We wouldn't go as far as to say the Motorola Xoom 2 is unattractive - far from it. It's slim, light, dense, and has cute lopped corners that help to differentiate it from the many black Android slabs available to buy. But its good looks are those of a TV actor rather than a movie star. Chiselled and toned perhaps, but there's something amiss that you can't instantly put your finger on.
It's the redundant flap, the relatively abundant seams and the overly ornate camera lens area. However, it's only something we notice so much because of the high standard set in the tablet market, and build quality here is excellent - on par with the best. Motorola claims it is splash-proof too thanks to the entire machine's innards being coated in water repellent. Not fit to dunk in a bath for long periods like a Defy, perhaps, but it won't fry as soon as it gets near water.
Other hardware bonuses the Xoom 2 can shout about include the use of a standard microUSB charging socket, where several others use proprietary solutions, and its subtle hardware buttons. There are none on the front but a volume rocker and power button are to be found on the back right edge, where they fall neatly under your fingers. The Xoom 2 can charge over a USB connection to a computer, as well as the included AC adaptor.
Without expandable memory or a full-size USB slot, connectivity might be considered a tad rudimentary, but it excels on the wireless front. The Motorola Xoom 2 has a built-in IR transmitter, which can be used with apps like Dijit to turn the tablet into a universal remote. Most Android devices would need an IR accessory such as Griffin's £40 Beacon to achieve the same effect. Dijit is no replacement for a high-end Logitech Harmony remote at this point, though. The interface is simple enough, but the setup process isn't.
The Xoom 2 is also a bit obsessed with wireless transfer of files. Using the MotoCast desktop app, you can stream and download files from your computer over a Wi-Fi connection, or from anywhere round the world if you leave your PC on. The installation files for this software are included on the tablet itself, showing up as a discrete 70MB drive when plugged in.
The simple Motocast UI, en Francais
However, you can only freely transfer files to the rest of the internal memory using a cable once this software has been installed, seriously hampering the plug and play versatility of the device. We'd much prefer the simplicity of a mass storage mode - which would make the 16GB of internal memory (12GB user accessible) show up as a disk drive as soon as you plug the Xoom 2 in - but there is no such mode here. More storage black marks for Motorola.