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Hands-on Face-off: IPad 2 V Motorola Xoom 375

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-have-neither-one dept.
GMGruman writes "Is the iPad 2 all that it's cracked up to be? Or does the first Honeycomb Android tablet, the Xoom, still hold up? I spent an intense weekend comparing the two tablets, detailing in this review how each performs in a battery of tests."
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Hands-on Face-off: IPad 2 V Motorola Xoom

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  • Extra Extra! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Monday March 14, 2011 @11:39AM (#35480914)
    The Xoom has features that the iPad doesn't. The iPad's UI is smoother than the inaugural Android 3 (Honeycomb) release. We needed 7 pages to tell us that??
    • by teh31337one (1590023) on Monday March 14, 2011 @11:41AM (#35480942)
    • Re:Extra Extra! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Americano (920576) on Monday March 14, 2011 @11:41AM (#35480944)

      No, we need 7 pages to generate enough ad impressions to pay someone's salary.

      We only need one sentence to tell us that they both have significant numbers of common features, and each has a few strengths that the other doesn't.

      • I stopped reading at the bottom of page 1, where there was a comparison chart detailing that both tablets scored pretty much the same on all the tests, with a slight edge for the iPad in one of the tests.

        Really, why bother reading beyond the point that the Xoom scores average 8.0 and the iPad scores average 8.4?

        • I don't know, I saw the chart and on, I believe, page three it goes on to detail the available apps. The Xoom scored lower then the iPad2 in that area, but after reading the reasoning I think the chart might be in error. The article seems to say the default apps that come with the Xoom are more robust, with excellent plans for expanding functionality the iPad2 has no intention of implementing (ie. Flash). The only negative mention I picked out about the Xoom is currently it's lacking choices for apps in the
          • by peragrin (659227) on Monday March 14, 2011 @12:34PM (#35481724)

            The xoom doesn't have flash either. Adobe hasn't approved it yet it might be available some time in April only 2-4 weeks behind the original schedule of mid march.

            The xoom shipped with a nonfunctional SD card slot .

            The big problem with android is there are to many hardware choices leading to huge gaps in functionality, which vastly screws up the available software.

            any iphone app will work on an ipad, but not every android app will work on a honeycomb tablet.

            I find this sucks. while I like the ipad as it is a lot smoother interface than android, I find it is to large for my personal tastes. So I have to wait for 12-18 months for some company to come out with a decent wifi only android tablet.

          • by coinreturn (617535) on Monday March 14, 2011 @12:34PM (#35481730)
            My take of that paragraph was completely different. Here's the money quote:

            "...but the number of tablet-specific apps in the Android Market has more than doubled in the past two weeks, from 16 to 37."

            You must be f@cking joking me. There are over 65K tablet-specific apps in the Apple app store. And this just nudges the iPad one point over the Xoom? Pfft. Butt-kissing "deathmatch" refuses to piss off either manufacturer by intentionally splitting the final score by a measly 5% difference.

            • I see your point, but IMHO I thing the reason for the small difference in score is probably because the Xoom comes with better default apps. That being said how many of those 65K tablet-specific apps do you think are original? I'd wager most are duplicates, or are just slight variations, of some other app. How many apps there are for a device will grow exceptionally and the device becomes available. The iPad 2 has the advantage of carry over apps from the first iPad.

              The Xoom doesn't, to my knowledge, have
              • Obviously, I don't think 65K apps are unique. However there are bound to be many many more than 37 unique applications. And I don't see any reason development rate on Android would exceed dev rate on iOS - I know which has more potential customers.
            • To be fair - Apple had a year head start.

    • Re:Extra Extra! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by znu (31198) <znu.public@gmail.com> on Monday March 14, 2011 @11:54AM (#35481124)

      Fortunately, you don't have to bother reading past the first page, because it contains a dead giveaway that the article is essentially just shallow filler content designed not to offend anyone.

      The iPad, with 60,000 + tablet-optimied apps, scores a nine for application support, while the Xoom, with a handful of tablet-optimized apps, scores an 8? Seriously? And all the arbitrarily chosen criteria are equally weighted? Meaningless nonsense.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday March 14, 2011 @11:44AM (#35480982) Homepage Journal

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4216/apple-ipad-2-gpu-performance-explored-powervr-sgx543mp2-benchmarked [anandtech.com]

    and their review helps as well http://www.anandtech.com/show/4215/apple-ipad-2-benchmarked-dualcore-cortex-a9-powervr-sgx-543mp2 [anandtech.com]

    The key items to take away from both are, yeah the cameras suck but this is truly a real upgrade from the iPad. Performance alone puts is ahead of the older model as well as many available tablets. They did find out that the dual core processor is actually running at only 900mhz. While the Xoom pushes more pixels because of its 1280x800 versus 1078x768 the iPad2 pulls far ahead of it, beyond what the pixel count would account for. As for gaming, some games are already taking advantage of the new power, Infinity Blade has been updated and looks fantastic. This brings up the issue, will there be apps sold that are marked iPad2 required?

