There are two kinds of people in this post-PC era: those who want a tablet, and those who just don't know they want a tablet.
Then there are those that want an iPad, and those who think they want an iPad.
There are a number of reasons the Xoom could be a better device for you.
If you are not a Mac user, nor plan on becoming one, then maybe Motorola's Xoom should be at the top of your list. Even if you are a Mac user, I don't know how you could resist just checking it out. The Xoom has taken a beating from many tech pundits. Yes, Motorola's price of admission is more than Apple's. The Xoom's app library is shadowed by the number of iPad apps, but don't strike it from your list yet.
We all know the iPad is good, but the Xoom trumps it in a several ways that will appeal to many possible users. Maybe one of you.
LTE is the wireless 800-pound gorilla.
The Xoom was launched before the network was ready. It is touted as a 4G LTE device, but it must be shipped back for modification at no cost to the user. Verizon’s 4G LTE network delivers an average throughput of 5-12 megabytes per second down and 2-5 Mbps up. Speeds like that are well worth the 6 day turn around. The iPad can't hold a candle to that, but then LTE is still being rolled out and the Xoom updates for it have not yet begun.
Verizon has activated LTE in dozens of metro areas in the U.S. and some within North Carolina. Despite, its absence here in heart of N.C., I'm assured by their PR arm, the finest I've encountered, that Verizon does not hate the Triangle. Rumors say June could be the month for the Triangle..
The Xoom is a better browsing device. The Xoom's Flash support within Android Honeycomb gives it a distinct advantage over the iPad. Steve Jobs' war on Adobe Flash pretty much means never count on seeing Flash support on its mobile iOS devices. This has somewhat fractured the Internet. While the odds of watching a video on the Xoom are greater than on the iPad, there are some sites like ESPN.com that turn the table. There you can watch NASCAR driver Brian Vickers jump out of a plane on the iPad, but not on the Xoom. Still, the chances are greater with the Xoom.
If screen size matters, then the Xoom should interest you. The Xoom's 10.1-inch screen eclipses the iPad's 9.7-inches. That may not not seem like much, but the 16:9 display on the Motorola is much more video oriented. The Xoom also wins in the resolution comparison with a 1280x800 spec versus 1024x768 on the iPad. Netflix has not yet announced Xoom support, but they are rolling out support for more Android devices. Reports are trickling in from users of various Android devices that have Netflix working. Expect the Xoom to follow.
Is the camera important? The Xoom has a better camera. The addition of cameras on the iPad 2 generated some excitement, but the poor image quality disappointed many. Granted, taking photos with either can be awkward, but Xoom's rear camera outperforms the iPad 2.
Neither can charge via USB. The Xoom uses a generic looking charging port. The iPad, well, does not have a USB port at all. Nor does it have an SD card slot like the Xoom. Oddly, SD card support is still waiting for an update to be enabled. Canadian users just got word to expect it soon and so should U.S. users. I am confident that Motorola and Verizon will not leave its Xoom adopters in the lurch. Motorola must now that the Xoom has company: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 among others. We hope to review a few of them as well.
I had the luxury of several weeks with a review unit from Verizon at no charge. It was not only a worthy tablet, but also was a handy hotspot at times. While I was intrigued by the Xoom, I didn't think I'd ever recommend it over an iPad and I wouldn't for everyone.
For some users the Xoom will be worth the price. Since the Xoom will soon be joined by several other Android Honeycomb heavyweights, hopefully there will be some pricing augmentation that will appeal to even more users.
If you are considering a tablet, do yourself a favor and check out a Xoom. If you still go for an iPad, then you will have executed due diligence.
You can explore the Xoom more at Verizon's interactive Xoom simulator.
- 4G LTE and 3G: $600 at Verizon with a 2 year contract
- Wi-Fi only: $600
- 10.1-inch, 1280x800 screen, 16:9
- Android 3.0 Honeycomb
- 1GHz Dual Core Tegra 2 Processor, 32GB internal storage, MicroSD support
- $600 with two-year contract(Starting at $20/month for 1GB usage)
- micro USB
- two speakers
- 5-megapixel rear camera and LED flash, 720p video capable
- Front-facing 2.0 megapixel camera
- Support for AAC, AAC+, AMR NB, AMR WB, MP3, and XMF for audio; MPEG4 and 3GP for video, and GIF, JPEG, and PNG for images
- Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR + HID
- Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 9.8x6.6xO.5 inches