Motorola Xoom

Big, black and powerful. That pretty much sums up the Motorola XOOM (henceforth to be referred to as the more eye-friendly Xoom), the opening salvo in what is about to be a deluge of tablets running Android 3.0 Honeycomb. And the Xoom not only ushers in a major change to the Android operating system, it also launches a new era in mobile hardware, faster and more powerful than ever.

But for all that, the usual questions remain. Does the Xoom match up with the competition? And does it justify the price? And is the darn thing just too big and too heavy? All that and another picture or two, after the break.

Ed. note: The bulk of this review will address the hardware and overall experience of the Motorola Xoom. That's not to say there's no mention of Honeycomb and the apps on the Xoom. But for the full Android 3.0 rundown, check out our "What's new in Honeycomb?" post.

Video walkthrough


Youtube link for mobile viewing

The hardware

Like we said at the outset -- this is one big black slab. The Xoom basically is a 10.1-inch (diagonal) touchscreen with a monster battery tacked onto it, with a couple of cameras (one front, one back) and stereo speakers that will make your laptop cower in fear.

Motorola XoomMotorola Xoom

Motorola XoomMotorola Xoom

Physically speaking, the Xoom is 9.8 inches wide, 6.6 inches tall and is a hair thicker than a half-inch. On the front, the touchscreen (at the relatively tablet-standard 1280x800 resolution) is surrounded by a half-inch bezel. There's also the Motorola and Verizon logos, and the front-facing 2MP camera, and a small but stylish notification light. That's it on the front. Big, black, slab. The screen itself is decent enough, with 150 pixels per inch, but we'll be wanting a higher density before long. And the thing is a fingerprint magnet, to say the least. And it appears to have some sort of static attraction to dust and other particles floating around. Point is, you're going to want to keep a microfiber cloth nearby.

Flip the Xoom over and things get a little busier. You've got a a pair of stereo speakers, the 5MP rear camera with dual flash, power/lock button and more Google, Verizon and Motorola logos, along with the usual FCC labels. The top quarter of the Xoom's rear is encased in a soft-touch plastic. The bottom three quarters is metal (aluminum, perhaps?), so get ready for scratches and marks. You might well want to consider a case.

These speakers are worth further mention. They're loud. And we find ourselves saying this for the first time -- they're too loud. Loud to the point that sound is distorted coming out them. That could possibly just be a problem with our review unit, but it's definitely a distraction. But when things are at a more manageable level, the sound is great. You get sucked into gaming that much more. Listening to podcasts and talk radio is without effort. And listening to music doesn't make you want to throw the device through a wall.

Motorola Xoom

A word or three about buttons. You have the power button on the back, and volume buttons on the left-hand bezel, and that's it. Gone are the physical home-menu-back-search buttons of previous versions of Android. They've all been moved into the Honeycomb experience. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. But what it does mean is that any time you need to wake the Xoom and turn on the screen, you have to pick it up (or at least lift it up) to do so. That's a trade-off, and for us it's a pretty good argument for moving the power button to one of the side bezels.

Motorola XoomMotorola Xoom

Motorola XoomMotorola Xoom

On the top bezel you have the 3.5mm headphone jack and the tray for the Verizon LTE 4G SIM card. You get to the tray by prying up the rubber cover, which is done easily enough. The spring-loaded microSD card is tucked in there as well. And as has been widely publicized since the Xoom's announcement at CES in January 2010, neither the LTE SIM card or microSD card worked when the tablet became publicly available. Despite the Xoom's plentiful 32GB of storage space, the microSD card not working is a pretty big strike against it, even if it's a software issue and not one of hardware. As for LTE, that will take a hardware upgrade which requires you sending your Xoom to Motorola for six days. Another big strike.

Motorola Xoom

On the bottom bezel you'll find the Xoom's microUSB port, microHDMI port for outputting high-definition video, charging contacts used by the accessory docks, and the proprietary wall charger. It's unfortunate you can't charge this thing over the more traditional microUSB, but that's another trade-off we're going to have to accept for devices with larger batteries such as the Xoom.

What's under the hood

A big touchscreen's nothing new. What really gets us excited about the Motorola Xoom is a big touchscreen powered by a dual-core Tegra 2 system on a chip (SOC). What you have a is a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor at 1GHz, plus NVIDIA's low-power graphics processor, all on a single chip. There's been a lot of thought given to dual-core processors, but we can really sum it up in a single sentence: It's fast, powerful, and doesn't suck your battery dry. And if you'll allow us a second sentence: You want it. While processor nerds may be waiting for Qualcomm or Texas Instruments to finally get dual-core chips out, you'll be perfectly happy with Tegra 2.

