Motorola Xoom Review: The Future of Tablets (Whether You Like It or Not)

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It's taken about a year to get here. The aboriginal book to amount aback the aboriginal iPad. The Xoom is the aboriginal absolute Android tablet, accession advanced of the iPad 2 by a hair. Aback it's active in the "year of iPad 2," as Apple put it, it seemed alone applicable to delay to bead acumen until we'd apparent aggregate the iPad 2 had to offer. Frankly, there's no way the Xoom could reside up to aggregate it needs to be. It's not even done yet, really. It has problems. But it's still actual good. It's the aboriginal non-iPad book account buying. And it'll get better.

Motorola Xoom Review: The Future of Tablets (Whether You Like It or Not)

The Xoom with Android 3.0 is the adapt for about every not-iPad to come, a examination of the tablets that will army shelves by the end of this year from about every above purveyor of article customer electronics, surrounding the churning hordes that bob through fluorescent-lit big box stores, blinking about how they're bigger, faster, added accessible than the iPad. This is what the near-term approaching of non-iPad book computers may actual able-bodied attending like.

You apperceive what? It's not a bad blueprint.

Motorola Xoom Review: The Future of Tablets (Whether You Like It or Not)

The Xoom is not a book you would hand to your mother; it is algid and circuitous and automated and vaguely foreboding, the attending and feel akin a glossed up allotment of Blade Runner. Aggregate is black, with aglow dejected accents. Conversely, it's a book that will accomplish you, a nerd, feel like you're accomplishing real things, bisected because you are, bisected because manipulating it requires a college cerebral amount than the iPad. It manages—and this is remarkable—to displace abundant of the activity of application a PC to a wholly new accretion experience. Whether or not that's a acceptable affair depends on who you are.

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Motorola Xoom

$600 with 2-year arrangement on Verizon; $800 off-contract
10.1-inch, 1280x800
Processor and RAM:
Dual-core 1GHZ Tegra 2, 1GB ram
32GB internal)
5 mp stills, 720p video. LED flash. 2MP foreground cam
Mobile hotspot, HDMI out
1.6 pounds

My neatly organized capital desktop contains 12 apps and 7 reside widgets. And that's just the capital one—you can accept up to five. Your easily will bound all over the screen, frequently, generally to the basal larboard corner, area you'll acquisition the home, aback and app-switching buttons. App switching is so fast it makes the iPad and iPad 2's whirly-gig activated app-switching assume leisurely. The basal appropriate provides quick admission to settings and pop-up notifications (which yield advantage of the absolute acreage by getting prettier and alms added detail).

Oddly, admitting there's no quick admission to your apps page—you've gotta go all the way home, again hit the apps button in the top appropriate corner, again annal to the one you want. The top bar is contextual: Inside of apps, the larboard bend generally functions as an "app home"/back button. The top appropriate is area all of the app "stuff" is now packed, like the app menu, settings, and things like seek (since the antecedent hidden activity container, Android card button is no more). You ability brainstorm how you consistently move your easily from bend to bend to corner, with lots of affair to consistently process. It's a absolutely altered clip than application an iPad.

You'll use the Xoom about alone in mural mode. It's awkward to authority vertically, acknowledgment to the the good-but-not-amazing 1280x800, 10.1-inch screen's advanced 16:10 aspect ratio, and its centermost of gravity, which makes it feel added in the account position. All added signs point to mural too: Logos, buttons, cameras, and a lot of importantly, the apps. In portrait, Google Talk crushes your contacts into nameless squares; Gmail feels cramped; and so on. Movies, abnormally ultra-wide Wes Anderson flicks, plan better; admitting you'll accept to accompany your own, aback there is still no video account like Netflix for Android. As abundant absorption as the iPad got for its at-the-time awe-inspiring 4:3 orientation, it seems to arete acquainted that the widescreen Xoom feels beneath adjustable as a result.

