Tablets have been the most desirable items in the electronics industry for a while now and so there have been a range of pretenders to the iPad crown. Motorola released the first Xoom during Spring 2011 and though it didn't set the world alight, it was a very good attempt to upend Apple.
Enter 2012 and we've got our hand on the recently released Xoom 2, Motorola's improved tablet. It's all about Apple really and it manages to undercut it in weight at 599g and equal it in width at 8.8mm. Its current price also under shadows that of the iPad, though it was priced the same originally, though Motorola will hope it will gain some sales from Apple dissenters, who'll enjoy its slightly alternative look and appeal.
The new Xoom is a 16:10 sized 10.1inch tablet, with a typical black front and two tone black and grey back, the outer side of which is rubberised for grip - no bad thing. The matte edge is tapered to aid its handling, while the inner plastic is a little more shone up. It's a different take on tablet design and aesthetically doesn't owe as much to the iPad as its competitors - no bad thing.
In build terms, it's not as well put together as many of its rivals and does leave a little to be desired and doesn't necessarily inspire - mainly as it's plastic and not aluminium. This allow surrounds the 10.1inch screen, which is 1080p capable, of course.
The Motorola display is a 1200x800p IPS screen, that when now compared to the retina on the new iPad is a little lacklustre, but all the same is quite a nice display. It's quite responsive, though a little lag is evident. The Xoom 2 is a bright display, and though it doesn't match the likes of the Samsung Tab, it's colours seem more realistic than the aforementioned tablets. Text is quite good, however, and 1080p video also meets expectations, once it's streamed at a good pace.
We did find the keyboard on the display wasn't as accurate as it should have been and also noticed some backlight bleeding, a common problem with such displays. The device comes with a 5mp rear camera, which shoots 720p video and is good for most applications, aside from fast footage such as sport. The frontal 1.3mp camera is as expected and does as required, as do the speakers. However, it's only when they are at full volume you feel an element of how creaking the chassis can be.
While the previous Motorola was taken care of via a Tegra 2 chip, which ran at 1GHz, the new Xoom 2 is OMAP4430 powered, with a dual core 1.2GHz chip and 1GB of RAM. This comes with 16GB of onboard, which without the addition of an SD slot seems like little.
The Xoom 2 currently is using an Android 3.0 operating system, though expects Ice Cream Sandwich to follow in June according to sources. Honeycomb is okay and comes in its 3.2 version, though we'd like to have seen ICS 4.0. The device comes a number of Apps for productivity including Dijit, allowing the device to be used as an AV remote, as well as productivity features such as QuickOffice for productivity and DropBox to create more internal storage through the Cloud.
Motorola believe they've gotten around the small internal storage with their Motocast media streaming software, which allows for streaming from your desktop, or laptop. However, like many similar solutions is not without its faults. Those who wish to stream media content in this manner will need to ensure their computer is on, as well as that they have a good connection
Browsing is nice, if a little slow. The screen is quite nice to use, though does have little lag for whatever reason. We also found Flash sites were a little sluggish and really drained the battery life for whatever reason.
Connectivity is provided for via a Micro USB and HDMI and there's also the strange addition of a plastic flap with nothing underneath, though you may have expected a slot for a micro SD , or 3G SIM card holder . It does come with GPS, which seems to achieve all you require in location terms however.
Battery lasts too. One standby expect a couple of nights before any major battery drain takes place, while you'll probably reach 9 hours of normal use before you'll need to recharge, which is less than the iPad, but still quite good.
The Xoom 2 is a good tablet, not a great tablet and this is further exempted by the fact it's become notably dated with the coming of the new iPad and quad core chips.All the same there are a number of badly thought out, irksome issues with the tablet as well as a number of well considered one's too.
However, the Motorola Xoom 2 is what the Xoom should originally have been, and though it got a little run between iPad 2 and the new iPad shows its age and limitations. As we said, it's good, but there are better.