3,844 of 3,962 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2011
UPDATE 1/16/2013: I just wanted to write a quick update. Everything I say below is still valid but when I refer to iPad in my review I am talking about the iPad 2, the current model is the iPad 4. Both the iPad 3 and 4 have retina displays which crush everything else on the market in terms of pixel density. Compared with the current best 1080P Android and Windows 8 tablets the iPad 3 and 4 still has 1 million more pixels. Compared with the Xoom the iPad 3 and 4 has 2 million more pixels. As I kind of mention in my review I like Android but I really buy tablets for the screen. I find that the higher the pixel density the better a tablet works for my uses. I currently use an iPad 3. I would also add that quite a bit has changed in terms of software and capabilities both for Android and iPad since I wrote this review. Again, I still feel what I say in this review is valid, but it is only valid when you consider the time it was written. Technology moves fast and a lot has changed in less than 2 years. Thanks to everyone that has read, commented on, and hopefully found my review to be helpful.
When I first got the Xoom about a week ago I turned it on and I really wasn't blown away. I use lots of devices, and my first impression of the Xoom just wasn't stellar. However, I could see the potential, and so I kept using it, I got some apps, I started to learn the interface and the depth of the features.
Sometime during day 2 of using the Xoom it really hit me. The Xoom and the iPad are like chess and checkers. When you first start playing chess (or trying to use the Xoom, in my amazing analogy) you feel overwhelmed and confused. You can't really do things smoothly, you don't understand the options, it just is not a great first impression. On the other hand, your first game of checkers (or using the iPad) is probably going to be pretty smooth. It isn't complex, most all the options and concepts are obvious and easy to understand and your first game is going to be pretty similar to your hundredth.
However, as you start to understand the Xoom (or chess) it really starts to grow on you. You understand what you can do, how to do it, the amazing depth and possibility in the device. While the iPad (or checkers) players are still having roughly the same experience time after time, with the Xoom every day of experience with the device makes it more powerful and enjoyable to use. In the end, the Xoom becomes a much better device than any of the competition; it just takes some time for you to learn what it is capable of and how to make the most of it.
As you can tell from the last three paragraphs I wasn't exactly impressed with the Xoom to start. I wasn't even sure it would replace my current device for most things. However, by day two I started to really "get" the device.
This first happened when I needed to look over and annotate a PDF someone had sent me. I downloaded it from my email, and was able to actually put it in the Xoom memory where-ever I wanted in whatever folder I wanted. Wow, that is kind of cool, can't do that on the competition. Next, I was able to open it in a PDF reader, using this fancy program (which I easily found on the marketplace). I went through and did what I needed (with an amazing free hand drawing tool, it was a snap!), then I jumped back over to email, attached the newly edited PDF and sent it away. Now maybe I just never tried hard enough, but I don't think that is possible on some of the competition. That freedom to download files, do what you need, and then send them away again. On the iPad apps I have used it always requires the files to be in something like Dropbox, which is fine, except it would have made what I did impossible without using a computer.
Another "WOW" moment came when I wanted to get some ebooks onto the device. Now, on my Apple products this is generally a pain, you hook the device to the computer, go open itunes, you go to a certain tab, and a certain area, and a certain feature, and if you do it all right you can drag your ebooks over to the reader. It was rather simpler on the Xoom. For the ebooks I had on my computer I just dropped them in Dropbox, then I downloaded them on the Xoom, and using the Xoom file manager I easily moved them into a new "Books" folder I made in the Documents folder. Fast, quick, and simple and done on the device, rather than on the PC.
However, what really blew me away was when I wanted some ebooks off the web. Using the regular browser I was able to just download them directly from the internet onto the device. I then used the file manager again and simply moved them to the right folder. This really did impress me, my tablet was uncoupled from the PC, I could browse the full web, download things, and then make use of them all without ever needing to tether to my computer. I was hooked.
With my new excitement at not requiring my computer to use my tablet I headed over to an Android App development forum. Here developers had posted lots of cool apps that were in beta or that they wanted to promote. On competing devices the only way to get an app is through the sanctioned and controlled portal, not so on Android (and thus Xoom). Using the Xoom browser I bounced around the forum, I downloaded beta apps, and then I was able to easily install them. Again, this is all on the device, and these were not approved apps, awesome.
Another example of something that impressed me came on my third day with the device. I was using the CNN app (which is free and tablet optimized, go check it out) and I watched a video of a story that I thought was really interesting, but it was one of those that is only a teaser, and the rest is on another site. When I hit these videos on my iPad I just have to try to remember to watch them later on a computer, because they are inevitably flash based. Not so on the Xoom, I typed in the address, the flash loaded up perfectly, and I was watching the video in full screen with no trouble.
This process of growing more comfortable with the device and learning what it could do continued over the last few days. At every turn I would find something amazing that just wasn't possible on competing tablets. I discovered the glory of widgets (custom little desktop things to show you the weather, or news, or whatever). I found some live wallpaper (moving animated wallpaper, that can change and adapt to things, such as the weather). I just kept finding new awesome features and uses.
