I was fortunate enough to have Viva Telecom lend me the Motorola Xoom for me to review. It was fun meddling with Honeycomb as I’ve never played with one before. The review will also compare the Xoom to the iPad since it’s currently the only comparable tablet. If interested, click here for the Viva tablet offer details. Now lets get geeky. The Android Honeycomb browser is alot like chrome. You get your tabs on the top instead of every page opening separately. Loading the page was pretty quick but that’s partly because of my WiFi connection. It’s a lot more comfortable browsing the net with a 10.1 inch screen rather than a mobile device, only felt the difference once I tried it.
The screen responsiveness isn’t as good as the iPad but it’s getting there. I read the honeycomb 3.1 update adds a lot of optimization and makes touch smoother. I tried updating but it told me I was up to date. The update is rolling out randomly within these weeks. The pinch to zoom wasn’t bad but it wasn’t amazing either. Google needs to work on this more.
The Android Market is way better than the mobile app. It’s so much easier to scroll applications. I loved the fact that I could see apps with Kuwaiti Dinars as the currency. There are currently only a couple hundred apps optimized for tablets so you don’t have the variety you have on a mobile device. This will be solved with time as tablet applications add up.
The back 5 megapixel camera was impressive, it included a dual-flash. You get to zoom up to 8x. The flower on the bottom right was at around 3x. You also get a handful of filters you can add to your images before taking the shot. Although it’s pretty awkward walking around taking photos with a tablet it will be part of the norm soon.
I was taking the kids this Friday to the mini market to fill their tummy’s with unhealthy shiny edible candy. So I decided to test the video quality by stalking the cashier. The back camera shoots at 1280 x 720 which in other words is 720p HD. While the front facing camera shoots at 640 x 480. The quality difference between the two cameras is clearly visible.
Something not available in iOS devices that Android prides itself with is widgets. They are items you place on your homescreen that you interact with. Tons of widgets are also availabe in the Android market each doing a different task. On the image above you can see a clock widget, YouTube widget, calender widget and some more.
The YouTube application user interface was wonderful, they really managed to use every pixel of the 10.1 inch screen efficiently. The home page shows all the most viewed, most discussed videos. I’m not sure but I think the YouTube application comes preloaded with the tablet. If not, you just need to connect to internet and download it off the Android Market.
The tablet can play all the way up to full 1080p video’s if they were properly encoded with baseline H.264. I would however recommend 720p and lower to drain less battery and increase fps. The tablet I reviewed came with a preloaded Limitless trailer that looked beautiful and played smoothly.
I also got a docking station with the tablet. Although Xoom has some pretty decent speakers this would be a good decision to purchase if your an avid movie watcher. There’s also an optional docking keyboard in case your the type that can’t live without a keyboard, like myself. The dock helps the tablet stand comfortably since it doesn’t have a kickstand.
Overall the Xoom was a bit buggy but that should be fixed with the Honeycomb 3.1 update. Google have really outdone themselves with this operating system. I really wanted to see more tablet optimized applications but this will come through time. There is massive potential, specially since the tablet market is booming and the competition keeps expanding. If you have any questions feel free to ask away.