Motorola XOOM Review
Although it’s not pocketable by any means, we’re still presented with its ability to shoot photos and videos on the go. With this one, the camera interface has been given a slight makeover that attempts to emulate the feeling of an ordinary camera. Specifically, there’s one large dial on the right side of the interface that allows your thumb to quickly navigate between the various settings of the camera. For a tablet, there should be more than enough appealing shooting modes to satisfy most users out there, but it doesn’t quite offer as many manuals modes as we’d like. Regardless of that, we can get up to an 8.0x digital zoom level by pressing on the “+” button. Moreover, there’s an on-screen toggle to switch from camera to video mode, while another one perched close-by will switch it to the front facing camera.
Surprisingly, we’re utterly blown away with the level of quality dished up the Motorola XOOM’s 5-megapixel auto-focus camera. Not only does it capture a substantial amount of sharp details, but color production is delightfully spot-on as well. Even shooting things indoors in artificial lighting, it doesn’t let us down in any way as photos come to life with a perfect balance of crisp visuals and neutral looking colors. Even more impressively, it’s able to work well in low lighting conditions as image quality marginally takes a dip, but still more than acceptable by any means. And thanks to its dual-LED flash, it’s able to once again shoot images with luscious fidelity in complete darkness.
Okay, so we noticed the Motorola XOOM producing some above average photos, but regretfully, we can’t say the same about its video capturing abilities. Sure it’s in high definition 720p and shoots at a consistent rate of 29 frames per second in good lighting, but there’s just too much artifacting present – especially more noticeable when panning from low to bright areas. In fact, the artifacting degrades the overall quality by making videos look rather pixelated at times. Sure it might look good being played back on the XOOM itself, but when viewing it on a larger display, you begin to recognize some of its flaws.
Motorola XOOM Sample Video 1:
Motorola XOOM Sample Video 2:
Using the Google Talk app, we managed to check out the video chat feature while connected via 3G. Although the other person we were talking to was using a desktop PC, we’re actually quite pleased with the overall experience since voices were natural in tone. Yeah, there is some blockiness going on with the video at times, but it’s still more than distinguishable. Furthermore, it exhibited some choppy tendencies at some parts, but as a whole, video chat is pretty much smooth sailing with the Motorola XOOM. Just wonder what it’ll be like with 4G LTE speeds down the road.
With a lightning quick 1GHz dual-core processor in tow, it’s only fitting to see it go to use with the Gallery App. We’re actually excited to see a novel 3D-like effect going on with the different albums in the gallery as you either tilt the XOOM or touch the screen. Granted that it will display content stored locally on the tablet, but it’ll even pull things from your Picasa account as well. However, once we moved past the updated looks of the Gallery App, there isn’t much else different with it. Naturally, you can scroll between photos by simply swiping left or right, and zoom with pinch gestures, but there isn’t much in terms of editing functions offered – only things like rotating and cropping are available. And as usual, you can share content with a variety of services like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
Finally, Google decided to place some heavy attention on its stock music player – and we must admit, we’re blown away by their efforts. Starting up the music player, we’re instantly taken to an eye catching carousel of album covers that we can browse through with smoothness like no other. Definitely flaunting some eye catching visual flare with its own spin on Apple’s beloved Cover Flow mode, we’re glad to see that the transformation has finally arrived for the Android music player.
Once you select an album and song to play, it displays the customary set of things – like the album cover, track information, and on-screen controls. However, we were hoping to see some sort of visualization to complement Honeycomb’s 3D-esque appearance, but sadly there are none whatsoever. Even more, it doesn’t provide any equalizer options as well, but we’re satisfied by the bombastic audio output by its stereo speakers. At the loudest setting, it doesn’t sound too irritating to the ear, but we did notice that notifications tones do end up sounding distorted for some odd reason.
Large display? Check. Fast processor? Checkmate. Well, that’s pretty much all you’ll need to offer an alluring video watching experience. High definition videos play back in full fidelity on the Motorola XOOM as they move smoothly with any rare instances of slowdown or lag. Although you’ve got the ability to watch videos in portrait, the best experience can be found with landscape obviously since it stretches to make use of the added real estate. So if you’re going on a long trip, the Motorola XOOM makes for a great companion. Additionally, its microHDMI port will allow you to watch videos stored on the tablet directly on the big screen.
Packed with a whopping 32GB of storage, it should more than be enough for even the most multimedia centric individual out there. But in the event that you need additional memory, you can always supplement it with microSD cards up to 32GB in capacity.
Now that there is plenty of room for your fingers, Google decided to finally bring aboard a video editing app going by the name of Movie Studio. Granted that it isn’t your professional grade editing software, it nevertheless offers users some of basic editing functionality on the go. Although it’ll take some time fully comprehending how the app works, there is a reasonable amount of editing functions that you can apply – like adding different templates, transitions, and effects.
Google Maps has also received a subtle makeover as it makes use of the added space of course. However, there isn’t any new functionality present with this version for tablet, but at least we’re offered things like 3D view, Google Latitude integration, street view, and free voice guided turn-by-turn directions with Google Maps Navigation.
