Motorola Xoom 2 Review
Motorola’s first Tablet the Motorola Xoom, was surely the most hyped Tablet last year featuring Honeycomb, Android’s version especially optimized for Tablets. Xoom that was presumed to be the iPad’s nose to nose competitor and a Tablet to put Android Tablets in mainstream in the Tablet’s market slumped badly. Now, Motorola is all set to launch the sequel of Xoom, the Xoom 2. Earlier, the reason Motorola and Google bragged Xoom was its OS the Honeycomb. But this time Xoom 2 does not have any special feature to flaunt, besides some less interesting ones!
Let’s investigate in detail what else has the Tablet to offer!
Like all of the Android Tablets and the iPad, Xoom 2 too has gone on a diet. It’s no more inelegantly gauche slab of glass. Motorola has paid some significant attention to the device design that is evident and appreciable.
The Tablet features a 5 megapixel rear-end-auto-focus camera, aided with LED Flash. A notable design alteration that Moto brings to the new Tablet is the placement of the rear-camera. The camera is now placed in the middle of the Tablet. This is certainly a very sensible rectification. Now it’s far easier to center subject you want to shoot pictures.
The touch-to-focus feature is absent and you will have to rely on the Tablet’s built-in auto-focus. Unfortunately the auto-focus is not snappy and often found to be inaccurate. This may annoy you most of the times when you need to capture a scene instantly. As far as the picture quality is concerned, it is fair enough! The pictures captured by the Tablet were observed to have vibrant yet natural colors and the shots were well-lit. The edges were strong and crisp. Overall the images are fine and you can often use the Tablet for photography, albeit not as a replacement of digital/professional camera. You have the liberty to adjust the white balance and color toning options, both of which are well-set by default for armature Tablet shoots.
The Tablet also features a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera in contrast to 2 mega-pixels on the big brother. The front-facing camera can be used for video chat with Google services. It’s a relief that Honeycomb updates have refined the voice over IP services.
The Tablet is capable of shooting video at 720p HD, not at 1080p. The video, like stills does a fair job. The video quality is reasonable, colors are captivating and light exposure is satisfactory.
Having said that, we see there is no stand-out-feature or performance of the camera that can be applauded. Inclusion of video recording at 1080p to accompany the HD Display would have been appreciated though.
Processor, Memory and RAM
Xoom is powered by an ARM 1.2GHz dual-core processor. Again, Xoom 2 has nothing individual to offer like the ASUS Transformer Prime that is powered by Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. The Tablet features an typical 1 GB RAM, typical to all the Tablets. Of course this Tablet performs well than the original Xoom owing to slightly better processor. Xoom 2 comes with 16 GB of internal memory. Unfortunately the SD Card included in the earlier version is excluded in this version. This means you are limited with the mere 16 GB that for a mobile device such as Tablet is very off-putting. Xoom 2, in this respect is not at par with its older version.
Battery & Performance
Moto has significantly reduced the thickness of the Tablet and manage to squeeze a powerful battery. Moto claims the battery life to be 6+ hours web usage, 3 days of music playback. In our test we could squeeze over 8 hours of web browsing. This also means that with a casual usage you can get well-over a day of battery life. This is tremendous when considering that display has also been enhanced to IPS! A chart to compare battery life of various Tablets is given below-
|Asus Transformer Prime||18 hrs with Dock Station|
|Apple iPad 2||10 hrs|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1||9 hrs|
|Motorola Xoom 2||10+ hrs|
|Motorola Xoom||9 hrs|
The performance of the Tablet was found to be satisfactory when accomplishing trivial tasks, never the less the performance was not as smooth with resource-intensive jobs such as gaming and particularly browsing complex web content. For long web-pages the scrolling was not very smooth. While pinch-zooming initially the text and images, both, appeared pixilated for a second before being displayed clearly. Overall the performance was improved when compared to its elder brother but the performance is nowhere the new ASUS TRANSFORMER PRIME that is screaming with a better powerhouse.
Having investigated performance too, we see that Xoom 2 remains unsuccessful to establish its individuality in this aspect.
Design & weight
Original Motorola Xoom was way too fat to be called a ‘slim n stylish’ Tablet. Moto seems to have realized it well in time. The sequel of the product has reduced chassis thickness by 0.16 inches (4mm). Xoom 2 has a thickness of 0.35inches compared to Xoom (0.50 inches or 12.8 mm). Xoom is 10 inches long and 6.8 inches wide.
The display is surrounded by bezel that is about 13mm on the vertical sides and about 20mm on the horizontal borders. This is somewhat less thick than most Android Tablets.
Xoom 2 almost equals iPad2 in weight at 1.32 lbs where iPad 2 is 1.33 lbs. This is quiet a diet to shed off 0.22 pounds as the big bro was heavy at 1.60 lbs when you compare it to tabs in the market.
A handy chart for most-wanted Tablets is given below that shall give you a good idea of thickness and weight of Tablets.
|Tablet||Length||Width||Thickness (inches)||Weight (Pounds)|
|Asus Transformer Prime||10.4||7.1||0.31||1.29|
|Apple iPad 2||9.5||7.31||0.34||1.33|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1||10.1||6.9||0.34||1.24|
|Motorola Xoom 2||10||6.8||0.35||1.32|
Moto has also brought in some innovation as far as the design is concerned. Xoom has cut off corners so that the Xoom 2 resembles Acer’s Iconia Tab. This is pretty objective; for me, the cut-off corners add to the aesthetics of the Tablet making it look less offensive as the Xoom 1. Though surely Moto has done so to give the Tablets users a better grip of the Tablet. If so, then the cut-off edges seem to be less helpful.
Like the rear- camera the unlock button has also been displaced. Now the unlock/power button resides on the edge on the back towards right. Also the button has been reduced in size. The volume rocker is also placed here. Both the buttons are rubberized to resist accidental presses.
