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.



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.

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 ??

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. :)

48. kbayer

Posts: 19; Member since: Feb 08, 2010

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

47. AndroidTroll

Posts: 359; Member since: Mar 05, 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!

38. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 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: May 10, 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: Mar 16, 2010

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

43. Misanthropos

Posts: 56; Member since: Aug 03, 2010

a maggot covered corpse

45. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 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.

37. Galen20K

Posts: 587; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

meh, I want the G-Slate.

34. silverfang77

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 21, 2010

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

32. rayjones09

Posts: 149; Member since: Dec 16, 2010

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

30. Mike unregistered

responding to comments 23 and 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 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.

27. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

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

23. Hallucinator

Posts: 391; Member since: May 24, 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: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 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: 1436; Member since: Jul 11, 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.

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.

26. clevername

Posts: 1436; Member since: Jul 11, 2008

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

28. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 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.

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!

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"

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 :)

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
  • Display 10.1 inches
    800 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP (Single camera)
    2 MP front
  • Hardware , 1GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDHC
  • OS Android 4.0

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless