Review Price £329.99
However, on every other hardware front this tablet holds up well. On the back is a competent 5 megapixel camera with LED flash (samples below). There's a better than average front facing camera (samples also below) and connectivity wise, it's pretty good too. Up top is the obligatory headphone jack and alongside it is an IR transmitter. This you can use with apps such as the included Dijit to control your AV devices – a task it performs rather well. A few other tablets including the Sony Tablet S also include IR transmitters but for the most part they're still quite rare.
Running along the bottom edge are sockets for microUSB and microHDMI which can be used to connect the tablet to a computer (or its charger) for charging or data transfer and hooking up to a TV, respectively. With the HDMI connected, the display will simply mirror whatever's on the tablet, or in the case of video playback, will actually play it at the TVs full resolution, assuming your clip is high enough resolution. Video playback is very good, with Android's DICE player – available free from the MarketPlace – able to take advantage of the tablet's inbuilt video decoders for smooth playback of just about any format and file size you care to name.
Key to the appeal of the Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition is its screen. Despite being smaller in size than the Xoom 2, the Media Edition retains the same number of pixels (1,280 x 800), making it look noticeably sharper than all larger tablets currently available – it actually has a higher resolution than the 9.7in iPad. The benefits of this are literally clear, as text, pictures, games and videos all look smoother and less blocky.
The display isn't as vivid and high contrast as AMOLED ones but is on par with most competing tablets with LCD panels – viewing angles are good and colours reasonably rich. Max brightness isn't outstanding but is certainly sufficient for all but the brightest of days. Only a little bit of backlight bleed lets things down (which you'll notice when watching dark scenes in videos) but this really isn't enough to put us off.
Overall performance is also good, though the limitations of Android are on show here. It runs a Texas Instruments OMAP 4 processor, which is a dual core chip running at 1.2GHz, and this is accompanied by 1GB of RAM. Opening and switching between apps is fast, while challenges like graphically intensive websites and the latest games are dealt with easily. Only the perennial toughy of Flash-heavy websites causes much in the way of slow down, though fullscreen flash video playback is generally smooth. The latest 3D games such as Dungeon Defenders also run smoothly.
However, when it comes to simple moving and scrolling around the interface, there's a noticeable gulf between this and the new generation of tablets running the next gen chips, i.e. the Asus Transformer Prime, with its quad-core Tegra 3 chip. Also Android still lacks the fluidity of iOS. You can still get stuff done easily and quickly but it just doesn't feel as satisfyingly tactile. Typing, rather strangely, can be slow and laggy too.
Another area of performance that is so so is battery life. Being a smaller tablet, it can only fit in a smaller 3,900mAh battery compared to the ~6,000mAh units on large models. The result is around 6-7 hours in sustained use compared to around 10 for the likes of the iPad 2. Nonethless, this is plenty for a weeks commuting, and a fair chunk of most long haul flights.