Login Welcome to The Series of Epiphonies by
Friday, October 18 2019 @ 04:17 AM CDT

Motorola Xoom


My Review of the Motorola Xoom Featured in an article at paramuspost.com.  Check out the meta link below for more details and pictures.

Ever since the ground breaking release of the iPad, every device maker has been chasing Apple's coat tails.  Here comes Motorola's Xoom pronounced "zoom".  Powered by the epic one-two punch: Google's new Honeycomb update exclusively for tablets, and constructed Motorola's long standing experience with making devices.  Followed by a swift hook: Verizon's 3g internet standard.  Priced at $599 respectively this price will get you the new 1GHz Dual Core Tegra 2 chip, 1gig of ram, 32gigs of SSD and front and rear cameras.  On top of all this, the device is LTE (4g) ready!  

Hardware aside, Motorola has done a truly great job in assembling all the greatest pieces together in a cohesive way.  The user experience therefore, is far from the typical Android affair.  Browsing is breeze, as well as reading books and listening to music.  


Hardware and Construction
At first glances it seems like an iPad dressed up in business formal.  The black rubberized soft touch coating is grippy and smooth at the same time. The build quality is excellent; it feels like a study slate. The large picture frame border seen on most tablets is most effectively hidden here.  The Xoom has the slimmest border out of all 10in tablets seen.  This makes the Xoom look and feel much smaller than the iPad.
Even the ports are discrete.  Motorola have managed to include a power port, a micro usb port, as well as a microHDMI jack to the bottom.  While at the top is a small easily missed hole for the 3.5mm headphone jack.  Perhaps the only mistake and most glaring one is the placement of the power button.  Placed behind the device adjacent to the large 5.0megapixel camera, the power button is off center and affixed close to a border.  This causes it to be pushed accidentally when passing the device around.  

Battery Life
Motorola quoted a battery life of around 9 hours.  In real life test I was able to get consistent usage out of the device throughout a whole entire day solely off the 3g network.  Considering that there was more than 20% left, the battery life is quite fantastic. However, my main gripe is that the Xoom does not support charging via USB, you can only use the provided ac charger.

The growing fad with tablet devices is the addition of front and rear cameras.  The Xoom has a 5 megapixel back camera and a front camera sufficient for video chats.  The camera is good, it’s not great. However, with sufficient lighting, you can definitely take some wonderful pictures.  Overall, it serves the purpose of taking pictures of things to post on the Internet.

The new Honeycomb software is perhaps the most evolved part of this tablet.  The addition of pages and the use of widgets becomes and even more valuable with the added real estate of a tablet.  Being able to see full calendars and email right at the home location is a real treat above Apple's iOS that requires applications to be launched to view anything.  
Other new aspects are the movement of the essential "back" "home" and "options" button to the bottom left corner.  In most android phones you will find them as hard buttons on the bottom, this time around, Motorola has placed those buttons on the actual screen.  This is nice because the buttons will move with your orientation, solving the problem of having to search for the home button when switching from landscape to portrait.  
The slight lag that android users have always complained about is still present.  It’s been far too long for minor hick-ups like this to be still present in the user experience.  Most users like me who are already accustomed to this will notice the lag is not as bad as the versions progress.
People who are new to android will find it very easy to use.  The icons are self-explanatory and the activity is swift.  Returning android users will quickly adjust to the small changes adapted for the tablet and find them to be logical and useful changes to the new computing format.

Multi-Tasking! For Real!
The Motrola Xoom is the first device to-date that has actually given me the multitasking feel of a real computer.  Many companies have a different definition of “multitasking”.  It is used to simply mean you can listen to music while you browse.  However, this is no longer the case.  I was getting pop-up notifications from Google voice while browsing the web and listening to Pandora.  This is truly a handy and unique aspect to Google’s new Android operation system.

The included browser in the Xoom is fantastic.  It allows for the standard tabs, bookmarks, and even does Flash.  Perhaps the best addition is the ability to tap near the borders to access quick options for navigating through the pages.  I put the browser through its paces and it was not stumped by any of the websites thrown at it.  The only minor problem I can see is that the 3g network causes the Xoom to be defined as a mobile device.  Therefore you will almost always end up at the far too simplified mobile site.  This is solved easily by pushing the "view full page" button on the bottom of most of these sites.  There also many add on browsers you can get to alleviate this problem.

