Thinner and lighter than ever.
A year ago, Motorola took the tablet world by storm with the first Android Honeycomb-powered device, the Xoom. Back then, the Motorola Xoom impressed us with its smooth user experience and solid build quality. Its only drawback then was the somewhat bulky form factor, which became increasingly apparent when ultra slim tablets like the iPad 2 emerged.
Motorola decided to put the Xoom 2 on a strict diet with complete makeover, resulting in a more curvy, thinner (8.8mm) design. The Xoom 2 also sports an aluminum back, which gives it a solid feel. Handling-wise, the tablet is very comfortable in the hands, thanks to its ergonomically designed corners.
The Xoom 2 is made tougher with a splash-guard coating on both outside and inside to provide some protection against accidental water spills. In addition, the 10.12-inch display is reinforced with Corning Gorilla Glass, making it less susceptible to scratches. As Motorola’s flagship tablet model, we are disappointed to see the Xoom 2 still running on Android 3.2. It certainly deserves better especially when the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime is equipped with the latest Android 4.0 from day one of retail availability. Nonetheless, Motorola says that both Xoom tablets will receive the Android 4.0 update later in the year.
Taking a different approach from HTC and Samsung, Motorola made minor tweaks to the stock Android interface. A shortcut bar is added at the bottom right corner of the screen for faster access to Sticky Note, Open and Evernote. It is a pity that the shortcut bar cannot be customized. MotoCast and a suite of productivity apps such as Critix Receiver are preloaded on the Xoom 2 so users can work on the go. MotoCast, for example, gives you a secure access to obtain files on your computer; the only catch is that you computer must be online in order to retrieve the files on you Xoom 2.
Equipped with a TI OMAP4 dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB RAM, the Xoom 2 is considered on-par with most other dual-core tablets in the market. Though the user experience is smooth, it is a far cry from the one we had on the Android 4.0 – powered Eee Pad Transformers Prime especially in the areas of interface transitions and web browsing.
On the multimedia front, the Xoom2 does not differ much from its predecessor except for a brighter, more vibrant display and 1080p video recording. It is a shame that the Xoom 2 ran out of power after a mere four hours and forty minutes, which is significantly lower than the Xoom’s six hour battery mileage. A possible reason is the use of the newer processor which offers better performance at the expense of battery life.
With the Xoom 2 (3G) 32GB, Motorola appears to have underestimated the cut-throat competition in the tablet market. Had it arrived earlier, its asking price could have been easily justified. Unfortunately, its competitors are much better priced and offer better performance. On its own, the Xoom 2 is a decent offering but faces an uphill task in convincing consumers, as it is a little late to the game.