Motorola Xoom vs. Apple iPad 2: 10 Reasons to Pick Xoom

xoom vs ipad

Apple’s iPad 2, which was announced in a special event March 2, is expected to hit store shelves March 11. When it does, customers will have the unenviable task of choosing either Apple’s latest tablet or the many other tablets from competing manufacturers that are vying for their hard-earned cash. Although last year, the decision to choose the iPad was an easy one, in 2011, it’s not as easy as one thinks.

That’s especially true if customers decide to opt for either the iPad 2 or the Motorola Xoom. The former is likely the front runner, given its predecessor’s success, but the Xoom is also a fine option. It delivers a number of solid features that consumers would be quite happy with. Even better, it does so at a price that’s quite competitive.

But for those still on the fence, let’s just make it easy: opt for the Motorola Xoom.

Yes, the iPad 2 looks like a nice device on paper, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it can live up the appeal of the Xoom. The average consumer could do worse than to pick up Motorola’s tablet over Apple’s.

Read on to find out why:

1. The slightly larger display

It might be a few factions of an inch difference, but it’s important for consumers to consider that the Motorola Xoom has a slightly larger display than Apple’s iPad. The Xoom features a 10.1-inch screen, while the iPad comes with a 9.7-inch display. On paper, that might not seem like much. But when one holds the devices in their hands and compares them, it’s quite noticeable. The extra screen real estate comes in handy when viewing video or surfing the Web. Keep that in mind.

2. Upgrade to 4G

Motorola’s Xoom currently only offers customers the ability to connect to Verizon’s 3G network when they’re away from home. However, Motorola Mobility has said that it will offer a free upgrade to 4G in the coming months. After that upgrade is in place, customers will be able to connect to Verizon’s ultra-high-speed network. Apple iPad 2 owners, on the other hand, won’t have that luxury. While Xoom owners will be surfing the Web at ultra-high speed, iPad 2 customers will be stuck on 3G.

3. Android 3.0 Honeycomb is promising

When Apple CEO Steve Jobs showed off the iPad 2 March 2, he said that the platform would come with iOS 4.3, an updated version of the mobile-operating system Apple launched last year. The Xoom, on the other hand, ships with Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb. That platform, which was unveiled this year, comes with a number of important upgrades, including a reworked design, much better browsing, improved multitasking, and several other features. Those who have gotten their hands on the platform say it’s a sizable upgrade over Android 2.2. Due to Google’s desire to make the operating system more desktop-like in its functionality, iOS 4.3 might look rather obsolete next to it.

4. Don’t believe the apps hype

Apple was quick to point out at its March 2 event that it has 65,000 iPad applications available to customers. The company said that the Android Market currently has about 100 applications available to tablet owners. However, Apple failed to point out that more and more developers are moving to Android to bring their applications to tablets. Over time, the discrepancy in mobile applications won’t be nearly as great as Apple would like users to believe. It’s a problem now, but it won’t be a major issue by the end of the year.

5. The superior browsing experience

There’s no comparing the browsing experience on the Motorola Xoom to that of the iPad 2. Apple’s iPad 2 comes with the same, basic Mobile Safari experience customers have grown accustomed to. Apple’s iOS 4.3 improves browsing a little by increasing surfing efficiency, but it does nothing to answer the vastly improved Chrome browser in Honeycomb. Not only is surfing much faster than in previous versions of the software, but the software has real tabbed browsing, like users would find on the desktop. It also has Google’s Incognito Mode, auto-fill options, and many other services typically found in desktops. Simply put, it’s the best mobile-browsing experience on the market.

6. Where’s the advantage?

A quick glance at the basic specs of both the Xoom and the iPad 2 reveals no sizable advantages for Apple. Both devices come with a dual-core processor, have dual cameras, and offer WiFi and 3G connectivity. Both platforms record video, snap photos and support video conferencing. In other words, the key features are basically the same. The iPad 2’s most important advantage might simply be that it comes from Apple.