Motorola Xoom Quadrant scoreWe've yet to run into any serious hiccups, so far as we can tell, with processing power. There's plenty of overhead. Instead, the bigger issue is that most applications haven't been optimized for Android 3.0 Honeycomb, and there's occasional instability with the native Honeycomb apps, such as the browser and Gmail. That's nothing that can't be fixed, but it is a bit of a headache -- and embarrassing for a major release.

Battery life, of course, is another big question when it comes to dual-core systems. And we've said it before, you're not pulling twice as much power. In fact, as NVIDIA reminds us whenever we're within earshot, Tegra 2 systems use less power. But no worry, as the Xoom has a pretty monster battery. It's rated in the specs as 24.5 Watt-hours (6500 mAh), or about 9 hours of browsing over 3G, 10 hours over Wifi, 3.3 days of mp3 playing, 10 hours of video playback and 2 weeks of just hanging out and doing nothing.

In our usage, we've had no problems going a whole day -- and then some -- without worrying about charging. It all depends on your usage, of course. But for sporadic e-mails, browsing, music playback and an hour or so of gaming, you're not going to worry one bit. In fact, if you do manage to run the battery down in one sitting (and aren't on a long international flight), we're going to start asking why you have so much free time.

Android 3.0 Honeycomb, and apps

Motorola Xoom homescreens

If phones like the Motorola Droid, Nexus One and Nexus S are a pure "Google experience" -- aka stock Android -- the same can be said about the Motorola Xoom. Like we wrote at the outset of this review, check out our Honeycomb guide for a full rundown of Android 3.0. You get the full stock experience on the Xoom. There's no crapware loaded by Verizon.

So what do you get? You get the latest (and tablet-specific) version of Android. It's not unfamiliar, but there are numerous tweaks to explore. Apps on the Xoom include: Google Books, a new web browser, Calculator (with scientific mode), new Calendar, new camera app, Clock, new Contacts, Dungeon Defender, E-mail, Gallery, Gmail (again, new for Honeycomb), Google Search, Latitude, Maps, Market, Movie Studio, Music, Navigation, Places, Google Talk (and it's finally useful), Voice Search and YouTube.

Motorola Xoom apps

We've said it before (again, that Honeycomb guide), but it's worth noting here that you've likely read about apps crashing, and Honeycomb being unfinished. Yep, a good number of apps you might download likely will, at first, force close more than you're used to. And that brings us to one of the major issues with the Xoom, which really isn't the Xoom's fault at all. The vast majority of Android apps -- which more than likely will work in Honeycomb, even if it's only badly -- are not designed for a tablet screen, and likely are just now in the process of being updated and optimized for Android 3.0.

The Motorola Xoom went on sale on Feb. 24. The finalized Android 3.0 software development kit -- the SDK -- was made available just two days earlier. That doesn't mean that there were no Honeycomb-optimized applications available at launch. A select few (16 or so) initially were featured in the Android Market's "Android Apps for Tablets" section. And all of Google's native apps on in Honeycomb are designed for the new OS and feature the "Fragments" that make the large-screen experience oh so sweet. But everybody else is still playing catch-up. At the time of this writing there is no tablet-optimized Twitter application. No tablet-optimized Facebook app. Do the current apps work? Sure. But it's not a good experience on a 10.1-inch screen.

But is that the Xoom's fault? Or is it Google's? Or is it the developers? (Hint: It ain't the first or the last.) The good news is that things will get better, but it will take time, and it's a black eye that shouldn't have happened.

Gaming on the Xoom is great experience -- until your wrists give out. The coating on the touchscreen means quick gestures, the Tegra 2 processor brings beautiful graphics, and the stereo speakers -- so long as they're not too loud and distorting -- lend the Xoom to a highly immersive experience.

The camera(s)

For all the magic that Honeycomb and Tegra 2 bring to the Xoom, cameras are still cameras. The Xoom's rear shooter is of the 5-megapixel variety. And it quality of the pics is about what you'd expect.

Images below open in a new window

Motorola Xoom camera testMotorola Xoom camera test

Motorola Xoom camera testMotorola Xoom camera test

Motorola Xoom camera testMotorola Xoom camera test

Motorola Xoom camera testMotorola Xoom camera test

Motorola Xoom camera testMotorola Xoom camera test

And the video, well, it shoots at 1280x720 at 30 frames per second (that's high-def), but it's still a basic cell phone camera, right?


Youtube link for mobile viewing

And beyond that -- it's not like you're going to be running around with a 10-inch tablet as your point-and-shoot camera, right? A 10.1-inch, 1.6-pound point-and-shoot camera. Nope. Not so much. (Even though the new camera app in Honeycomb is much improved.)

No, it's the front-facing camera that's actually of interest to us. And that's because Google Talk has video chat built into it in Honeycomb. (For those of you used to Apple-talk, think Facetime for Google.) Using Google Talk is blessedly simple. Sign in with your Google account -- and if you have more than one account, you can finally chose, and hop back and forth between them! -- and you see your list of contacts. Tap one and tap the video button, and you're off and running -- erm, chatting.

