Go-Go-Gadget Review: Motorola Xoom Tablet with Verizon 4G LTE

Our friend Bob Sokoler may have recently been lamenting his lack of attendance to the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show,but Louisville.am has the next best thing in the form of some hands on time with the Motorola Xoom Tablet.

Some may look at the Motorola Xoom and mistakenly see little more than last-gen tech, especially given its now 10-month lifespan and the fact that the skinnier, faster Xoom 2 already debuted back in November (yes, only six months after the original), but Motorola helped to ‘future-proof’ the Xoom with a speedy dual-core processor alongside some similarly ‘top -shelf’ (for the time) components accompanied by a post-release upgrade to Verizon’s 4G LTE network. And with subsequent price drops now putting the full-sized, bonafide iPad 2-rivaling tablet in your hands for less than $450 (down from $800 full price at launch and $600+ for a new Xoom 2), the Motorola Xoom might just be a more competitive option than ever. Xoom debuted as the first tablet to feature Android’s tablet-optimized Honeycomb OS and it’s just as sleek as ever on the device’s glorious 9.8in screen (despite the allure of Xoom 2’s upgrade to the Honeycomb-succeeding ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’). This tablet is still worth a look for consumers wishing to undeniably outclass the small-fry, 7.5in Kindle Fire in both performance and size, all the while saving some serious cash as compared to the slightly newer alternatives, and especially for those internet surfing-centric users out there who won’t even miss the potential loss of Horsepower.

Xoom’s design is notable not just for the aforementioned screen but also for its nearly buttonless disposition, and yet unfortunately, not in a universally positive way. All front-side menu buttons have been most-appreciably removed in lieu of no-less-intuitive, on-screen counterparts, but the display-only philosophy does falter a bit in terms of the device’s three remaining “actual” buttons (one for power and two for volume) which attempt to stay so far out of the user’s way that they are ultimately and needlessly difficult to manipulate. A less ambiguous trade-off is the tablet’s heft, which leaves it just slightly too cumbersome to be comfortably and continuously held aloft with one  hand, while seeming an utterly minor concern with regard to the Xoom’s oft-unbeleivably long battery life (even with the 4G upgrade). Rounding out the rest of the hardware package, and without even delving into the countless strong points of the system’s one-step-behind but more than competent software, are some solid, back-facing speakers and a better-than-average array of HD photo/video capabilities.

The back of the original Xoom, with its lock button, back-facing camera and twin speakers.
Xoom 2 and its slimmed down, angular frame.










Reliable, gorgeous, intuitive (Honeycomb is still giving iOS a serious run for its money), and a relative bargain.That’s a whole lot of plusses against a handful of minuses, and a rare case of the former outpacing the latter over time. Xoom will not fulfill the palates of those demanding the freshest or the flashiest on the block but will instead garner many a well earned double-take from just about everyone else.

More information on the Motorola Xoom and similar products available via Motorola and Verizon Wireless.

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Chris Ritter <<<<<< twitter.com/CT_Smash <<<<<< ctsmash@gmail.com