Final Words

I have to say, this is a lot better than I expected. Honeycomb feels a lot like Google’s take on iOS without sacrificing any of what makes Android unique. It’s a healthy combination of the appliance-like iOS without giving up any of the user facing customization & flexibility that Android users love. If you’re a die hard iOS user then I don’t think Honeycomb will tempt you, but if you’re undecided or you can appreciate both then Honeycomb may actually push you over towards Google.

I’m impressed with what Google has done with the UI. It’s a definite modernization of what Android is all about. There are elements of the Android UI we’re used to within Honeycomb but they aren’t all that prevalent at the surface. This looks and feels like a brand new OS for Google.

Am I more likely to use the Xoom than the iPad? Yes. The hardware is faster but more importantly, the software is better suited for multitasking. I’m a bigger fan of Honeycomb’s multitasking UI & notification system compared to the double-tap-home and passive notifications you get with the iPad and iOS. I can be more productive with the Xoom than I can be with the iPad as a result. I don’t believe Honeycomb’s UI is perfect by any means, it’s just more multitasking oriented than iOS is at this point.

There’s definitely room for improvement. The fact that there are still choppy animations within the OS is perplexing, I've asked Google for an explanation but I've yet to get an answer on that one.

I’d like to see the ability to scroll to reveal more apps in the task list for starters. I almost feel like we’re headed for an OS X dock-like setup where you have a permanent row of your active apps across a portion of the screen and you just tap to switch between them. This whole tapping twice to select a new app thing has to be short lived, it’s not an efficient use of fingers.

Elements of Honeycomb do feel rushed however. The stability of the OS/apps, the missing SD card support and random OS quirks come to mind. As a result I'd recommend waiting for at least the first Honeycomb update before pulling the trigger on one of these tablets.

As far as the Xoom itself is concerned, I like the hardware. It feels good, I’m less worried about it slipping out of my hands and onto concrete and it’s full featured. Battery life is clearly competitive with the iPad as well, which is impressive given how much faster the thing is by comparison.

The screen isn’t terrible but it’s not the most impressive thing around, which is about the only complaint I have regarding the hardware. Had this been a $499 tablet I wouldn’t be too concerned but we’re talking about $800 here - I’d expect a better quality display at this price point, especially considering the price premium is really for 32GB of cheap NAND and smartphone hardware. I appreciate that we have a higher-than-iPad resolution, but I also want a higher-than-iPad contrast ratio.

Overall I am very excited to see Honeycomb tablets hit the market. Last year was mostly a waste when it came to non-iPad tablets, but this year looks to be quite the opposite.

This conclusion is obviously unfair to Apple given the rumored impending release of the iPad 2, but if I had to buy a tablet today it’d probably be the Xoom.

If I wasn’t insane however, I’d wait to see what was being announced on March 2nd first.

Battery Life
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  • Impulses - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Wow, it loads pages three to eight times faster than the iPad? I didn't realize Tegra 2 was THAT much faster. Did you run that same page load test during the Atrix review? I must've glossed over it. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Preview rather. Reply
  • dcollins - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    It's a combination of Tegra 2 and Chrome being much faster than Safari. I would assume Chrome for Android 3.0 was optimized even more heavily than Chrome for Windows, which remains the performance leader on the desktop. Reply
  • samirsshah - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    make that your SD Card reader SDXC rather than SDHC and just like that utility of Zoom increase twofold because you can store more media. Rumor has it that Apple is going SDXC in their new MacBooks. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    SDHC should be good for most people's needs, they go up to at least 64GB no? I mean, even 32GB is a lot of music... Judging by MP3 player sales most people don't care to bring their entire collection of music with them, and if you're at home there's plenty of streaming solutions (or even if you aren't). Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    I like the intro... I also feel that at these prices tablets are a little bit too much of a luxury item for anyone that has or needs a laptop. For those of us, the tablet's still a third or fourth device (behind phone, laptop/netbook, and possibly a desktop); and at $800 I simply can't justify it. I'd rather upgrade one of my other devices. For people with just a desktop or a heavy desktop replacement laptop I imagine that tablets hold a higher appel, particularly if the don't need a portable system for work/study. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Honeycomb is certainly an impressive release tho, given how quickly after Gingerbread it arrived (had obviously been in the works way earlier)... I'm excited to see where future wifi only models fall. If they sold it at $500 or under with 16gb or even 8gb and no 3g radio they'd fly off the shelves... But just like when the iPad first arrived, I think Moto is well aware they have a superior product so they can charge whatever they want for now. Reply
  • Enormously Hatworthy - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    There's a wifi only 16GB version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 on the way. Pricing for the 16GB 3G version looks to be around €699 so that could come down to €599 without the 3G radio.

    Plus it'll have Samsung's screen tech and it weighs a quarter of a pound less than the iPad.

    Sounds like a winner to me.
    Reply
  • Enormously Hatworthy - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Oh and if you have the pleasure of owning one of Samsung's newer wifi enabled TVs, you'll be able to stream live tv to your Tablet.

    Unfortunately I don't have the pleasure :(
    Reply
  • mcnabney - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    And by purchasing Samsung, you can forget about getting updated to 3.1 or 3.2. Reply

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