Once again I find myself wanting to like a new piece of tech and I assure you that I REALLY wanted to like it. Of course I am referring to the new Xoom tablet by Motorola. I was able to get my hands on one of these puppies and started to play with it to see what my first experience with Android’s new Honeycomb operating system would do for me. When looking at the Xoom I tried very hard to use and evaluate the system on its own merits and not against other tablets. Notice I said try, oh well. Here is my 2 cents on the Xoom.
Although it comes in heaver than the IPad I generally use, I really liked the feel of it in Landscape. It felt very solid in my hand and in landscape I could still type and reach all the areas on the screen. What was strange to me is that holding in portrait (normal) it felt very awkward and when I had to actually let go to reach the top of the unit. For the most part, most of the apps that I used could be used in Landscape mode, so not a big issue, just a minor annoyance. SCORE – 3 / 5
The interface itself is pretty neat. You have the ability to put live wallpapers in the background, (The Thurnderstorm app was pretty cool), widgets on the page to see live data such as email, weather or pretty much anything you want made it different and more useful. I found myself putting it on the pedistal and keeping it up to see what was going on without very much difficulty. Overall setting up and using the interface was pretty easy and worked. SCORE – 5/5
So next I tried to load apps from the Android Marketplace. Accessing the market was easy enough, but not terribly clean. I definitely had a hard time finding apps So I started with the basic apps, Netflix, Facebook, Twitterific, Flipbook, and Skype. I understand that Xoom is based on a new operating system and it will take time to get apps but this is where I have the biggest problems with the Xoom. No Netflix, could not keep Facebook running, no Flipbook and problems with Skype. The fact that Video with Skype does not work is very frustrating and doesn’t make sense, since Google Video does work. Come on SKYPE keep up!!! On the other hand with no Flipbook, I started using Pulse which is pretty cool! Score: 1/5.
The worst thing on the Xoom is the charging mechanism. You HAVE to use a plugin since a USB cable will NOT charge the unit. I didn’t think about this until I was at the office and it was out of juice and I could not charge it since I left the custom cable at home. Geez Motorola, products have to be convenient! One more thought on this is the media aspect. To get media on the system you have to manually copy data over from wherever you have you your music/movies. This doesn’t seem like a very serious issue, but its a bear to keep things in sync or organized and upload time are considerably more. For my test I upload 254 Songs from my library. On my new IPad, syncing of this music took 1:42 while getting the same music took 11:31. Back to the convenience factor and I won’t even talk about the differences in copying over my movies!
I am not even going to talk about the camera, which is inadequate to the point I couldn’t even figure out how to focus it on a picture and became frustrated! Audio is better on this than the IPad and the video seems to be a bit better than the IPad but I really can’t compare since I have to redo all my Apple movies (Watch for another rant on this!) but this isn’t enough to save this. Although I went in wanting to really like the Xoom, I believe I will letting some other folks start their experience with this device and try checking out the next platform and hopefully next years model will be better and there are more apps that actually work!
Final Score 3 out 5 Bones!