The Little Picture Show
Video playback is slick, not least through the YouTube app with its 360-degree scrolling clip browser. Load up a high-quality MP4 movie and it looks pretty damn gorgeous on the Xoom.
You can watch widescreen-format videos with less letterboxing than on an iPad
Motorola claims 1080p HD video decoding/playback on the Xoom. And although 720p viewing makes logical sense with the Xoom’s 800 pixels in depth, not all 800 pixels are actually available to video. Rather than building Android navigation buttons into the unit, as other manufacturers have done with their tablets, 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.
Front and rear cameras make the tablet a usable video chatter with GoogleTalk or Skype, although don’t expect high quality video here. You can also use the rear camera to turn the Xoom into a ludicrously big camera or video camcorder in its own right. Still image mode is supported with a flash. Video can be captured at 720p HD.
Now this gets interesting. I can capture some video clips, albeit looking silly while I’m doing it, immediately edit them on the tablet itself (the video editing app is included free, remember), and play the results back on a TV directly from the Xoom via HDMI. I did, however, need to buy the necessary HDMI cable separately.
As with other 10-inch tablets, the Xoom makes an uncomfortably heavy e-book reader
Here’s another niggle. Brilliant though the touchscreen and its sensible on-screen keyboard are, I found it difficult to touch very small objects accurately, such as links on zoomed-out web pages. For some reason, the Xoom detects my touch a couple of millimetres further down the screen. Either this is an optical illusion that other manufacturers already account for but Motorola hasn’t, or the touch sensitivity of the Xoom is very slightly off.
Or perhaps I need slimmer fingertips.
Next page: Power broker
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.
So, you suggest that rather than buying the iPad or Xoom, the Scroll is a good alternative with a 800x480 resistive screen, Android 2.1 (with no plans to upgrade), an unidentified processor speed and a 4 hour battery life?
In this case I'd suggest that a fraction of an iPad is not worth a fraction of the iPad's price - as it's obsolete before you even unwrap it. There's a base level of functionality, below which a device is only of interest to people who collect pocket calculators.
that the reviewer has taken that into consideration. Not to mention the fact - shock, horror - that some people prefer to use iOS even so.
Reviews have to be objective, not pandering solely to the pro or anti Apple mobs.