I've been enjoying Motorola's Xoom tablet running Android 3.1 Honeycomb since August. I'm trying to play with as many iPad challengers as possible in my little Tablet Talent Show. So far I've reviewed a Touchpad from HP, a Playbook from RIM and now a XOOM from Motorola.
First things first... where's the power button? Here it is, by the rear camera. Not the ideal place, but better than where RIM stuck it on the PlayBook.
Because size matters in the tablet world, it's important to note that the XOOM is 9.8 inches wide by 6.6 inches tall. It looked great in landscape, lousy in portrait and felt a little big after playing with the PlayBook for a while. That damn PlayBook got me digging the 7-inch tablets, but that damn PlayBook didn't run Android.
Android looked and felt great on this device. The browser snapped open in a flash (no pun intended) and felt awfully Chrome-ish. Aw heck, that pun was intended. It's great visiting Google Analytics and other sites that display Flash and actually seeing the content.
On this Android device, my Google login acted as a passport of sorts, automatically customizing everything for me. My calendar was populated by Google Calendar, my Gmail was there, looking great, and Talk and YouTube were ready to go. And yes, I quickly found and installed a Google+ app to complete the collection.
Comparing the XOOM to the PlayBook might be as simple as comparing your link to Google to your link to your Blackberry. If your Blackberry acts as the heartbeat of your virtual world, the PlayBook is your tablet. If you're a Google bigot, an Android device is the way to go, and I'm told there's no better Android tablet on the market than the XOOM.
Although it's sold separately, Motorola sent along a great docking station for video chats and great audio. My daughter loved blasting Adele on this Speaker HD Dock.
When I close an application on an iPad, it disappears from whence it came until I call it once more. On the XOOM, my active apps are lined up and ready for recall - as they are on the TouchPad and PlayBook. I don't understand why the iPad doesn't do something similar as I find it very convenient.
There were plenty of amazing apps for Android, both free and paid, and installing them was simple.
I don't really have any major criticisms of the XOOM. It felt a bit big when compared to the PlayBook, but it felt sleek when compared to the almighty iPad. Its Google integration is awesome, its ability to play Flash in the browser is convenient and the audio and video was great. I had this thing since August and not once did the battery run down to a point where I was warned to charge it. I wish I could say the same thing about the TouchPad.
Right now at Best Buy Canada I see the Motorola 32GB XOOM with Wi-Fi Tablet is going for $499.99. A 32GB iPad 2 will cost you $619.99. When you factor in the fact the XOOM has a microSD Card Slot, runs Honeycomb and has a kick-ass battery, I'd go with the XOOM.