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XOOM 1

With a 1 GHz dual-core processor, large display, and a polished version of Android that's specifically made for tablets, the Motorola XOOM is the first credible competitor to the iPad.  Like anything else in today's fast-paced tech world, I'm sure it has bugs that I haven't discovered yet, but overall, it's an exponential step over Android tablets of the past.  The question as to whether consumers will adopt it en masse comes down to the price point.  At $599.99 on contract and $799.99 full retail, it's way overpriced, and will likely make consumers consider a laptop instead.  Much like the iPhone, Apple (the first real manufacturer in the market) has set the price bar at $499.99; anything above it has the risk of not selling well.

I've spent roughly 24 hours with it, and here's what I've discovered thus far:

  • The 1 GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor makes the XOOM fast.  Very fast.  I haven't experienced any lag yet, and I've zipped through homescreens, loaded graphically intensive programs, and browsed the web without a hiccup.  The device has restarted once thus far, but it was due to the Facebook application.
  • The 10.1-inch display offers 1280 x 800 pixels, and for the most part, looks nice.  Text is clear and easy to read even when zoomed in, though it's a bit washed out in comparison to the high-resolution devices on the market (Retina, qHD, Super AMOLED, etc.).
  • I've been really pleased with Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) thus far.  I'm a bit baffled by the reviewers complaining that the OS is isn't polished enough, as I find the color scheme and transition effects to be quite impressive.  The Galaxy Tabs were frustrating to use due to the fact that Android 2.2 wasn't made for the tablet form factor.  Not the case with Honeycomb.  From the revised notifications area to the transition effects to the widgets, it's clearly a tablet OS.

  • The web browser is very similar to Chrome on a computer, and the overall experience is fantastic.  Pinch-to-zoom is exceptionally fast, and new tabs open with ease.  I could easily see myself using this while on the couch.
  • The 5-megapixel rear camera has worked well enough in the few shots I've taken, though I haven't really put it to the test just yet.  The front-facing camera is a nice touch, and Gtalk video integration is awesome.  I put it to the test yesterday, and while the picture quality wasn't the best, it worked well.

  • Data speeds have been mediocre at best.  Verizon's 3G network is clearly taxed, and though the device is capable to run on the carrier's 4G LTE network, it won't be able to take advantage of it until Motorola and Verizon enable it later in the year.  As a result, speeds were pretty slow.  I'll have official numbers in the review, but I'm averaging download speeds between 1 and 1.5 Mbps.
  • Like I said above, the XOOM 4G LTE capable, and will be upgradeable at some point in the year.  It certainly makes the device more future-proof, but you'll have to send the device back to Motorola to enable it, which sounds like a PR nightmare waiting to happen.  Same thing with the microSD card slot - not enabled just yet, but will be in the future.  As of now, you're stuck with the 32 GB of internal storage.

Much more to come, so be sure to keep it locked on the site!


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