Motorola XOOM review: The Big Bang
The Motorola XOOM gallery is a pretty standard Android affair in terms of functionality but it has too been tweaked to be more comfortable on the large screen. Naturally, your Picasa web albums are automatically synced with your tablet but by default they can only be browsed if you have an active internet connection.
You can sort your images by album, date, location or tag. You can also choose between displaying images, videos or both.
The upper right corner holds shortcuts to the camera, image details preview or extra settings (like make available offline for Picasa albums).
When you are browsing a specific album/date/location/tag the shortcuts change a bit – the extra settings shortcut is replaced by a button that starts a slide show. The icon in the very top left corner becomes active and clicking it brings you back to the full gallery view.
Unfortunately, the XOOM gallery has the same issue as most of its smartphone siblings – it doesn’t show you full size images, but downsized versions instead. This means that you cannot see all the detail on a photo on the tablet itself, which is a pity, given the excellent picture browsing potential.
To end the gallery overview on a positive note we’ll mention a cool accelerometer-based trick. In the default view, albums with more than one photo inside have a cool 3D shadow effect when you tilt the slate.
A looker of a music player
The XOOM music player comes with a cool looking interface that lets you sort your tracks by album, artist, song, genre, playlist or just bring the new and recent additions on top.
Naturally, there’s also a search option, which will be greatly appreciated by those with large music collections. It gets activated by pressing the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner.
When you select a specific album (or a group of tracks based on any filter) you get the familiar split screen interface. Album art, which is naturally supported, appears on the left along with the information about the compilation. The track list goes on the right and the currently playing track (if any) appears at the bottom with quick controls available.
The now playing screen offers shuffle and repeat (including repeat one) functionality, but no equalizers.
Finally, if there is a track playing in background a dedicated row appears in the notification area showing its name. There are also quick pause or skip controls right there so you don’t need to open the music player every time.
Video player really should have done better
Despite the large screen and enviable processing power, the Motorla XOOM doesn’t make for much of a portable video player. And you can tell that right from the start as the thing doesn’t even have a dedicated video player app.
You will have to switch the gallery to video only mode every time or you will have to sift through all your images to find a specific video.
The codec support is also seemingly a few years old with DivX and Xvid nowhere in sight. You will have to either get a third-party app for playing those, which will inevitably harm performance or convert all your videos before uploading them to the XOOM.
And with no mass-storage mode available, uploading is a bit more complicated than necessary too.
All this, topped with a screen which you can hardly see outside, make up for a rather mediocre overall experience.