Quick Rant: Why I Love My Motorola Xoom Wifi Tablet And Don’t Plan On Upgrading Anytime Soon

 

What does a tablet mean to you? To most, it’s something that lets you have productivity on the go— emails, social communication, reading articles and e-books, etc. Of course consumers realize it’s possible to do all that with a notebook computer or netbook. However, it’s no secret that notebooks are losing in popularity because people understand in this day and age, “less is truly more”. You could have a netbook as well, but then some individuals would be graced with keys far too small for big hands like yours truly, a small screen that’s sometimes just slightly bigger than that of a smartphone or the fact netbooks just aren’t powerful enough even to do the bare minimum like check emails, do some online chatting, etc. Manufacturers have realized consumers want something that can bring the best of both worlds and that’s why tablets have been developed now.

While Apple’s iPad is leading the revolution, it’s obvious there are many other successful tablets. There are many of you who own a tablet now and then there are many of you who will be looking to purchase a tablet in the near-future. The great thing about Android tablets is that they are a direct reflection of the Android platform in general. The Android platform allows for a variety of manufacturers to make unique and “customized” versions of the Android devices which are best suited for each user’s tastes. While there are popular options such as the ASUS Transformer Prime, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and of course the record-selling Amazon Kindle Fire, there’s one tablet that has won my heart and will continue to win my heart for the next year or two (or three or four). That tablet is the Motorola Xoom Wifi tablet. Introduced at last year’s CES, the tablet is still literally the model for which other Android tablets are developed and shaped. I will share with you all my thoughts and experience of owning this tablet. Of course many of you will disagree and want to throw in your two cents, but I just want to give you all some insights as to what the device means to me and how it fits in my lifestyle.

 

Let’s start with the Xoom Wifi’s internal specs. The tablet features an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory and of course was the first tablet to feature pure, unmolested Honeycomb 3.0 (and now Android 4.0). You may laugh at the specs especially considering the Transformer Prime has a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, but the Xoom Wifi can still hold its own. As a person who’s not focused on benchmark scores, but rather a fluid and smooth-running tablet, the dual-core processor is more than sufficient for me. I can play my games such as Dead Space or Shine Runner and experience not a single hint of lag or delay. Furthermore, the device transitions between screens is smooth and switching between apps is almost instant. All this is achieved by a sweet-running, optimized and pure Android OS because it’s got Google’s direct backing in addition to Motorola’s quality hardware.

In fact, one of the more important draws and distinctions is the Xoom Wifi tablet being a developer device, placing it in the same category as Google’s Nexus line of phones. In case you didn’t hear or read before, the Xoom Wifi was the first tablet to feature Honeycomb 3.0— which was Google’s first tablet-optimized OS. That means the tablet plays a major role in not only how software for Android tablets should be modeled and developed, but it plays a huge role in the direction of the Android platform in general.

And that’s important because the Xoom Wifi features things that most tablets don’t such as an unlocked bootloader and software updates directly from Google instead of the OEMs. While I am not big on ROMing such as my colleagues here at Talk Android, I found I was able to easily flash a custom ROM or tweak my device as freely as possible, because of no resistance or opposition from an unnecessary bootloader. Moreover, I am one of a lucky few who not only has an official Ice Cream Sandwich build on my tablet, but on any Android device, period. Other premium tablets such as the Transformer Prime has a locked bootloader and of course a notorious number of tablets with major issues out there. And of course devices such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 are cursed with custom “enhancements” such as TouchWiz. My Xoom Wifi has had no known issues or unnecessary customizations.

Finally there are the accessories. Motorola has a great assortment of accessories such as the wireless Bluetooth keyboard that can pair with my tablet. And that’s important too because I can position my tablet to stand upright using my custom portfolio leather case and act as if I am working on a basic computer (save for a few missing features of course). Moreover, I can connect my device to a speaker dock which not only allows me to hear my music in high quality, but I also have the ability to view content whether it’s Hulu or YouTube in full HD on my TV screen. Other tablets like the Transformer Prime can be converted into an attractive notebook-style setup with a custom dock which is a big draw for most— but not me. I’m not looking for another notebook; If I wanted a notebook, I’d buy one. I just want a device that fits me and my needs, and the Xoom Wifi tablet does just that. Heck, I’d argue that consumers should buy something they need— whether there’s “hotter” devices out there or not.