Verizon's 3g
One of the main features to this tablet is the addition of Verizon's 3g network built into the device.  You quickly get spoiled by the habit of being able to pull this device out at any time and being able to access websites without the hassle of attaching yourself onto a wireless network.  The Internet service is quick.  Far quicker than the experience of using it on the cell phone.  I rarely ended up in situations where I did not have a network attached. The best feature equipped to the Xoom is the ability to set up a wireless hot spot with the 3g connection.  Up to 5 devices will be able to latch on and use this service.  This is handy for people with families.  All you have to do is turn on the connection and watch your children occupy themselves on their own devices.  I personally found this handy while doing group work with classmates.  Verizon is smart to have included this feature.  This makes the Xoom a value; you get a tablet and a MiFi for the same price!

Mail and Calendars
Google has done a lot of work revamping the Gmail and Calendar apps for this tablet.  The increased usability afforded by the new layout tops any app seen before in previous Android devices.  Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPUGNCIozp0&feature=player_embedded to see more on the changes in Honeycomb.

PDF and Books
The Xoom works well for reading PDFs.  You can see the dual core processor really packs its heat when it’s pair up against large 100mb+ textbooks.  This makes zooming in and out of pages quick and easy.  The book application performs very much in the same way as "iBooks" on the iPad.  Don't forget, the option to download the Kindle and other reading apps still remains!

Flinging Birds in HD
Luckily, the Xoom is equipped with a strong Tegra graphics chip to handle the 3D rendering.  A quick play through of some 3D driving games shows off its ability to do neat tricks.  However, the real App store issues become apparent when loading something simple like Angry Birds.  Android has no HD version like the Mac-counter parts.  This is true for almost every single app except for the few that come pre-loaded on the Xoom.  The unfortunate result of this is a distorted and low quality angry birds experience.  As birds appear fuzzy. The good thing about this however, is that you never have to wait for the programmers to make a tablet version in order to enjoy the app you already have on the phone.  Had android been quicker to the market this would have been a huge advantage over the iPad.

Using the Motrola Xoom is like befriending a super secret MI-6 agent.  It comes suited up in black, with a glossy screen reminiscent of tuxedo lapels.  The soft touch back gives great grip when in use.  It is unfortunate that the power button, and ports have been scattered and hidden not unlike a young Bond unfamiliar with where to place the pin with the secret hidden camera on it.

Looks go a long way, but the ability of the Xoom to take you on a digital adventure makes it a friend you want to hang on to forever. Browsing is breeze especially with the 3g service from Verizon Wireless.  Reading books and articles is much more friendly on the Xoom compared to the iPad because of its slimmer and thinner figure.  Google integration for mail and calendars is smooth.  Being able to bring out the occasional game of Angry Birds is not only entertaining but stress relieving as well.  The more aces I found up the Xoom’s sleeve the more surprised I was at the sheer smooth, and classy nature of the Xoom.

To be honest, I was about to dub the Xoom my new digital best friend until it was time for me to charge it.  Like all secret agents, the Xoom is very particular, only accepting charge from its supplied charger and not through USB.  This realization would have come to me sooner but the Xoom really never has to be charged.  Living the bond life-style seems easy, but there are many apps yet to be optimized for the tablet as well.

Verizon, Google, and Motorola have really teamed up to take on Apple with full force.  Next to my iPad companion, the Xoom seem too handsome to be affiliating with it.  On top of that I felt the Android interface made more sense to people who are already used to computing.  It is the first Android device to make me think it was Apple who might have had it all wrong by over simplifying technology. This is the tablet to get if you want to get the most out of what the tablet form factor has to offer without having to ever.


E-mail: clarencews@me.com


Originally published here at www.paramuspost.com


Trackback URL for this entry: http://www.clarencestone.com/trackback.php?id=20110513022754209

No trackback comments for this entry.