    Better yet, its cheaper than its nearest competition. The only question is, how long before really good Android tablets come along?
    \\

    * to prevent kharma whoring feel free to mark it funny

    • This brings up the issue, will there be apps sold that are marked iPad2 required?

      The Unreal Engine has no problem scaling to whatever hardware you give it. Compared to various PC configurations this should be much simpler. I foresee in the future there may be apps marked iPad2+ required when the hardware performance gets too disparate, but probably not between iPad and iPad2.

    • by DeadboltX (751907)

      This brings up the issue, will there be apps sold that are marked iPad2 required?

      Probably not. Judging by how much IOS updates have slowed down my iPhone 3G, I'm willing to bet that Apple is not concerned about iPad1 users having a sluggish experience by running apps it not fast enough for. Apple probably WANTS you to have a sluggish experience on your previous generation model, because the solution is simple: buy a NEW iDevice!

  • Forever Alone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeDirnt69 (1105185) on Monday March 14, 2011 @11:44AM (#35480988) Homepage
    Am I the only one that just don't care about tablets? Ok, it's a cool piece of tecnology, but why all that hype around it?

    Everything was calm before iPad1, now everybody needs one plus every company urges to build their own.
    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      That's how the market works. If there are people who want to buy something, everyone is going to produce more of that thing.

      I have a tablet myself, I can tell that they're very useful for certain things, and useless for others. It'll fill a niche. It doesn't deserve all the hype its getting though.

    • Re:Forever Alone? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Monday March 14, 2011 @12:20PM (#35481520) Homepage

      Part of it is that the iPad 1 was the first tablet to come out with a successful formula. Since then, some manufacturers have been intelligent enough to implement the same successful formula.

      The short summary of the secret: Scaling up an OS designed for touchscreen phones (iOS, Android) to tablet size (the approach first used by iPad 1 and used by other companies since then) works, scaling down a desktop OS (Windows) to a tablet (the usual approach prior to iPad 1) doesn't.

      Microsoft still hasn't learned - they're still trying to stick Windows 7 into tablets. FAIL.

      • That's a reasonable answer. Plus the credit Apple have with innovative products, people were crazy about it even before the launch.

        But my point is: most of people who buy this new gen. tablets could accomplish the same tasks they usually do with smartphones or less. Users are overrating themselves!
    • No you're not alone. I also consider the tablet market 'useless' because you can't really do any real work on a tablet (unless you're in a niche where keyboards aren't required). Tablets are for media consumption, so it's really a big iPod.

      And just to be fair, it wasn't Apple that started this craze, it was Amazon. Yes, Amazon. The Kindle was a more successful product than you thought, because it got lots of manufacturers thinking about a Kindle sized product that did more than read ebooks.

      The January 2010

      • I also consider the tablet market 'useless' because you can't really do any real work on a tablet (unless you're in a niche where keyboards aren't required).

        Except that all current tablets support keyboards quite well, and have really good virtual keyboards in addition. And there are a ton of apps to support writing, including some that support using a stylus if you choose.

        But beyond that you have no idea of what can be done on a modern tablet. I have met a number of people who have replaced laptops with

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Trust me, after a while you'll get tired of watching porn while driving on that tiny 4" cell phone display and you'll want something bigger... or is that just me?
  • by bennomatic (691188) on Monday March 14, 2011 @11:51AM (#35481076) Homepage
    Love Apple, hate them or something in between: nobody is going to beat the iPad, no matter how great a device they build, until they are able to build a competing "ecosystem" like Apple has done with the iTMS/AppStore. Nerds care about the specifications, but nerds aren't the target market anymore; everyone else is. And everyone else is more interested in what you can *do* with the damn thing.
    • by StikyPad (445176)

      And everyone else is more interested in what you can *do* with the damn thing.

      Correction: Everyone else is more interested in what *they* can do with the damn thing which, as you state, isn't much without pre-built and easy to access apps.

  • Let's cut to the chase -- the iPad 2 that Apple just released pulls further ahead in the battle with the only real competitor on the market: the Android OS 3.0 "Honeycomb" Xoom tablet from Motorola Mobility.

    And the engineer in my soul sings! Summary and THEN the backing info!

    One other thought. Why the hell can't Thunderbird work with exchange properly if everyone else can?

    • by Dog-Cow (21281)

      One other thought. Why the hell can't Thunderbird work with exchange properly if everyone else can?