Motorola Xoom gtalk

But for as simple as the process is, the quality of the video chat is still pretty poor. The 2-megapixel camera does its job, but we'd like better quality. Of course, you have to sacrifice some quality for easier data transmission. We're still waiting for flying cars, too.

Speaking of video, the Xoom has Honeycomb's new Movie Maker app. If you want to shoot video on your Xoom, add a photo or two that you took on your Xoom, and toss in some background music, be our guest. We'll be over in the corner, doing the same thing quicker and easier with our laptops and real cameras.

Hackability

The (relatively) good news: The Xoom is unofficially Google's Honeycomb developer device. It has an unlockable (and relockable) bootloader, meaning we'll be able to easily load custom ROMs. It can be rooted with a few text commands. And rolling it back to stock is simple enough. Things can be a tad tricky because the microSD card isn't yet active, but that's not a huge hurdle.

So do I buy a Xoom or not?

That's the question, isn't it? At $599 with a two year contract ($799 month-to-month) with Verizon, it ain't cheap. And the old "I could just buy a laptop" argument remains. But let's assume you're in the market for an Android tablet. The question for the Xoom (at the time of this writing the only Honeycomb device available) then becomes, "Do I buy a Xoom now, or wait for something else later."

If you have to have the latest and greatest hardware, by all means, go for it. And be prepared to send your Xoom to Motorola for a week to get the LTE radio turned on.

If you want a Wifi-only Xoom, you're going to have to wait a little bit. We're expecting one, but it hasn't been announced yet.

And if you don't want to put up with the hassle of sending your Xoom back to Motorola for that LTE retrofit, we'd wait. Actually, that's a pretty strong argument for waiting, as that endeavor is likely to be fraught with problems. And by the time that retrofit begins (probably sometime around late May), we're likely to see new tablets on the market.

It's a conundrum.

Android's Honeycomb branch has some serious potential. But Android 3.0 is very much a Version 1.0 as far as its tablet OS is concerned. But the hardware Motorola has provided here is powerful (even with quad-core devices waiting in the wings), and we're pretty sure the Xoom won't die as a platform in a month or two. It's solid, and Google's going to use it to improve the Honeycomb experience.

If a 10-inch tablet's the size for you, and you can put up with the weight, and the headaches Android apps catching up to the Honeycomb universe, and the Xoom's LTE radio not yet working, and making do with the 32GB of internal storage while you wait for the microSD card to be activated, and can afford the price, by all means, purchase. You'll be among the first in exciting new world of Android tablets, and the Xoom's not likely to let you down. But if you're looking for something a little more polished, lighter and (eventually) cheaper, you might just want to hold off a bit.

 
There are 62 comments

MedioGringo says:

So, is this a 1.0 operating system because it's buggy or because there aren't enough tablet optimized apps yet? Are the crashes limited to non-honeycomb apps?

I think there's a lot of confusion on this.

wagedomain says:

Xoom owner here. Thanks for asking this because MAN do people quote those reviews a lot.

To me it has been decidedly UNbuggy. I bought 3 days after launch, and have had maybe 4 app crashes total, 3 of which were in non-optimized applications and 1 of which was a fluke that I never saw again.

Every review I've read mentions that it feels "buggy" or "unfinished" or "beta" without going into details, and I as a consumer am completely confused by this myself. It does not feel like a 1.0 operating system to me. Everything works, everything seems to make sense, and there are lots and lots of nice touches. It runs great (seems even better after the 3.0.1 update last week) and I've never had anything major crash.

What should be of note is I heavily use the Google apps (mail, calendar, browser, etc.) and I have had literally no crashes in any of them. This is confusing the hell out of me as most reviews say those apps crash all the time.

I agree. I have only had a handful of crashes, and each and every one was due to the app I was installing, not the tablet. It definitely doesn't feel like a 1.0 or beta either. Very polished and very very fast. With flash coming by Friday web browsing will be even better. I too rely heavily on Google apps, and as you said, they work flawlessly. The YouTube app is great. Gmail even better. Haven't done the video chat thing, but that's just not my style. Have facetime on my Mac and have not used it once either. Ultimately this thing is going to fly on LTE, to me the biggest dog about the Xoom is VZW 3g speeds.

inuchan says:

I will wait for the Asus Slider

aleis says:

first i wanna say FINALLY! :)
second...mine will def be going back!
well...its a fix i will try to get my browser to move faster and youtube to stop buffering. it i can get that its flawless!
(side note: i have android seven pro on it and it is sweeet!)
if not, i will be sending it back two days before my 30day period...and buy another one from staples. then keep it for 30days until asus releases theirs or someone cheaper and hopefully better (not happy).

