Motorola Xoom 2 - General Tablet Use

10/26/2012 9:16:02 AM

The original Motorola Xoom caused quite a stir, as it was the first tablet to come with Honeycomb, or Android 3.0, Google's first attempt at an operating system that is designed for tablet-sized displays.

It's a bit surprising that the 10.1-inch Motorola Xoom 2 doesn't come with Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Android. That isn't a huge issue, since it will arrive in the future, and Honeycomb still runs well and looks great on the Xoom 2's 16:10 format IPS 1.280x800 screen.

Description: Motorola Xoom 2

Motorola Xoom 2

The Xoom 2 weighs 600g, about the same as the iPad 2, but the wide-format display means it feels very different to hold. Our opinion of widescreen tablets is mixed. On one hand, they're great for films, but the classic 4:3 format of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is usually preferable for general tablet use.

Android 3.2 runs smoothly on the Xoom 2. Thanks to its 1.2 GHz dual-core processor. Or at least, it does most of the time. We did notice some occasional lag, usually when zooming in on web page.

The camera isn't bad. A 5MP rear camera is enough for the odd shot, while a front camera for video char is 1.3MP. When in video mode, the rear camera records HD video at 1080p.

What's more, battery life was superb, managing 370 minutes of looped HD video, which is an excellent result.

Not so pen

A considerable advantage of Android is its openness, because on most devices you can expand the storage with MicroSD cards, and transfer files directly from your computer via USB, two things that cannot be done on Apple's strictly controlled iPad.

However, Motorola has decided to follow Apple's lead with the Xoom 2. A removable plastic clip reveals what appears to be s MicroSD card slot, but it's just for decoration.

Description: The lack of expansion options will put many people off the Xoom 2

The lack of expansion options will put many people off the Xoom 2

Connect a USB cable, and a read-only drive appears with an installer for Motorola's Motocast software, an iTunes-like gateway application that enables you to sync media from your computer onto the device, as well as stream it directly from your computer over the web. One shortcoming is you can't transfer media across directly in Windows, though.

While this application works fairly well in practice, we think it’s a mistake for Motorola to abandon one of the most useful aspects of the open Android approach. If you want more storage, you have to purchase a device that comes with more built in, and the price difference is more than the cost of a MicroSD card would be. Again, like the iPad, there are 3G versions of the Xoom 2 available, as well. And there is a mini HDMI slot, at least.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 performs better, its battery life is just as good and its costs roughly the same. We would still choose that over the Xoom 2. It simply feels less bulky and it comes with fewer restrictions.





Android 3.2


Nvidia Tegra 2 1.2GHz








802.11n, GPS, HDTV OUT

Rear camera


Front camera


Screen type


Screen resolution



Height: 173.6mm

Width: 253.9mm

Depth: 8.8mm

Screen size: 10.1-inch

Weight: 600g

The good

Excellent battery life, and widescreen format

The bad

Quite bulky and restrictive in use


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