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Motorola XOOM Review

Motorola XOOM

Posted: , posted by John V.

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Camera:

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.

Camera interface - Motorola XOOM Review
Camera interface - Motorola XOOM Review
Camera interface - Motorola XOOM Review
Camera interface - Motorola XOOM Review
Camera interface - Motorola XOOM Review
Camera interface - Motorola XOOM Review

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.

Samples
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Samples
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Strong - Motorola XOOM Review
Medium - Motorola XOOM Review
Low light - Motorola XOOM Review

Strong

Medium

Low light


3ft - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Motorola XOOM Review
5ft - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Motorola XOOM Review
7ft - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Motorola XOOM Review

3ft

5ft

7ft


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.

Video camera interface - Motorola XOOM Review
Video camera interface - Motorola XOOM Review
Video camera interface - Motorola XOOM Review
Video camera interface - Motorola XOOM Review
Video camera interface - Motorola XOOM Review
Video camera interface - Motorola XOOM Review


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.

Google Talk - Motorola XOOM Review


Multimedia:

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.

Motorola XOOM Review
Motorola XOOM Review
Motorola XOOM Review
Motorola XOOM Review

The Gallery App - Motorola XOOM Review
The Gallery App - Motorola XOOM Review
The Gallery App - Motorola XOOM Review
The Gallery App - Motorola XOOM Review

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.

Motorola XOOM Review
Motorola XOOM Review

The stock music player in Honeycomb - Motorola XOOM Review
The stock music player in Honeycomb - Motorola XOOM Review
The stock music player in Honeycomb - Motorola XOOM Review

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.

Motorola XOOM Review
Motorola XOOM Review
Motorola XOOM Review

Watching videos with the Motorola XOOM - Motorola XOOM Review
Watching videos with the Motorola XOOM - Motorola XOOM Review

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.


Software:

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.

Motorola XOOM Review
Motorola XOOM Review
Motorola XOOM Review

Movie Studio - Motorola XOOM Review
Movie Studio - Motorola XOOM Review

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.

Motorola XOOM Review
Motorola XOOM Review
Motorola XOOM Review
Motorola XOOM Review

Google Maps - Motorola XOOM Review
Google Maps - Motorola XOOM Review
Google Maps - Motorola XOOM Review
Google Maps - Motorola XOOM Review

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.

Cordy - Dungeon Defenders - Motorola XOOM Review
Cordy - Dungeon Defenders - Motorola XOOM Review
Cordy - Dungeon Defenders - Motorola XOOM Review

Cordy

Dungeon Defenders - Motorola XOOM Review
Dungeon Defenders - Motorola XOOM Review
Dungeon Defenders - Motorola XOOM Review
Dungeon Defenders - Motorola XOOM Review

Thankfully, the 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.

Motorola XOOM Review
Motorola XOOM Review
Motorola XOOM Review

The preloaded YouTube app in the Motorola XOOM - Motorola XOOM Review
The preloaded YouTube app in the Motorola XOOM - Motorola XOOM Review

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.

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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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