7. The price is right

Much has been made about the price of the Motorola Xoom. Those who support Apple products say that Motorola’s option, which starts at $799 with no contract, is quite expensive, considering the iPad 2 starts at $499 with WiFi and $629 for WiFi and 3G. But what those folks seem to forget is that the most relevant competitor to the Xoom, the iPad 2 featuring 32GB of storage and 3G connectivity, goes for $729. Moreover, those who are fine with entering into a two-year contract with Verizon can pay just $599.99 for the Xoom. As one can see, the Xoom’s pricing is right where it should be.

8. The battery consideration

Since tablets are mobile devices, battery life matters quite a bit. Although Steve Jobs was quick to tout the iPad 2’s battery life, it’s important to note that the Xoom features up to 10 hours of life surfing the Web over WiFi and up to nine hours on 3G. The iPad 2 has 10 hours of battery life over WiFi and nine hours of battery life on 3G. So, if battery life matters, Apple’s iPad 2 doesn’t seem to hold an advantage.

9. The extra ports matter

The Xoom comes with an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) port and USB port for customers to pump video out of the device, connect other devices and more. The iPad 2, on the other hand, lacks those ports. Apple said that it will sell an HDMI-out adapter, but that costs customers an additional fee that they shouldn’t have to pay. After all, considering how much users are spending on a new tablet, wouldn’t an HDMI out and USB port be expected?

10. The mobility factor isn’t major

It’s important to note that the iPad 2 is both thinner and lighter than the Motorola Xoom. Since tablets are mobile devices, that might matter to some folks. But it probably shouldn’t matter as much as they think. The differences aren’t major. For most customers, the Xoom will be quite easy to carry around in a bag or purse. Would it be nice if it had a slightly smaller footprint and less heft to it? Sure. But it’s not enough of a problem to be a deal-breaker. And it certainly isn’t enough of a problem that customers should ignore its other benefits and opt for the iPad 2.



4 thoughts on “Motorola Xoom vs. Apple iPad 2: 10 Reasons to Pick Xoom

  1. How about telling that ipad has IPS panel while Xoom has cheap TN panel.
    For a device which is about sharing content and viewing from all sort of different positions and viewing angles I think this is major difference.

    iPad screen area is 45.16 inches² while Xoom screen area is 45.85 inches² so they are basicly the same.

    Having greater resolution on the same area means smaller letter which might be bad thing for many.
    If we take into considiration that normal resolution for 19″ monitor is 1280×1024 having similar resolution on 10″ display very little letters

  2. I am a big fan of the android operating system….with that said I own both IOS4 and androids.The apple product is lacking in many areas,however customer loyalty is high,and they did have it first,so they have a head start,and that shows up in the way it operates,smooth and glitch free out of the box,of course its also boring and limited as far as customization,lack of flash,and ports…..If you go android,you cant beat Motorola’s products,they are one of the few who builds things as good as apple.However I would expect glitches,and teething pains,that will eventually be fixed,but for 800 dollars should you have to wait for apps,android 3.0,and flash? If your willing to wait,Id say you wont be dissapointed.I will be waiting to buy,as I feel the android tablets are in there infancy and there will be big improvements coming,the xoom will likely be outdated faster than the ipad….

  3. I think the main thing to remember here is the Android is still a Baby! Of course Apple is doing it “right” because they have been in the Tablet race longer. I’ll admit, I wanted an iPad for the longest time. I just so happened to be with my mom when she upgraded her phones, and got the chance to play with the Galaxy Tab. The Sales guy cut me one heck of a deal on it, but then the Xoom came out and they let me exchange the Tab for the Xoom. There is always going to be the debate of “Apple is better, no Android is better” kinda like “Ford vs. Chevy”.

    I personally like the Xoom because of the customization aspect. I don’t know how many times I’ve wished that I could take an icon off my home screens on my iPod Touch. (I don’t have any stocks, so why would I need to look at that!) Android is still up and coming. We can see that in the phones that are slated to come out. Let alone the Android Tabs that are on the horizon. It would just be nice if the rest of the human world could realize this as well. I have a feeling the Apple vs. Android debate will go on to outlive those of us on this site.

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