Mar 252011

Yesterday I had a chance to hold both Motorola Xoom and Apple iPad 2 in my hands and these are my quick observations:

– Just to confirm, BOTH Motorola Xoom and iPad 2 have a 5 GHz radio for 802.11a connectivity. This helps at locations like mine where you have plethora of access points on the 2.4 GHz band. The 5 GHz band is usually far less crowded (in my Chicago downtown condo I can see as many as 50 different access points using 802.11b/g/n protocol @ 2.4 GHz band and only two on 802.11a protocol/5GHz band), as only some devices have a capability to use it.
– I haven’t noticed the graphics chip speed improvement on iPad 2 compared to the original model. I suppose that’s because the first iPad already had great UI responsiveness and seamless viewing of pics and movies.
– I wasn’t able to feel any noticeable change in weight when holding a slightly heavier Xoom, probably because Xoom is a bit bigger and feels more sturdy.
– There’s no menu button on Xoom like on other Android devices, so I was a little confused – it seems its menus are software driven like on iPad.
– I first disliked the magnetic lid on a hinge design on the iPad 2 until I determined it can be removed. I’m not sure what the effect of these magnets will be on the GPS, Compass and data, but the time will tell.
– Design feel: I don’t know why, but compared to Xoom, iPad 2 has a very old-fashioned feel, like it had been designed for the original Star Trek in the late 60s. Xoom design seems futuristic, or more like the future is now and it’s timeless.

Xoom shows great configurability and flexibility with incredibly quick and well done multitasking and switching between apps, but iPad is the simplicity ruler (perhaps I’m a bit biased because I owned two iPhones and one iPad). The former is more appealing to me, while the latter is great for my dad (soon to be 89) and my daughter (soon to be 2) The latter delivers a done deal, while Xoom seems like you can configure the heck out of it. The goodness in iPad 2 is obvious with nicely packed set of apps delivered on each model out of the box, and thin and light, though old fashioned design. Aside from the bigger screen and higher resolution, the goodness in Xoom also comes from inside, with 4G upgradeability, stereo speakers, barometer, camera flash, Flash support and also all the goodies that the iPad 2 already has. But that’s not all, as Android’s advantages are still in the making and soon the Android market will be getting a steady flow of all the super diverse apps that will be far more open and less controlled than the leashed App store on iPad.

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