One thing I want to touch on that is perhaps more technical than the rest of my review is the screen. I use my tablets to read, I started using ebooks a while back and I found tablets to work pretty well for that. I do most of my reading at night before bed, so the backlit screen is actually helpful versus a traditional reader. Anyway, one of the things that has always bothered me about the iPad as an ereader is that the pixel density (that is the number of pixels (or square blocks of color) in each inch of screen space) is very low. The iPad has somewhere around 130PPI (pixels per inch). It was so low that it really did give me noticeable eye strain to read on the device, I could see the pixels, and it really just wasn't a great reading experience. This was so pronounced that for the last few months I had actually been doing most of my reading on a 4th generation iPod Touch. It had a smaller screen, but a higher pixel density.
Anyway, the Xoom has a very noticeable increase in resolution and pixel density. With its higher resolution it has roughly 33% more pixels than the iPad, roughly 300,000 additional pixels. This is something you can see immediately when looking at any text. It is a lot smoother and easier to read on the Xoom. However, the other side of this is that the iPad has a different display type, that does have better viewing angles and color/contrast. In my case I don't really care, I find the pixel density to be 1000 times more important than small color improvements or viewing angles but I feel I should mention it.
My point in these last two paragraphs is that the Xoom is a much better device for displaying text than any of the lower resolution competition. If you are looking for a tablet to read your newspaper and books and websites on, then you definitely should give the Xoom or other higher resolution tablets a look. In my opinion the resolution on the iPad/iPad 2 just does not cut it for text.
Welp, this is really starting to get long, so I guess I should wrap it up. I know this isn't like the usual review you read, but I really wanted to give people an idea of the experience of using the Xoom versus just giving the facts and the breakdown and the comparisons. The Xoom is a device that improves exponentially the more you use it. After a few days of use I really can't imagine returning to the constraints and frustrations of the competition. However, on my first day I wasn't that impressed, so be sure to stick with it and get used to it. Now I am off to make dinner, and to accompany me I am going to take my Xoom, which is streaming live video thanks to the wonderful inclusion of flash, the competition is going to stay sitting on the shelf (probably for the foreseeable future).
I just want to mention that I am giving the Xoom four stars because it is not perfect. As a reference after using the Xoom I would probably give the iPad / iPad 2 three stars. There are still improvements that can be made to tablets. I really feel like Android and Xoom are on the right track, but this is still not what I would call a perfect tablet, it is just the best that is available right now (for my uses).
I hope someone finds my review helpful, feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments.
1,816 of 1,899 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2011
First of all I want to say that I own both Apple and Google/Android devices. I own iPod Touch and have played with iPad of family member who own the device. I also played with iPad 2 quite a bit at the store as well as from a friend who got it on launch day. I currently own original Motorola Droid and looking to upgrade to newer Android phone this summer. It is difficult not to compare Xoom to its competitor aka iPad 2. Therefore, this review will entail Xoom features (Wifi version) along with comparison to iPad 2.
Operating System - An iPad is more akin to a smartphone where as a Xoom is more akin to a laptop (Best Buy actually has it in laptop section instead with other Android tablets like Samsung Galaxy). Honeycomb feels more like a tablet. It's not just a row of apps and wasted space like iOS. Plus, you have room for customization (widget, live wallpaper, theme etc). There is also little detail that tech savvy will appreciate (outline grid, advanced settings, google labs etc) Honeycomb is still a bit buggy but not to the point that it becomes annoying. I only have several force close (app closed due to error) once in a while (Not all phone apps work with Xoom..yet). Obviously iOS which is a proven OS and was out almost 4 years ago is more stable than the Honeycomb, a brand new OS (optimized for tablet use) that was out a month ago along with its SDK. Google know Honeycomb still needs improvement, I know Honeycomb is unfinished and I don't mind waiting for even better experience.
Also, it's easy to transfer files between computer and Xoom. Just plug in USB and it acts as a hard drive then you drag and drop the files you want. There's also apps like ES File Explorer and Astro File Manager that help manage files/folder (like Window explorer). I believe iOS requires other softwares unless you just do music/movies through iTunes. Oh and I forget to mention that I hate having to everything tied/synced through iTunes. On Xoom, there's more freedom and you are not stuck with one software like iTunes.
Winner: To each his own but I like Honeycomb better.
Design/Apperance/Screen - Xoom is heavier but that is due to a solid build quality which I love. It is also thicker and has wider screen (more appropriate for movies than iPad 2). Although Xoom has higher screen resolution, iPad 2 still has brighter screen and more vivid look.
Winner: iPad 2 by little bit
User Interface - Some people say Honeycomb is too complicated to use. Well maybe to those who has been using only iPad. For someone who use both, I have to say it is pretty simple to use. iOS is more intuitive and foolproof but there is much more detail/option on Xoom that many people will appreciate.
Multitasking - One button and it takes you to 5 most recent apps for easy switching on Xoom. iPad 2 sort of have multitasking but not a true multitasking experience.
Browser - If you use Chrome browser before, it is pretty much like that on Xoom. I prefer tabbed browsing over having to press button to open various windows on Safari on iOS device. You can type search directly on address bar like Chrome. You can sync bookmarks through your Google account. And yes I know there are other browser apps in the market. But for a stock browser app, Xoom has a better experience.
