Motorola Xoom

Motorola's first attempt at a Tablet PC is the ambitiously titled Motorola Xoom. Fast enough to topple the iPad? Read our unbiased review to find out more.

By Chris Messenger | Published 16/08/2012

The Good

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Runs Android 3.0. Smooth and responsive

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Tegra2 Dual Core processor pretty speedy

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Effortless multitasking

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Built in mini HDMI slot


The Bad

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Relatively expensive

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Low pixel density screen, below 180ppi

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Images dont render properly in gallery

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Average sound from the speakers

Introduction

The Xoom is just too darned heavy. With a drab, pedestrian design, it just looks bloated and out of shape.

So, here we all are in the year 2012. It’s a funny old place really, don’t you think? Our computers are trying to be more like our phones...And our phones, well, you get the idea. Mobile phone manufacturers are branching out into the emerging Tablet PC market and there’s been a wealth of cross-pollination between the two technologies over the last couple of years. Almost exactly one year ago, Motorola jumped aboard with its hotly anticipated entry to the Tablet PC market; the Motorola Xoom. But does it live up to its potential? We take a look at what goes swimmingly for the Xoom and what sinks like a stone... 

 

The Specs

Standard Tablet PC interiors include a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and about 32GB of hard drive (give or take). The Xoom ticks all these effortlessly, only to go above and beyond the call of duty by offering the user a 64GB hard drive, which is a very welcome surprise indeed.

 

It is also impressive that the Xoom runs Android 3.0, at a time when, even a year later, many of the newest models are still only managing Android 2.3.3 or lower. The Xoom has some very impressive innards, especially considering that it is one of the older Tablet PCs available.

 

 

The Price

When this review was written (February 2012), this Tablet would have set you back around £400, now, its closer to £300, but still not what I’d call value for money.

 

The Performance

Technically speaking, the Xoom has a very good screen indeed, which is actually rather disappointing (more on why later). At 10.1 inches, it is more than 3 inches bigger than the average screen, which is terrific if you find the smaller models a little too reminiscent of a mobile phone for comfort. It also features an 800 x 1280 pixel resolution, which is superlative when you consider that the Xoom is pretty old by Tablet PC standards. Sadly, however, someone dropped a you-know-what during the making of the display, a blunder that ultimately leads to the Xoom’s downfall later on in this review...

 

A flaw common amongst Tablet PCs (due to the vast array of available apps offset against the very limited hard drive space) is a tendency to handle pretty poorly when it comes to multitasking. Not so the Xoom, Motorola have designed a machine that, if it had arms and legs, could probably manage to make the tea and go out for a donut whilst you checked your emails and ‘poked’ your brother’s Facebook profile.

The Xoom also has a built-in HDMI slot, which means it can be hooked up to your TV for instant media playback. A definite plus.

 

Uh oh. Here we go. Remember when I said we’d get back to the display? Well, here we are. The display is awful. After 10 minutes use, you’ll think you have eyesight problems until you look up and see that everything except your state of the art Tablet PC is in perfect focus (unless of course, you actually do have eyesight problems, but even then, you’ll probably think they’ve gotten worse).

 

In ‘Gallery mode’ (something that probably ranks among your most important criteria if you’re buying a 10 inch screen), the images simply don’t render correctly. You can wait and wait and wait, but they just aren’t going to. 

 

It's also impressive that the Xoom runs Android 3.0, at a time when, even a year later, many of the newest models are still only managing Android 2.3.3 or lower.

Finally, a 730 g, the Xoom is just too darned heavy. With a drab, pedestrian design, it just looks bloated and out of shape. I fail to see how such a heavy PC could warrant the name ‘Xoom’, it looks as if the only time it could run is if McDonalds was closing in 10 minutes.

 

What Other Users Say

Amazon users have been far kinder to this Tablet than we have, user ‘JennieMay’ (5/5) called it “brilliant” and in so doing, joined a whopping 78 5/5 reviews who were seemingly lining up to praise the Xoom despite its faults. ‘Llangorse John’ (5/5) posted a comprehensive guide to using the Xoom, while ‘Hector Hound called it “a great all rounder”.

 

Finally, ‘Groundhogger’ (5/5) said that he loved the Xoom, but went on to post a long and disturbing list of Motorola tech support failures. This is definitely something to bear in mind.

 

Our Verdict

The specs are good, but the screen is really bad. Also, even after a year of being on sale, the Xoom has failed to come down in price in any significant way. This means that you would simply be better off buying a newer Tablet for the same money, or making a saving by buying a Tablet of the same age, with similar specs, for almost a third of the asking price.

 

 

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Tags: Motorola Xoom Tablet PC Review, Tablet PC Review

 

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