Motorola’s Xoom 2 is the follow-up to the original Xoom, which was one of the first Android tablets to appear. Now, of course, Android tablets are abundant, and there are top-end, mid-range and budget models to choose between. The Xoom 2 comes in two incarnations; we’re looking at the standard edition here, not the Media edition that has a smaller screen.
Smaller, lighter, faster
The new Motorola Xoom 2 is 33 per cent thinner than the original, and 100 grams lighter – coming in at 603g, 253.9 x 173.6 x 8.8mm. The tablet has a new-look chassis with the edges angled slightly to avoid the boring old Samsung Galaxy Tab / iPad look, and the new design works well. It’s distinctive, but doesn’t negatively affect your ability to hold or use the Xoom 2.
There’s a positive effect on gripping the rubberised finish, on the back of the two short edges. As it’s quite comfortable to hold, although we’re a bit sad that the rubbery grip doesn’t extend along the long back edges too. Instead, the majority of the back-plate is grey aluminium.
As for being faster than the original, well, the Xoom 2 runs on a 1.2GHz dual core processor, putting it up at the leading edge.
The Android race
The Motorola Xoom 2 runs Android 3.2 and unfortunately, that already puts it behind the times. Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Android for both tablets and phones, is already peeking its head above water. If you need to be at the forefront of what technology has to offer, you might find this unacceptable.
Motorola has pre-installed Evernote, though anyone who wants this can get it themselves easily enough, from the Market. There’s also a second note taking app, Floating Notes, for both text based and drawn jottings, and there’s infra-red too. Combine this with a link to download the Dijit app, where you can control your TV from the Xoom 2, enabling true media multitasking – without having to leave the comfort of your chair.
There’s something missing
When you start looking at the technical specs, ports and connectors, things are impressive – mostly. The 10.1 inch IPS screen delivers 1,280 x 800 pixels, with a mini HDMI port only Motorola doesn’t provide a cable. A 5 megapixel camera sits on the back of the chassis and there’s a 1.3 megapixel camera on the front, ideally placed for video calling. An additional plus, is the splash-guard coating both outside and inside, so that the Xoom 2 stands a chance of surviving, if you spill your drink over it.
This is not a 3G supporting tablet, though of course W-Fi is built-in. What we absolutely can’t fathom is why Motorola built the Xoom 2 without a microSD card, or SD card slot. You have to settle for the 16GB of storage that’s on board.
Now, this might sound like plenty of storage, but having to use MotoCast to stream media from your PC, or use a direct cable link, to get data on and off the Xoom 2, might soon become tedious. To add insult to injury, there actually is a microSD card slot – and a SIM slot right next to it – but both are sealed and inaccessible.
- Fast processor; solid build; great screen.
- No memory expansion.
The Motorola Xoom 2 is a great tablet. Its slightly quirky design doesn’t hamper its use, and it has plenty of oomph under the bonnet. Without memory expansion, it feels slightly hampered and for that reason, it has lost a mark, in our books.