The first kosher 10in Android tablet to hit the market, the Xoom is Genesis as far as Honeycomb is concerned. The flip-side of that coin is that Honeycomb wasn’t really a finished product when the Xoom went on sale but thankfully - and for Motorola a little surprisingly - it rolled out the 3.1 update in reasonable time.
A smart and solid bit of kit, the Xoom feels every inch a premium product. A design feature I really like is the power button on the back next to the camera: out of sight, out of mind and safe from accidental pressing. Battery performance remains one of the best - eight hours of video looping is a real possibility, putting several of the more recent alternatives to shame.
After Motorola’s inexplicable devotion to is social networking front-end for phones, Motoblur, many folk expected it to muck about with Honeycomb too. Not a bit of it, thankfully. Here all is as God and Google intended. The launch price of near-enough £500 was never going to stick, but now you can pick one up with your weekly shopping at Tesco for £330 which is altogether more reasonable and makes the Xoom a compelling choice.
More Info Motorola
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
The Android tablet that rattled Apple so much it called in the lawyers. I’ll leave it you to decide the merits of the accusation that the Galaxy 10.1 “slavishly” emulates the iPad 2. Personally, I think the claim is utter nonsense. I’ve got one of each on my desk as I write this and, other than a very basic commonality of form, they are clearly different.
Strangely, the habits that Samsung does seem to have picked up from Apple are all bad ones, like the removal of storage expansion and the use of proprietary ports. On the plus side, Sammy has bundled the excellent Swype keyboard, a full version of Polaris Office and an excellent e-book reading app, making this tablet very easy to use out of the box.
The Galaxy 10.1 is by far the most physically attractive Android slab around. Weighing only 565g and measuring just 8.5mm back-to-front, it’s the lightest and thinnest ten-incher too. Despite the slim profile, Samsung has made room for a 7000mAh battery giving a genuine full-day-and-a-bit life. Shame there’s no HDMI port, and the charge port is in the wrong place if you want to use the thing while charging.
More Info Samsung
Next page: Sony Tablet S
Re: Written by an iPad owner I think..
The writer does not own an iPad, and as much as you might achingly hope that Android has a higher market share than it does, all market data - vendor shipments and sell-through - suggests it does not.
Sorry to puncture your wee bubble, 'Barry'
"An iPad is an iPad is an iPad"
And yet your poor friend's iPad 1 can still use all the same software as an iPad 2 (except FaceTime), is still getting all software updates on day of release (if you're happy to trust Apple's QA), and is still one of the best tablets around even at 18 months old.
How many Android tablets are going to get Android 4 - without having to hack them? Which, remember, is kit that's mostly less than 6 months old. HTC are still selling their Flyer with 2.3, which was out of date when they launched the product! They've not even upgraded it to Android 3 yet...
Equally we can contrast my HTC Wildfire with an iPhone 3GS. Both phones are about the same age (admittedly the Wildfire was never top of the range). The iPhone 3GS is still getting updates and still on sale. HTC were still selling the Wildfire up to a couple of months ago, so they've no excuse for saying it's 'out of support'. The Wildfire got an update from 2.1 to 2.2 (about 6 months late), and that's it. The 3GS has been updated from iOS3, to iOS4 and now iOS5.
And it's not as if I'm cherry picking. Android kit getting timely updates is very unusual. Even Google only seem to update their reference phones once, then dump them.
This is the reason my next tablet will probably be Apple - well that and the Android tablet makers' obsession with widescreen. It's also why I recommend iPhone/iPad to non-geeks.
It's a shame, I was looking forward to going Android. But my experience with the phone OS has been poor, and their first attempt at tablets has been a mess. My only hope to avoid the clutches of Apple seems to be Microsoft. Windows Phone is looking interesting, and Windows 8 on tablets could be quite nice too.
I bought a tablet for my wife for her birthday back in August. Toddled along to try them out, liked the iPad, also liked the Eee Pad Transformer - very little to separate them, a fractionally better touchscreen on the Apple, much better expansion options on the Asus. I decided that for me, I would buy the Asus, but would get the wife an iPad as it was a Cortina. HOWEVER, they were out of stock - so Asus won out. And she's been very happy with it; she likes a lot about it, including the keyboard if she wants to do anything serious. The quality of the whole package is great, and she also likes not having to fork out for apps that are chargeable on our son's iPod Touch, so I've got plenty of brownie points. Remember that however popular the Cortina was, it wasn't actually a very good car... ;)