      Both Apple and Google license ActiveSync from MS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, 2011 @11:54AM (#35481122)

    As an owner of an android phone (Droid), I was keen on buying an android based tablet but eventually bit the bullet and purchased an iPad for $350 (refurb from apple) as I was sure that I wouldn't find a good android tablet at that price point anytime soon. As much as I've wanted to like the iPad (and I do like a lot of things including the amazing IPS LCD screen), I was amazed to learn that Apple has chosen not to have a native filesystem on its products. Making things worse - each App runs in its own sandbox with no ability to access files in another apps filesystem.

    This has been a massive disappointment for me. I primarily bought the iPad for reading and organizing a lot of academic publications and texts, so that I could always have my library of papers and textbooks available to me. Right now, I have all my PDFs imported into iAnnotate (a PDF reading/editing app), but none of the other PDF reading/editing apps such as GoodReader or Papers (similar to Mendeley) can access these PDFs. I can only "open" a file from within iAnnotate in another app, but this is fundamentally useless as it doesn't even share the same physical file, but instead, creates a copy that is moved into the other apps sandbox. Any changes made to the file in the other app, do not reflect back in the original copy in iAnnotate.

    This alone has rendered the iPad pretty useless to me. Using Dropbox to sync files in different apps helps to some extent, but is still really stupid because a) I am unnecessarily using bandwidth I shouldn't need to use just to share the same file library between different apps & b) I now have 2 complete duplicates of my library stored locally on my ipad for the 2 apps I am using.

    This is a complete mess and I can't begin to understand why universities and schools would spend tons of money buying iPads for kids when it can't even handle having a common filesystem - allowing different apps to access their documents. All the other Apple decisions I can understand (closed system, etc), but not having a filesystem? How are you even supposed to consider it for serious use without one? I don't give a fuck if it is dual core or quad core. If I can't even share files across different applications on my iPad, it has very little value to me.

    Considering that Apple hasn't attempted to remedy the situation so far, I have very little hope that things will improve. I guess I'll just wait another year or so for Android to get a bit more polished and then buy an Android tablet. I find it funny that Steve Jobs kept reiterating that the iPad2 isn't a "toy", and yet, it seems most suited to run single apps at a time without any ability to share your documents and files amongst applications on the iPad2.

    • I agree that not being able to shift around a master is a bit annoying, but I don't find it crippling - I simply have one creation hub app that I use for different documents, and move documents around to other apps keeping that one as the source (re-importing as needed).

      Perhaps if you jailbreak the iPad you could then simply shift files around yourself, most apps will put files in Documents and probably pick up new files automatically (since that's where files would be incoming from iTunes if added there).

      A

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by necro81 (917438)
      You spent all this time researching tablets, and didn't know that the iPad (and iPhone, and iTouch) lacked a user-accessible filesystem?

      If you've got all that stuff as PDFs, you could sync those into the native ebook reader, iBooks.

      It is not entirely true that you can't share files across apps: your contacts, photos, videos, music, ebooks (including PDFs) are accessible by any app that bothers to use them.

      Lastly: you can add a filesystem whenever you want, jailbreaking the iPad is trivial.
  • When does Apple (and especially iTunes) become too 'big' w.r.t. anti-trust issues? What are the metrics used?
    • by PhilHibbs (4537)

      When they use a monopoly position in one market as leverage to gain a monopoly in another. Having one monopoly isn't in any way illegal. Abusing it to gain another is. And Apple don't even have one monopoly or overwhelmingly dominant position yet. Don't like the iPhone? Plenty of other phones out there. Same with iPad, iPod, Mac, etc.

    • by Kenja (541830)
      Really there is no metric. Its what ever a judge decides. The "market" can be defined as anything they want in the end. I recall one anti-trust suite in which the market was defined as something like drinks containing x% of apple juice in plastic bottles between y & z fluid ounces.
  • One has Flash and the other doesn't.

    Don't get me wrong, I have an iPad2 (I'm getting a wifi only Xoom later this month) and it's great and seems to beat Xoom in quite a few areas, but I cannot fathom how you can compare their web experiences and call them equivalent when flash still doesn't exist on iOS due to Jobs' ridiculous ego.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, Xoom does NOT have Flash. That is something that might come "later." No, Xoom does not take memory cards as the slot is, as of now, a non-working dummy slot. No, Xoom can not play Hulu or Netflix because the hardware doesn't support it yet. Just how many YouTube videos can you watch?

      I can't figure out why it took seven pages to declare what every other review Xoom has said: Xoom is an $800 buggy beta product not yet ready for prime time. Love them or hate them, the iPad is another iPod: Apple caught eve

    • by pyite (140350)

      Not having Flash is a feature. I don't have it on my desktop and I sure as hell don't want it on my phone or tablet.

