You switch the device on using a recessed power button at the rear. Unless you want to keep turning the tablet over to look, this means you have to find the power button by touch alone, which is occasionally annoying. On the other hand, its location and design make it difficult to press by accident, such as sliding in or out of a sleeve or jostling around in your bag.
Fondleslab: you soon get a feel for the power button's location
Hardware connectivity, over and above the usual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth essentials, is not too shabby, with pair of a mini USB and mini HDMI ports, but no Ethernet.
Motorola likes to play the tease by fitting a non-working micro SD slot into the top edge (when the tablet is held landscape). The company is promising to issue a software release that will enable the slot at some unspecified point in the future. At the moment, though, there is no option for memory card expansion on the Xoom.
Switched on, the Xoom is a lovely tablet to use, and its Android 3.0.1 operating system seems to live up to its promise as being large-screen-friendly. I experienced no obvious glitches; in fact, the visual performance is notably smooth with responsive sweeps and soft transitions. A couple of apps downloaded from the Android Market managed to crash during testing, but neither required a system restart.
Mini USB, HDMI out and mains-in ports are ranged along the bottom edge, when held in landscape
A good collection of apps are installed as standard, including an e-mail package, music player and video editor, along with Google’s mapping, web browsing and Gmail interfaces. Adding and editing home screen widgets, app shortcuts and wallpapers is really easy. The Android Market looks good on this size of screen too.
Next page: The Little Picture Show
Correct me if I'm wrong ...
"Motorola has opted for an on-screen navigation bar, occupying 46 pixels that can never be recovered.
This means the Xoom’s effective screen area is not 1280 x 800 but 1234 x 754, so 720p content at 1280 x 720 won't be full screen after all."
Yes, but the menu bar isn't at the side _and_ at the bottom is it ? It certainly isn't in the picture, so you would be getting 1280 x 754 ( or 1234 x 800 in portrait ) which is 720p ... ( but it wouldn't be full screen - I agree with that, but would play at full resolution as 1280 x 720 is less than 1280 x 754 ... )
Should be out soon with the keyboard for even less money.
Some odd design decisions
I've had a Xoom for about 4 weeks (walked into PC World on day of release and bought one off the shelf). Its a nice chunk of hardware, but Motorola seem to have made some stupid design decisions that will irritate over time :
a) No charge from USB - even if it took longer, this should be an option. Carrying a charging brick around is stupid.
b) Charging socket is on top.....and headphone jack is on bottom. Its awkward to use when charging.
c) The Motorola folio case prevents charging when closed. So my screen has to be left at risk when I leave it charging.
d) No support for device level http proxy (without third party software).
I really want this class of devices to succeed on Android - Apple need the balance to keep them in check. The OS is close, but some of the built in apps (eg. calendar) are lacking that bit of interface magic that Apple supply.
I'm developing for both honeycomb and iOS platforms but the iPad2 is the one I take home to use personally.