February 25, 2011, 9:02 AM — Motorola's Xoom tablet is the first true challenger to Apple's iPad, in that it runs an operating system designed for tablets -- Android 3.0, or Honeycomb -- and is comparably-sized with a 10.1-inch display. And after months of hype, it's finally available at Verizon Wireless stores and ready to be picked over by the tech press.
Here's what reviewers are saying about the Motorola Xoom:
Look and Feel
The Xoom has a 10.1-inch, 1280-by-800 resolution display. Compared to an iPad, it's taller and narrower thanks to the widescreen format and smaller bezel, but it weighs about the same. "The weight is manageable for periods of two-handed operation, but intolerable for extended one-handed operation," PCWorld's own Melissa Perenson wrote.
Over at Time magazine, Harry McCracken noted that wider isn't always better: "The iPad's less exaggerated dimensions are superior for reading e-books and other text-centric tasks. But in landscape orientation, the Xoom's extra space makes for comfier typing on the on-screen keyboard. It's also well-proportioned for HD movies."
As for that thin bezel, GigaOM's Kevin Tofel wondered whether it's a little too narrow. "Even my small fingers only just fit and on a few occasions, I've unintentionally tapped the screen when I thought I was touching the bezel," he wrote.
The Xoom is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, and over at AnandTech, Anand Lai Shimpi found swiping between home screens to be "butter smooth." Same goes for scrolling through the browser and using interactive widgets. But he noticed that performance seems more dependent than previous Android versions on how many background apps are running.
One clear advantage for the Xoom over Apple's iPad: transfer speeds. "Anyone who has synced content to an Apple iPad knows how tortuously slowly content moves from PC to device," PCWorld's Perenson wrote. "On the Xoom, waiting wasn't a huge issue: I transferred 700MB of digital pictures to the Xoom in just 3 minutes."
Android 3.0 makes its debut on the Xoom, and it's a vastly different -- some say better -- experience than Android for smartphones.