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Motorola Xoom review roundup: The critics weigh in

By Jared Newman
February 24, 2011 06:33 PM ET

PC World - 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 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.

Performance

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."

Honeycomb

Android 3.0 makes its debut on the Xoom, and it's a vastly different -- some say better -- experience than Android for smartphones.

"I've always felt that Android had a rough-around-the edges, geeky feel, with too many steps to do things and too much reliance on menus. But Honeycomb eliminates much of that," wrote Walt Mossberg for All Things Digital. He appreciated tabbed Web browsing, a smart notification bar and live widgets on the home screen.

Cameras

One of the Xoom's main perks over the iPad (for now) is its 5-megapixel front-facing camera and 2-megapixel rear-facing camera.

Engadget's Joshua Topolsky praised the quality of the photos and Honeycomb's picture-taking interface, but felt that the device's size is "completely impractical in most situations."

Originally published on www.pcworld.com. Click here to read the original story.
Reprinted with permission from PCWorld.com. Story copyright 2012 PC World Communications. All rights reserved.
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