Apps - iPad is way ahead in term of apps and it is because original iPad had at least 1 year head start vs Xoom. Not to mention Honeycomb is unfinished and SDK was recently released. However, the tablet apps that are available on Android market, most of them work great and look awesome. UPDATE: It turned out there're lots more Honeycomb compatible apps (I'm talking 1,000+). You just have to use keyword search such as "tablet" "xoom" "honeycomb" to discover the apps. Note that you can still use Android phone apps. The phone apps get stretched out but still keep the high resolution thus they don't look bad on the screen whatsoever. Give it time.
Winner: iPad 2
Customization - This is my favorite part about Android. You have open customization from themes, widgets to customized home screen and live wallpapers. iOS has none of that unless you jailbreak the device.
Notification - If you have iPhone and iPad, you know how notification can be quite painful. Xoom has better notification system that show up briefly in bottom right corner as you get new email, app update etc. You can press it to view all notifications or remove them. Additionally, there is also LED light blinking notification on top right of the device.
Hardware Performance - A5 vs Tegra 2 is still up for debate. Xoom seems to be as powerful as iPad 2 with exception of GPU (difference can be seen with gaming and screen brightness). iPad 2 has 512MB RAM vs 1 GB RAM on Xoom.
Camera/Video/Audio - Better camera and video on Xoom thanks to its higher spec vs VGA front and lower MP back camera on iPad 2. Camera app gets a little bit of time to get used to on Xoom. Speaker on Xoom is decent and could have been louder. I wish the volume rocker is more visible on the side. It feels like the button can become stuck into the device.
Also I use DVD Catalyst 4 to convert and transfer movie to Xoom. It can convert most file types as long as it's not DRM protected (like "Digital Copy"). The software is pretty neat, simple to use and the pictures look great. You have option to customize the pictures, add subtitles, and get rid of black bars.
Winner: Xoom OVERALL
Flash - Yes, Flash is still in beta but it works great so far with a little bit of lagging but barely noticeable. Pretty smooth most of the time. I tested it on sites that use Flash like Engadget (video), Honda (car animation), Vice Versa restaurant in NYC (heavy flash site), Myspace and bandcamp (with music player on artist page). iOS has no Flash AT ALL as we all know when it comes to browsing.
Winner: Xoom by a mile (until HTML5 is fully functional)
Battery Life - Xoom gets about 8 - 9 hours for heavy multitasking usage. Will have to test standby time but I expect it to be less than iPad 2. iPad 2 gets at least 10 hours of heavy usage.
Winner: iPad 2
GPS - Just want to mention that GPS and full Google maps navigation is available on Xoom wifi. While on iPad 2, it is only available if you get 3G+wifi version. And if you use Google maps app before on Android you know that it is more extensive than map on iOS (turn-by-turn voice navigation, layers etc). Since this is a Wifi version, THERE IS cache settings on Google Maps where you can prefetch map tiles by panning over the city/region while on Wifi (up to ?? MB. Need to verify the cap). Then you can navigate to desired destination just like normal with voice navigation. You cannot change the destination halfway obviously since there is no 3G connection. The other alternative will be to tether the device with 3G/4G smartphone.
Winner - Xoom
Nitpick - SD card slot on Xoom is still not enabled at this moment. Also, I wish Xoom can be charged through micro USB but I believe it may be because micro USB doesn't supply enough current to charge a tablet.
In the end, you may prefer one device over the other and it is to each his own. However, based on the overall factors I mentioned above, I prefer Xoom.
Any questions, feel free to ask in comment.
432 of 469 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2011
Picked up the WiFi only version on Sunday. Went with WiFi only because I already have a DroidX and can use it as a WiFi hot spot cheaper than going with the 3G plan for the Xoom. I played with this and the iPad 2 side by side prior to deciding. iPad does somethings better and faster (switching screen orientation) and the Xoom does somethings better and faster. The advantage with the Xoom is having 2x the amount of RAM built in. So things like Google Maps keeps up better on the Xoom. I really like the browser on the Xoom better too, but that, like most of the rest of this, is personal preference.
- quality build
- great flexibility
- great camera's front and rear
- fully loaded WiFi only version (still has the GPS, gyro and even a barometer)
- Great graphics, nice display
- Not required to use iTunes to set it up and use it
The not so good:
- Screen is a fingerprint magnet, worse I have ever had.
- Not as easy to use out of the box as the iPad
- Not many aps for it yet
At the end of the day, if you use an iPhone and like it, you will like the iPad 2 better. If you use a good Android phone today and like it, you will like the Xoom much better. I spent Friday night and Saturday helping a friend set up their iPhone and the frustration over the lack of flexibility ultimately made my mind up for me. Once you get used to the flexibility you have with Android, you will get frustrated quickly with iOS.
Anyway, that is my opinion after using the Xoom for 1 full day...lol.
