The one that started it all i.e. Motorola’s Xoom, was the first commercially available tablet to rock Google’s Honeycomb OS. Launched in early 2011, Motorola took their own sweet time in bringing it to India, perhaps they were aiming for a fashionably late entrance. The company has launched two variants of the Xoom in India, a Wi-Fi only model and a 3G + Wi-Fi version as well both with 32GB of internal storage. Armed with Honeycomb 3.1, does the Xoom have what it takes to be a winner? Let’s find out.
Motorola Xoom: Reviewed on Video
Design and Build
Taking it out of the box, you’ll immediately notice that the build and finish of the device is top notch. An aluminium frame makes up most of the body which is smooth and does not attract fingerprints. The upper portion is plastic with a rubber coating, where the GSM, 3G and Wi-Fi radios are placed. At 730g, it weighs the same as the Acer ICONIA Tab 500 but somehow it doesn’t feel as heavy, probably due to better weight distribution of the components. You can easily use it single handed without feeling too much fatigue.
Bright and vivid screen
Most of the connectors are grouped together at the bottom which includes micro-USB port, mini-HDMI, docking connector, and charging port. There’s a volume rocker on the left while the SIM card and memory card slot and 3.5 headphone jack is placed on the top. There are two white LEDs hidden in the bezel. The one just above the charging port lights up when the tablet is charging and is switched off. The other one is placed on the right and is a narrow horizontal slit that glows when you get an alert like a new e-mail.
Matt finish doesn't attract fingerprints
On the back, we have stereo speakers, power/sleep button and the 5MP camera with dual-LED flash. The placement of the power button is a bit odd and if you’re using it for the first time, it’s a bit puzzling when you don’t find it on any of the edges. Overall the design is simple and straightforward which we quite liked. It’s not the slimmest or the lightest of the tablets in the market, but we already found it to be better than the ICONIA 500 if that says anything.
Our first experience of Honeycomb was not pleasant. 3.0 was just too buggy and refused to work as well as wanted it to. We are surprised how Google actually released such an unpolished build of Android in the first place. That’s all in the past now. The Xoom comes with 3.1 (or is upgradable, in case you bought an old unit). Motorola hasn’t done anything to the interface at all, it’s pretty much stock Android. However, the improvements are apparent right away. The sluggishness and jerky behaviour is almost non existent. Unlocking the device, switching orientations or browsing the menus is a lot smoother and responsive to input. In fact, Linpack recorded a single threaded score of 28.9 MFLOPS and a multi-thread score of 55.6. We also ran AnTuTu which gave us an overall score of 3775.
Stock Honeycomb widgets
The taskbar, which is the third icon from the bottom now let’s you view up to 17 previously opened apps so you can quickly switch whenever required. However, not all of them will run in the background but you can at least quickly access them this way. Another big and highly anticipated feature that everyone’s been waiting for is GTalk, now let’s you sign into multiple accounts. When you open the app, you can choose which gmail account you wish to sign into. Now, if only Google would make haste and release it for mobile devices as well.
The task bar now shows more apps
The 10.1-inch screen carries the same 1280x800 pixel resolution and the Xoom is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 2 CPU which runs at 1GHz. The internal memory is 32GB and is the same for both, the Wi-Fi and 3G models. Overall, Honeycomb seems a lot more user friendly now but it still has some chinks in the armor like the bug which makes the tablet unresponsive when charging is still present.