Motorola Xoom 2 review
A powerful, light and beautifully designed tablet with long battery life, although it lacks the usual expansion potential
Review Date: 7 Dec 2011
Reviewed By: David Bayon
Price when reviewed: 16GB Wi-Fi, £333 (£400 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
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.
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.
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/m2. 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.
The hardware is in theory better specified than the iPad 2, so it isn't surprising that the price is also around the same - a shame, but not a surprise; don't forget, Motorola make their money from the sale of the Xoom 2, Apple also make money on media sales off the back end.
The Verizon version in the USA has 4G and is available in 16, 32 and 64GB sizes, so there is some hope that other sizes will be available; although the blocked SD Card and 3G port is a bit baffling.
That said, I still don't see a use for a tablet in my daily life - where I live and work, I am limited to a GPRS connection and no WLAN at work.
On the move, the Sensation is enough for calling up quick information, otherwise I have PCs and laptops at work and home with decent displays and easy data entry, so I just have no need for a tablet. Although I am considering an eBook reader, currently.
By big_D on 7 Dec 2011
The Xoom 2 is only 8.8mm thick and weighs 599g – both almost identical to the iPad 2
Same weight and thickness? Apple's layers are already on standby.
By Lacrobat on 7 Dec 2011
Buy this or any other tablet? Why di I need one of these in my life?
By fingerbob69 on 7 Dec 2011
Another compromised tablet?
These things are all the same - expensive (relative to a laptop) and missing expansion capability. Oh, and does Lacrobat get paid to post pointless comments?
By russell_g on 7 Dec 2011
They should have waited until they had ICS ready, then release it as an Android 4 tablet. I think that would have generated more interest in this.
By james016 on 7 Dec 2011
A bit 'ho hum' really
Googorola have had a while to sort this out, but its still around as expensive as an iPad, and yet offers no significant improvement over one. There is no USP to tempt customers from the fruity thing.
Googrola will presumably be benefitting from similar synergies to Apple. They'll be getting a cut of the revenues going through Google's assorted online money-makers. They should have done a Kindle Fire and cut the price of the hardware to get some volume which they could make up on online sales....
Sorry chaps, but Samsung aside, Android Tablets don't really compete with Apple. Let's hope that MS and its partners can improve upon that next year.
By wittgenfrog on 7 Dec 2011
Asus Transformer Prime
I'm waiting for the Transformer Prime. Not because I'm going to get one (although I do want it!) but because it will hopefully push the price of the original Transformer down to around the £300 mark including the keyboard/dock.
I agree with Wittgenfrog that seeing as Google technically owns Motorola now they should have subsidised the price of the Xoom 2 somewhat to undercut Apple - at £300 they'd probably sell loads more, in turn generating more revenue via paid-for content, which will end up in the same coffers anyways...
By bioreit on 7 Dec 2011
Yes but it is not rectangular so they probably are not infringing any Apple patents :D
By sandman652001 on 7 Dec 2011
i cannot believe
they took the ability to upgrade with the SD card away :( ... why take something that you already could do in XOOM 1....
this i believe is the 4G one http://www.gsmarena.com/motorola_droid_xyboard_10_
1-4360.php with an IPS screen,
I am waiting for windows 8 to come out with support for ARM processors. once out, tablet here i come...
By mobilegnet on 7 Dec 2011
The only reason to buy this instead of an iPad is an irrational hatred of all things Apple.
By confucious on 8 Dec 2011
confucious, is that right? could you let me know how to access IR in the Ipad?
By wadbanage on 8 Dec 2011
Well if Apple nicked the iPad idea from 2001, this can only have come from http://www.originalprop.com/blog/wp-content/upload
By daveandrews1 on 8 Dec 2011
@confucious (and others)
After I have owned an Ipod for a year, and have had to deal with the AppStore, I have bought an Android tablet. I want to be free, but hate Apple?
Why should I? It's a Godsend for people, who don't want to or can manage their it equipment themselves.
I have recommended Apple to a lot of people, who used to call me instantly about pc problems. Now they live in harmony with their computers, Ipads and Iphones. And they don't have freedom, which is, what I want.
By Christensen on 18 Dec 2011
Do these review comments always end up a mud slinging match pro/contra Apple? I'm no iFan, but really... Each to their own! @Christensen - I agree - more Apple iSheep, and I get some actual spare time to myself, rather than having to fix Windows people have broken... It's just not for me. I LIKE being able to break my own stuff! ;o)
By skooptech on 26 Jan 2012
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