84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2011
Let me first state this review is based upon the 3G model (although I just ordered a wifi model from Amazon). We purchased 2 weeks ago and took the unit on our spring break trip. During the long drives the xoom ran navigation, played tunes connected to the car stereo and functioned as a skype/FB life line for my teens. My teens also took a lot of pictures and videos, played games, browsed, read books, etc. Two things became very apparent:
1) The multi-tasking is top notch, especially with the recent apps button and the ability to quickly move from app to app
2) The battery life consistently sat at 7-8 hours during heavy use (when it was on it was ALWAYS doing multiple things)
I chose the xoom 3G thinking my wife would hate it and I'd then go buy her an ipad 2 and I'd get to use the xoom. She has an android 2.x phone and hates it. She loved honeycomb. She is now taking the xoom to work as her mobile laptop. Hence, that's why I just bought the wifi xoom - for me! I originally decided on the android device based upon being able to create my own "experience". The interface exceeded my expectations. I have used the ipad in store a number of times and stayed away from gen 1 knowing Apple would release a better pad in about a year. I saw nothing that made me want to use iOS with gen 2.
- Screen clarity, size and brightness is great
- Multi-tasking is excellent
- All the apps we used worked flawlessly...only force closed with google books (and why doesn't google books have a bookmark like Kindle for Android?)
- Very fast
- Battery life
- Extremely simple setup with gmail/google, etc...
- Flash support became available after purchase and web browsing experience is better but not perfect
- Most importantly, my tablet the way I want it to look and work
The not so Good:
- Don't like the power plug or the volume buttons. Its strange, they feel good but it just seems difficult to use them sometimes
- Screen is (as stated in other reviews) a fingerprint magnet, yet it still looked great
- App selection is low, but from the time I purchase to the end of the trip the tablet dedicated apps increase by 11 and other than netflix, there is no app I want that is not available
- Cameras are adequate, but I didn't buy this to replace my digital camera
- SD card isn't working yet
I did not give this 5 stars as I think it can be improved. Early in the lifecycle, I expect great things for android based tabs. The Samsung Galaxy in June (running Honeycomb) should be a great device as well. Very very pleased with the purchase.
1,557 of 1,726 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2011
I have purchased both an Ipad2 and Xoom for different family members. I thought it worth comparing the two devices for anyone interested. Many of my comments are subjective so bear that in mind when reading the review. I notice that reviews that love the Xoom are overwhelmingly marked "helpful" and those with even slight negatives are are usually marked "unhelpful", so I expect this review will get poor ratings.
External appearance and feel:
The Ipad2 screen has a different feel from the Xoom screen - the Ipad2 is a bit slicker, less likely to stick when moving short distances. The screen on the Xoom tends to show fingerprints more than the Ipad2 for some reason. Everyone in this family thinks that the Ipad2 looks sharper than the Xoom.
Both weigh 1.6 lbs. Subjectively, the Xoom feels heavier than the Ipad2, but it's an illusion perhaps caused by it's slightly smaller size.
Both have a similar size screen, measured diagonally. But the aspect ratio is different - 4:3 for Ipad2, 16:9 for Xoom. This means that the Ipad2 actually has a larger viewing area, and this makes a real difference when scrolling through a web site. The Ipad2 screen is brighter than the Xoom screen.
The Xoom feels a bit faster than the Ipad2, and the specs show that it is faster. Both have dual core processors based on ARM designs. The Xoom seems to be able to handle graphics better than the Ipad2. As far as connecting to Wifi networks, both seem to have this one down pat - they both just work.
The Ipad2 is just like a big iPhone. Whether this good or bad is subjective. For me, it's good - polished, flexible and can be customized to my needs. The Xoom user interface is totally new, and unfortunately it shows - there are many rough edges. Some examples: moving icons around to group programs together is not intuitive and they keep moving back; you can see the first 5 applications running on the Xoom and select one, but the list doesn't scroll so applications that don't show in the list can't be selected; you can't close applications (except by a force quit that can lose data) as the Xoom decides when to quit an application; customization is possible but more difficult than the Ipad2. In short, the Xoom user interface is a work in progress - great potential but currently quite flawed.
The Ipad2 uses Apple's IOS. It works, but it uses cooperative multitasking which (in theory) is less effective than the full multitasking on the Xoom which uses a version of Google's Android designed for tablets. In practice, they both work fine and I doubt anyone would notice the difference.
Ipad2 has 70,000 apps available from the Apple App store and it also runs the 300,000 apps available for the iPhone. Xoom currently has around 60 apps and it can run Android phone apps (but they are stretched in one direction which makes them look strange). Some of the Ipad2 applications are pretty impressive - GarageBand for example. There are many games on the Ipad2, and just a few games made for the Xoom. I really hope this improves soon otherwise the Xoom is sunk. After all, applications are generally the reason people buy these devices.
Because of the screen aspect ratio that I mentioned, I prefer browsing on the Ipad2. The Xoom has Adobe Flash and the Ipad2 doesn't, but so far I haven't come across a single instance where this has been an issue. I'm sure there are very many sites not compatible with Ipad2, but I haven't browsed to one of them yet.
I don't use the camera much, and I'm not really sure if either is better. In the family, the Xoom owner says the Xoom is better, the Ipad2 owner says the Ipad2. The Xoom has flash and Ipad2 doesn't which is a win for Xoom, but the Xoom seems slower to take a picture.