The new Tablet is neither lustrous nor sleek and has a rugged look. The back of the Tablet has a rubberized border that adds two tones to the Tablet. On the center lies the Moto logo. As you will further explore in the review Xoom 2 is striving to make its presence in the enterprise sector with a handful apps. In regard to this the design is not enterprise-type, not premium.
The Xoom 2 has the same 10.1in screen, like Xoom with a screen resolution of 1280×800 and 149ppi pixel density. Although Xoom itself has a bright display, Motorola claims to further enhance it and make it as better as IPS HD display. When placed side-by-side the enhancement was less viewable by naked eye at least but surely an upgrade to IPS screen is palpable addition. The viewing angles are wide 178 degrees. Let’s wait and watch for the lab testing and reports.
Xoom 2 is as good as Xoom to watch movies and look at pictures and surf the web. Nonetheless, today certainly we have a better Tablet at hand i.e the ASUS Prime with a breath-taking display (aided with Super IPS+) and we are expecting the iPad 3, that too, with better retina display. Now it’s somewhat hard to applaud Xoom 2 here for having any distinguished display.
The screen has a splash-guard coating to provide protection against moisture and liquid spills, along with the typical Corning Gorilla Glass that provides protection against scratches.
|Asus Transformer Prime||Super IPS+||1280 X 800|
|Apple iPad 2||IPS||1024 X 768|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1||WXGA TFT LCD||1280 X 800|
|Motorola Xoom 2||IPS||1280 X 800|
|Motorola Xoom||—||1280 X 800|
Ports & Connections
The ports haven’t been disturbed in this sequel. The ports still lie on the bottom of the Tablet when held in landscape orientation. You are provided with micro USB for content transfer and micro HDMI ports. You can use the HDMI output for mirroring your Tablet on the TV or to play movies or games or watch your recorded content on your HD TV, albeit the connecting wire is not included in your Xoom 2package.
The Xoom 2 currently does not offer the 3G functionality. This is yet again a shame as Xoom came with reasonable 3G and plans, making the expensive Tablet rather reachable. The Tablet comes with Bluetooth 2.1, EDR and Wireless 802.11 b, g, n, and regular device sensors.
The new version does not support SD Card and No 3G, acceptable; but, there is a flap present on Xoom 2 that hides the slots for both SD card and SIM, this design half-baked design flaw is simply unacceptable. The slots are however covered as they are practically useless. It seems like Moto took an eleventh hour decision to part with both. Moto should have at least taken the pains to seal the flap. You see, here is where big companies Apple and Samsung differentiate themselves.
Audio and Video
Xoom 2 has a rather unique feature of 3D virtual surround sound. The sound quality is indeed nice and nearing a 3d acoustic you can achieve at home. For multimedia and entertainment the Tablet is features adaptive virtual surround sound with multiple speakers and booming bass.The device supports regular file formats of audio and video.
Xoom 2 has no hype related to its OS. Xoom does not feature Android Icecream Sandwich the latest version found on Nexus S and Samsung Galaxy S. This will certainly disappoint Android maniacs who are going nuts over ICS.
Nevertheless I feel it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Moto does promise and upgrade to ICS in the upcoming year. Also, not having ICS can be good in some ways too. Firstly, from the past we see that Honeycomb was buggy when released on Xoom. Now Xoom 2 can feature a bug-fixed version of Honeycomb and much stable version of ICS, as the OS grows mature. Secondly there is no Flash available on ICS till yet. With Honeycomb 3.2 you will be able to play Flash videos! Moto will offer an upgrade to ICS when it gets the Adobe Flash support. The built in OS comes with regular customization of home screen.
And certainly having a choice to update or not to is a good option. Nevertheless we cannot deny the fact that by time the Tablet will release and get common the OS will already be nearly obsolete.
Though it seems nearly impossible that major enterprises like Mercedes Benz part with iPad in favor of Xoom 2 yet having some enterprise-specific apps preloaded on the Tablet can be of attraction. We are reviewing some of the pre-loaded apps here-
Fuze Meeting app primarily concerns the enterprises aiming to enhance web conferencing experience. The app makes visual collaboration and personal telepresence service available on mobile devices including Apple iPhone and Blackberry. With the app you will be able to share range of different content types, from variety of supported device, no matter where you are. The app is already quiet popular in the enterprise sphere. The UI is simple and comprehensive. Its also nice to have cloud based web conferencing in HD. Also you have an option to connect via Wi-Fi or 3G.
Citrix Receiver is client software that allows you to access enterprise data, applications and desktops from computing device of your choice such as on your smartphones, Tablets and PCs? The app is easy to install and easy to use. The app is supported on both Mac and PC, support HD and has a very easy interface.
Yet another handy app for your Tablet. Gotomeeting is an intuitive app for web conferencing that is easy reliable and effective.
Access your devices remotely with Dijit
This time Moto has got something different than the latest Android OS to brag about. It is the remote accessing your TV, Blu-ray player, set top box directly from your Tablet from the pre-loaded app called Dijit via infrared port.
This is yet another app letting you access your files from your PC or Mac to your Tablet.
Apart from all these apps you will also have complete access to Android market apps and Built-in Google services.
Yet another feature of Xoom 2 that distinguishes it from its elder bro and rest of the Tablet is option stylus. A comparison of Stylus of HTC Flyer and Xoom 2 is on its way.
What do the experts say?
Given all the details of Xoom 2 apps and specially the optimal stylus we see the Tablet is targeting the enterprises mostly. It has some clean collection of apps focused for official use. Xoom 2 has nothing radically different than Xoom 1 that will make a compelling choice and particularly over Blackberry and Apple’s devices that are already established and far more mature and reliable devices now.