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Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition Review

By Simon Thomas on 01st February 2012


3G Total Score

Pros: The dual-core processor manages all the apps well, and that 8.2inch display offers vibrancy and brightness.


Cons: Onboard apps are disappointing; volume and power keys are fiddly to use.

 

Verdict: The Motorola Xoom 2 really does justice to its ‘Media Edition’ tag, offering the ability to stream films and music from your home PC or the net

Full Review and Specification for the Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition

Why is this table called the ‘Media Edition’, you may be wondering. Well, don’t worry about it too much; look at it this way, it’s a smaller incarnation of the Motorola Xoom 2 tablet – while that had a 10.1in display, the Media Edition’s screen is 8.2 inches – but it is still colourful and sharp. There are not a whole lot of other differences though, but still this smaller tablet manages to cram in a load of great features.

 

Screen star


The TFT screen on the Xoom 2 Media Edition (ME) offers great vibrancy and brightness in its 8.2 inches. Both films and photos look great, the viewing angles are good and you can look at the screen in direct sunlight without straining your eyes. Motorola seems to have cracked the secret to sticky fingerprints too – all our swiping resulted in just a few faint smudges, which we wiped off with the edge of our T-shirt.

 

This is a really well made device – there was no give even when we tried to twist and pull it – and a hard poke on the screen resulted in only the slightest of shimmers. Looks wise it has nice curved corners and there are no buttons (as Android Honeycomb offers virtual controls), so it looks really clean and smart. On the back you’ll see a rubberised edging that helps you keep a grip on the device. There are a few glitches though; the volume and button keys are hidden away at the back of the tablet, which makes them hard to find.

 

We’re also mystified by the flap on the bottom edge of the tablet – we opened it up and saw… nothing. Maybe it is the flap that covers up the SIM card slot on 3G models in the US – this is a Wi-Fi model, so maybe it just hasn’t been removed. Odd, but not a hangable offence.

 

Sweet system


At the moment the Xoom 2 ME runs on Android Honeycomb 3.2, but the latest version, Ice Cream sandwich, will be available soon. Honeycomb is nice to use though, despite the fact there’s not much on offer in the way of apps. There are five desktops that you can scroll between by flicking a digit, and the widgets and apps can be used to customise your desktops. We’re particularly fond of the email widget, which updates when you get new mail. The tasks and music player widgets are useful too.

 

It’s unfortunate that the device comes preloaded with some pretty useless apps, such as Go To Meeting and Fuze Meeting. It’s even more annoying when you realise there is no decent dedicated video player on board – a quick trip to Android Market soon sorted that out, but it would be nice to have it onboard to start with.

 

Surfing the net


However, there’s more to this tablet than apps. It’s a great choice if you like to surf the net from the comfort of your couch. It weighs 390g so is nice to hold in one hand, so you can flick through sites. The display is really responsive, so you can pinch, prod and swipe to navigate your way round even the most complicated of sites and still enjoy a smooth browsing experience. Android Honeycomb lets you stream video from websites such as 4OD. We enjoyed a few full-length programmes over a good Wi-Fi network without any hitches. It’s a shame there’s no 3G support – if you’re out and about you’ll have to find the nearest wireless hotspots.

 

The Xoom 2 ME has a 1.2GHz chip under the hood, so whatever you’re doing – checking websites, running a number of apps, or enjoying films or music – this processor keeps everything running nice and smoothly and speedily.

 

Making pictures


As with most tablets, you’ll find a snapper on the rear. This model is five megapixels, and gives great results in daylight conditions – our images were colourful and bright, and they were sharp thanks to the auto-focus that works well for close-ups and landscapes. Like most tablets, it’s not easy to actually hold the device like a camera and we found our fingers kept drifting over the lens in landscape mode.

 

The camera also offers the ability to shoot full HD video – and there’s a front-facing 1.3megapixel snapper for Skype video calls.

 

Getting connected


There aren’t a lot of choices when it comes to connectivity – there’s a micro USB for swapping files with a PC, and there’s a mini HDMI port so you can output content to a big screen. We found it pretty easy to get tunes and films onto the device – just connect it to a PC or laptop and it will prompt you to load up the MotoCast software.

 

This means your device is now shown as an external hard drive, and it is possible to just drag and drop files. The Xoom 2 ME has 16GB of onboard storage (although we could only see 12Gb on our review model), so you can keep plenty of apps and a few films. There is no option for expanding memory, as there’s no memory card slot, so you’ll find yourself deleting your old media quite often.

 

As well as sharing media, the MotoCast software streams films and music and you can share your files over your home network – easier than using a USB cable. It’s pretty simple to set up – you’ll need to create an account and the process can take a while – and with a dependable network you’ll be able to enjoy whatever’s on your computer anywhere in your home.

 

Battery life is not bad either – we got a good day out of a full battery, while surfing the net, streaming a half-hour TV show via BBC iPlayer, an hour playing with apps and listening to music for a couple of hours. And we had Wi-Fi turned on and the display’s brightness turned up.

 

Our conclusion

This neater version of the Motorola Xoom 2 is actually our preferred model – it’s comfortable to hold and the display really impresses. It performs well and thanks to the fact that it can stream films and music from the web or a PC it certainly lives up to its ‘Media Edition’ name.

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Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition Review Scoring

  • Style and Handling
  • User Friendliness
  • Feature set
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Overall Score

Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition Phone Specification

Type of phone:

Smartphone

Style:

candy bar

Size:

216x140x9mm

Weight:

388g

Display:

N/A colours

Resolution:

N/A

Camera:

5 megapixels

Special Camera features:

LED flash

Video recording:

Yes

Video playback:

Yes

Video calling:

Yes

Video streaming:

Yes

Music formats played:

MP4, MIDI, MP3

3.5mm jack port:

Yes

Handsfree speakerphone:

Yes

Voice Control:

N/A

Voice Dialling:

N/A

Call records:

N/A

Phonebook:

N/A

Ringtones customization:

Yes

Display description:

1280x800 pixels

Website:

www.motorola.co.uk

SAR:

N/A

Portfolio:

N/A

Standard color:

N/A

Launch Status:

N/A

Radio:

N/A

Operating system:

Android

Connectivity:

MicroUSB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Announced date:

N/A

What's in the Box:

N/A

RAM:

N/A

International launch date:

N/A

Battery life when playing multimedia:

Six hours video playback

CPU:

1.2GHz Qualcomm dual-core

FM Radio Description:

N/A

Internal memory:

16GB

Memory Card Slot:

N/A

Messaging:

SMS, MMS, Email

Internet Browser:

HTML

E-mail client:

Push email

GPS:

GPS

Java:

N/A

Games:

N/A

Data speed:

GPRS, 3G, HSDPA

Frequency:

N/A

Talktime:

N/A

Standby:

27 days

Display size:

8.2 inches

Keypad:

N/A

Audio recording:

Yes

 


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