The Xoom has two small speakers, Ipad2 has one somewhat larger speaker. The sound is slightly better quality on the Ipad2 and the Xoom cannot achieve the same volume as the Ipad2. But they are both pretty poor - use earphones or an external speaker if you want decent audio.
Difficult for me to give an exact comparison, but based on family usage it seems the Ipad2 has the edge here, but not by much.
The Xoom has 1GB of RAM and 32 GB of flash storage. The Ipad2 has 512MB of RAM and 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of flash storage - I bought the 64GB model.
The Xoom has an external card slot that supports SD cards, but the software was not ready in time for the product release. The slot is inoperative until Motorola releases an operating system update. The Ipad2 has no external storage support.
The Ipad2 was up and running quite quickly. I connected the device to ITunes and it automatically updated to the latest version of the operating system. I was then able to select and download Apps immediately and start using them.
The Xoom was not so easy. For some reason, I was not able to install the latest version of Google Maps or Adobe Flash. I was able to download the apps, and the install process appeared to work without errors, but the new apps just were not installed. After some time trying I finally returned the Xoom back to the factory settings and started again, and this time both the installs worked. Of course, this wouldn't be a good solution if you had a ton of applications and/or data on the device.
Apple has their retail stores. You can get a huge amount of help from these stores from people whose only job is to support users. Both Ipad2 and Xoom users have web sites available that support their products but you have to spend the time digging for the sites and digging through the sites. You can also purchase an Applecare support package which gives you a couple of years extra support for the Ipad2.
I believe the Xoom hardware is slightly better than the Ipad2 (apart from the screen aspect ratio and the speakers), but the software is terribly lacking. The Xoom was released FAR too early, it's just not ready for primetime. But it has great potential.
If I had to pick just one, I'd pick the Ipad2 at the moment - less hassle, apps for everything, better browsing experience, better support options. The Xoom needs less buggy software and more applications; it has great potential but it's not there yet.
71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2011
As with many others I have spent a great amount of time researching about IPAD2 WIFI vs. XOOM WIFI.
I ended up choosing xoom, and I am impressed with this product. Here I would like to share my thought process as well as impression. So anyone in similar situations as I was may be able to use this for guidance.
First of all, I own tablet pc x 2 with most recent one purchased back in November 2010. I also own itouch. Never owned android product.
Quick background for the reason I needed/wanted new tablet
- Longer battery life: My tablet pc only lasted 5 hours
- Lighter tablet: My tablet pc weighted 2.5 lbs
- Bigger screen: My tablet pc had less than 9 inch screen, which was great for comic reading but not so great for work related document reading.
- To watch multiple work related video series
- To read ebooks. Some of which are not straight off kindle nor nook market, but rather converted books from other file formats such as chm or saved web pages. Some of these files are huge in size (up to 200MB) and contain multiple images, tables, and applied CSS.
- To view Microsoft Office files. Some of these files are relatively large in size(over 10MB) with multiple images, textbox, and smartart. These need to be accessible even when there is no internet connection.
- To read digital comics
- To watch streaming videos.
Here are are my opinion about xoom wifi version so far.
1. Watching videos
- Works very well without any lag or stuttering. Screen resolution is a bit higher than IPAD2, but doubt it is significant enough to be noticible.
- One great thing about xoom is microSD support (not available yet). As I need to have multiple DVD sets with each being 20+GB, rather than deleting/reloading videos here and there, I can simply have dedicated microSD for each DVD sets. Currently, the highest storage capacity of microSD goes upto 32GB. If I had gone to IPAD2 route, I was going to go buy 64GB for maximum storage capacity, which may have been sufficient by itself but 32GB alone will not.
2. Ebook reading
- My ebooks are not typical. They are in epub file formats. Even on PC, only couple applications can render these files correctly. On itune market, using itouch I could not find any application that can render my ebooks except Stanza, which came very close for one ebook, but clushed on the other and ibook came very close with the other book, but did not show any images on the one opened with Stanza. So together was able to provide close to perfect solution. *Supposedly, ibook does not render images if they are within the table.
On my xoom, I tried pretty much all the epub reader on android market. None could render my files except one application, which actually rendered both books with complete original style and layout. Minor issues are still there in this application such as bug with internal hyperlink. But this is the best epub reader I have tried so far among pc, itune, and android market. Just in case anyone is wondering, it is called StarBook.
*Reason I said best and included PC here is two applications on PC that renderes my files correctly actually takes longer to open the epub files for some reason.
3. Reading Digital Comic
- Not to say much here. Works perfectly. Certainly, should work as greatly on ipad2.
4. Watch streaming video
- Flash 10 has been installed. All the streaming video sites that I visit works just as on PC. Definitely better than PS3 web browser. However, I have read somewhere that playing Flash based games on xoom have significant lags. As I don't play Flash based game, this was not an issue for me. But Flash for Android Table OS is still beta version, so considering it is better I am sure many issue will resolve with final version.
