Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition review

12 Jan 2012

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

Price when reviewed 
330
4

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.

Detail

Price ex VAT £275
Price inc VAT £330
Warranty 1 yr return to base
Overall rating 4
Performance 4
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 3

Physical

Dimensions 216 x 9.5 x 139mm (WDH)
Weight 388g

Display

Primary keyboard On-screen
Screen size 8.2in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,280
Resolution screen vertical 800
Display type Multitouch, capacitive
Panel technology IPS

Battery

Battery capacity 3,900mAh

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1MHz
Integrated memory 16.0GB
RAM capacity 1,000MB

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
Accessories supplied None
HDMI output? yes
Video/TV output? no

Software

Mobile operating system Android 3.2