Tablet Review: iPad 2 vs. Motorola Xoom
The iPad 2 going head to head with the Motorola Xoom at first doesn't seem like a fair fight. After all, the iPad 2 is the second iteration of the best-selling tablet in the marketplace. With a head start that the iPad 2 has, how can it lose? All that is true, yet there is much to like about the Motorola Xoom. So we put them both to the test, thanks a gracious short-term loan by Verizon Wireless, and took a look at where the features and bugs were hiding.
Screen size and total weight:
Here the iPad 2 is the clear winner with its 7.75 x 6.9 inch backlit LCD screen. It's just right size for typing if you are going to use the tablet to replace a laptop, It makes the piano app (available in the App Store) really entertaining, a comfy size for reading and for playing most any game you happen to pick. Now that the iPad is incredibly thin and light, you can pop it in a shopping bag, back pack, on just tote it around in its special colorful cover.
The Xoom feels like a brick compared to the iPad 2 and yet it's got the smaller, HDTV-shaped 8.5 x 6.4 inch widescreen display. I suppose if you enjoy smaller screens, that's okay, but it felt cramped for typing (more on that later), way too heavy to hold for e-book reading, and even though it might fit in a coat pocket, it might drag the whole side of your coat downward. Motorola has a way to go in streamlining the body of this tablet.
Screen clarity and presentation:
Both seemed equal here. As much as everyone raves about the Retina display of the Apple products, I felt the Xoom matched it on its crisp and clear Android Honeycomb screen. While iPad 2 showed itself to best advantage with games and other apps, Xoom looked fantastic when serving up news clips. When they were presented across the whole wide screen, It was like holding a little television in your lap.
Since I was shipped two 3G models, it was important to see how fast they pulled up apps and videos. We also used our own iPad 1 with AT&T service for comparison. The first thing we noticed is that the iPad 2 was much zippier than the iPad 1. It hauled in apps so fast we could hardly reach for the Xoom before the downloading was done. So, how did the Xoom do? As fast if not faster. I'm not sure if this is a telling quality about the tablets or about Verizon, but everything moved in a delightfully speedy way. One note, though, some of the news clips on the Xoom did tend to muddy up and quit halfway through.Continued on the next page