- Very impressive. In fact, this is the one main reason that I suddenly became fan of android os. It takes some learning and definitely not as Apple customer friendly interface. But once you know how to customize this, you can basically make it into exactly the way you want. Widget is awesome feature just like windows 7 widget, but seem more appropriate in tablet setting. For instance, CNN widget updates highlight news every hour on my home screen without me clicking on the application.
6. USB Connectivity
- This can be both pros and cons. But for me this is under pros. As I just simply like to be able to drag and drop files, and be able to create my own folder organization.
- Surprised to see built in GPS. Have not really played with, but apparently there is a way to have voice direction navigator using google map.
- Main negative for xoom here. According to the technical specifications, in comparison to Ipad 2 xoom is 130g heavier. It indeed does have bigger monitor, but for me, I'd rather have lighter tablet. Despite overall weight is around 730g and significantly lighter than my asus 8 inch windows 7 based tablet, it is still noticible weight for me. Especially holding on one hand or holding up in bed. If this is the major concern, I recommend one to wait until June when Samsung Android based tablet that supposedly be lighter (by really small margin) than ipad 2 is released.
2. View microsoft office files (primarily word document)
- So far, I have not found any perfect word viwer application yet. None of them can render textbox (maybe preminum version of Document2Go). None can recognize SmartArt. Skydrive shows everything, but not crisp due to lack of SilverLight plugin support for android; besides, Skydrive will not work without internet.
3. Slight learning curve
- Never owned android product before. There is definitely much more steeper learning curve with android os than the ipad os. I didn't mind this or in fact, I enjoyed finding out new things. But I cannot recommend android os product to my parents as they can hardly surf internet on pc. On the other hand, I am sure they will not have any issue learning ipad2.
So for those who cannot decide, which one to get like I was. Just list what your main use will be and compare each. I am sure either will work out great. But one thing I can say is that Android Tablet OS is real stuff. I thought it could be buggy, lots of lags and so on. But works as smoothly as you can imagine.
90 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2011
I own both. I bought the iPad2 the day it came out... and I bought the Xoom just a couple days ago. The iPad2 is sexier on the outside for sure. In typical Apple fashion, it is wrapped in its packaging and hardware like Art. The Motorola Xoom packaging is lackluster and the visual aspects of the hardware side by side with the iPad leave a lot to be desired. HOWEVER, the Xoom's Google Android Honeycomb Operating System is far superior to the iPad2's iOS. So much so, that the iPad2 when you use it "feels" old and outdated next to the Xoom. Unlike other Android touch pads I have played with, the screen slides real smooth.
Fortunately, I am in a position where I can own both. However, if you are trying to decide between which to buy, it largely depends on if you are a mac fan. If you are, then the iPad is the way to go. Regardless of how much better I tell you the Android Honeycomb Operating System is on this Xoom tablet, it will not matter. But, if you are not a mac fan and looking to choose the best device for the money, without question, at least right now, the best is the Xoom.
Motorola got it right. Good job guys, finally something that competes and beats the iPad. However, work a little bit on the design of the outer shell... it could use a little more sexy like the iPad2.
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2011
I purchased the Motorola Xoom (Wi-Fi) from a nearby big box electronics store, after having been tablet-less for several months. I had the original iPad for nearly a year and sold it when the iPad 2 was announced, with the intent to buy the iPad 2 when it became available. But in the intervening couple of weeks, I found I didn't miss it, so I never bothered. Then, last week, I started getting tablet fever again, but I decided to stick with the Android-based offerings.
Now, I used to be a PC-only kind of guy with nothing but disdain for the hordes of hipster Apple fanboys. Then, a few years ago, I became one. However, for the last year or so, I've found a nice state of equilibrium. My work computer is a MacBook Pro (with a Boot Camp installation of Windows 7 that I use periodically), my HTPC is Windows-based, and while I had three iPhones in a row, I currently have a Droid X that I'm quite happy with. I'm neither pro- nor anti-Apple at this point. But having now used an iPad and an Android-based tablet, I have to say I like the Android OS better. More flexibility and freedom... it just feels more powerful. Granted, iOS is slick and polished and it works exceedingly well, but I like things that take their orders from ME, rather than a bunch of UX designers (even though they're very very smart).
So, after getting the Xoom and greatly enjoying it for a few days, a friend of mine pointed out that a certain chain office supply store is offering a $100 instant rebate on all tablets until the end of the month. For $100, it was definitely worth the hassle of returning it... but then I started thinking that maybe I'd rather have the Samsung Galaxy Tab (10.1-Inch, 16GB, Wi-Fi). After all, it was still Honeycomb... and that was what I liked best about the Xoom, right? Plus it was sleek, thin and lighter than even the iPad 2. No storage expandability, but I felt that was a compromise I could live with. So I returned the Xoom at the original store and purchased the Galaxy Tab at the other store using the coupon.