ReaganDee says:

Blah blah blah ... my name is this guy I want to look cool and have the latest stuff out there and appear to be an early adopter but I am a CHEAP tool and have nothing better to do than complain about youtube buffering ... blah blah blah

Thanks for resisting the temptation to compare the Xoom to the ipad2. While the comments seem accurate based on my Xoom experience, I was disappointed by the "damning with faint praise" approach. Sure, there will be better tablets come along. Yes the form factor is "heavy" (but no more than the ipad1 and I think the 16:9 design is easier to hold than the 4:3) You point out the Xoom's current limitations tied to Honeycomb's shortcomings but the tone of the article is so negative there's no future hope - Flash is expected end of this week (beta works pretty good) - that's a positive. There are some increasing rumors that a major system patch is coming soon - rumors may be of only limited value but they do offer hope - that's positive. The 4G upgrade may requie returning the Xoom for installation, a bummer as you're pointed out, but the greater issue in my mind is when will VZW have LtE in my area...... for most of us it won't be soon. Thankfully there are numerous reviews of the Xoom, most offering more positives than yours. Were this not Android Central I'd be wondering if you're a fanboy at heart.

Maybe and soon have no place in an article about NOW. There is a reason why I have yet to see a single review of the Xoom be anything other then meh. That is what they put out for a device: MEH. Now in 4 months. Yah its probably going to rock, but for now it is what it is: a device that was launched months before it should have.

wagedomain says:

FWIW there was an update this week to Android 3.0.1 that increases performance pretty significantly, at least according to benchmarks.

mikemick says:

Kindof funny that you praise AC for not comparing Xoom to iPad, as if you are sick of hearing the comparisons, and then the first comparison you make in Xoom's defense is against the iPad.

Sorry - duplicated

hniu says:

It is way too expensive for me, 'cause I mostly will be using tablet as reader / browser, but I'll buy it anyway for one very simple reason:
It is the first proper android tablet and it will get the most support from the android community. There are still people who making custom ROMs for G1, while most of the phones that came after G1 are long forgotten. Also, I guess people who are developing for android are all buying Xoom and will have this particular tablet in mind.
I don't want to buy a new tablet every year and Xoom seems like the best long term investment for anyone interested in android.

Treknologist says:

I am quite impressed with Honeycomb as a tabletOS and with the Xoom as a device, particularly after watching this video comparison with the iPad 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gC8ELm3Cx60&feature=player_embedded#at=642). The Xoom clearly outperforms the iPad 2 (notice there is no "stuttering" during the video game comparison or during the web browsing comparisons) despite the review from AnandTech. I will, however, wait a little longer before I get an Android tablet. And I AM getting an Android tablet just not until the summer. Part of it is financial (I just replaced my desktop computer and that was expensive!) and part of it because I want to see what other Honeycomb devices are released that are smaller. I'm intrigued by the Samsung 8.9" form-factor. As long as the manufacturers keep the Android tablets with the original Honeycomb (no skins), I would hope for the software updates not to be an issue.

crxssi says:

The widely quoted (and misunderstood) anandtech "comparison", was a single, graphics-performance-only benchmark app. It was not adjusted for screen resolution, it was not objective, verifiable, nor repeated by anyone. They did detailed analysis of every criteria from the ipad 1 to ipad 2 but only pulled THREE of those many numbers out to compare to the Xoom. How can that make any sense? Plus it certainly says nothing about any other aspects of real-world performance. We don't even know how that benchmark was compiled, by whom, when, with what options, run on what software release versions, etc.

Please, let's take Anandtech's "comparison" with two tons of salt until some additional, quality information is available.

IPRick says:

Why would anyone even remotely want this thing? You should have compared it with the iPad2 unlike the above poster said so we could have all laughed hysterically...(and this is from someone that isn't an apple fanboi). Good job on trying to keep it sounding positive though.

Not a fanboy? ...could have fooled me with flaming like that!

IPRick says:

I'm really not :) if apple released that I'd be first in line to flame it too. I'm all for competition so that everyone steps up their game. Unfortunately this thing doesn't do that. If people havn't noticed, the "it does flash" crutch isn't really even remotely working (considering most major content sites are iOS device friendly - and in some cases the major content doesn't even exist on android "netflix coming soon!")

ReaganDee says:

Cool ... I have Mario 64 running on my stock Xoom ... can your stock ipad2 do that?

jerbear says:

I like how you had to throw "stock" in there...as if rooting or jailbreaking is any harder than getting an emulator and pirated roms on your tablet.

I'm definitely not an Apple fan and I am holding off for better Android tablets but you are nuts if you cant admit that the iPads are currently ahead of the various Android tablets in most ways. The fact that I can get a gen 1 iPad for $300-400 on eBay or an iPad2 for $500-600 and have it run smoother than all but the newest Android tablets only means that they have had a head start and a more focused approach over at Apple.

