First of all I want to say that I own both Apple and Google/Android devices. I own iPod Touch and have played with iPad of family member who own the device. I also played with iPad 2 quite a bit at the store as well as from a friend who got it on launch day. I currently own original Motorola Droid and looking to upgrade to newer Android phone this summer. It is difficult not to compare Xoom to its competitor aka iPad 2. Therefore, this review will entail Xoom features (Wifi version) along with comparison to iPad 2.
Operating System - An iPad is more akin to a smartphone where as a Xoom is more akin to a laptop. Honeycomb feels more like a tablet. It's not just a row of apps and wasted space like iOS. Plus, you have room for customization (widget, live wallpaper, theme etc). There is also little detail that tech savvy will appreciate (outline grid, advanced settings, google labs etc) Honeycomb is still a bit buggy but not to the point that it becomes annoying. I only have several force close (app closed due to error) once in a while after owning it for a week (Not all phone apps work with Xoom..yet). Obviously iOS which is a proven OS and was out almost 4 years ago is more stable than the Honeycomb, a brand new OS (optimized for tablet use) that was out a month ago along with its SDK. Google know Honeycomb still needs improvement, I know Honeycomb is unfinished and I don't mind waiting for even better experience.
Also, it's easy to transfer files between computer and Xoom. Just plug in USB and it acts as a hard drive then you drag and drop the files you want. There's also apps like ES File Explorer and Astro File Manager that help manage files/folder (like Window explorer). I believe iOS requires other softwares unless you just do music/movies through iTunes. Oh and I forget to mention that I hate having to everything tied/synced through iTunes. On Xoom, there's more freedom and you are not stuck with one software like iTunes.
Winner: To each his own but I like Honeycomb better.
Design/Apperance/Screen - Xoom is heavier but that is due to a solid build quality which I love. It is also thicker and has wider screen (more appropriate for movies than iPad 2). Although Xoom has higher screen resolution, iPad 2 still has brighter screen and more vivid look.
Winner: iPad 2 by little bit
User Interface - Some people say Honeycomb is too complicated to use. Well maybe to those who has been using only iPad. For someone who use both, I have to say it is pretty simple to use. iOS is more intuitive and foolproof but there is much more detail/option on Xoom that many people will appreciate.
Multitasking - One button and it takes you to 5 most recent apps for easy switching on Xoom. iPad 2 sort of have multitasking but not a true multitasking experience.
Browser - If you use Chrome browser before, it is pretty much like that on Xoom. I prefer tabbed browsing over having to press button to open various windows on Safari on iOS device. You can type search directly on address bar like Chrome. You can sync bookmarks through your Google account. And yes I know there are other browser apps in the market. But for a stock browser app, Xoom has a better experience.
Apps - iPad is way ahead in term of apps and it is because original iPad had at least 1 year head start vs Xoom. Not to mention Honeycomb is unfinished and SDK was recently released. However, the tablet apps that are available on Android market (about 50 tablet apps), most of them work great and look awesome. Note that you can still use Android phone apps. The phone apps get stretched out but still keep the high resolution thus they don't look bad on the screen whatsoever. Give it time.
Winner: iPad 2
Customization - This is my favorite part about Android. You have open customization from themes, widgets to customized home screen and live wallpapers. iOS has none of that unless you jailbreak the device.
Notification - If you have iPhone and iPad, you know how notification can be quite painful. Xoom has better notification system that show up briefly in bottom right corner as you get new email, app update etc. You can press it to view all notifications or remove them. Additionally, there is also LED light blinking notification on top right of the device.
Hardware Performance - A5 vs Tegra 2 is still up for debate. Xoom seems to be as powerful as iPad 2 with exception of GPU (difference can be seen with gaming and screen brightness). iPad 2 has 512MB RAM vs 1 GB RAM on Xoom.
Camera/Video/Audio - Better camera and video on Xoom thanks to its higher spec vs VGA front and lower MP back camera on iPad 2. Camera app gets a little bit of time to get used to on Xoom. Speaker on Xoom is decent and could have been louder. I wish the volume rocker is more visible on the side. It feels like the button can become stuck into the device.
Also I use DVD Catalyst 4 to convert and transfer movie to Xoom. It can convert most file types as long as it's not DRM protected (like "Digital Copy"). The software is pretty neat, simple to use and the pictures look great. You have option to customize the pictures, add subtitles, and get rid of black bars.
Winner: Xoom OVERALL
Flash - Yes, Flash is still in beta but it works great so far with a little bit of lagging but barely noticeable. Pretty smooth most of the time. I tested it on sites that use Flash like Engadget (video), Honda (car animation), Vice Versa restaurant in NYC (heavy flash site), Myspace and bandcamp (with music player on artist page). iOS has no Flash AT ALL as we all know when it comes to browsing.
Winner: Xoom by a mile (until HTML5 is fully functional)
Battery Life - Xoom gets about 8 - 9 hours for heavy multitasking usage. Will have to test standby time but I expect it to be less than iPad 2. iPad 2 gets at least 10 hours of heavy usage.
Winner: iPad 2
GPS - Just want to mention that GPS and full Google maps navigation is available on Xoom wifi. While on iPad 2, it is only available if you get 3G+wifi version. And if you use Google maps app before on Android you know that it is more extensive than map on iOS (turn-by-turn voice navigation, layers etc). Since this is a Wifi version, THERE IS cache settings on Google Maps where you can prefetch map tiles by panning over the city/region while on Wifi (up to ?? MB. Need to verify the cap). Then you can navigate to desired destination just like normal with voice navigation. You cannot change the destination halfway obviously since there is no 3G connection. The other alternative will be to tether the device with 3G/4G smartphone.
Winner - Xoom
Nitpick - SD card slot on Xoom is still not enabled at this moment. Also, I wish Xoom can be charged through micro USB but I believe it may be because micro USB doesn't supply enough current to charge a tablet.
In the end, you may prefer one device over the other and it is to each his own. However, based on the overall factors I mentioned above, I prefer Xoom.
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