Home   •  Print this Page   •  
Motorola Xoom Review
10.1" LCD Wi-Fi Tablet, $599

Motorola Xoom

Dick De Jong
April 18, 2011
HDTV Solutions

Heralded as the first major contender to the iPad in the skyrocketing tablet market, the Motorola Xoom jumped into the fray in late March, only a few days before the iPad 2 was released.

Last year, I reviewed the original iPad when it burst on to the scene and turned the computer world upside down. I reckoned that it was time to see how the competition is stacking up.

Tablets serve many widely varying purposes, but since this is an HDTV site, I will be focusing on the Xoom's ability to display movies and video programs.

Before I launch into Xoom, a word about the iPad 2, the second generation of Apple's tablet. Even though the iPad 2 is thinner, lighter and faster than #1, its screen is the same and the quality of streaming content is consistent with the first iPad, which was excellent.

Since the form factor of the Xoom is similar to the iPad, comparisons are inevitable and I will detail a few of the most notable ones below.

For now, let me say that I like the Xoom, but I think that the original iPad came out of the oven fully cooked and the Xoom needs a little more baking before it is palatable for the general public.

(Editor's note: Currently, Motorola makes two models of the Xoom, Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G [upgradeable at a later time to Verizon's 4G LTE]. Each model is available in 32GB flash drive versions. I have the 32GB Wi-Fi only model [$599]. I cannot address definitively the 3G [or updated 4G] performance of the other model since I have no firsthand experience with it.)

Our Star Ratings
Performance: 3.5 3.5 Star Rating
The picture quality of the Xoom's 10.1" 720p screen is good, but just not as solid as the iPad's. Audio quality from the tiny speakers integrated into pencil thin tablets will never be above mediocre and Motorola did not help the situation by locating them on the back of the body. The first accessory that you need to acquire is a good set of earbuds.

Features: 3.5 3.5 Star Rating
Since I am mainly reviewing the Motorola Xoom on its streaming media capabilities, I must subtract at least a point for the absence of an app for Netflix, and no Hulu Plus app is another big minus. I hope that both will appear soon. In the meantime, YouTube is available among the over 200,000 apps that are in the Android market.
Ease of Use: 4.5 4.5 Star Rating
Set up is easy. The manual is only a few pages. And I really appreciate the openness of Google's Honeycomb operating system. Of course, if you already have an Android based smartphone, you should be quite comfy with Xoom's operations.
Value: 3.5 3.5 Star Rating
In the next six months, we should see an explosion of tablets in the marketplace, and they all will be compared to the iPad. At an MSRP of $599, the 32GB Wi-Fi only version of the Xoom is the same price as its 32GB Apple counterpart. Right now, this Motorola tablet does not offer enough advantages to make it a great value proposition.

Judging from their recent history, Apple will hold steadfast to the iPad 2's price until #3 is released. I don't believe Motorola will be as unwavering with the Xoom's. If you are vigilant and patient, I think you will be able to find a deal on a Xoom. While you are waiting, hopefully all involved will iron out the minor flaws of this version 1.0 device. And, fingers crossed, we will see a Netflix Android app.

Star Ratings Description
Ratings are relative to when the review was written. The obvious example is Value, what you could purchase for $2000 two years ago or even two months ago would seem like a bad value for that price now. We have given only a precious few 5 Star ratings, which we reserve for truly outstanding accomplishment.

Bookmark:   del.icio.us     Reddit     Google

Reader Comments

Posted Oct 11, 2011 9:57:40 PM

By Riley Moreau

That is really interesting. I was looking forward to getting a Motorola Xoom, since there has been recent news of being able to send it in and get the tablet modified to work with 4G LTE service. I have had a lot of Motorola phones in the past and they are pretty good. Perhaps it would be wise to hold off on getting a tablet, since there is a new feature every other week on these amazing computers!
Free NewsAlert