Motorola advertises that the Xoom can fully charge in half the time of its leading competitor, requiring only 3.5 hours to charge completely. I will say that the Xoom does indeed charge very quickly, but the quick charging comes at a price.

The iPad charges over USB, although on the iPad end it’s exposed as a standard Apple dock connector. Connect it to a USB port that supports the battery charging spec and you’ll be able to charge the iPad slowly, and only when locked. Otherwise you’ll need to rely on the Apple supplied 10W power adapter. The benefit to this finicky approach is that you only need to carry one cable to sync and charge your device. Obviously it’d be even better if the cable in question were a standard micro USB but presumably if you’re an iPad/iPhone owner you’ve got at least some Apple dock cables laying around.

Motorola went a different route. There’s a standard micro USB port on the Xoom but it can’t be used for charging, only for data. Opposite the micro USB port is a very tiny power connector for the bundled 18W power adapter. When charging an empty battery the power adapter will draw up to 16.5W to help charge the Xoom as quickly as possible. The downside is obvious - you have to carry a much larger charging apparatus than just a cable with the Xoom.

I’m also concerned about the connector tip, it’s extremely tiny and is very flimsy (not to mention non-standard). I just worry about breaking it as it will require a completely new power adapter as a replacement.

The Display

I’ve got some good news and bad news. The good news is that the 1280 x 800 resolution on the Xoom’s 10.1-inch display is very nice. While I’m not sure that we’ve figured out the perfect tablet form factor/display resolution just yet, I will say that I hope it’s not 1024 x 768. The move to 1280 x 800 is at least a step in the right direction.

Display Brightness

Display Brightness

Display Contrast

The bad news is the screen isn’t all that impressive. On my sample I measured a peak brightness of 356 nits and a black level of ~0.48 nits, resulting in a 750:1 contrast ratio. This puts the Xoom near the iPad in terms of brightness and lower contrast. In practice the lower contrast ratio is noticeable:

Motorola Xoom (left) vs. Apple iPad (right)

Motorola Xoom (left) vs. Apple iPad (right)

In practice the lower contrast ratio makes the Xoom almost completely unusable in daylight. If you can shadow the screen with your head it’s less of a problem but it’s still a pain to use outdoors in the daylight particularly if you’re staring at a dark colored background. Web pages and the email apps are easier thanks to their white background.

Motorola Xoom (front) vs. Apple iPad (back)

The iPad in particular has better color reproduction at off-center viewing angles. Alone, the Xoom looks acceptable. Not great, but not horrible either.

Finger prints and glare are issues on the Xoom display just like they were on the iPad’s display. You’re going to want to carry around a microfiber cloth with you at all times.

The Hardware Welcome to Honeycomb
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  • GotThumbs - Friday, March 18, 2011 - link

    Hold out a little longer...599 WIFI only coming March 27th. Hope you didn't buy the Archos yet. Early adopters always pay more $$$. If you just wait a little while...the prices always adjust after buying slows down at higher price. Thats just the economics of it. Apple is able to sell at higher prices, so why would they lower them.
  • GotThumbs - Friday, March 18, 2011 - link

    Coming out Mrch 27th. Hold on a little longer for a better tablet. My boss offered to buy me the new IPAD2 the other day. I told him 'no thanks, its either an ADAM or a Xoom or nothing" The ADAM is still developing their production and having growing pains.....the product is excellent and will be a great addition to the tablet market when it arrives in stores...for now...its Xoom. Now with the WIFI version coming will boost sales for those consumers who did not want the 3g option and high cost.
  • Android_Blogger - Monday, March 21, 2011 - link

    Apparantly, the 3G version costs 600 GBP in the UK at least. Source: <a href="">UK Xoom Tablet blog</a>
  • Android_Blogger - Monday, March 21, 2011 - link
  • spambonk - Sunday, April 10, 2011 - link

    What I don't get are the specs on Amazon which says this device also has a 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile inside??? What, it has both a tegra and a intel core 2??? What is this madness.
  • fentleson - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    Better screens. Resolution isnt as important as screen quality.
  • vtx1300 - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    HD front and rear cameras - USB2/3, GigE and E-SATA connections and a Free (commercial sponsored?) Data Plan
  • Dixon Butz - Sunday, April 17, 2011 - link

    I want to see a slide out keyboard. Or a mini removable keyboard.
  • 911dude - Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - link

    I'm wondering about the effect that the pending ATT buyout of T-Mobile will have on the future of Xoom.
  • ANDROCELES - Friday, April 22, 2011 - link


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