I spent that night with the Galaxy Tab, and once the allure of its svelte dimensions wore off (which took all of two minutes), I kept comparing it to the Xoom in my head and found the Galaxy Tab severely lacking. Here's why:
Yeah, the Galaxy Tab is thinner and lighter. It also feels cheap and fragile. The extra heft of the Motorola gives an impression of quality construction and durability, and the materials (the back in particular) simply look higher end than the Samsung. One of the reasons I was drawn to the lighter weight of the Samsung is because I use the tablet to read (via Kindle or Nook app) in bed. I figured it would be easier to hold the lighter device while lying down. As it turns out, even with the Samsung, I'd have to change my grip frequently as my hands/arms became fatigued during lengthy reading sessions. So, while the Galaxy Tab is lighter, it's not SO light that it makes a significant difference in comfort when holding it for long periods. If it were the weight of, say, the Nook Simple Touch, that would be a different story. But it's not even close to being that light.
You're probably aware that the Xoom has a virtually pristine version of Honeycomb. Motorola doesn't add a bunch of UI customizations or tons of bloatware, which means that software updates are rolled out to it sooner than (likely) any other tablet. For instance, as of this writing, the Xoom is using Android 3.2, while the Galaxy Tab is still on 3.1. Honestly, I don't know what the *specific* differences might be between 3.1 and 3.2, but considering the rate at which Google releases updates to its OS (compared to iOS, for instance), it's important to me that I not have to wait around for months for the manufacturer to release updates. One huge difference I noticed was that the Laps option in the browser settings panel was not available on the Galaxy Tab, which meant the "Quick Controls" for the browser were not available. If you don't know what this is, trust me: you want it. After 2 minutes with it, it was one of my favorite features of Honeycomb. If I'd known it wasn't available on the Galaxy Tab, I wouldn't have bothered getting one in the first place.
I freely admit that I have no empirical evidence to back this up, but the Xoom feels snappier to me than the Galaxy Tab did. With the same widgets on the home screens, sliding between screens on the Xoom feels more fluid and seems to have a better framerate. I will also admit that this MAY be a result of tweaks to Honeycomb 3.2, which the Samsung did not have yet.
Honestly, I didn't see a huge difference in picture quality from the rear camera, though I believe the Samsung is only 3MP (compared to the Xoom's 5MP rear-facing camera). However, the Xoom does perform better in dark situations with the dual flash, and it seemed to focus a LOT faster than the Samsung.
The Xoom's battery recharges briskly, it seems. The Galaxy Tab, on the other hand, has the longest recharge time of any electronics device I've personally owned in the last few years. I was really surprised.
So, the microSD card slot on the Xoom is now functional. Can easily drag and drop files on the Xoom via the included USB cable. These are things that are lacking on the Galaxy Tab. I didn't think it bothered me, but it does. This is part of what I meant when I said the Galaxy Tab feels like a series of compromises.
Not to mention the fact that, for the exact same price, you get twice the onboard storage (32GB in the Xoom vs 16GB in the Galaxy Tab).
Bottom line is that all of the current Android tablets are essentially the same. Same processor, same amount of RAM, same screen resolution, etc. What distinguishes them are things like overall dimensions, expandability and accessories. It seems like the Xoom, though, is the standard against which all other Android tablets are measured. I didn't want to focus on the software experience too much, because that has more to do with Google's Android operating system than with this piece of hardware. That seems like the only fair way to review a tablet. I definitely agonized over the decision, since (sadly for me) this is fairly large chunk of coin to drop on what is essentially a luxury. The Acer Iconia A500 and the Asus Transformer both felt clunky and their bodies audibly creaked and flexed. They felt extremely cheap. Of course, they are the lowest-priced options, so that makes sense. The Toshiba Thrive was amazingly bloated, meanwhile. I guess if you really need a ton of ports, it's a good choice, but that thing is seriously porky. And the Galaxy Tab seems strangely handicapped or, even worse, overpriced for what you get.
At this point, I definitely think the Motorola Xoom is the top choice for Android tablets. Of course, that can change at the drop of a hat. You know technology.
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2011
Having now owned my Motorola Xoom for 10 days now, I can give an honest assessment of it compared to the ipad (1 &2). Having owned an ipad I must admit when I got it, I loved it for about 15 minutes! Don't get me wrong the ipad is awesome. It's awesome if you are an average user and don't mind the proprietary nature of Mac products (the ipad is just too simple for me). I am an above average user of PC's. I quickly found that the ipad didn't play well with my PC, this did not sit well with me. Had I owned a MAC computer, maybe but I don't, I will always be a PC guy. If you are a MAC fan, stop reading this review right now!!
EDIT: Since I received my Xoom and since writing this review, I have not been able to put my Xoom down! There are SO MANY advantages over the ipad that it's ridiculous! When I bought my ipad, within 3 days I was completley bored with it. $600 is an awful expensive alarm clock!
Ok so Xoom: Having never used one before I have to admit the learning curve for Android is much steeper than that of the iOS. Being a self taught PC guru, made the learning curve of the android not so steep at least not for me anyway. If you are NOT a techie and not familiar with the Android OS, I do not recommend the Xoom for you, unless you know someone that already has one and can help you out.
Here are the main uses I have for my tablets: E-mail, Music, Video, Web browsing, HDMI output, Bluetooth connectivity. The user interface must also be manipulable. I will detail each one by one and compare to the ipad.