Apple almost always offers a more seamless and stable experience in exchange for some real limitations that may or may not apply to the user. This is why I haven't just gotten a cheap iPad yet. Some of the software I've sen for iPad is absolutely unparalleled on Android and will likely be that way for a while. I just hate iTunes and I don't like not having Flash.

I'm giving this market until June when I would normally upgrade my phone. My Evo is still up there with the best smart phones so I'm not in a hurry to replace it. I would love to put this year's $200 toy budget toward an Android tablet but if they are still dealing with force closes and beta-grade software, I might just say f*ck-it and get an iPad 2.

I may not be an Apple fanboy but I'm also not so much of an Android fan that I will overlook legit first gen issues just because of brand loyalty. I've been holding off on this tablet market in the hopes that prices would drop and quality would go up but so far out of the top-end offerings, iPad is the cheapest. Hope those LG and HTC and Samsung, etc tablets coming this summer change that around a bit. I don't like only having one or two real options.

The ipad relies solely on the app market. Even without thousands of tablet specific apps, the Xoom outperforms the ipad 2. Its a media consumption device and it does that perfectly. Pages load faster, YouTube is better. Flash enabled videos play within the webpage. 1080 p video playback, not available on the ipad2.

jerbear says:

It depends on what you want to do with it. I want it for a reader, web browser, DJ console, music composition platform, and karaoke machine.

They will both do about the same as a reader, browser is probably a bit better on Android simply due to Flash support, but there are nowhere near the music, effects, karaoke, dj, etc. apps on Android that you find on iPad.

It's all a matter of your uses. Just like any computer. If all you want is email and word processing, you can get by with just about any computer. If you want to edit video or DJ a party you need specific hardware and software that supports those things.

There are many kinds of users and many kinds of uses out there so saying one device is the best overall is kind of missing the point.

Outperforming on benchmarks is small comfort when you don't have equivalent apps to do what you want and don't crash.

Like I said on my earlier post, I am really hoping to see some better software for Honeycomb because I like Android better *as a platform* but it would be the definition of fanboyism for me to stick myself with a device that doesn't do what I want because of the brand or the label on it.

IPRick says:

Lol @ trying to suggest the xoom may be a better media consumption device which is the iPads bread and butter...unless you mean flash porn sites.

Might also want to check out this article before talking about how much the xoom out performs the competition....just saying....

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4216/apple-ipad-2-gpu-performance-explored...

crxssi says:

The widely quoted (and misunderstood) anandtech "comparison", was a single, graphics-performance-only benchmark app. It was not adjusted for screen resolution, it was not objective, verifiable, nor repeated by anyone. They did detailed analysis of every criteria from the ipad 1 to ipad 2 but only pulled THREE of those many numbers out to compare to the Xoom. How can that make any sense? Plus it certainly says nothing about any other aspects of real-world performance. We don't even know how that benchmark was compiled, by whom, when, with what options, run on what software release versions, etc.

Please, let's take Anandtech's "comparison" with two tons of salt until some additional, quality information is available.

wagedomain says:

The Flash beta is out, and the final version is out this week. There was also a really awesome iPad2 vs Xoom side-by-side video posted in the comments of this review. Check it out. The "iPad friendly" videos shown didn't have any way to pause, skip around, play, nothing. Just a really unintuitive "double-tap to make sort of bigger but not really full screen" option.

They also showed the same game running on both. The iPad2 was a stuttering mess, freezing and laggy as hell, whereas the Xoom version wasn't. (Although the reviewer mentions that the two versions "lag in the same place", if you watch it doesn't, so she might be referring to something she forgot to include in the video itself?)

The Xoom browser loads the test site incredibly fast, as well, and blow the iPads' out of the water.

There is a mild point in saying that certain official major content doesn't exist (yet) on Android, like Netflix. Lucky for us Android users there are tons of unofficial workarounds and third-party apps that let you do that. Netflix? Hulu? Streaming video? Even without using Flash and a user-agent spoof, I can do those things.

stopsign002 says:

Im just waiting for my tax return to get one. Hopefully wifi will be out by then but if its not I will probably still just get the 3G one.

Sorry - duplicated

blankit says:

nope not getting it im going to wait for the galaxy tab its much lighter and better camera and the an amoled screen

ReaganDee says:

Galaxy Tab is .23 pounds lighter (if this is an issue lift something a little more heavy than a hot pocket from time to time to build your strength), Galaxy Tab camera is 3MP better (If I ever see someone bust out their tablet to take a picture of something I will laugh in their face), Xoom's 10.1" 1280x800 160ppi screen giggles at Galaxy Tabs 9.7" 1024x768 132ppi

howettl says:

The Galaxy Tab "10.1" has a 10.1" screen as does the Xoom. I'm not sure where you're getting the 1024x768 number from, as what I've heard the Tab has the same 1280x800 resolution as the Xoom. Also, the Tab is 18% lighter than the Xoom - a significant difference. I don't know from experience whether the Xoom is too heavy - but the reason I read the review is to learn things like this. I'm inclined to believe that the Tab's lighter weight is a large plus for it.

crxssi says:

Perhaps he is comparing to the 7" Tab...

