Review: Motorola Xoom 2 Tablet

By Branko Miletic

Motorola is company with a great pedigree. Set up in 1928 in Chicago as a battery eliminator manufacturer, the company has gone on to do many great things, including making the world's first truly rectangular colour TV and also the world's first 'mobile' phone in 1973.

Lately, the company has been doing all sorts of interesting things, with the Xoom 2 tablet certainly falling into that category.

Coming in at exactly 599 grams in weight, the Xoom 2 with its 10.1 inch screen has been designed to give users an alternative to the iPad 2 with a product that weighs exactly the same and at 8.8 mm in thickness, is exactly the same sleekness to what Apple is selling. This is a good thing- after all, Apple's products are the reference point for all consumer tech gear nowadays, so copying their specs is not such a silly idea

Running on the Honeycomb Android OS gives the Xoom 2 enough scope to run all the communication, lifestyle, business and gaming apps one requires in this day and age, and now that Android is the only OS that can threaten Apple and its iOS dominance, you won’t feel like you are using some old-world platform. If you add the Citrix app to your Xoom 2, you'll have more business apps than you'll know what to do with.

In terms of set up, this was easy. I took it out of the box, put in the microSIM card, turned it on and off I went- surfing, downloading, traveling to weird and wonderful places, checking my email, playing a pinball-like game, playing music and taking pictures of myself with the in-built HD camera.

The speed of the interface response was good – not earth shattering but good nonetheless. The user interface was clean and finding the settings tab and customising the unit to my requirements also was simple.

Overall, the Xoom 2 did exactly what it was supposed to do and with its cut off corners – something Motorola is doing also with its phones and rubber back grips, the Xoom 2 looked like a pretty cool piece of tech.

With its 7000 mAH battery, I got eight hours of use and Motorola says you can listen to music for up to 159 hours with a full month of standby time. Speaking of music, running music videos on the Xoom is pretty cool – you can change the sound to the 'surround sound' feature and you will be impressed by the noise that comes out this wafer-thin mobile device.

When it comes to the Xoom 2, along with the good, there are a few not so good attributes. The biggest is the OS. Why was the Xoom 2 based on the Android Honeycomb 3.2 platform when the latest, known as Ice Cream Sandwich or Android version 4.0 was already out? Why artificially date a new piece of consumer tech when these things date quick enough in their own right?

Second, what’s with the storage?  At 32GB, you are basically giving users a pimped up iPod in terms of storage space. Why would you do that? Especially since Motorola has a history of making storage drives and you can buy 64GB USB drives. Then there was the 'on' button, which was a bit sticky – at times it was downright unresponsive while the sound button on the side was too easy to accidentally switch on and off. Finally, the $699 price tag is not all that appealing either, especially when there are plenty of other tablets out there that are cheaper.

There was a bit of sadness when I looked under the hood. Really Motorola? A 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM? We could have done a little better than that. I mean, it’s not a car and providing a bit more grunt won’t mean more petrol station stops.

Overall, I did have some fun with the Xoom 2. It did everything I wanted it to do and then some. And perhaps comparing it to the iPad 2 was wrong of me. Its true competitor is fellow Android tablet the Samsung Galaxy 2. For the money, whilst the Galaxy was a bit faster, the Motorola does look a whole lot better. When buying Android tablets, ask yourself what is it that you really want?- a bit more speed, or a bit more hotness. It’s up to you.

Pros: fast, sleek and very easy to use
Cons: could do with an updated OS and the price at $699 is a bit on the high side

3 Shacks Out of 5