Home > Tech > Motorola Xoom – Love it but it’s no iPad killer

Motorola Xoom – Love it but it’s no iPad killer


I love this tablet. It’s not perfect, but I use it as much, if not more than my iPad. There seems to be no shortage of love for this device amongst the tech bloggers out there as well; however, among the general public, the iPad sales figures blow the Xoom out of the water. People have spoken with their pocketbooks and the clear winner is the iPad.

That being said, I still want to make a case for the Xoom as a tablet you should consider.

First off, here is the tale of the tape:

Technical Spec and Comparison of Motorola XOOM and iPad

Motorola XOOM Apple iPad (1st Gen)
Processor 1 GHz Dual Core Tegra 2 1 GHz Single Core A4
Display 10.1 Inch 9.7 Inch
Resolution 1280 x 800 (160 dpi) 1024 x 768 (132 dpi)
RAM 1GB 256 MB
Front Camera 2 MP None
Rear Camera 5 MP None
Storage 32 GB 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB
Video Recording 720p None
Video Playback 1080p 720p
Communication Port HDMI, USB 2.0 None
Operating System Android 3.1 Honeycomb iOS 4.3
Flash Support Yes No
Speaker Yes Yes
Network 3G and 4G 3G

Just from the technical specifications alone, it seems as though the Xoom would beat out the iPad. There are other advantages that I see in choosing the Xoom, not the least of which is customizability. This isn’t a big desire of iPad buyers though. Ease of use trumps the ability to create your screens the way you want them, or true multi-tasking, or Flash availability. Having bought both, I can attest to the simplicity and ease of use of the iPad. As a power user and an experienced technophile, I can navigate through the capabilities of the Xoom quickly; however, I had my folks here for a visit and my father (who’s 73) enjoyed using the iPad much more than the Xoom.

Pros (IMHO):
Multi-channel app distribution
– The fact that I can get Android apps from multiple sources is a plus as there can be healthy competion in app pricing.
Widgets – Easy “windows” right on the desktop that allow me to view upcoming appointments, unread emails, weather, headlines, etc. without having to launch or re-launch an app.
Customizability – Live wallpapers, icon placement, widget placement, widget size.
Flash Support -Enough said.
Apps – All of the apps I use on the ipad are available on the Xoom. Dropbox, Evernote, Documents to Go, PDF Apps, even Angry Birds are all there. Sure there are 150,000 apps in the Android Market vs. 325,000 in the Apple app store, but do you really need 10 different games where you fling dogs/cats/chupacabras through the air at poorly constructed edifices? Didn’t think so.

Predominant orientation
– The Xoom comes configured in a landscape mode. the Motorola and Verizon trademarks are set on the top of the device when it’s in that configuration, as is the front facing camera. It’s not an issue for me because I do everything in landscape mode already but it does feel weird the few time I need to use it in portrait mode.
Honeycomb 3.0 OS – Still feels like it’s in beta. Crashes more that I’d like and when I had two open apps and tried to watch a movie (Tron:Legacy), the frame rate was sluggish. I upgraded to 3.1 and it feels much more stable.
Weight – There is a slight difference in weight 607g for iPad2 vs. 730g for the Xoom. You would think it’s insignificant, but it’s not.
Less Intuitive – Let’s face it, Apple has cornered the market in creating elegant, easy to use, devices. The Xoom, even for someone technically savvy, has a greater learning curve than the iPad.
4G Network – Why would this be a con? Because getting 4G capability requires shipping the Xoom back to Motorola to retrofit the 4G chip. Oy.

In conclusion, the Xoom isn’t for everyone; however, if you are looking for a worthy replacement for the iPad because you don’t like Apple or just want to support another tech behemoth, the the Xoom is a worthy choice. Your productivity will not suffer after you get through the initial learning curve and you’ll have a great mobile device that you DON’T have to stand in line for.

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