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Motorola Xoom Review: Can’t Put The Xoom Down (part 3)



The Xoom is one new gadget I can’t put down. As I wrote in part 1 of my Motorola Xoom review, it feels a lot like unwrapping a beta product when you buy a Xoom since it was rushed out the door, but it’s an addictive device.

I took it out of the house for the first time on Saturday and used it enough to drain the battery about half way. I’m a relative Android newbie, so perhaps my fascination is more with Android 3.0 than with the Xoom itself. Whatever’s going on, I’m liking it a lot.

I worked quite a bit on Saturday, but I also had to help prep for a family event. I was given a shopping list and headed off to Trader Joe’s. Being the digital household we are, I get my honey-do’s electronically by SMS. But when I got to the Trader Joe’s parking lot I discovered my iPhone’s and the Mophie Juice Pack Air I keep it in were completely drained. As I rode the escalator down into the basement-level store I fired up my Xoom and retrieved my SMS from Google Voice.

That’s when I got my first pleasant surprise of the day. I was browsing the Web in the basement level of our local shopping mall, something that’s impossible to do with my iPhone 4 on AT&T’s network. Web pages loaded very quickly on the Xoom’s browser and I ignored shopping for a few minutes as I played around with the device.

After retrieving a few bags of groceries I went to go get my haircut so I’d look presentable in family photos. Ben, the guy that cuts my air, is used to me playing with gadgets and snapping photos as he works. I snapped the above photo using the Xoom’s built-in camera. As you can see, the camera’s quality is pretty good in well-lit environments, but it’s much closer to cameraphone quality than point & shoot camera quality.

As I got my haircut I multitasked. I read a few articles using the Pulse app, which looks very nice on the Xoom. I scanned my email and wrote a few replies. The email client on the Xoom makes the iPad’s look like amateur hour. It’s that much better.

I also found myself typing much faster on the Xoom than I can on the iPad. I’m not sure why, but it’s just more comfortable for me. One major flaw in the Xoom’s keyboard layout is that the question mark key is not visible without hitting a button to pull up numerals and symbols. On the iPad’s on-screen keyboard the question mark is on the same screen as all the letters.

The Xoom feels and behaves much more like a workhorse than the iPad. Honeycomb feels much more like a tablet OS than a phone OS enlarged for a tablet, which is how  iOS for iPad feels to me.

I really like the Xoom and I think it shows off the potential of Android tablets, but it’s not quite polished enough for me to recommend it to those who aren’t early adopters willing to put up with some hiccups. Some of the apps crashed repeatedly and the lack of Flash is really annoying to me since it was stressed when the product was announced last month.  My buying recommendation as of now is to wait until Motorola and Verizon iron out the kinds so you can actually use all the features you’re paying for. But if you’re a geek like me that’s willing to be a guinea pig I say go for it.



  1. Tomasz Galecki

    02/28/2011 at 2:31 pm

    Please, have a look at XDA and all issues with videos and let ppl. know what can be watch and what can not? Can it replace netbook with Windows (and be a true multimedia device on the go or not. Try to watch something from your NAS drive at home :-)

  2. plums

    02/28/2011 at 3:31 pm

    By the way, it’s not necessary to go into numerals and symbols for the question mark. You can one of two things:

    1) Enable show auto-correct on the keyboard which will allow you to input a bunch of punctuation endings after you hit the space.
    2) Some keys have a greyed out symbol in the upper right hand corner of the key. You can use “shift” to access them quickly and the question mark icon is one of them.

    • Xavier Lanier

      03/01/2011 at 4:26 am

      Thanks – I guess the ? mark in bright white on the key to go to the next symobls/numbers caught my eye. Now I see it as the shift option for the period. Maybe they could swap out the smiley face for a question mark though.

  3. Clchu85

    02/28/2011 at 4:08 pm

    What do you mean the email experience is that good? Can you show pics? I’ve never used either the iPad or an Android tablet… But I’m debating stuff in my mind.

  4. Bobby Mikels

    03/01/2011 at 2:43 pm

    The price of Motorola Xoom is just reasonable for me. Being the first tablet to have Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), a lot is expected from this powerful device. Is it worth the hype? Hell Yeah! Years ago, I was hoping for a camera that has a big LCD so I can have an idea about the outcome of the image. With far more superior resolution display, Xoom fulfilled my imagination. Tegra 2 is also an added bonus for gamers and movie addicts just like the most of us.

  5. Zach

    03/09/2011 at 8:20 pm

    I agree I cannot put down the Xoom either. I work at DISH Network and purchased a Xoom so I can use it with my Sling Adapter and the DISH Remote Access app. With this app I can watch live streaming content anywhere I have 3g or WiFi service. The Xoom’s display makes the DRA app perfect for the Xoom.

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