The new partnership between Motorola and Google revealed one of the greatest devices of year 2011. Besides the fact that the new Motorola Xoom is running on Google’s latest OS ( Honeycomb ) it is also stacked with astonishing hardware.
The slate is based on the 1GHz, NVIDIA Tegra 2 and features a great 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 capacitive touch screen, 3G connectivity, front and rear cameras, HD video support, and much more. Motorola has tried to attract clients by offering a free hardware upgrade in order to have access to Verizon’s 4G LTE network.
Motorola Xoom Hardware
The new tablet measures only 9.8-inches wide by 6.6-inches tall and half-inch thick. Let me tell you that the device has very smooth lines and weights just 1.5 pounds so you can carry it without ‘hurting’ your arms.
As you can probably know by now the Xoom was specially created to be used in landscape mode rather than portrait, but keep in mind that you can use it however you like. If you use the tablet in landscape mode you will notice that the front facing camera is perfectly aligned with the the Motorola and Verizon logos.
If you look on the left side of the tablet, you’ll find the two up and down volume buttons and a little above is a slot for LTE SIM and microSD card. A Micro USB and mini HDMI jack are placed on the bottom, as well as the dock sensors.
On the back, next to the camera and flash you will find the power button, a very weird positioning. Unfortunately, we had some problems when using the power button and volume buttons as well, because there are difficult to find.
We address several critics to the power button because the circle is quite small, and besides that it got blocked a couple of times. With this issues present, we didn’t feel that the tablet is built from high quality materials.
Motorola Xoom Specs
Speaking of specs, we will start with the bad news first. The truth is that the tablet went a little too hard when transferring files from a computer or switching very fast between apps, but we recovered when we saw the speed of apps like the browser and games.
The tablet runs on the Tegra 2 CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. Besides all of these treats, the Xoom comes equipped with WiFi 802.11 b / g / n, Verizon’s EV-DO Rev and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. You will also find the usual features, such as GPS, light sensor and accelerometer.
The great news is that the standard device can be upgraded so it can support Verizon’s LTE network. If you want to make this hardware upgrade you have to go to either Verizon or Motorola so they can do it. Very weird is that a non-functioning microSD slot is also implemented.Motorola Xoom Display
I have some great news for you regarding the display because it is a little bit larger and supports higher resolution than the iPad ( 1280 x 800 ). Because the different aspect ratio, the Motorola Xoom appears to be longer than Apple’s iPad. Although there are some problems with pixel density, the Xoom manages to offer gaming and video content very nicely.
Xoom’s auto-brightness app doesn’t run smoothly, and we were forced to manually adjust it to our needs. We hope that a future update will solve this issue.
Motorola Xoom Sound Quality
When it comes to sound quality, the Xoom lacks at this category and let me tell you. When you set the tablet at a mid-level volume the sound is very good but if you tweak it a little louder you will hear distortions even on basic sounds. We honestly tell you that we turned the volume down when we actually thought it damages the speakers ( in a hardware way ).Motorola Xoom Battery Life
We can tell you that Xoom’s battery life is some of the best performance we saw lately on a device. Motorola claims that the battery drains after 10 hours of ‘hard work’ but we managed to keep it awake for 8 hour, while playing a video, WiFi and 3G radios were turned on, and other tasks running in the program.
Motorola Xoom Camera
We can tell you that it’s very nice that the Xoom has a 5 megapixel camera and LED flash, but the bad news is that it lacks utility because of its size. It is not okay to use the Xoom as your main camera because you cannot handle it good when you’re trying to take pictures. Well, the rear camera produce quite nice pictures, pretty much the same as the company’s Atrix 4G, but Honeycomb makes the difference by being great and good looking.
The video is absolutely great, and it’s nice to record in 720p with a big display such as this, but the bad news is that we encountered little problems when the recording fragmented or stopped. It also has a great application built-in, called Movie Studio, which lets you easily edit your videos.
Motorola Xoom Software
Let me tell you that Google’s Honeycomb makes the difference when comes to almost every aspect of the user interface, and some new modifications under the surface as well. The interesting thing is that Matias Duarte left Palm so he can work for Google and immediately started to refresh the user interface and user interaction as well.
When you put apps on the homescreens, you will notice a distant patchwork of grid marks, and a vector outline of where your icon will be placed. Right in the app list, you will notice blue representations of the icons before the icons themselves.
The hard buttons are gone, because Honeycomb replaced the home and back buttons with virtual ones. Besides those two main buttons, Android 3.0 also brings multitasking icon, specially created to open a list of recently used apps.
The home button will take you to your main views if pressed, but keep in mind that it won’t let you access your apps. If you want to do that, check out the ‘apps’ icon, right in the upper right corner of the tablet. The bad news is that you can access you apps only from the homescreen.
On the right side of the status bar you will find the battery along with time indicators, and an area for notifications. When you receive a new email or Twitter notification, you will see in the corner to the right an Growl-like box, which will eventually fade away. If you are curious enough to tap on that, a pop-up with battery and time window, where you can also manage notifications. You can also change the brightness, WiFi settings, orientation lock and much more.
Motorola Xoom Browser
We can tell you that the browsing experience on the Xoom is absolutely astonishing. The built-in version of the browser is very similar to a desktop version of Chrome, and if you already use Chrome on your personal computer, you will have no problems with accommodation. I can tell you that Flash is a real advantage over Apple’s devices.
Motorola Xoom Pricing
The great news is that now, customers who buy the off-contract Xoom will no longer need to be on a month to month plan. The other option is to purchase the same Xoom on-contract for $600. This cuts off $200 but you are not saving money because you are required to pay $20 / month which totals $1,080. Please do not forget that the Motorola Xoom will be upgradeable to LTE in the near future.
We strongly advise you to read a full accounting of the Motorola Xoom features and operation, start by downloading the PDF manual.