Motorola XOOM review: The Big Bang

GSMArena team, 26 May 2011.
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Introduction

Phones far and wide wanted to be the iPhone killer and you know what – tablets are no different. The iPad needs to get used to living with a bounty on its head. And always be ready for the likes of the Motorola XOOM.

But the XOOM is no ordinary competitor. We’re talking the first Honeycomb tablet, a cornerstone for Android. It’s Motorola’s first tablet too. If they play their cards right, it could be a big money earner for a company in trouble, so we know Moto gave it their best.

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Motorola XOOM official photos

The XOOM has a 10.1” screen of 1280 x 800 pixels resolution, Google’s latest Android OS (after the update rolls out in full), purpose made for tablet use, and a powerful Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core chipset with 1GB RAM. Barely a few lines into the spec sheet and we already like the sound of it.

The Motorola XOOM has more to offer than that. The Verizon US version will be getting a (delayed) LTE update, while dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz) sounds sweet too.

But we won’t go on and on about the specs of the XOOM. Here go the highlights followed – as usual – by what we didn’t like.

Key features

  • 10.1” capacitive touchscreen of 1280 x 800 pixel resolution; multi-touch
  • 730g of weight
  • Dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity; Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Optional 3G connectivity (data only) – HSPA or 1xEV-DO (LTE via upgrade)
  • GPS with A-GPS support on all models
  • 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 AP20H Dual Core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • Android 3.0 Honeycomb, upgradable to 3.1
  • 16/32/64GB of onboard storage
  • microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Accelerometer, compass and three-axis gyro-sensor; barometer sensor
  • 5MP auto-focus camera with dual-LED flash
  • 720p video recording at 30fps
  • 2MP secondary video call camera
  • HD TV-Out via microHDMI port
  • microUSB with host functionality
  • Flash-enabled web browser
  • 10 hours video playback, 3.3 days of music playback

Main disadvantages

  • Seems quite laggy despite the 1GHz dual-core CPU
  • Screen is very reflective, hard to use outdoors
  • Quite a porker at 730 grams
  • No kickstand – it cannot be stood up on a table without a dock
  • Non-replaceable battery
  • Can’t charge off USB
  • LTE-enabling update not out yet for the Verizon version
  • Still waiting for an update to enable microSD slot as well
  • No document editor pre-installed, not even a viewer

We’re really curious to try out the tablet minded version of Android – the one we’ve tested before was clunky to use and clearly not intended for big screens. And we’ve had a positive experience with the Tegra 2 platform. It’ll be interesting to see how it performs inside a tablet.

And let’s just say that seeing a standard microHDMI port was a pleasant surprise – no need of an adapter to get the TV-Out working. The competition doesn’t even have a standard microUSB port so thumbs up for Motorola and keeping to standards.

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Motorola XOOM in our office

The XOOM we’re about to get started with is the 3G-enabled variety with 32GB of inbuilt storage. And yes, it’s got Honeycomb inside – the version of Android meant for tablets. We can hardly wait. Jump to the next page and try to keep up.

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