    • One has Flash and the other doesn't.

      I agree; it's a real issue that one supports flash ads when browsing and the other automatically disables them. Can't see why I'd pay (much less pay $300 more) for a device that includes software to make browsing worse.

      And it's not like you can even play Flash games using flash on a tablet, since none of them integrate keyboards or mice which PC flash games require to operate...

      That leaves the only real use of Flash as video. For watching video pretty much any site I ca

      • And it's not like you can even play Flash games using flash on a tablet, since none of them integrate keyboards or mice which PC flash games require to operate...

        Damn, I really wanted to be able to click on the target and win a free iPod, iPad, or whatever the fake giveaway of the week was.

      • by Cederic (9623)

        I agree; it's a real issue that one supports flash ads when browsing and the other automatically disables them.

        Oh, iPad2 comes with adblock now? Just that it's the first thing I install after the web browser on any web-enabled computer I own.

        Or do you mean the iPad2 shows you all the other shitty ads, just not the flash ones? I'm mostly assuming that there are still non-flash apps, as I just don't see ads on the web.

        And it's not like you can even play Flash games using flash on a tablet, since none of them integrate keyboards or mice which PC flash games require to operate...

        Well, no, you wont be playing Flash games on a tablet if you were stupid enough to buy Apple.

        Not all flash games need a keyboard. Or a mouse.

        That leaves the only real use of Flash as video.

        That is indeed a use, but not the only one. Maybe you don't us

    • by Arkham (10779)

      One has Flash and the other doesn't.

      Don't get me wrong, I have an iPad2 (I'm getting a wifi only Xoom later this month) and it's great and seems to beat Xoom in quite a few areas, but I cannot fathom how you can compare their web experiences and call them equivalent when flash still doesn't exist on iOS due to Jobs' ridiculous ego.

      They're not equivalent. The question is, how much value is there in Flash, and how much do you care if you don't have it? Aside from youtube and clones of youtube, I keep FlashBlock running on all my browsers at home and at work, and I don't ever look at Flash, ever. I guess if you do a lot of online Flash games or something, then it has value. I've heard a coworker talk about a streaming music site called GrooveShark that depends on it too, but for me, there's little to no value in Flash at all, so lac

    • Why should Flash be an essential for the web? Why should the WWW need to rely on proprietary software from Adobe? Only by killing Flash can something better, open source and available to all (patent free) come along. Flash is holding everything back.

      Proprietary browser plugins were fine when everyone was running Windows on a desktop, but things have moved on.

      No OS maker should have to crawl to Adobe with their wallet open to request a plugin for their browser. Perhaps if the plugin was a Microsoft one then

  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Monday March 14, 2011 @12:38PM (#35481792) Journal

    The Xoom tablet displays mail as black text on a white background (as does the iPad 2), not as white text on a black background in the manner of Android smartphones. Thus, the messages are much more readable.

    Uh, my phone displays black text on white background; this of course makes text much less readable than white text on black background like most high-contrast settings for visually-impaired users provide.

    • Uh, my phone displays black text on white background; this of course makes text much less readable than white text on black background like most high-contrast settings for visually-impaired users provide.

      A setting to correct deficiencies in vision is not necessarily the best setting for someone who lacks those deficiencies.

      I don't wear glasses or contacts and despise white text on a dark background, I find it strains my eyes horribly. I know some people prefer it but to make a blanket claim that such text

      • to make a blanket claim that such text is more readable for everyone, is just wrong.

        And yet TFA makes an equally absurd statement, that white text on dark background is less readable for everyone.

  • Too bad the Xoom has such mediocre battery life. There's really no excuse for that. I have an Android phone (Nexus S) and want an Android tablet, but I'm not buying one with a 5-6 hour battery life.

    • Too bad the Xoom has such mediocre battery life. There's really no excuse for that. I have an Android phone (Nexus S) and want an Android tablet, but I'm not buying one with a 5-6 hour battery life.

      Um, what? One of the few things that actually shine about Xoom is its battery life, which largely matches that of iPad - 8-10 hours of typical usage, depending on what you do.

      • From the linked article:

        For battery performance, I found that the iPad 2 lasted nearly twice as long as the Xoom -- 9 or 10 hours versus the Xoom's 5 or 6 -- in regular use with Wi-Fi enabled. In light use, the Xoom stretched to 8 hours, while the iPad 2 ran 11 hours. That matches the iPad 1's battery performance.

        • I wonder what, exactly, he defines by "regular use". One of the very first experiments I did with mine was to charge fully and proceed to use it until the battery got to 50% - which took 4.5 hours non-stop. Most of that was web browsing, though there was also about an hour of music playback, and about half an hour of streaming videos from YouTube. On WiFi, as well.

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