1. E-mail: I was very leery of the proprietary approach to Google Applications with this tablet. I did not want to be trapped in such a way that ipad can trap you. You do have to create a Google account if you want the on-line experience that the Xoom provides, this actually is not a bad thing. The e-mail app was the very first thing I wanted setup. The stock e-mail app that comes with Xoom - is Phenomenal! But compared to ipads e-mail client - they were about even. I was able to successfully set it up to retrieve my Windows Live e-mail with no problem as I was with the ipad. The difference? When the Xoom goes into power save mode and if I receive an e-mail there is a blinking white indicator light on the Xoom that alerts me that I have a new e-mail.
E-mail client: Advantage Xoom
2. Music: Who doesn't love iTunes? I do love iTunes, in the capacity that I love playlists. It was VERY important that I had the same experience with Xoom as I had with the ipad (using iTunes). The stock music player that comes with the Xoom just does not cut the mustard. There is no ability to create or import the playlists that I spent countless hours creating in iTunes. This concerned me. Off to the Android market I went, and after about 3 days of downloading and searching for a music App that worked well in the Xoom and allowed the importation of playlists created in iTunes, I found one! Thank god! The App I found was called PlayerPro. I drag and drop the music from an iTunes playlist into a folder on my desktop, drag that folder containing the music into my Xoom, then drag the music folder into Windows Media Player, create the Playlist name, open the containing folder for the .WPL and drag it onto the Xoom - Whala - Playlist created!
Stock Music player - Advantage iPad
Proprietary use of off brand music player - Advantage Xoom
3. Video: I am a frequent international traveler. Being able to watch movies on the go is very important! The stock movie player with Xoom isn't feature rich but who cares about features when you are watching a movie. Open movie, play movie, pause movie, resume movie, quit movie. It's perfect
Video Player: Tied with ipad
EDIT: No longer tied with ipad! A free App called MX Video player allows you to play: .AVI, .MPEG, .MP4, .AAC, .WMV. unsupported are the itunes proprietary .M4V and the .MKV
Advantage: HUGE Advantage Xoom!
4. Web browsing: I was so excited when I got my ipad because I assumed I would be able to stream video - NOT! No flash content in ipad. There are many browser apps in the android market - bottom line, a browser is a browser, can I stream video? The purest test of this? I have NFL Game Pass subscription, where I can stream live NFL games right onto my laptop or home computer. Went to the site with my ipad - uh no, that wasn't smart.
EDIT: Flash is NOT available on ipad. Contrary to what anyone says, you will NOT be able to stream video on an ipad like you can on the Xoom!). Watching my team, live from Xoom streamed over the internet was PRICELESS - PERFECT!!!!!
Web Browsing: Advantage - Xoom! Ipad isn't even on the same planet!
5. HDMI Output - Both tablets will connect pretty seamlessly to your TV or monitor using a standard HDMI cable. The difference? Xoom plays videos in FULL 1080P HD - iPad? Not so much
HDMI Output: Advantage Xoom (EDIT: I finally received my HDMI cable. The full 1080p was STUNNING. I transferred and watched "Avatar - Extended version" the screen was absolutley AMAZING. The resolution was like watching Blu-Ray on steroids!)
No contest ipad loses BIG time here~!
6. Bluetooth connectivity: While you can connect to a MAC with your ipad over a Bluetooth connection, you cannot connect an ipad to a PC via Bluetooth! Seamless blue tooth connectivity to my keyboard and mouse! No annoying re-connects!
Bluetooth: PC users advantage Xoom, MAC users - Who cares.
7. User Interface (UI): While they may appear to be evenly matched in this regard, the really annoying thing about ipad was the wallpaper and very simplistic nature of the UI. What is the point of having a really cool wallpaper if it is hidden behind all your Apps? I truly hated that about ipad. With the Xoom, you get 5 home screens. You can layout your app icons in any way you see fit and anywhere on your screen. I love my wallpapers. Now I can arrange ALL app icons at the bottom row of every screen and my wallpaper is in FULL view at all time. The app icon manipulation and UI freedom with Xoom has evolved light years beyond the ipad.
User interface: Advantage Xoom in a landslide!
There you have it. If you are a PC user and HATE the proprietary nature of ipad - the Xoom is for you. If you are a simple minded average user who doesn't enjoy freedom - stick with ipad.
Don't let fact that you are not a techie type person persuade you to buy an ipad and be trapped by it. I paid $16.00 for "Xoom for Dummies" from my Kindle App. Read it cover to cover!
Overall: ADVANTAGE XOOM - iPad 2 should not even be compared to the Xoom - as it couldn't even carry the Xoom's lunch to a picnic!
Start the Xoom revolution!
100 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2011
I'll keep this brief:
If you want a tablet with flexibility, robust connectivity, and nearly unlimited customization options, buy a XOOM.
If you prefer a curated approach to hardware and software, ensuring more consistent quality but with significantly reduced versatility and choice, grab an iPad 2.
Neither choice will disappoint you, but if you're willing to wait a bit for tablet-optimized applications in exchange for the promise of (almost) total freedom to use your hardware as you wish (like I am), the XOOM is probably the way to go.