Motorola Xoom 2 Review: It's the updated version of the brand's original Android tablet, but does the inclusion of Honeycomb offer much improvement?
Update: Check out our Motorola Xoom 2 and Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition video (above).
Having entered the tablet race earlier this year with the original Motorola Xoom, the first device to run Google’s tablet-centric Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS, Motorola is back and once again looking to challenge the Apple iPad 2 with a slimmer, speedier, still slightly disappointing offering in the form of the Motorola Xoom 2.
Whilst some hardcore Android fans will be put out by the Xoom 2 being compared with Apple’s market leading tablet, the general consumer is likely to pit the Gingerbread tab against the Apple iPad 2 and we are sad to say it doesn’t fare well for the second-generation Android offering and doesn't offer enough to make it into our list of the best tablets to buy.
Motorola Xoom 2: Design
Whilst the Motorola Xoom 2 is visibly more attractive than its predecessor with angular cornering giving it a unique appearance, the 10.1-inch device still lacks that added spark that would see it become as eye catching as rivals such as the Sony Tablet S.
Despite dropping more than 100 grams in weight from its original form the Xoom 2 still manages to feel heavy and slightly alien within the hand. Due to its tiny 8.8mm thickness, 10.1-inch form and slanted edges it is difficult to find a stable hold on the Android device with the added heft unevenly distributed throughout the revamped design giving it an awkward, almost cumbersome presence.
Motorola Xoom 2: Features
Offering a sleek and seamless browsing experience the Xoom 2's web credentials are without fault. Whilst the well-spaced and user friendly touch keyboard allows for simple URL input, the expansive display provides crisp images and bright, vibrant and detailed representation of images.
Keeping the far from cheap tablet protected against the rigours of daily life, the maker has fitted the device not only with Corning Gorilla Glass but the same splash-guard nano technology that protects the new Motorola RAZR against spills.
Put to the test, the water repelling tech works well allowing modest amounts of liquid to be removed with no lasting damage or trace.
Whilst the inclusion of rear-mounted cameras on tablets is a move still fraught with questions of use and purpose, Motorola has plumped up the Xoom 2’s back snapper to a 5-megapixel offering. Less than convincing, the camera boasts a slow shutter with issues around washed out colours and less than crisp edges.
Motorola Xoom 2: Performance
Jumping to a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM for its second iteration the Motorola Xoom 2 tablet is zippy in the areas where it matters, skipping back and forth between menus with ease, opening and running a variety of apps with little trouble. Elsewhere, however, the device is farcically sluggish.
Turning the tablet between portrait and landscape modes is the starting action for a prolonged delay that troubles the two second barrier before finally alerting the on screen content to follow suit.
Elsewhere whilst the built-in speaker is capable of pumping out audio of reasonable quality and volume, the 3.5mm audio port caused a number of issues repeatedly refusing to acknowledge the presence of headphones and continuing to offer audio externally.
Motorola Xoom 2: Verdict
More of a spruce than the dramatic overhaul needed to bring the Xoom in line with the market leader, the Motorola Xoom 2 is a strong performer across most areas but in no way sets the world, or user experience, on fire.
A somewhat strange release from brand, the 1.2GHz dual-core Honeycomb tablet that is the Motorola Xoom 2 is likely to be eclipsed in terms of both specs and performance in the coming weeks with CES 2012 and MWC 2012 both tipped to see a fleet of new high-end tabs from the likes of HTC, Samsung and of course the rumoured March arrival of the Apple iPad 3.