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


View All Comments

  • mrdeez - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    I was gona wait for the wifi version but now, I am really thinking of just getting a new lappy for 350...I can still tether to phone and it is cheaper and no stupid data contracts. I am sure we wont see these wifi versions for awhile. It's almost starting to look like google is greedier than apple and thats very scary! Reply
  • IBM650 - Tuesday, March 01, 2011 - link

    Mossburg ran a movie loop, IPAD was about 11 hours, Xoom about 7. So a big difference Reply
  • prtech - Thursday, March 03, 2011 - link

    AS per my understanding 'ADAM' is already out and hoping you got one. Can you give us Benchmarks and in depth review like you did for other products. Reply
  • mmullany - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Iin order to pass ACID, the 100/100 has to match the reference image and the animation has to be smoooth. The Xoom fails in three ways - it has a rendering artifact in the top right, the animation isn't smooth and the colors don't match exactly. In addition, many of the HTML5 features that the Xoom self-reports as having, do not actually operate correctly. Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Saturday, March 05, 2011 - link

    Great to see some timed tests! Real-world loading time is directly understandable and relevant. Now please do the same in your SSD reviews :) Reply
  • JefTek - Sunday, March 06, 2011 - link

    I ran the Sunspider tests multiple times on my Xoom and never seem to have received a number higher than 2100.

    Without doing a full on average, my results were closer to the 2050ms mark.

    I wonder what was different?
  • Hrel - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    I'd really like to see a 24" 1080p touch screen with smartphone innards. Instead of using desktop or even laptop parts just cause it'd cost WAY less. Or better yet have a 24" 1080p touch screen with an empty slot so you can just insert your tablet/smartphone (would require a universal port or cable) and have that power the display. The display should also incorperate a hdd bay or two. Cause really, who wants to go around buying a tablet for each room in the house?

    I just think it'd be really nice to have a much larger touch screen in the kitchen on the stand where you can stream music, watch a youtube video, look at recipes while cooking. Or out on the deck grilling. 6-10" screens are great if you want something larger than a smartphone/archos tablet to carry around with you and get great battery life where you can basically just surf the web. But for in home use, anywhere a stationary device can be placed, a larger screen is almost always better.
  • turbobutton - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    Apparently "Corning Glass" is one part of that equation that can make it happen, although clearly more technology needs to be developed for this to be feasible. You will really enjoy this video:
  • Hrel - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    "Google lets you "blank" if you want". That whole idea, giving YOU the choice of how you want it to work. I don't just want that, I NEED it. If Apple will never open up and give configuration options to users, then I will never use Apple anything. I will never recommend it and I will always fight their market penetration. Reply
  • Hrel - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    Wow, I was hoping for 400 bucks. I was thinking they'd probably jew us out and charge 500 though. 800?! That's just stupid, Archos it is then. Reply

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