Mostly due to its beast of a 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra2 processor, gaming is one area that we see excelling on the Motorola XOOM. Preloaded with the tablet are two specific 3D titles that were developed specifically for Android 3.0 Honeycomb. First is the game “Cordy” which is basically a platforming title that heavily implements a lot of 3D graphics. And secondly, role playing “Dungeon Defenders” places you in the roll of a hero that travels through dungeons battling bad guys. In both games, we’re struck with awe by the beautiful 3D graphics that the Motorola XOOM is able to muster up. Although we didn’t experience any slowdown with “Cordy,” we did notice some instances of it popping up with “Dungeon Defenders” – but not to the point to make it unplayable.
YouTube app has been updated as well to provide plenty of interaction while you’re watching a video. Initially, it’ll display a 3D wall of videos that you can scroll ever so smoothly, but when you select one, it’ll break down to various panes with their respective content. As the video plays in one pane, you can simply read about its description or comments in another, while related videos will pop up in the last pane. Also, you can obviously share particular videos to specific social networking accounts as well.
As for other standard apps that haven’t been optimized to work with Android 3.0 Honeycomb, they run just like they normally do on a smartphone. So for things like the official Facebook and Twitter apps, it’ll basically embody the look and feel that you’re accustomed to using, but hopefully developers will quickly optimize them. That’s because they’re scaled up and don’t take advantage of the extra real estate. However, we did notice one app, Google Earth, which was not loading up at all on the XOOM. Furthermore, there appears to be some bugs with it as well since we experienced on numerous occasions abrupt closures on apps like Facebook – which requiresda reinstall to properly work again.
1. Tre-Nitty posted on 24 Feb 2011, 10:47 4 2
That price point is kinda steep. Not sure its worth it.
2. babi (unregistered) posted on 24 Feb 2011, 10:57 1 6
does it have any telephony ability?
can i make cellular call with this device?
50. Mason (unregistered) posted on 10 Mar 2011, 23:54 0 0
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) posted on 24 Feb 2011, 11:04 6 12
"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 posted on 24 Feb 2011, 11:24 9 2
Ummm...you're pretty much talking about the specs and not the design
11. The Rob (unregistered) posted on 24 Feb 2011, 13:50 6 1
True, but to some fanboys, specs ARE design. That's all they'll talk about, and not know what they even mean.
18. Thump3rDX17 posted on 24 Feb 2011, 22:35 5 1
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) posted on 01 Mar 2011, 12:35 1 1
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 posted on 01 Mar 2011, 12:51 1 1
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 posted on 24 Feb 2011, 19:14 3 1
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*
6. LionStone posted on 24 Feb 2011, 11:20 1 0
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 posted on 24 Feb 2011, 12:05 1 1
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 posted on 24 Feb 2011, 18:15 2 0
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) posted on 24 Feb 2011, 12:11 2 0
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 posted on 24 Feb 2011, 12:16 0 0
i doesn't? i think Engadget said it has one to plug USB and stuff lemme go check
29. Thump3rDX17 posted on 25 Feb 2011, 21:37 0 0
it does have "full usb support" where'd you get your facts?
31. testman22 posted on 26 Feb 2011, 07:54 1 1
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 posted on 26 Feb 2011, 15:28 0 0
..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 posted on 24 Feb 2011, 15:17 4 0
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 posted on 26 Feb 2011, 20:35 0 0
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) posted on 01 Mar 2011, 22:17 0 0
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 posted on 24 Feb 2011, 21:40 3 0
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 posted on 25 Feb 2011, 06:05 0 0
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 posted on 24 Feb 2011, 22:37 3 0
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 posted on 24 Feb 2011, 22:49 1 0
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 posted on 25 Feb 2011, 17:13 0 0
I love how people see bias when a reviewer likes an apple product.
28. Sniggly posted on 25 Feb 2011, 19:56 1 1
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 posted on 25 Feb 2011, 09:28 1 1
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 posted on 25 Feb 2011, 11:23 1 0
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 posted on 25 Feb 2011, 17:11 0 0
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 posted on 25 Feb 2011, 19:49 0 0
Great Video review thanks for clarifying the "wow factor" part with the video this review got much better toned
30. Mike (unregistered) posted on 26 Feb 2011, 03:19 0 1
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 posted on 26 Feb 2011, 12:01 0 1
Screen transition effects?! I don't believe it!!!
34. silverfang77 posted on 26 Feb 2011, 15:34 0 0
Is this that Android tablet that doesn't support Flash, or is that another one?
38. taco50 (banned) posted on 28 Feb 2011, 10:46 0 1
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 posted on 01 Mar 2011, 00:03 1 2
motorola products are ugly huh? well how about you give us an example of something that looks better to you?
42. zuno gyakusatsu posted on 01 Mar 2011, 15:29 2 1
feces would be a start. anything is better than a motorola product.
45. Thump3rDX17 posted on 01 Mar 2011, 23:01 1 1
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 posted on 06 Mar 2011, 15:31 0 0
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 posted on 06 Mar 2011, 22:18 0 0
Non functioning SD card, no Flash, gotta mail the tablet back to Samsung for hardware upgrade to handle 4G... WTF?
49. rgsniper1 (unregistered) posted on 07 Mar 2011, 11:05 0 0
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) posted on 19 Mar 2011, 14:53 0 0
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) posted on 18 Jul 2011, 03:51 0 0
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.