ReaganDee says:

Yea I was wrong on the screen size ... my bad ... was looking at the HP Touchpad

anybody that thinks the Xoom is heavy needs to start lifting weights.

lite_x says:

I thought the days of 150lb weakling geeks were gone?? Complaining about the weight of this or any other tablet is pathetic!

deparson says:

I would go for the $200 Android 3.0 Wi-Fi only tablet called the Nook Color.

Fast enough and you can still buy a netbook with the difference :)

sookster54 says:

I'm getting a Nook Color when I go to Vegas in May, maybe I'll get 2- I read you can overclock it to 1.1GHz and boot Android OS off sdcards while keeping the original NC OS and Honeycomb is available for it (though I'd probably stick to Froyo).

DougG_ATL says:

I bought a Nook Color - with CyanogenMod 7, it performs the vast majority of functions I'd ever fathom wanting in a tablet (for the time being). The Nook is proof positive that Motorola and Samsung are gouging the hell out of the market; they could easily be hitting the market with $300-400 Android tablets that would sell well. Most consumers are not going to pay $600-900 for an unproven, unfinished product that will be outdated in less than 6 months.

toddjy says:

The Nook Color is sold at about cost, possibly (not likely) at a loss. It's not a product in and of itself; it's a way to sell content. Xoom and other devices are the actual product, and the companies need to make money off of them.

crxssi says:

>"I would go for the $200 Android 3.0 Wi-Fi only tablet called the Nook Color."

It is $250, not $200. That aside, it is an interesting device. But the 7" Nook Color is a LOT slower, has much less memory and storage, much smaller and lower resolution screen, no GPS, no stereo speakers, no bluetooth, etc. It depends on what you will be using it for, but a general comparison with the Xoom is kinda silly. A better comparison would be to the Samsung Tab.

inspiron41 says:

i love the honeycomb and multitasking in general! whether it's the xoom or tab, it's great. i just recently completed a whole ebay order through my tablet! the whole 9 yards! from answering e-mails, replying to comments, calculating online packages and rates, transferring payments, and even printing the postage (cloud print)! sure i could have done that from my desktop or notebook, but what's more fun than doing it from your bedside!?!

Dperks17 says:

This thing fails hard. I love my ipad 2 smooth and pleasing to the eye. The xoom is hideous. Plus the ipad blew the xoom out of the water in every benchmark

IPRick says:

It looks like a Dell laptop with a swivel screen folded over on itself......

crxssi says:

"Every benchmark"? There was one and only one (that I am aware of) and it was by anandtech. And that was a single, graphics-performance-only benchmark app. It was not adjusted for screen resolution, it was not objective, verifiable, nor repeated by anyone. They did detailed analysis of every criteria from the ipad 1 to ipad 2 but only pulled THREE of those many numbers out to compare to the Xoom. How can that make any sense? Plus it certainly says nothing about any other aspects of real-world performance. We don't even know how that benchmark was compiled, by whom, when, with what options, run on what software release versions, etc.

Please, let's take Anandtech's "comparison" with two tons of salt until some additional, quality information is available.

sookster54 says:

10" being too big for a portable tablet, fine for sitting it on your Lay-Z-Boy recliner's armrest at home just like the iPad 1 & 2 are. Honeycomb was pushed out way too quickly (about a month after Gingerbread was pushed), and lastly the shallow Verizon commercials on TV- some jerkoff playing with Google maps on it in the middle of nowhere?

grlla says:

Day 1 XOOM guy.

Let's see - where to begin. I was an early Droid user, and day 1 Droid X buyer. XOOM is where it's at. I'm happy I have mine.

I'm not overly impressed with the XOOM review by Android Central, but it is what it is.

I believe when the dust settles you'll see more $500 plus tablets with the horsepower XOOM has today. So those who aren't early adopters, I guess you'll wait until your "ship comes in". Until then kindly spare us your unhappiness.

XOOM is going to be 4G. (cupping ear) Who else has that? I thought so. (crickets).

XOOM has the best resolution when compared to the iPUD2 or the Samslung offerings. Check out the new comparo in MacWorld.

XOOM has the latest O/S available for next gen open source improvements? Who else has that again? (more crickets).

So in summary, XOOM has presented the consuming tablet community (not fence sitters) with a forward looking product and is charging for it.

If you want something less, your ship is about to come in. As long as you're willing to wait for it.

xyzlene says:

first off this is the first version of h.comb tablet so we can't hate on it to much.

what was matias durate smoking???????? i was really psyched with the 30 minute interview with joshua on endaget during the mwc.... did you see how long it took for the screen to rotate.. tegra.. ha! H.comb looks like it was pushed out too quickly.

i will wait for some updates, and see where it goes.. ECLAIR had a lot of glitches for the moto droid 1, and i still us e that phone! Must have faith...

but the ipad2 is a formidable contender..

