Motorola Xoom Media Edition – More Portable Than Ever

2 Xoom tablets showing Android 3.2 homescreens

Review of the Motorola Xoom Media Edition

Motorola have introduced a new Xoom tablet but with a different spin, the Motorola Xoom Media Edition is a lightweight version of the original Xoom and comes with an 8.2-inch screen. Originally available in a 10.1-inch screen version, this new Motorola Xoom provides the same great features as its predecessor in a much more portable format.

Strengths

  • Performance – The Motorola Xoom Media Edition has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, making it fast for most tasks. This is a media edition, so it’s expected it will be able to handle any media-related task you give it, including heavy-duty gaming and movie watching. The processor is great for day-to-day tasks, but you might be disappointed if you’re expecting great things from the ‘media’ part of the Motorola Xoom Media Edition.
  • Weight – The Motorola Xoom Media Edition weighs in at a mere 388 grams. This is especially important for those planning to take their Motorola Xoom everywhere with them.
  • Because of its size, your hand won’t get tired as quickly as it does with other tablets, making it ideal for extended media use – watching movies or reading books. Its size also makes it easier to carry around in a briefcase or purse—perfect for taking on vacation or your next business trip.
  • Build – The Xoom is well built and feels solid and stylish in the hand. The rubber edging also helps protect against daily wear and tear. While it isn’t completely waterproof, the occasional raindrop or wine splash won’t damage the tablet, as long as spills are cleaned off quickly. The rubber also helps protect it against bangs and scrapes.
  • Touchscreen – The Motorola Xoom Media Edition has a 1280 X 800 resolution with a sharp, clear display. It has a light responsive screen, so you’ll never have to worry about adjusting brightness to see better when you’re outdoors or in a dimly lit room. The screen is bright and vivid, with rich colors, making video-watching and gaming enjoyable experiences. Viewing angles are excellent so you can still clearly see what’s on the tablet even when you’re looking at it from a more acute angle – great if you’re sharing the tablet with friends.
  • Cameras – the Motorola Xoom includes a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera to help make Skyping and other forms of video chat a breeze. The rear-facing 5 megapixel camera includes a flash, helping you illuminate darker rooms to get the best pictures.
  • Ports – The micro-USB is provided for charging, and to attach the Xoom to a PC to swap files on and off the tablet.  The micro-HDMI port allows you to output your videos and photos to any device that has an HDMI in, including your television set. Download a movie onto your Xoom and watch it on your TV later for convenience. The tablet supports full high-definition video playback at 1080p.
  • Pricing – The Motorola Xoom Media Edition is also lighter on your wallet. At around £300, the price is lower than the iPad, as well as the 10.1-inch Motorola Xoom.
  • Assisted GPS – Used in conjunction with a Wi-Fi signal this feature means you can find your location for use in mapping applications.
  • Operating System – It ships with the Android 3.2 operating system (Android Honeycomb), the full suite of Google apps (Google Maps, Google Talk, Google eBooks, and more), Evernote for storing your notes, Zinio for magazine reading, Dropbox for online storage, QuickOffice HD for reading and editing Microsoft Office-type documents, Kindle for eBooks, Dijit for controlling your TV and audio visual equipment from the tablet and the Android Music Player.

Widgets on the home screen of a Moto Xoom ME tablet

Weaknesses

  • Battery Life – One factor that helps reduce Motorola Xoom’s weight is the battery. This release offers a substantially lighter battery—half the size of its predecessor. Unfortunately, this also means a shorter battery life. Motorola quotes a life of six hours when browsing the internet using Wi-Fi, it’s a lot less if you’re watching battery intensive video. The 10.1 inch Motorola Xoom 2 boasted a ten-hour battery life when it was released late last year.
  • Usability – A device that markets itself as being geared toward media should make it easier for users to actually watch a movie. In order to get a movie onto your tablet, you must first connect the tablet to your computer—a problem for those intending to use the tablet as their sole computer. To supplement the meagre 16GB of storage, you can use the Motorola MotoCast application included – MotoCast allows you to transfer and stream video, photos and music from your PC to your tablet. But even before you hook the Xoom up, you’ll have to load Motorola MotoCast on your PC. Once you’ve gone through all the installation, to transfer files, you’ll be able to drag and drop your videos from your computer onto your device. All-in-all it’s just not the simple user experience you want with a tablet. There is the option to use Google Play on the tablet to download movie rentals but the selection is somewhat limited.
  • The flip side of having to go through Motocast, however, is the fact that Motocast can be set up as a server on your home PC, allowing you to access your content on the road. All you have to do is leave your home computer on and all your content will be available, wherever you are.
  • Media Player – After you’ve disconnected your Xoom and are ready to start watching movies, you’ll find another annoyance. Motorola hasn’t included a separate video player on its Xoom Media Edition, meaning your videos will be mixed in with all your other media. This disorganization can be a problem for those purchasing the device with plans to watch movies, listen to music, and view photos on the device.
  • Taking Photos & Video – If you’re interested in finding a tablet that can double as your camera, you will be disappointed with this model. The Xoom includes a 5.0 megapixel camera with an LED flash, but the quality of pictures is comparable to that of pictures taken with other tablets—in other words, mediocre. It’s great if you want to occasionally be able to take a picture to share with friends, but don’t toss your old camera aside just yet.
  • Operating System – With the recent release of Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, consumers may be disappointed to learn the Motorola Xoom Media Edition comes with Honeycomb 3.2. Honeycomb is a good operating system in its own right, but consumers looking for the latest and greatest might be forced to hope for a software update that takes months to come, if ever. As mentioned in previous reviews too, Android is just not as slick as iOS on the Apple iPad and the range of apps, games, video and other content is not as abundant.
  • Expansion Options – Another negative is the tablet’s lack of expansion slots. Since there is no space to insert a 3G card or memory card, users are stuck with Wi-Fi only and a maximum of 16GB internal storage. This could be a problem for those wanting to take their tablet on the road and limits the space you can use for storing films. Plus, although Motorola promises surround sound, the speaker puts out about the same amount of sound as any other tablet. However, you’re likely to use your headphones if you’re watching a movie or listening to music, anyway.
  • Touchscreen -  The touchscreen smudges easily. Some users have also reported a slight bleed around the edges, only noticeable when watching movies in the dark, but this is something that shouldn’t be happening on a premium tablet.
  • While the Motorola Xoom Media Edition’s smaller screen makes it easier to carry around with you, if you plan to use it to watch movies or read books, it might be worth it to invest in a model with a larger screen. The smaller screen can make web browsing a challenge, as well.

Dijit app is used on Motorola Xoom Media Edition to control TV

Review Summary

Overall, the Motorola Xoom Media Edition is a good option for those looking for a tablet that travels well, while still packing the full power of Motorola’s Xoom tablet line. While the smaller size isn’t for everyone, it’s a comfortable fit for consumers looking for a compromise between the screen real estate of a tablet, without the cramped space of a smartphone.

However, there is much room for improvement and if you really want a tablet for your media then you’ll probably want a larger screen for movies, more internal memory for storage, a longer battery life and the latest version of Android.

 

To find out more, check out the full reviews available at these UK tech websites: TechRadar, CNET, PCPro and ExpertReviews. If you want to check the latest price and full specification here.

 

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