7 ways the Xoom is better than iPad 2

We got our hands on a Xoom and the iPad 2 and matched them up in a battle of the hot tablets. IPad 2 is the reigning champ and its second-generation product is clearly a bit more polished and fully baked than Xoom. But the Xoom has some exciting features that make it a worthy challenger. Here are seven ways the Xoom is better than the iPad 2.

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Hands-on review: Xoom battles iPad 2 to a draw

7 ways the iPad 2 is better than the Xoom

Xoom has a better rear facing camera

Xoom has a better rear facing camera

Even though both products now have front and rear facing cameras, none of them are very good. The camera on the front of the Xoom is really useful only for videoconferencing and even then the picture can be grainy, and the fixed-focus lens can result in blurry images. However, Xoom's rear facing camera is a 5-megapixel device that delivers reasonably clear images. This is better than the camera on the iPad 2, which produces low-resolution grainy images no matter which camera you're using, front or back.

Xoom has support for Flash

Xoom has support for Flash

Xoom comes with the Android 3.0 operating system, which supports Adobe Flash. This is a distinct advantage over the iPad 2, which doesn't support Flash. Unfortunately, Flash had not actually been delivered at the time when we tested the product.

Xoom widescreen is better for watching movies

Xoom widescreen is better for watching movies

One key difference between the Xoom and the iPad 2 is the shape of the device. The iPad 2 is more square – 9.5 inches by 7.31 inches, while the Xoom is 9.8 inches by 6.6 inches. Thus, if you hold the Xoom in landscape mode, you can see a larger image while watching movies and HD video.

Xoom offers true multi-tasking

Xoom offers true multi-tasking

With Xoom's Android operating system, you can do true multi-tasking on the tablet, meaning that you can run multiple applications at the same time. While the iPad 2 can do some multi-tasking, it's mostly limited to playing music while you do something else.

Xoom has slightly better multi-touch features

Xoom has slightly better multi-touch features

With Xoom's Android OS multi-touch is implemented in subtly different ways. For example, if you display a map, you can zoom in and out by pinching and spreading your fingers, just as you can on the iPad or any other multi-touch display. But you can also rotate the image by placing your fingers on the image and twisting. This is especially handy if you want to find your way through an area, and want to orient the image to match the direction you're traveling in.

Xoom is upgradable to 4G

Xoom is upgradable to 4G

This isn't something that makes much of a difference today, but it is something to keep in mind. The Xoom device can be upgraded at some future point to Verizon's 4G service, something the iPad 2 can't offer.

Xoom apps not limited to single vendor store

Xoom apps not limited to single vendor store

Currently, there are more applications for the iPad 2 at the Apple Store than there are applications for the Motorola Xoom. But Apple requires that you get apps at its store and its store only. With Android, you have access to the Android Market, where there are thousands of applications, plus Android doesn't limit you to its store. You can get your apps from anywhere.

Think the iPad is better? Watch the slideshow with that point of view.

Read the story version of this review: Hands-on review: Xoom battles iPad 2 to a draw