PreJason says:

Thanks for the in-depth review Phil. You answered a lot of my questions. For me I think I'm just gonna wait until the summer to see what other tablets have to offer. I may buy the Xoom. I may not but I for one like choices. It also helps with my accute "buyers remorse" syndrome I seem to have with electronic purchases... lol

crxssi says:

>"It's unfortunate you can't charge this thing over the more traditional microUSB, but that's another trade-off we're going to have to accept for devices with larger batteries such as the Xoom."

That is probably my biggest complaint about the Xoom (other than screen glare, which affects all glass tablets). And no, we don't have to accept that, Phil- I believe the iPad and iPad2 can both charge their equally-sized battery through USB, although they have to carry an annoying proprietary cable.

If Motorola decided they could not charge the unit fast enough through USB because they need more power, then they should have offered DUAL CHARGING- slower charging through the USB and faster charging using an external AC adapter.

howettl says:

The iPad2 requires a "high-powered" usb port to charge via usb - its not the cable that allows this. I know the newer Mac's have the high-powered ports but I don't know how common they are beyond OS X devices.

crxssi says:

I believe it is part of the protocol that the device can discover how much power is available on the port before attempting to charge. It can then adjust it's power demand accordingly.

None of this precludes the Xoom from having a USB charging option.

apostrafee says:

Iv'e found it to be pretty buggy, its opens and closes the music whenever it feels like, then it wont timeout at all, then it will tell me i have a notification when i do not, and the force closing of the apps as well. Its pretty much first gen technology so ill give it a break but at the same time spending that much on it?(i did not buy my work supplied it for me) i think id rather be patient and wait til the bugs are worked out than rush into store and drop almost a grand for the thing myself

spielnicht says:

I've put off buying an iPad last year to get an Android tablet instead and Xoom was definitely the tablet to get. My b-day is coming up soon and this certainly would make my day. HOWEVER, Motorola killed my plan to get one with its ridiculous pricing on this thing :-(

crxssi says:

The 32GB WiFi-only Xoom is the same price as the 32GB iPad 2. We have known this for quite a while, it supposedly will be out this month (which is only a few weeks after the iPad 2 became available), and might even sell for *LESS* from Sam's club.

So unless you were already planning to spend less than on a reasonably-equipped iPad... or you had your heart stuck on a small capabity 16GB iPad with no SD slot to add any additional storage... then please explain.

whippingboy says:

Kinda shocked the review didn't talk more about the screen. Complaining about pixel density and screen resolution is funny as this is the market leader among mainstream tablets...that said, the brightness, color saturation and viewing angle are pretty terrible for a tablet at this price range. Compared to an ipad or galaxy tab, the xoom is really disappointing in this respect. This won't be fixed with an update either. I want an android tablet, but I don't want one if the screen quality lags behind my mobile device and mac and pc laptops.

SeanBlader says:

Every time they mention it's weight, you take a drink!

cea1203 says:

Terrible review ?? make this seem so boring and not worth buying

DieselDre2K says:

A review is NOT a paid advertisement or a press release. He gave his *opinion* after testing the Xoom, and in his opinion the Xoom needs some improvements. Personally, I'm surprised by all the reaction on here about AC not giving the Xoom a glorious review. Yet they are the ones that call out apple fans when they blindly give raving reviews about everything apple makes. If you really are not open to criticisms of the device, then you are obviously looking for a review to back up the pro-Xoom opinion you already have. So what are you on here for? Just buy it already if you think it is so wonderful. You don't need AC's permission.

I, for one, thank Phil for his honest opinion and it is proof that they are not paid by certain manufacturers for good reviews. Keep up the good work AC and don't give in to the whiners.

happajay says:

Too big, too heavy, too expensive....enough said. This was supposed to kick ass over the ipad2. People were in lines for ipad2....sold out in one weekend for all stock on hand. "normal" people have already forgotten about this device. Hopefully soon to be released devices will be lighter, and thinner than the ipad with some hardware under the hood...tegra2 sucks! I want an android tab, but want something that makes ipad people regret what they bought. This is nothing but nerdware....thick, heavy, bulky...and is'nt it plastic. When are android hardware companies going to build some quality looking hardware. HTC has the thunderbolt coming out. that looks like a well designed phone from the DESIGN standpoint. Too much of the "bells and whistles", spec list check list stuff. I want quality DESIGNED products...not cheap plastic, thick stuff with a hundred HDMI and USB plugins.

crxssi says:

>"Too big, too heavy, too expensive."

