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The Hardware

The Xoom measures 9.81 x 6.61 x 0.51 inches (249.1 x 167.8 x 12.9 mm). The 10.1" display is widescreen at 16:10 with a resolution of 1280×800 WXGA. The widescreen aspect is very good for displaying videos and also looks good when viewing webpages and other data. The screen is crisp and clear, has excellent viewing angles, and can be viewed in sunlight. It is also a very responsive capacitive touch screen.

The front of the Xoom, shown in Figure 3, is one slab of Gorilla glass with squared-off corners. The screen has a black surround that measures 0.5 inch. On the top of that surround you can see the Motorola and Verizon names on the left. Both are in soft gray letters which do not detract from the viewing of the screen. In the middle of the top you can also see the front-facing camera.

Motorola Xoom Tablet ReviewFigure 3: The front of the Xoom

The Xoom feels sturdy and well-built. Unfortunately, it also feels quite heavy. It weighs in at 25 oz. (708 grams) which is only about 4.5 ounces (127 grams) heavier than the iPad 2, but it “feels” heavier than that. After an hour or more of use, holding it can get to be a bit uncomfortable. Whether it is the weight, thickness, or square-shaped design, the Xoom is simply not as comfortable to use as the iPad 2.

The hardware specs of the Xoom are better than the iPad 2. The Xoom’s 1280×800 resolution is slightly better than the iPad’s screen resolution of 1024×786. The Xoom’s 10.1-inch screen is slightly larger than the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen. The Xoom has a 1 GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor, while the iPad 2 has a 1 GHZ dual-core A5. The Xoom has double the memory with 1 GB compared to the iPad’s 512 MB.

The bottom of the Xoom has three ports. As shown in Figure 4, they are (from left to right), the micro USB port, the micro HDMI port, and the round charging port. The addition of an HDMI port also puts the Xoom ahead of the iPad 2 which requires an optional accessory for HDMI connectivity.

Motorola Xoom Tablet ReviewFigure 4: The bottom of the Xoom

The top of the Xoom, shown in Figure 5, has only two openings. On the right is the 3.5 mm headphone jack and on the left is the slot for a memory card and 4G SIM card. Although this port is not operable now, it will be employed in the future. The fact that this device will be able to handle 4G will be attractive to many users.

Motorola Xoom Tablet ReviewFigure 5: The top of the Xoom

The back and the sides of the Xoom are one piece of anodized aluminum in a matt black color, as shown in Figure 6. On the right is a strip in shiny black material that holds the 5MP camera, a dual-LED flash, a speaker, and the on-off button (from left to right.) Another matching speaker opening can be seen on the left, as well.

Motorola Xoom Tablet ReviewFigure 6: The back of the Xoom

Having the on/off button on the back of the device is somewhat inconvenient. Even worse, however, is having the speakers on the back. While the sound that this device produces is good, in normal use, the speakers are directing the sound away from the front of the unit, which lessens the sound quality for the user.

Motorola Xoom Tablet ReviewFigure 7: The side of the Xoom

The side of the Xoom, shown in Figure 7, has only one control, the up/down volume control. Although these buttons protrude slightly, they are not easy to press.

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Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up’s Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.