On one hand, we have the Motorola XOOM that’s backed with the overhauled Android 3.0 Honeycomb experience, and bevy of next-generation hardware to keep it up with the times for a while. And of course, there is the iPad 2, which uniquely modified our perception with its intricate razor thin profile – while still making some moderate improvements over its predecessor. Precisely on schedule, these two juggernauts in the tablet arena will undoubtedly capture the attention of the world right now, but which one will keep you interested in the long run?
Unsurprisingly, the iPad 2 obliterates all prior notions of what tablet design should follow since it literally blew off the front cover with its amazingly thin razor profile. Even though we might think that the Motorola XOOM’s 0.50” thickness is respectable, the 0.34” thickness of the iPad 2 makes for an instant jaw dropping realization – especially when Apple touts that its battery life is unchanged. Even more for the iPad 2, we prefer its brushed aluminum casing seeing that it’s better equipped at repelling scratches, debris, and fingerprints. Unfortunately for the XOOM, its metallic rear casing is awfully prone to retaining dirt and is rather difficult to clean as well. Give any individual a choice between the two, the attention grabber easily goes to the iPad 2 nine out of ten times.
The Apple iPad 2 (left) is thinner than the Motorola XOOM (right)
Barely considered a major difference, the Motorola XOOM sports the larger of the two screens with its sizeable 10.1” LCD display versus the 9.7” IPS display of the iPad 2. Even though the XOOM boasts a higher resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, it doesn’t drastically offer any better clarity or detail over the iPad 2’s resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. However, it’s obvious that the iPad 2 produces richer looking colors since darker colors, like black, appear to look smokey in tone on the XOOM. Moreover, the viewing angles on the iPad 2 are superb which make it supremely better to view in outdoor settings. Lastly, the oleophobic coating on the iPad 2’s display makes it very easy to clean versus the XOOM.
In our experience, there are rare instances when we would accidentally press the virtual buttons of the Motorola XOOM. Still, the springy home button of the iPad 2 soundly eliminates any hint of potentially pressing it by accident.
Placed in a familiar location, the dedicated power button of the iPad 2 still retains that prominence which is equally complemented by its solid tactile feel. Uncharacteristically, the XOOM’s recessed power button is located in the back of the tablet, however, it perfectly lines up with our index finger as we hold it in landscape.
Without a doubt, the volume rocker of the iPad 2 is exponentially better than the tiny and rather stiff felling volume buttons with the XOOM. In addition to that, we find the silence switch of the iPad 2 to come in handy for quickly turning off its speaker.
Since the iPad 2 carries over the same single speaker, it’s nice to see that the XOOM employs two speakers, left and right, which enables it to deliver stereo sound. However, the speaker grill with the iPad 2 is placed more at an angle which aids it in better dispersing audio.
And if you want to easily share content, you’ll probably adore the list of traditional ports on the Motorola XOOM – like its microUSB and microHDMI ports. Specifically, you can output the XOOM’s display to your high-definition television by simply connecting it with an HDMI cable. But if you want to do the same thing with the iPad 2, you’ll need to purchase its optional digital HDMI adapter that snaps into the proprietary 30-pin port.
The Apple iPad 2 (top) and the Motorola XOOM (bottom)
When it comes down to cameras, the XOOM manhandles the iPad 2 in this category since it features a front-facing 2.0-megapixel camera and a rear 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with dual-LED flash. Comparing it to the iPad 2’s paltry 0.3-megapixel front facing camera and less than 0.7-megapixel rear camera, it’s already giving away a good indication as to which one will provide the better quality.
On the front
On the back
The backs of the tablets
Cameras of the Apple iPad 2 (top) and the Motorola XOOM (bottom)
Despite not having easy access to their batteries, it’s nice to see that you can increase the storage capacity of the XOOM thanks to its microSD card slot. At the same time, it enables you to quickly share content – whereas on the iPad 2, you’ll need to connect its USB cable to get things transferred.
The sides of the Apple iPad 2 (top) and the Motorola XOOM (bottom)
Finally, the XOOM still has one ace up its sleeve that has yet to show itself that will give it faster data speeds than the iPad 2. Down the road, the XOOM will be retrofitted with a 4G LTE modem that will provide next-generation data speeds – which will outperform the 3G speeds found with the iPad 2.