??? Nearly the same physical size, weight, and price as the iPad 2. The build quality is high, just like Apple's, and I think it has *less* plastic than the iPad (although not sure on that one). And it has a lot of advantages over the iPad 2 (twice the memory, expandable, larger screen, wide aspect ratio, higher res screen, standard USB and HDMI ports, more sensors, etc).

>"This is nothing but nerdware....thick, heavy, bulky"

??? I think you have your specs confused or something

>"When are android hardware companies going to build some quality looking hardware"

It looks like a black slab.... exactly what SHOULD it look like?

There are certainly some valid issues with the Xoom (none of which I believed you mentioned). But it is the first major Android tablet, and the first Android 3.0 device and has some bugs that will get shaken out pretty quickly (I imagine). Motorola should be faulted for pushing it out about a month too soon. I don't think the negatives from the too-soon release outweighed the supposed positives of being to market before the iPad2.

Toxikhiro says:

It sounds like you have no idea what you're talking about.

Too big? buy a galaxy tab, or an archos 70, or any of the other ENFILADE of tablets that are less than 10.1 inches.

Too heavy? Do a few curls, urkel. Nobody says you have to lift it with one hand.

Tegra 2 sucks, you say, but make no mention of why, how, or what's better? What would you have it do that it doesn't? Please at least base your opinion on SOMETHING.

Uh, the Xoom is "nerdware?" Yeah, no, really? It's a market niche that Apple invented, to which other manufacturers said, "There's money here? Sure! Let's jump in, too!" Pro tip: If you are reading about tablet computers on a blog dedicated to smartphones and tablets, YOU ARE ALREADY A NERD. DEAL WITH IT.

Make ipad users regret what they bought? This will NEVER HAPPEN. They buy it because they LOVE IT. It could be made out of cellophane, boogers, and duct-tape, and they would STILL LOVE IT. You could bring back an Android tab from 25 years in the future, which reads the user's mind, teleports him/her to distant and wondrous planets and reveals life's deepest secrets, and they would STILL PREFER THE IPAD2. It's just the nature of being an iFanboy.

You can't make iFans dislike their products. PERIOD. Get over your Apple hate, and just look for a product that meets your actual needs as a consumer (which it sounds like there will never be one of, because you have no idea what you want, or really, what a tablet is).

You don't want a hundred plugins. The Xoom has three: an HDMI, a micro USB, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Four, if you count the charging port. If you cannot tell the difference between the numbers three, four, and one-hundred, you have bigger problems than choosing between tablets.

You want well designed products, but don't like lots of "bells and whistles, spec list and stuff?" WHAAAAAT? Are you even from a planet with logic?? The attraction of a cutting-edge tablet computer, or smartphone, or computer generally, is that it has impressive, competitive specifications, and lots of features!! You want a minimalistic mobile computing solution with low-end specs? BUY A F*CKING CALCULATOR!

It sounds, honestly, like you would be well-served by an ipad2. And remedial education.

sig40acp says:

Not that my opinion is of any accord, but I am very impressed by my xoom. I can review multiple websites flawlessly. People who complain of utube videos buffing, maybe you need a better internet connection. My xoom performs perfectly on 3g and my wifi at home. Most of the people complaining have probably never had a xoom in their hands longer than 5 minutes. The only apps that have crashed on my xoom haven't been optimzed for a tablet and that if far and few between. For being the for tablet running a brand new OS, it is very stable. I have had multiple OS devices like webos so i know how buggy they can be and honstly, the xoom is not buggy. The xoom has excellent graphics and speed. If you are going to review or comment on products at least be honest. I could careless if you love apple or anyone else for that matter. I want consumers to hear about the xoom from day 1 experience. I highly recommend the xoom to anyone looking for a tablet. You won't be disappointed in its functionality.

cpwatson says:

Own an I pad 1 and just picked up the vzw xoom. Both are great devices (as I'm sure the I pad 2 is). So far the xoom is my preferred tablet as its more like a notebook when browsing. The interface is great and the notification benefits over the Ipad are pretty awesome. Probably will be improved droid tablets out thus year but for now I can say I'm pretty stoked on the xoom (if that opinion changes ill be sure to post back). Definitely enough market out there for a ton of tablet vendors.

imaxxxxx says:

Xoom owner here! I love my Moto Xoom. From the first time I laid my eyes on it, and from the time I first used it, my Moto Xoom is a joy to use every single time.

After watching the unboxing of this awesome device (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0PpmLEALwY) I have learned a lot about technology.

After holding it in my hands and hearing false speculation about how the screen is not that detailed, I was blown away. The resolution of the display is EXCELLENT. I was so impressed with this product.

I love the Moto Xoom because it is Honeycomb 3.0, which is going to be upgradable in the future, and the Xoom can do flash based web content. One of the major Xoom's competitors CAN'T display flash content, which is a shame. Most of the internet now is flash based or has a special format that certain tablet computers can display.