And that’s the bigger picture I’m trying to get at with this brief rant folks. Sure my tablet is so last year. Sure my tablet is a bit of a chubby lumpkins. Sure my device is incredibly expensive. Despite all the drawbacks, I love my Xoom Wifi because it has features which will keep me from needing to upgrade anytime soon: great internals, it’s a developer-friendly device featuring direct updates and support from Google and specific accessories tailored to my needs. Some of you all may like custom UIs, a thinner or smaller form factor or something that’s as inexpensive as possible. Keep in mind that whatever you have or will end up getting, it’s got its own drawbacks and appeals. It’s just for me the positives of the device far outweigh the negatives.

» See more articles by Roy Alugbue


  • Anonymous

    Here here! It was my first. And I have no plans of changing. ICS on the Xoom is awesome. Honeycomb was too but ICS made it a brand new tablet. Thanks for the rant!

    • Roy Alugbue

      I couldn’t agree with you more baldypal. There’s a world of potential with the Xoom Wifi tablet and ICS.

      • Simon

        Am I doing something wrong? I have yet to get ICS in the UK, even though I regularly check for updates. Do I have to do it manually?

  • http://www.facebook.com/abetsi Albert Rabuyo

    Never thought like that in a while. Thanks for your insight. :)

    • Roy Alugbue

      Anytime Albert! :)

  • DanDroid

    I can kinda agree with you on your rant. I am personally using a galaxy tab 10.1 and I feel the same way as you in regards to not really having the desire to upgrade. It does everything I want it to do and without a hint of lag. I am running a custom ROM on it (which was stupidly simple to install while equally as easy to unlock the bootloader) probably the reason why i’m so happy with it and I have no problems with it. So to each their own, but I have no desire to upgrade either.

    • Roy Alugbue

      Hey DanDroid,

      Listen the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a great device. I’ve personally used it and I will say it’s one of the finest tablets in the game at this moment. Actually one of my buddies has that thing and he goes on and on about why he loves his tablet more after using a Xoom Wifi. He argues the weight was too heavy and (at the time) Honeycomb too complicated. Moreover, he has owned Samsung devices for quite some time now and is more than comfortable with TouchWiz. He’s got some valid points too. The tablet is a fatty, Honeycomb definitely has a learning curve and TouchWiz does simplify the Android experience.

      Going back to you, it’s awesome you were able to get a ROM on it. Which ROM are you using if I might ask? Is it a CM7 – CM9 ROM? As long as you are happy with it and have no desire to upgrade, more power to you. I just feel most other consumers should feel the same way as opposed to just rushing out to get the supposedly “latest and greatest” devices. They may find their current devices may have more than one trick up its sleeve and may have some surprising capabilities as you found by unlocking the bootloader and running the custom ROM.

  • http://twitter.com/DaPoets Amir McK.

    I have said all this time and again. I love the Xoom and it just keeps making me smile.

    • Roy Alugbue

      Hah I know what you mean Amir! Something about that thing just gets you all warm and tickled inside, doesn’t it?!

  • Jcold1

    Yeah, I’m with you. Especially with the ICS update, which significantly bumped the responsiveness along with all the other ICS goodies like the roboto font and google apps polish, I think ‘updating’ to a new tablet would be an expensive disappointment. I was prepared to be slightly underwhelmed by ICS, but it’s amazing, and getting this very capable platform on what will be the future base of android for some time should ensure the xoom will continue to be eminently usable for some time.

    • Roy Alugbue

      I completely agree Jcold1. Honeycomb seemed innovative and awesome when I first used it…. especially compared to Gingerbread 2.3 on my Atrix 4G. But to me, ICS and the Xoom Wifi were made for one another. Roboto font is definitely cool as heck and the overall layout and UI of it clearly indicates Android is evolving in the right direction.

