verizon’s speedy 4G LTE network down the road. But of course, you’ll be able to get the upgrade for free when it’s available, but you’ll more than likely be required to pay a visit to your local Verizon store to get it installed by a professional. Sadly, you won’t be able to make much use out of the Motorola XOOM if you plan to take this one abroad – partly because it’s CDMA; which is no problem for the upcoming GSM variant. However, if you happen to be near a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can connect it with its on-board 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi. Moreover, the XOOM features Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, which will enable accessories, like the Bluetooth keyboard made specifically for the tablet, to connect with the device wirelessly.
Just because it sports a higher version number than Android 2.2 Froyo, which introduced support for Flash 10.1, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be sprinkled with that near perfect desktop port. Sadly, it disappointingly lacks support for Flash 10.1, however, it’s positioned to get some sort of software update not too far from launch to throw it on.
Regardless of that, the first thing to come to mind using the web browser is that it closely resembles Google Chrome. As we mentioned already, the Action Bar will display all the open windows you’ve got, while the address bar and navigation functions are all there as well. Moreover, it’s neat to see that it’ll allow you to sync bookmarks stored with Google Chrome. But as for the actual web browsing experience, it’s naturally satisfying with its responsive kinetic scrolling, multi-touch gesture support for zooming, and the ability to quickly change between windows. Without much wait required, complex web sites like ours loaded up in a fair amount of time – displaying most of the content right away. And thanks to the healthy amount of real estate offered, it’s quite pleasing to the eyes to actually surf the web for an extended period of time. Yeah, it’s kind of a shame to see it lacking Flash support from the onset, but overlooking that one major gripe, we’re still more than agreeable with the XOOM’s performance in this department.
1. Tre-Nitty (Posts: 460; Member since: 16 Nov 2010)
That price point is kinda steep. Not sure its worth it.
2. babi (unregistered)
does it have any telephony ability?
can i make cellular call with this device?
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.
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
7. ecml (Posts: 129; Member since: 23 Mar 2010)
Ummm...you're pretty much talking about the specs and not the design
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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*
35. FightForTheLost (Posts: 20; Member since: 25 May 2010)
Why thank you! (if that's to me, anyway)
6. LionStone (Posts: 447; 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.
8. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; 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
15. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; 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
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.
10. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
i doesn't? i think Engadget said it has one to plug USB and stuff lemme go check
29. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
it does have "full usb support" where'd you get your facts?
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
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?
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.
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.
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).
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.
21. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; 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"
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!
20. Sniggly (Posts: 6946; 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.
26. clevername (Posts: 1428; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)
I love how people see bias when a reviewer likes an apple product.
28. Sniggly (Posts: 6946; 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.
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.
24. Sniggly (Posts: 6946; 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.
25. clevername (Posts: 1428; 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.
27. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
Great Video review thanks for clarifying the "wow factor" part with the video this review got much better toned
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.
32. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
Screen transition effects?! I don't believe it!!!
34. silverfang77 (Posts: 6; Member since: 21 Nov 2010)
Is this that Android tablet that doesn't support Flash, or is that another one?
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.
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?
42. zuno gyakusatsu (Posts: 257; Member since: 16 Mar 2010)
feces would be a start. anything is better than a motorola product.
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.
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!
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?
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.
52. LXH (unregistered)
how amazing XOOM can handle multitasking
web browser, some games etc ...
so what's the point of xoom getting 8 score o_O ??
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.