Motorola XOOM vs Apple iPad

Introduction and Design

Sitting atop of the throne for the better portion of the last year, the Apple iPad’s grasp is somewhat unrelenting seeing that it has proven itself as a threatening competitor in the general computing space. So far, we’ve seen some passable offerings coming from the Android sector, but the Motorola XOOM has seemingly taken the whole approach to a new dimension since Android 3.0 Honeycomb was built to be optimized for tablet usage. Obviously, as of right now, the now year-old iPad and the just-released XOOM are the most relevant tablets currently available on the market. And even though they might share some similarities, they boast their own unique branded experience to appease a wide array of users out there.


Placing the two against one another, we’re not especially more fond of one design over the other – that’s partly because they’re almost the same size when you hold them in your hands. However, they do share many commonalities such as their razor thin profiles sizing up at around half an inch thick, premium choice of materials, and their overall weight; granted that the XOOM is just a tad bit heavier.  Nevertheless, we’re happy to see that both are solidly constructed all around, but the XOOM’s brushed metallic exterior seems to sustain fingerprints and smudges more than the repelling nature of the iPad’s brushed aluminum casing. Ultimately, their designs are pretty much typical for their product category, however, their high-quality choice of materials definitely catapults them to the upper end of the spectrum against others.

Just by looking at both head on, it’s quite apparent that the XOOM sticks to using a 16:10 aspect ratio with its 10.1” capacitive touchscreen – which end ups giving it a widescreen appearance. While on the other hand, the iPad appears to look almost boxy with the 4:3 aspect ratio of its 9.7” display. Overlooking the miniscule size difference, the XOOM boasts a higher resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels versus the 1024 x 768 resolution of the iPad. Honestly, there isn’t a drastic difference in detail between the two, especially when they have good viewing angles, but there is a little bit more brilliance with the iPad’s display. And when we set them to their highest brightness setting, it’s evident that the luminance of the iPad is also stronger. Regardless, we didn’t experience any issues with their capacitive touchscreens since they accurately measured our gestures and presses. Though, we find it a lot easier to clean the iPad’s display over the XOOM – which requires some hard scrubbing to remove smudges.

The power buttons of both are reasonably sized to feel out with the finger, while an acceptable tactile response is felt when they’re pressed down. Obviously, the placement of the button with the iPad is at a customary location, much like what’s found with the iPhone, but we were baffled to find the location of the button in the rear with the XOOM. Nonetheless, it’s an ideal location since your index finger has perfect access to it while holding the XOOM in landscape.

Although the Motorola XOOM doesn’t have any physical or separate touch buttons, we still find the iPad’s single home button to be a convenient and useful thing. Sure we didn’t have any accidental presses this time around with Android’s built-in buttons that are located in the lower left corner of the System Bar, but as a matter of fact, we’ve never experienced any problems with the springy home button of the iPad either.

Without hesitation, the volume rocker of the XOOM is one pain in the neck thing to feel out or press – and that’s why we prefer the iPad’s elevated and clicky one. Moreover, there’s a switch on the iPad that will instantly place the tablet in vibrate mode, which is nice seeing you have to manually lower it on the XOOM to get it completely silenced.

Thanks to its left and right speakers, the Motorola XOOM is able to offer stereo sound that should enlighten those while watching a video of some sort. Meanwhile, the iPad only designates a single area around its bezel for its speaker.

Taking into consideration multimedia connectivity support, there’s no arguing that the XOOM features quite a few ways to instantly share content with other devices. Surely by now we’re accustomed to seeing Apple’s proprietary 30-pin connection port gracing the iPad, but we’re enthralled to see a traditional microUSB port and an especially useful microHDMI port on the XOOM. However, there is a separate power port that you’ll need to connect to supply power to the XOOM since it doesn’t do it via the microUSB port.

Supplementing its arsenal, we find a 0.3-megapixel front facing camera and a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with dual-LED flash with the XOOM. Naturally, you’ll be able to take photos and videos with the tablet, but it even enables you to do video chat – all of which are non-existent with the current Apple iPad.

Shunning away any prying individuals out there, the battery for both tablets is not all that easily removable and requires you to send it away to get it replaced in the unfortunate event that it goes bad. Also, the iPad is available is capacities ranging from 16GB all the way to 64GB, with varying prices obviously, but the XOOM only provides a total of 32GB of internal storage. Albeit, there is a microSD card slot that will enable owners to increase its capacity – but it’s not yet supported by the platform.

Lastly, one distinctive advantage with the XOOM is the fact that it’s going to be upgradeable down the road to support Verizon’s 4G LTE network; while currently working with their 3G network. Whereas some variants of the iPad feature microSIM card slots to get it working with certain 3G networks around the world.

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