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Motorola XOOM 2 8.2″ Tablet Computer Expert Review

Motorola XOOM 2 MZ607-16 8.2

Rating: ★★★½☆

There’s long been talk of Apple releasing a mini iPad – bigger than the iPhone but smaller than its main tablet computer with many experts thinking it unlikely but you can never say never where Apple is concerned.

Motorola however, has itself brought out a smaller version of its own XOOM tablet, with an 8.2 inch screen and designed for increased portability.

And it actually works very well!

With 16GB of storage, the XOOM 2 8.2 inch tablet builds upon the strong features found in the original 10.1 inch device. There’s also a 10.1 version of the XOOM 2, which you’ll find reviewed right here on PluggedIn.

Both XOOM 2 versions are thinner, lighter and faster than the original but this smaller screen version certainly has an edge on its bigger brother.

Of course, the display size may mean less of an impact if you want to use it purely to watch movies and web content but tucked away into a pocket or a bag, it’s very easy to take anywhere – and surely that’s the point.

There’s no 3G on board so your internet connectivity relies on Wi-Fi but with so many hotspots available across towns and cities these days, that’s not a barrier to surfing any more.

The 8.2 high-definition widescreen is beautiful to look at, with vivid colours, sharp blacks and extreme clarity.

Of course, Apple’s New iPad 3 with its Retina display and quad-core graphics instantly outshine the competition but then again, it doesn’t come in this size.

Like its predecessor, this XOOM 2 8.2 inch runs on the Android Honeycomb operating system, the latest 3.2 version, and at its heart is Google’s whole suite of offerings.

From Gmail email to Maps to YouTube to Google Talk for voice or video chat, you won’t be disappointed by the amount of pre-loaded content on board.

Everything you need to get going as soon as you open the box is included and it’s simple to set up and then very intuitive to use with clever menus, plenty of icons and a well thought-out interface. There are very few buttons to push so everything is controlled through the screen, which increases its usability and the whole fun of the tablet experience. You can also customise five different home screens.

Web browsing is a breeze with tabs to collate your pages and Flash built-in to ensure the experience is never stalled by a site that can’t be displayed on the screen. There’s pinch to zoom, both portrait and landscape virtual keyboards and the screen responds well in different lighting conditions.

The XOOM 2 is blisteringly fast. It features a speedy dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM for multi-tasking, preventing it from freezing and crashing when you’re running apps, programs and email at once. Battery life is also improved over the original to 10 hours from eight.

The Android OS gives you access to a the Android Market for downloading apps but be prepared to find only a small number available for the Android tablet range compared to those readily out there for the iPad. Much of the Android app development is still currently concentrated around its handset range.

Other highlights include plenty of support for a wide range of media files, an HDMI connection to plug it into your TV and two cameras on board. The 5 megapixel rear lens can capture high-definition video at 1080p while the LED flash is competent.

The front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera is simply there to video chat with so that’s plenty for appearing live on screen to your friends. It can though capture content at 720p.

Unlike the first XOOM, Motorola has also now included a program called MotoCast, allowing owners to stream files, music, movies and other content direct from their home PC computer to the device with ease over the air.

Overall, the Motorola XOOM range is one of the most capable tablet computing experiences on the market. The devices do not have the hype and status of the Apple iPad, and are lacking in apps, which for some will limit how fully they can be used day-to-day.

Like with any gadget purchase though, especially one that’s this expensive, go into a store and have a play with one and with its rivals to judge exactly what tablet is your best medicine.

Pros

  • Excellent screen quality
  • Blisteringly fast

Cons

  • Lack of apps
  • Smaller screen less exciting for entertainment

Verdict

For those who want to stand away from the Apple crowd and looking for something a touch more portable than the traditional tablet, this 8.2 inch XOOM is well worth considering for work and a fair bit of play.


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