I have had the Motorola XOOM 32GB Tablet for a few days. The Android based tablet was the first proper implementation of Honeycomb. Google made Honeycomb to ensure that a proper tablet software competitor was available to the public who did not want to experience Apple’s iOS software. The tablet was developed prior to Google acquiring Motorola Mobility.
I started the device trying to forget everything about the iPad and its operation. However, observant XOOM owners will notice that there are quite a few things that Google has taken from Apple as inspiration for their software. There are some differences as well and one that stuck out, was closing an app. On the iPad, you press the home button and then you’re back to the menu. On the XOOM that is done by clicking on a back arrow that is seen on the bottom left hand side of the screen.
The tablet is heavy and I found myself trying to look for something to put the device onto when I used the XOOM. Tablet manufacturers have to ensure 2 things; a lightweight device and decent battery life. The XOOM fails miserably on the first item and constant usage will make users weary. I found my wrists got tired holding the device. For the record the battery life was fairly decent.
I battled to find the WiFi settings.The menus are quite difficult to find and to see what is paired with what functionality takes some time. However, I believe that if I were to own a XOOM it would not be a long term problem.
The default screen locking settings became an irritant. It literally felt, if I did not use the XOOM for 2 minutes then the screen would lock. I must add that the unlocking feature is quite refreshing. Instead of using characters and numbers, users need to move a circle over a lock on the screen to unlock it. I suspect users will Google the problem and change the settings to ensure that the locking screen time does not become a long term issue.
Android’s synchronisation with all of Google’s services is nothing short of amazing. Logically that’s how it should be as both are Google products but still it is amazing to view. If you are a Google services user then an Android based tablet like the Motorola XOOM should be your choice.
There is one piece of functionality that I really liked and hope all device manufacturers think about implementing. In the device settings menu there is a power / battery usage window. The user is shown all the things that are using battery power. You are then provided with methods to change them to ensure better battery life. I really like this and think it should be on more electronic devices.
The App store has a decent amount of apps in it. The pricing of the apps is in Rands which takes some getting used to. The fact that the costs are in Rands ensures that there will be no nasty surprises on your credit card at the end of the month.
The Motorola XOOM is a device that I would definitely consider if I did not have an iPad. The issues experienced are all of relative unimportance and the positives outweigh the bad.