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Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition review

Verdict

A slick 8.2in tablet, but battery life isn’t great and the price is on the high side

Review Date: 12 Jan 2012

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £275 (£330 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

With both quad-core tablet processors and Ice Cream Sandwich on the brink of flooding into the mainstream, it seems a little odd a major manufacturer would stick to the tried and tested. Yet that’s exactly what Motorola has done with its latest tablets. Surprisingly, the approach worked well with the Xoom 2, and now we have its sibling on test - the smaller Xoom 2 Media Edition.

As with the Xoom 2, we like its design. The edges are rubberised and this, coupled with the slightly chopped and rounded-off corners, makes for a very comfortable tablet to hold. It isn’t the thinnest tablet, measuring around 9.5mm thick, but it’s very light at a mere 388g, and it looks good: those rubber edges on the rear frame a metal panel secured in place with six exposed screw heads, for a hard-nosed, industrial look. To top it all off, Motorola has coated the whole thing in a splashproof membrane, so spilling your cup of tea shouldn’t result in terminal breakdown.

Motorola Xoom Media Edition

From the placing of the logos, the 5-megapixel camera and LED flash on the rear, and the 1.3-megapixel camera on the front, it’s clear Motorola sees users holding the Media Edition in portrait orientation, but we’re not convinced. Most Android tablets we’ve used feel more comfortable the other way around, and this one is no exception. Its wide aspect, 16:10 ratio screen lends itself much more naturally to holding it in landscape orientation.

It all houses a screen of rather unusual size. Instead of measuring 7in across the diagonal, as with most compact tablets we’ve previously reviewed, the Xoom 2 Media Edition has an 8.2in screen. It’s a good balance, managing to retain the same resolution of its larger sibling – 800 x 1,280 – while offering a far more portable profile.

We were mildly irritated to discover that this smaller version repeats the bigger Xoom 2’s trick of hiding away the power and volume buttons on the rear, close to the top-left edge (or top-right if you’re holding it in portrait orientation). As before, finding those buttons involves a bit of fumbling around until you learn where they are.

Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition

Also less than ideal is the sight that greets you when lifting the flap next to the USB and micro-HDMI ports on one of the Media’s short edges. Instead of SIM and microSD slots, you’re greeted by a blank expanse of plastic. It’s almost as if Motorola was going to put memory expansion and a 3G modem in, but got cold feet at the last minute and whipped it out.

As it stands, the Xoom 2 Media Edition is available initially as a Wi-Fi only device, and with only 16GB of storage, which given the rather high price seems more than a little stingy.

Performance

Still, given the restrictive feature set, the Xoom 2 Media Edition is pretty nippy. The dual-core, 1.2GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 is fine for most current games and apps, and it posted good performance scores in our tests too. In the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, a score of 1,715 is right up with the best, as is 2,720 in the Android Quadrant benchmark.

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User comments

"and the price is on the high side"

Considering what the original Galaxy Tab 7" cost when it first came out, this sounds like desperate straw clutching.

Other than the battery life, this seems to be a pretty good effort by Motorola.

Had they spent the extra $5 needed for an Apple badge, your reviewer would doubtless have fallen over himself to praise it.

"Most Android tablets we’ve used feel more comfortable the other way around"

Is there something specifically about the Android OS that causes this feeling? Do other tablet OSes fail to evoke it?

By Lacrobat on 12 Jan 2012

Stokegabriel

I'm actually quite excited by this. For a start it's got a 1280 wide screen whilst most (all?) 7" tablets are 800 wide. I think that's a great trade off. Secondly it's splash proof, which I would see as being a very good thing. But the killer for me is that it has integrated GPS, not the A-GPS that most 3G tablets have. BUT I NEED A SD SLOT, Doh!! failed at the final fence.

By stokegabriel on 13 Jan 2012

Stokegabriel

One of the reasons for the price difference between the £330 as reviewed, and the £380 from Currys and Dixons is that both links are for the 10.1" tablet, not the 8.2" tablet in the review. So both links are irrelevant to this review.

By stokegabriel on 21 Jan 2012

Hm... WHY no 3G?!?!

Ultimate fail; no 3G or SD slot?!?! Were Motorola TRYING to make this fail? If only it had those 2 options, this'd be top contender for me... I don't see the point of a tablet that only works on WiFi - the whole point for me is taking the thing out & about!

By skooptech on 26 Jan 2012

Time Warp

More importantly- how come this review was written December 2012 but published now? I spy the work of the Doctor.

By cartmellbrowne on 17 Apr 2012

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