The Motorola Xoom 2 has two cameras - a 1.3-megapixel user-facing sensor for video calling and a main 5-megapixel camera equipped with a single-LED flash. Taking photos with a tablet will do nothing for your street cred, and Motorola seems to have realised this, as these specs are slightly lower than those of the first Xoom, which had a dual-LED flash and a slightly higher-res secondary camera.
Motorola hasn't fiddled with the vanilla Android Honeycomb photo experience, using the camera UI that comes with the OS. This lets you change the white balance and apply a handful of effects, but lacks other fun extras such as panorama, smile shot, touch-to-focus and timed shooting. Much like the basic video support, you can easily add most missing features with apps from the Android Market.
Colour is slightly muted in photos and not being able to manually select your subject is disappointing. It doesn't excel beyond the previous Xoom, and is shamed by the top smartphones. We're still of the opinion that the most useful camera is the one pointing towards you when it comes to tablets, and the built-in Google Talk app lets you video call folk. The standard camera app also lets you capture 720p video using the 5-megapixel sensor. However, features like these would be more conspicuous in their absence - they're that common.
That the Xoom 2 is, for the most part, a collection of many common, familiar features and specs is its greatest problem. It's thinner and lighter than the old model, but it's ultimately not hugely different in use, and does little to make the £380 price seem like a bargain. There are the business-oriented extras but with uptake of tablets for serious applications still so slow and task dependent there's little to really get excited about - the features really just tick the box that certifies this tablet ready for such things.
Tablets like the Kindle Fire suggest that new waves of Android tablets need to focus on staying as far away from the £400 entry point as possible - just because it works for Apple doesn't mean it can for everyone else. Expensive Android tablets are by no means a no-go, but they need to do something more dynamic than the Xoom 2 at this point - the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime being a good example of the pricey Android done right. When previous-gen devices such as the first Transformer can be found for a full £100 less, that the biggest upgrade is losing a millimetre or two of girth isn't all that compelling.
The second Motorola Xoom 2 is much thinner and lighter than the original. The screen is better and the processor more powerful. However, there's an element of treading water to the design as it doesn't improve upon more recent rivals much. An IR transmitter, inbuilt printing function, MotoCast and a few secure business options make for some interesting potential uses but for the average consumer these aren't overly compelling. A relatively staid approach, when combined with the non-expandable memory and fairly high £380 price, ensures it can't topple the greats, and won't sway many iPad 2 owners-to-be.
Motorola Xoom 2 MZ607 3 bids$2.00 View Item