[SATLUG] Xoom Review

Bruce Dubbs bruce.dubbs at gmail.com
Sat Mar 5 18:43:58 CST 2011


Motorola Xoom Review

Cost
   Somewhat expensive.  $600 + $480 to Verizon over two years.
   Wifi version only is $800, so the effective cost of cellular
   is $280.

Case
   All black.  Looks nice.  At 1.5 pounds, is slightly heavier
   than it looks.

Screen
   Nice size
   Good brightness
   Touch is not very accurate with finger.  This is probably
   inherent but there is no alternative without an external
   keyboard.

   For instance if you type a long email or web address and determine
   you mistyped a character at the beginning, the finger is used to
   place the cursor, but it isn't accurate.

Keyboard
   Not very good - reduced to two finger typing.
   No arrow keys, page up/down
   I can't find a way to cut/paste

   It's probably better than a cell phone keyboard, but
   that's not saying much.

Sound
   Seems to play OK, but tinny as you might expect

Battery Charger
   Plug is quite small and somewhat difficult to insert.
   Battery live is advertised at about 10 hours and that
   seems about right.

Bluetooth
   I have not used this yet.

Wifi
   Good

USB
   A cable/slot are included, but I haven't tried yet.

Mobile 3G
   Good.  It will require an upgrade for 4G

Camera
   Good on the back. I haven't tried the front one.  OK software.
   Automatic flash.

GPS
   Good

SD Card
   There is a slot for one but it isn't active until there is a
   software upgrade.

Voice recognition
   Seems to work, but I'm not used to talking to my computer,
   so my testing has been very rudimentary.

Applications
   Many are designed for phone sized screens and don't scale.
   Generally, there is no way to turn off an application.  I'm
   reluctant to purchase apps if I don't know how well they work
   on the system.  Actually, I'm reluctant to purchase anything
   when virtually everything is available for Linux for free.

   Browser - there does not seem to be a way to turn it off.  Managing
   bookmarks is not intuitive (familiar) to me.  You have to guess
   at what the icons do until you learn.  about: does not work
   I think it is Chrome, but I can't tell.

   Mail - gmail - Seems OK.  See keyboard.

   Skype - no way to easily turn off (had to uninstall).  Application
   is not for tablet (it's for a cell phone).  Hung syncing
   contacts when there were none.

   Music - Can't figure out how to download music.
   There was some pre-installed, but I had a problem with the
   Verizon configuration and had to reset to default configuration.
   The store people were quite helpful and the actual 'music'
   that is gone is no great loss.

   Books
     Good application, but not sure if you can take notes or bookmark.
     A lot of electronic books are as costly as a printed book.  Some
     people will gladly charge you for books out of copyright.

     E-books in general have advantages and disadvantages.
       Sharing - no
       Search  - yes (but web is better)

   Text editor - none

   Radio Application (download) - Plays, but doesn't turn
   off without uninstalling.

   CNN seems to have a nice application for reading news.

   Google Earth - works well

Overall
   Good for reading mail/web/books.  Good for some pictures.
   Good mobile access.  If you roam about a lot or are
   traveling, it is useful.

   Soft keyboard is a major impediment.  Not good for editing email or
   command line type tasks like remote system administration.

   This is definitely not a desktop replacement.

I plan on being at the meeting on Thursday and will bring my tablet. 
Perhaps we can discover some things together.

   -- Bruce


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