The Xoom was the aboriginal book with video babble account using. Everybody I apperceive uses Google Talk all day long, so for the aboriginal time ever, I could video babble with anybody I wanted. What I discovered: Unless you've got your book propped up on something or in a stand, you're not traveling to wish to video babble with any tablet! What started out as the awkward ambiguity of a 1.6-pound slab every minute became a frantic, afflictive shimmy about 15 account in. It's not like account (the added affair has to see you, afterwards all), so you can't bead it in your lap unless your legs are propped up and angled adjoin your face. This will be accurate for every video-chatting book that weighs added than a pound. The video superior itself was passable, but aswell decidedly worse than a Google Talk video alarm from my desktop. Even the 5-megapixel, 720p-shooting rear camera was not abundant for video chat.

Everything is so, so fast. The UI feels mostly cohesive, for the aboriginal time, and there are some abundant little details, like the alteration animations and the attenuate caliginosity and aglow highlights everywhere.

Google has done some absolutely admirable plan with the built-in apps. They're by far the best allotment about Android 3.0. Google Talk and Gmail are brittle and apple-pie and modern. The Gmail app is basically the absolute blow accomplishing of Gmail. Talk is spare, video babble painless. Google Books delivers a solid ebook experience, with whizbang page-turning physics. The bookstore is absorbed into Android Market, which is absolutely overhauled and al of a sudden usable. The camera app is weirdly excellent, even if the Xoom's cameras are alone moderately useful. Music is no best the animal stepchild of built-in Android applications. Every built-in app shows how to body a abundant book app, even if they follow, in some cases, a now arid path.

The reside widgets, like for mail, are absolutely useful, if a little too small. The notifications arrangement works even bigger actuality than on Android phones. You feel like you can absolutely get getting done, acknowledgment to its admixture of acceleration and added aqueous multitasking (even if you can't do too abundant yet, acknowledgment to the absence of apps). Battery activity absolutely is all day.

Motorola Xoom Review: The Future of Tablets (Whether You Like It or Not)

It feels unfinished. There's a lot "not yets." No Beam (despite getting actual heavily advertised), no 4G (which will crave sending your book abroad for week(!)), no microSD access. No way to bright all notifications simultaneously. A crazy bug in the YouTube app makes top superior streams absurdity out frequently. The Chrome-like UI of the browser promises added than it delivers, aback it's not absolutely as bland or acute as the iPad's (double borer still ignores columns on the page, for instance). The power/lock button is in a absolutely brainless spot. Duke a bare Xoom to people. Time how continued it takes them to about-face it on. Average time: 44 seconds.) No micro-USB charging. The app flood needs to appear now. ‘Specially ‘cause abundant buzz apps don't play so accurately on the tablet. Oh! You can chafe the aback actual with your fingernails. Like seriously, what the balls.

Motorola Xoom Review: The Future of Tablets (Whether You Like It or Not)

Motorola Xoom Review: The Future of Tablets (Whether You Like It or Not)

It's harder to cede a 18-carat adjudication on a artefact that is so acutely not done yet. What the Xoom and Android 3.0 activity appropriate now as a amount book acquaintance is absolutely solid, abnormally if you use a lot of Google services. It fares bigger adjoin the iPad 2 than you would think. But it's harder to absolutely grok what the adamant Android acquaintance is absolutely traveling to be like appropriate now. If you don't know you wish the Xoom immediately, and are air-conditioned paying $800 for the aboriginal absolute Android tablet, wait. Delay for the bugfixes. Delay for Flash. A lot of of all, delay for the apps. I abhorrence the abstraction of affairs annihilation based on its potential because it may never accomplish it, but that's absolutely what you're accomplishing with the Xoom. Fortunately, it's got a lot of it. Which agency so does about every added accidentally Android 3.0 book advancing down to the pipe.

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Video by Woody Jang

Illustration by Contributing Illustrator Sam Spratt. Become a fan of his Facebook Artist's Page and chase Sam on Twitter and

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