Motorola Xoom 2 review

7 Dec 2011

A powerful, light and beautifully designed tablet with long battery life, although it lacks the usual expansion potential

Price when reviewed 
400
5

The original Motorola Xoom was the first of the Android tablets, and had to bear the huge expectations of a fledgling industry. Alas, when it finally arrived, it couldn’t live up to the hype. If anything, the rush to be first was its undoing, as several more polished Android tablets bettered it only weeks later. So Motorola has taken its time to follow up the Xoom with a thinner and lighter sequel, and that patience looks to have paid dividends.

Motorola Xoom 2

The Xoom 2 is only 8.8mm thick and weighs 599g – both almost identical to the iPad 2 – and its corners are angled gently downwards, both to stop them digging into your palms and to give the tablet a very slight octagonal shape. It gives the Xoom 2 a distinctive look that won widespread approval in the PC Pro office; in a neat touch, the packaging has its corners chopped off to match.

The rear is made of grey aluminium in the centre, but with rubberised grip areas at either side and along the bottom, so it’s comfortable to hold. The only buttons are concealed round the back, just where your right-hand fingertips are likely to rest. It isn’t too bad once you’re used to it, but changing the volume or waking the Xoom 2 from sleep can be a bit awkward as you grope blindly for the right button.

Motorola Xoom 2

Still, it keeps the front clean and leaves the 10.1in display to soak up all the attention. It’s a 1,280 x 800 TFT whose bright and crisp picture leaps out at you. We measured the maximum brightness at a searing 478cd/m[sup]2[/sup]. Combine that with a decent 800:1 contrast ratio and it’s certainly among the better tablet screens we’ve used. Its colours don’t quite have the vibrancy of the iPad 2 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, but viewed alone it won’t let any app or game down.

There’s a 1.3-megapixel webcam above the screen, and a 5-megapixel camera around the back that can also capture 720p video. Using Honeycomb’s camera app we took a range of test shots and videos, and the results were generally pretty good. It captured a good level of detail in a variety of lighting conditions, although shots were a little washed out and colours lacked punch. There’s also no tap-to-focus, which can be irritating with close-up shots.

Detail

Price ex VAT 16GB Wi-Fi, £333
Price inc VAT £400
Overall rating 5
Performance 6
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5

Physical

Dimensions 254 x 8.8 x 173mm (WDH)
Weight 599g

Display

Primary keyboard On-screen
Screen size 10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,280
Resolution screen vertical 800
Display type Colour touchscreen LCD

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1,200MHz
Integrated memory 16.0GB
RAM capacity 1.00GB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Focus type Autofocus
Built-in flash? yes
Built-in flash type LED
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11n
Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes
Upstream USB ports 1
HDMI output? yes

Software

Mobile operating system Android 3.2