Motorola XOOM Review

Barely skipping a beat, especially when the holidays brought forth some hopeful candidates in the tablet space, the iPad’s strangle in the lucrative and ever challenging market has been untested thus far. Rightfully so, it’s especially highlighted by the fact that Android tablets so far haven’t really been built from the ground up to take advantage of what it actually means to be a tablet.

So now comes yet another so-called “iPad killer,” the Motorola XOOM, but rather than finding a super-sized smartphone, it actually observes all of the qualities that consumers would like to experience on a tablet. For starters, Google and Motorola have taken the time, and man power, to seemingly conjure up an entirely different Android experience that might come off as being foreign. In fact, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the two companies collaborate on big things. We’ve seen it before with the original Motorola DROID, which was the catalyst that shifted Android to the mainstream, and it seems we’re going to be witnessing it again with the Motorola XOOM.

As much as we’d all delightfully ring in the joys of what the Motorola XOOM has to offer, one must strategically keep in mind its cost of ownership. Stamped with the 2-year on-contract price of $599.99 ($799.99 no-contract), it’s already positioned at the upper echelon of tablet pricing – making it one costly investment. Then again, this isn’t your ordinary tablet. Before making any final judgment though, let’s take a peek to see what this bundle of joy has in store for us.

The package contains:

  • Motorola XOOM
  • microUSB Cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Quick Reference Guide
  • Product Safety & Warranty Brochure


In all honestly, the Motorola XOOM won’t win any fashion awards with its typical design approach, but frankly, that’s not going to take away from the fact that it’s solidly well-built all around. Easily matching the iPad in stature, which is still mightily slim at 0.51” thick, the XOOM’s widescreen format enables it to look more rectangular than boxy. Additionally, there’s a subtle curve going on with its rear cover, but for the most, it’s still comfortable to hold. The minimalistic industrial design might appeal to some people out there, especially with its all black slate look, but its metal machined exterior provides that sense of premium feel – though, it’s a magnet for smudges. However, it’s accented with a small soft touch strip on the back, which looks to be the most accessible way in getting into its innards; not to mention getting its 4G LTE modem installed down the road. All in all, its balanced construction and high-quality feel more than make up for its less than stellar looks.

Part of the reason for its larger size, that some might feel as being a handful, is because of its well-equipped 10.1” capacitive display that offers plenty of real estate. Boasting a high resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, which trumps the iPad’s 1024 x 768 resolution, it presents plenty of crisp details that’ll illuminate eyes all around. Not only that, but its color production is on the neutral side and doesn’t fade when viewing the display at various angles. However, its maximum brightness setting doesn’t seem to do the tablet justice when using it outdoors under the presence of the omnipotent sun lurking around. In terms of responsiveness, the capacitive display was more than attentive in registering all touches and gestures. And similar to its metallic exterior, the display is known to accumulate its fair share of smudges and fingerprints very easily – which requires a solid rub down with some cloth to keep it looking pristine. As much as we’d love to one day see a 10.1” Super AMOLED Plus display, the LCD display of the Motorola XOOM is highly acceptable as it still engages prying eyes from a good distance.

As we mentioned already, Motorola went with a very minimalistic approach with the XOOM – hence the scarcity of physical buttons clinging onto it. In reality, there are a total of three physical buttons that your fingers can actually press. The first two are the thin looking separated volume buttons that are found on the left edge, which are tiny compared to the overall size of the XOOM, but we found them extremely tough to push down. Even more, we were initially dumfounded with the placement of the dedicated power button as we believed it was initially somewhere on the side or front area of the tablet. Actually, it’s found on the back side towards the corner of all places! As we struggled to figure out the reasoning for its placement, we eventually found it to be quite fitting – especially when it has a solid tactile feel.

On the bottom edge, we find the bulk of its connectivity ports perched all in the same area – these include the microUSB port, microHDMI port, dock connectors, microphone, and a separate power source that’s slightly the size of a 2.5mm headset jack. Conversely on the top and located dead center is the 3.5mm headset jack, while not too far from it, there is a slot that tucks away a future 4G LTE SIM card and the actual microSD card slot as well. Be careful in sliding in a microSD card because you can accidentally drop it into the exposed area left behind for the SIM card slot.

In the rear and built into the soft touch strip area, we find the 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with its dual-LED flash and the spots for the left and right speakers – which offer stereo sound naturally. And finally, nestled all by itself squarely into top border of the front display, is none other than the 2-megapixel front facing camera for all your self-portrait and video chatting needs.



1. Tre-Nitty

Posts: 470; Member since: Nov 16, 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: Mar 23, 2010'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: May 10, 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: May 10, 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: May 25, 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*

5. Kjayhawk

Posts: 294; Member since: Oct 07, 2010

Cons: Not an ipad

13. Misanthropos

Posts: 56; Member since: Aug 03, 2010

i like the way you think.

35. FightForTheLost

Posts: 20; Member since: May 25, 2010

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

6. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 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: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 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

14. Misanthropos

Posts: 56; Member since: Aug 03, 2010

like webos

15. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 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: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 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: May 10, 2010

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

31. testman22

Posts: 339; Member since: Nov 03, 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: May 10, 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: Aug 03, 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: May 25, 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).

46. android_hitman unregistered

apple users worries me :)

17. ecml

Posts: 129; Member since: Mar 23, 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: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 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: May 10, 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: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 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.
  • Display 10.1" 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 2 MP front
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDHC

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