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Motorola XOOM Review

Motorola XOOM

Posted: , posted by John V.

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Contacts:

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.

Contacts app - Motorola XOOM Review
Contacts app - Motorola XOOM Review
Contacts app - portrait mode - Motorola XOOM Review
Contacts app - portrait mode - Motorola XOOM Review


Organizer:

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.

The Calendar app - Motorola XOOM Review
The Calendar app - Motorola XOOM Review
The Calendar app - Motorola XOOM Review
The Clock app - The Calendar app - Motorola XOOM Review
   

The Clock app


Calendar - portrait view - Motorola XOOM Review
Calendar - portrait view - Motorola XOOM Review
Calendar - portrait view - Motorola XOOM Review
Calendar - portrait view - Motorola XOOM Review

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.

The Calculator app is an exact facsimile to what’s found previously - Motorola XOOM Review
The Calculator app is an exact facsimile to what’s found previously - Motorola XOOM Review

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.”


Messaging:

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.

The on-screen keyboard of the Motorola XOOM - Motorola XOOM Review
The on-screen keyboard of the Motorola XOOM - Motorola XOOM Review

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.

Email - landscape mode - Motorola XOOM Review
Email - landscape mode - Motorola XOOM Review
Email - portrait mode - Motorola XOOM Review
Email - portrait mode - Motorola XOOM Review


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.

The web browser closely resembles Google Chrome - Motorola XOOM Review
The web browser closely resembles Google Chrome - Motorola XOOM Review
The web browser closely resembles Google Chrome - Motorola XOOM Review
The web browser closely resembles Google Chrome - Motorola XOOM Review

The web browser in portrait mode - Motorola XOOM Review
The web browser in portrait mode - Motorola XOOM Review
The web browser in portrait mode - Motorola XOOM Review
The web browser in portrait mode - Motorola XOOM Review


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Motorola XOOM

Motorola XOOM

OS: Android 4.0 3.2 3.1 3.0
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
8Good
Display10.1 inches, 1280 x 800 pixels (149 ppi)
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
Dual-core, 1000 MHz
1 GB 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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