  • Jcold1

    Yeah, I’m with you. Especially with the ICS update, which significantly bumped the responsiveness along with all the other ICS goodies like the roboto font and google apps polish, I think ‘updating’ to a new tablet would be an expensive disappointment. I was prepared to be slightly underwhelmed by ICS, but it’s amazing, and getting this very capable platform on what will be the future base of android for some time should ensure the xoom will continue to be eminently usable for some time.

  • Guest

    Your post comes off as quite defensive, even apologetic. I tried to love my Xoom, but that quickly faded. There’s a reason why it failed miserably in the market, and why every iPad competitor except the Nook and Fire can’t gain any significant traction. As much as we may hate to admit it, the iOS experience, and the iPad hardware (especially v2, and I can only imagine what v3 will have in store) is the standard by which all are judged. Unless the Android tablet costs half the price (Nook and Fire) they have been doomed from the start.

    I had high hopes for the Xoom, and for the evolution of Android, but as we all saw last week when Apple released their earnings report, the iOS platform is still the juggernaut.

    • Roy Alugbue

      My post isn’t intended to come off as defensive at all. I’m just sharing my perspective of what its like owning the tablet. Your experience hasn’t been the same as my experience— nor would I expect it to be. Different products fit for different lifestyles. I can easily argue iOS and the iPad experience is one the best out there.

      I’ve personally owned an iPhone and iPad and loved the nature of the platforms. Keep in mind though that while the iPad has some great internals and an awesome design, aside from the graphics department and battery life, the iPad is not really different than the Xoom. And again, while yes there have been many Android tablet flops, there have been a number of successes as well.

      Oh and we acknowledge and respect Apple’s success here at TA. But don’t forget about the insane growth of the Android platform as well and even Google’s own earnings report.

  • David

    I also purchased the Xoom, but I purchased the 4G model, which remained a 3G model 6 months longer than expected. Still, it was a great device and served me well.
    I later purchased the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and was quick to regret it. What makes the Galaxy Tab so popular is beyond me. Between poor manufacturing, bubbles under the glass that I was told are normal but would disappear after a while (they never did), and Android 3.1 which struggled to maintain connectivity with my ActiveSync accounts I was looking for a replacement in short order.
    I recently purchased the Xyboard and love it. Yes, it comes with Blur. But it’s not overwhelming, though it does slow the upgrade process. The Xyboard is more responsive than either my Xoom or Galaxy Tab, has plenty of memory on-board, and is thinner and lighter than the Xoom. All in all my favorite tablet. So far.  :)

  • sepia66

    Very good article and it’s exactly how I feel with ICS on Xoom. Sometimes going through forums you hear only grumbling and doom and gloom. But I recommend actually purchasing one and trying it to confirm what Roy is telling us.

  • sepia66

    Very good article and it’s exactly how I feel with ICS on Xoom. Sometimes going through forums you hear only grumbling and doom and gloom. But I recommend actually purchasing one and trying it to confirm what Roy is telling us.

  • Ed C

    Agree 100% Roy! I love my Xoom Wi-Fi and don’t have upgrade plans. I think the only thing that could change my mind right now would be a Google-made tablet.

  • Simon

    Agree, just wish I could have ICS on mine. I bought mine the first day it was released here in the UK and use it all the time. I very rarely use my laptop anymore. I love my Xoom. Admittedly I am considering switching to a Transformer Prime but I am in no urgency to do so. The Xoom is a great tablet, does everything I could hope it would. Yes it is overweight and chunky, but I have never thought it to be flimsy or cheap at any point, I’ve even dropped it and the only damage obtained was a small dent on the but of black plastic where the on/off switch is, but that’s small considering the fall. it is a let down that I am yet to receive ICS on it after all this time, I often hit the “check for updates” tab in hope it tells me there is one…but as of yet I’ve not been so lucky. I can but hope…in the meantime, I will probably stick with it, I may take the plunge for the Transformer Prime, but I will wait a little while yet.

  • Matthew James Chambers

    I agree with you 100% . I love my Xoom 1 I have owned it for about a year now and I work on it constantly. It has been nothing but a great companion to me . My wife has a iPad 2 and this is a good device that fits her usage style. People should always review what tablets are out there because like you said certain devices may suit a person better. Unfortunately most people end up going out and buying what’s winning popularity contests and miss out on a better personal tablet experience.