Sci-Gal AJ Takes the Moto Xoom Plunge!:
Why a Xoom and not the new iPad 2? Simple. I hate Apple. I have never spent a dime on one of their products. I realize, of course, that not everyone shares my views on Apple, and if I didn’t have them myself, the $499 iPad 2 would be mighty tempting. But, I wanted a tablet. I wanted something that would have a future, and not be outdated in 6 months (please?!), and I wanted an Android. So here we go…
I’ve been rocking my OG Moto Droid for 15 months. I love that thing. I spend every waking hour with it not more than 10 feet away from me. I know that I will probably shed a tear or two when I finally get around to upgrading to a new phone. I wanted to love my new tablet as much as that phone. So what could be better than buying another Motorola product with a spiffy new Honeycomb Android OS? It wasn’t easy to find a store that had one in stock (is it that popular, or did they not ship many out?), but I finally found a Best Buy that had a couple under lock & key. The cashier was jealous. The manager was jealous. They didn’t even bust my balls about skipping the Verizon contract (this was before the Wifi version was announced, so yes, I paid the full $799). I asked the manager why he didn’t just buy an iPad if he wanted a tablet so bad…he scoffed, ‘That’s kid stuff’. OK, man after my own heart! I raced home, plugged it in, and took it for a test drive.
The first thing I noticed is how heavy it is. I have a 3rd Gen Kindle, and that thing is light as a feather. Of course, I don’t expect the Xoom to be that light weight, but it was not very comfortable to hold up for long periods of time. Holding it up like my Kindle was not an option. Now I just lean it against my cat’s back as he’s sitting on my lap and I’m good to go.
Onto the screen: it’s gorgeous. Big, bright, thick. Easy to read, and very smooth under my touch. I didn’t buy a screen protector for it, because it’s made out of Gorilla Glass, so I don’t think it needs it. It feels like you could drive over it with your car and it would be OK (note: don’t try this at home). While surfing the web, I found it very easy to ‘pinch to zoom’ instantly to any size, and the text is bright and clear as day. My old eyes absolutely love this feature.
One major complaint I’ve read is that there are 6 billion apps for the iPad and only 12 for the Xoom. While it’s true that there are perhaps 40-50 apps that are ‘Tablet Ready’, I found that all the apps I have on my phone work perfectly fine on the Xoom. In fact, Google automatically ported over a couple of live wallpapers from my phone and they look great. The apps that ARE upgraded for Honeycomb are fantastic. I love the CNN app/widget, which is built for the larger screen. I also love Weatherbug, Grocery IQ, Google Body and USA Today. The Google Android Market highlights the Tab-ready apps for each category, although I wish they would have a section for new ones to check each week to make it easier to find them.
I didn’t think I’d need the 32 gigs of space, but after uploading every single song I own onto it, and still having 19 gigs leftover, I’m pretty happy with it. Since I expect to have this for a (relatively) long time, the extra space will be used with more pictures, videos, music, apps, etc. I like having MORE space than I need, and when it’s updated to take a 32 gig SD card, I’ll never run out of space for all the things I want to keep on it. So far, I’ve only taken a few pictures, and one video, of my cat. The pictures look nice, but it’s much more awkward taking pictures with a big tablet instead of a phone. The music sounds good, but the speakers are on the back, so if you have it on your lap, it sounds muffled.
A couple more cons: the keyboard isn’t great, and I can’t find a good one in the market. I have the Shapewriter keyboard on my phone but it’s not longer available in the Market. Bummer. Also, the only ‘official’ bag/case for it (made by Motorola) gets two stars on Amazon, and looks like a cheap piece of junk. Do a search for iPad cases on Amazon, and you find tons of them, in every color and fabric imaginable. Search for the Xoom and…not so much. The one I bought had a picture of it holding an OLD Kindle. So it wasn’t even made for the Xoom (it’s a tad bit too big, but it serves its purpose).
It’s my sincere hope that with the Wifi version coming out at a cheaper price, people who were on the fence will dive in and give it a try. The Xoom was not something that I NEEDED, but it has already replaced my laptop (I haven’t opened it once since I bought the Xoom), and I’m finding more uses and apps for it every day. If it’s even half as useful as my phone, it will be well worth it.