Motorola has chosen an odd time to release it's latest Android tablet — the Motorola Xoom 2 — given a certain "fruit" company is about to unveil a third generation of its market leading device. Perhaps its logic is to get in before the inevitable publicity storm but either way, the Xoom 2 has an extremely tough fight on its hands to remain relevant in an increasingly crowded market.
It may be thinner, lighter and faster than the original Xoom, but the Xoom 2 is unfortunately let down by outdated Android software and does little to justify its expensive price tag.
Design and display
One of the biggest criticisms of Motorola's original Xoom was its size. It was widely panned for being too heavy and bulky, had an oddly placed power/lock button and was uncomfortable to hold for long periods.
Motorola has clearly listened to these complaints as the Xoom 2 is both thinner (8.8mm) and lighter (599g) than its predecessor. This makes it relatively comfortable to hold with two hands, but the wide form factor means the Xoom 2 stills feel like a chore to hold single-handedly. Adding to the feeling that this has been designed primarily with two handed operation in mind, Motorola has moved the power/lock key and volume buttons from the centre of the back to the right side.
This makes them easy to find when you're holding the device with two hands, but they aren't ideally placed if you happen to be holding the Xoom 2 with one hand. The buttons also require a firm press to activate and in our opinion are sunk too deep into the body.
Motorola has given the Xoom 2 a distinctive look, which is a rarity amongst Android tablets that all seem to look like boring, black slabs. The device has angled corners that are clearly borrowed from the design of Motorola's RAZR Android phone, while the edges taper inwards in order to provide a more comfortable grip.
Motorola's choice of materials also deserve to be commended. The Xoom 2 feels superbly constructed and is the sort of device that you wouldn't be too worried about throwing in your bag amongst other items. On the back, an aluminium finish occupies the centre and soft feeling plastic adorns the edges, providing a comfortable grip. The Motorola Xoom is also coated in a splash-guard solution that makes it water-repellent.
The Motorola Xoom 2 has the same sized 10.1 inch screen with the same 1280x800 resolution as its predecessor. However, Motorola has opted to use an IPS panel rather than the regular TFT panel that adorned the original Xoom. This makes the Xoom 2's display both brighter and clearer than its predecessor and equips it with much better viewing angles. It not quite as vibrant as the display on the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime or Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.7, but the Xoom 2's screen is certainly not a weak point of this tablet.