As most of you may know, up until recently we have mainly focused on computer hardware. Well today we have our first tablet to review, the Motorola XOOM. Whereas most sites will provide you with extremely technical reviews that sometimes include paragraphs of technical jargon you just don’t understand a word of, we’re here to provide you with a high quality review that gives you an overview of the product in general, its hardware, operating system and our overall verdict.
With that being said, let’s get down and dirty with the XOOM from Motorola.
Immediately, the XOOM just looks and feels great. It features a sleek black and grey colour scheme. One feature that definitely makes an impression is the large 10.1” 160DPI WXGA display that boasts a resolution of 1280px x 800px, this is already miles better than the 1st generation iPad and even the newer iPad 2! But let’s not get into an Apple VS. The World debate, there isn’t enough time for that…
The rear of the XOOM is home to the 5MP HD Camera that both records video and takes still photos. A flash is also featured here enabling use of the camera in those not so brightly lit places.
There are a total of two speakers on the Motorola XOOM, both covered by a mesh grill; we’ll be testing the speakers out later on in the review with both films and music.
The front of the XOOM, much like most phones and tablet devices nowadays, features a front facing camera to allow video calling via your application of choice, such as Skype, or even just for recording your latest video for YouTube.
All of the standard ports are located around the edges of the XOOM including the headphone jack and SIM/microSD slot (top), volume controls (left), USB 2.0 and mini HDMI ports (bottom).
One point I’d like to make is that the volume controls are just a little to flush with the device in our opinion. It is sometimes quite difficult to press both controls down to adjust the volume.
Measuring 9.8 x 6.61 x 0.51 inches and weighing a hefty 1.6lb, it’s the same weight as the 1st generation iPad 3G but feels a lot heavier, especially if you’re holding it with one hand which can become quite tiring on your arm after a short amount of time.
However, if you’re playing games or browsing the web, you’re generally going to be holding the XOOM with both hands so the weight shouldn’t make much of a difference whilst using a majority of the available features.
The Motorola XOOM was announced this year at CES 2011 and it’s got quite a few tablets to compete with; the iPad 2 and Blackberry Playbook to name a couple.
Housing the NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz processor and 1Gb of DDR2 RAM, the XOOM is definitely up there with some of the most powerful tablets available at the moment. As well as those, the XOOM comes with 32GB of internal storage as well as the option of extra storage space via the microSD card slot (not currently available for use).
As well as being equipped with WiFi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, the XOOM also features an LTE SIM slot which in the near (hopefully) future should be capable of allowing you to connect to 4G networks (although us lot here in the UK can barely get a good 3G connection so I doubt we’ll be seeing lightning quick 4G speeds anytime soon).
Apparently, a WiFi-only XOOM is currently in motion which is similar to the way Apple have gone with the WiFi and WiFi+3G versions of the iPad. A WiFI-only version will most likely not be seen until later in the year though.
The front facing camera is a 2-megapixel fixed-focus camera that is suitable for video calling and possibly video blogging. A tricolour notification LED can also be seen on the front of the XOOM.
Although not currently any use at all, the XOOM features a barometer for measuring air pressure. I’m sure that the third-party developers will create some interesting applications using some of the Android 3.0 APIs though. It also houses the standard sensors seen on most devices including an accelerometer, digital compass, ambient light sensor, gyroscope and GPS.
If we take a look at the back of the XOOM, we have the 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and a dual-LED flash. The 5mp camera is located in-between the power button and one of the two stereo speakers. For all you music and video lovers out there, you can also enjoy listening to the latest tunes via the 3.5mm headphone socket located on the top of the device that is compatible with any pair of headphones that have a 3.5mm jack.
Having not used many Android devices in the past, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the device performed regarding the lag-free 3D-style homescreen and how quickly I was able to access all menus and applications, with them all loading pretty much instantly. The speed and efficient nature of the XOOM was most likely achieved due to the inclusion of the extremely quick Tegra 2 processor and 1gb of DDR2 RAM.