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
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
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
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.
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